This year's annual Guy Fawkes inspired Million Mask March through London was all about fireworks, flares and frustration. Every year, thousands descend on the city to demand a revolution, and this time we went down to watch.
While it’s impossible to create a “London protest calendar”, given it’s almost impossible to predict quite when the government will decide to come up with some dangerous new policy, there are certain events that can be scheduled into the diary pretty early on.
An annual trade union march, another organised by students demanding free education, and of course the Anonymous inspired rioting that breaks out annually on Bonfire Night, 5th November. As the rest of the country set shit on fire while definitely drinking too much, diehard Annons and their supporters rally together in Trafalgar Square, V for Vendetta masks placed firmly on their faces, ready to demand revolution while parading outside an empty Houses of Parliament.
As per usual, crowds were pretty impressive in number, although the messaging and direction of the protest was – while definitely anti-establishment – somewhat unclear. There was certainly an anti-capitalist sentiment among those who’d gathered though, and to be fair it’s not like this Tories really have a plan for running the country either. Banners that deplored tax evasion, global elites and the police were all on show.
A whole host of police restrictions were imposed well in advance of the march kicking off, the cops having cottoned on by now that thousands of angry, masked up people wielding fireworks can often lead to some public disorder. One of the laws invoked this year is known as a S60AA: Protestors aren’t allowed to obscure their faces when this is imposed in an attempt to stop identities being hidden, and it pretty much ruins the fun.
After a 6pm meet, the activities went on for a good few hours, by about 10pm the cops moved in to get the remaining protestors out of Westminster for good. In total 53 arrests were made, with protestors complaining once again that the Met were being heavy handed.
Whatever you make of these protests, they’re young and they’re angry. Don’t let the fancy dress theme make you think otherwise.
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