Henry is our very political intern. We've tried to get it out of him with our cynicism and guest lists, but he's still obsessed with bringing down the man. We let him go to support his protest buddies last week as the government tried to kick them off their lawn.
Poor old Brian Haw, after nine years camped outside parliament protesting against the Iraq War,he probably thought he'd marked his turf, but on May 1st an army of hippies turned up to steal his spot on Parliament Square. When I heard that after eight weeks of the protesters living in festival style conditions, Boris Johnson had finally won the court battle to kick them out, (excluding Brian Haw), I thought I'd pop down and watch the chaos ensue, as usual I was let down. Fucking peaceful protest.
I turned up the night before to see what the hippies were planning to do and I was confronted with these crazy French guys kicking an effigy of Tony Blair in the face. Kung Fu protest seems like a step-up from your usual socialist with a microphone, but it didn't catch on.
This is Brendan, a former civil engineer and is now homeless and lives in his van, he showed me around the camp and introduced me to a few people and was very friendly and very pissed. One of Boris' arguments is that the camp attracted the homeless and the drunk from all over London, he's pretty much right, but so what? Homeless people hanging out on the streets is kind of the reason d'etre of homeless people, you don't want them on the street, let them hang around in your house.
Anyway Brendan claimed that Big Ben was built by the Illuminati (those busy guys again) who also ran the government. He predicts that the government will sponsor a terrorist attack on Britain and point the finger at Iran so we can invade them for their oil. He's probably right.
This is Len, he was on a hunger strike in protest against the family courts refusing him access to his children and taking all his assets and giving them to his ex-wife. He, like Brian Haw, is exempt from Boris Johnson's court injunction. He hasn't eaten for eight weeks. Eight fucking weeks with nothing; props to Len.
I left the peace camp and came back the next day before the 4PM deadline, which is when they were all supposed to have left. If they hadn't, the council could order the Bailiffs, supported by the police, to evict the demonstrators. Fortunately for the protesters a last minute appeal was passed, so they now have till the 16th July to lodge another appeal.
As Big Ben rang out at 4PM there were a few speeches by people who knew what they were talking about, but the best speeches were by the drunk guys and the lunatics. This is Soldier, told me he used to be in the army and had killed people, and he could shoot me in the head from a 1,000 yards.
The girl on the left was Anna, the camp leader. While she was talking the guy on the left kept shouting that Everton were the best football team in the Premiership (this is a lie). He was completely hammered.
It seemed the majority of people living at the camp were the homeless who seemed to know/care very little about what was happening, many of them just saw it as a safe place to stay. It's fair enough, why not protest for the homeless of London in front of parliament? However, the more organised protesters seemed a bit annoyed by them.
Then a pink Stormtrooper turned up, presumably to champion the rights of Gay and Lesbian Stormtroopers in the Galactic Empire.
With everything a little tense after the 4pm gong, everyone was expecting bailiff vans and police to come screeching around the corner, instead two Apache attack helicopter circled the square twice. A few people actually ran away.
After the appeal victory was announced there were rallying calls to stick some peace flags on the gates to parliament. The mixed group of protesters, homeless and the army of press (that outnumbered the protesters), marched across the road and started climbing. One protester got stuck underneath the gate was pulled underneath and arrested, while another went all the way over and got arrested as well. Duh!
This copper couldn't look more smug if he tried.
The protesters then decided to sit in the road, blocking the rush hour traffic, the lady in the fancy dress was Queen Tracy, who is apparently our new Queen. She was a nurse for 20 years until a failed relationship left her homeless. When she takes the throne she will cut a few people's heads off and build loads of tree houses across London. I'm well up for that.
This one-armed guy turned up with a big stick in his hand shouting that he was ready to die for what he believed in and tried to rouse the hippies to start fighting the police. They were having none of it and led him away. Hippies, huh?
This is called a debate.
After a few boring hours blocking traffic at parliament, the protesters moved onto Downing Street and blocked the entrance forcing the police to arrest them for aggravated trespass. This guy doesn't seem very aggressive to me.
He really didn't want to leave; hence the dragging.
There was a lot of this.
So after a few hours of very very minor civil disobedience, all the protesters who vowed to stay were arrested and driven off to Belgravia police station for a cup of tea. It's perhaps a small damning indictment of our country that the only people who are willing to protest on a week day are the homeless, the drunk and the hippies.
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