I took a trip to London to see the events of the Anonymous Million Mask March 2015 with my own eyes. While I was there, I had the opportunity to speak to lots of the participants first hand.
When I first arrived at Trafalgar Square, there were not many there, they had apparently been ‘Kettled in’ as they made their way round different streets. The first event that struck me, thanks to social media, was that the reporting of events where I was actually stood watching varied from different sources, within 20/30 minutes, there were claims that varied from total carnage to reports that everyone had gone home.
By then the numbers in the square had swelled up again, apart from a few rowdy youngsters with fireworks, there was not really any problem. The Police seemed to be really intent on being intimidating and simply herding them around just for the sake of it. I’ve never seen such badly planned security. My brother wandered in to the middle of the protesters, was then trapped due to the Police Kettling them, but he simply walked to the back, walked round the corner and he was back to the square! This really seemed like a process of aggravating them on purpose, no logic to it at all.
I wondered to the North end of Trafalgar square, where there was a Police line, so I thought I would walk towards them to see what they were actually going to say, the asked me if I were a tourist, I said I’m out for a walk, they let me through, but one officer was very threatening when I didn’t continue walking, even though I was obviously just a spectator.
There is not doubt that there may have been a few who were attending solely for the purpose of anarchy, but they were very very few and some of the images that were released by the press are to say the least ‘dubious’
I did not necessarily agree or disagree with the participants, although there is a case to argue with regard to our eroding civil liberties, the cuts in Legal Aid, which are denying those in most need of legal representation, the Trial Tax, which could be argued to be a fee for proving one’s innocence along with the issues we all know to be very real, such as the almost impossible prospect of a young person in London, being able to get a job and fund their own home, which really should be made accessible to all.
Where the strategy of the Police was most effective, was in distracting the protesters, by seeking to actively engage with them, rather than professionally Police them, the protesters were too busy reacting to the Police, instead of actively getting their message across, so in this respect, the Police strategy was successful. When the ensuing media campaign also highlighted isolated events that may have even been SET-UP, the protesters have not gained the sympathy of the general public.
Taking in to account the simultaneous protests in other cities around the world, this was the largest protest ever. The media can do their best to discredit them, the politicians can ignore them, but that fact remains and should ring alarm bells for those in power.
I personally, do not favour a Socialist state, I do support and always have supported the notion that people should work to better themselves, but and this is a major point, they must have the opportunity to do so, they must have the freedom to do so, they must have access to an affordable home, affordable workspace and protection from corporate bullying.
The situation we have today, IS NOT a free market economy, which I believe to be wonderful, it IS NOT opportunity, it is not a fair society, this is ‘ELITISM’ at its very worst. Those who have achieved, are not holding out a hand to help those behind them to follow in their steps, they are pulling up the ladder and replacing it with a greasy pole. What they must remember is that they are few, society is many and people can only be pushed so far.