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quick Gaza march report

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Jan. 10th, 2009 | 07:14 pm

 Back from the Gaza march, with a lot of video and photos to look over and import, but a few immediate notes:
  • Lots of families, many with small children, and also a lot of groups of teenagers.
  • Pre-prepared placards were mostly from the usual suspects - STWC unsurprisingly, Respect, the SWP - with a good third from Muslim groups I'd say.
  • Stupidest placard seen: "7-7 - MI5 did it". Otherwise mostly what you'd expect. Lots of dead baby pictures.
  • Range of speakers at the initial rally. Several trade union leaders. Nobody really bad, though trying to lead chants when you're supposed to be making a speech is pretty lazy if you ask me. On the other hand, it does help to include a few slogans and forthright statements that people can cheer and shout "free Palestine!" at - Brian Eno, for example, had a well-put-together piece, but didn't include enough cues, so everyone was a bit baffled and silent.
  • Up until about half a mile from the Israeli embassy, no problems at all, everybody moving along quite happily.
  • Didn't get as far as the final rally, the police closed Hyde Park and they were effectively blocking the march after 4pm or so, or at least reducing it to an extremely slow crawl. They put a massive cordon outside the Israeli embassy that just happened to almost completely block the street. I was caught up in the crush caused by the march backing up; a lot of people were leaving because of it, and things were moving at about a metre per minute tops, which may have just been down to the ones going. Eventually they had to remove some barricades to let people out, or the whole crowd would have pushed them over, there would have been chaos and they wouldn't have been able to stop it (not enough cops around at that point).
  • Fights seen: one. Just after I got past the embassy, three cops were carrying someone down a side-road and shouting about a medical emergency. Halfway down the road, they were confronted by what looked like the man's friends. There was a quick standoff, a sudden push and some sticks being swung and the cops legged it straight back towards the embassy. At that stage, as I said before, there weren't enough cops who weren't in the embassy cordon to really do a lot. In that case though I believe the injured man was the one I saw in a police van a little later, unconscious, with someone in a scarf fanning him with a police hat.
  • The 12,000 figure reported is just nonsense. I would say 50,000+, though it's hard to tell actually being in it. I had time to stop at two pubs and also bugger off to find a loo and a coffee and still was nowhere near the end of the march.
  • Phrase most often heard at the beginning: "Free Palestine!" Phrase most often heard nearer the end: "Shame on you!"
  • Michael Rosen's poem was crap.

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Comments {5}

Nina

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from: janinazew
date: Jan. 11th, 2009 12:31 am (UTC)
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Even the BBC are estimating at 50,000 which is significant as they usually go with the Police figure as more applicable.

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Loz

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from: blahflowers
date: Jan. 11th, 2009 10:25 am (UTC)
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Guess which is the only Sunday paper to claim civilisation came to an end yesterday afternoon. Guess. Betcha can't guess.

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fridgemagnet

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from: fridgemagnet
date: Jan. 11th, 2009 10:29 am (UTC)
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I wouldn't read Harry's Place if I were you.

Well, obviously I wouldn't read it at all, whether I were you or not.

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Nina

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from: janinazew
date: Jan. 11th, 2009 11:20 am (UTC)
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Who would read it? The delusions spouted there are enough to make anyone become a trot.

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yup

from: ext_143892
date: Jan. 17th, 2009 11:06 pm (UTC)
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I saw the same as you though by the time I got through the squeeze there was a back and forth charge between maybe 50? 100? protesters and the same number of police (filmed, on my blog). I was suspicious of the squeeze as well. Some coppers blog Rachel linked to says 100-150 000. Kudos to the cop for that.

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