"War is not a solution, war is a problem" ~ Erazim Kohak

Saturday, the 15th of February, 2003 - 19 past 7pm

Current Song ~ "Fantastic Voyage" by David Bowie.

We stand in a circle
We stand in the square
The power of numbers
The power of prayer...

Dark Time ~ October Project

Watching large-scale political demonstrations on television, or even being in the area but not actively involved, you don't really get any idea of what it's like to be in the thick of it.

As we (my parents, sisters and I) were nearing Charing Cross, we saw a group of the protestors just crossing the River, and there seemed to be a goodly number of people about. We headed off down the road - and I do mean the road and not the pavement, though we still looked both ways just in case we were mistaken about there being no cars - and joined up with one section of the protest at Trafalgar Square.

I was immediately struck by the sheer size of the protest. Of course, we'd heard that it was going to be the largest peace demonstration that Britain had ever known, but it wasn't until I saw Trafalgar Square absolutely teeming with banner-holding people and the march taking up the entire street and stretching off seemingly without end in both directions that I began to grasp the magnitude of the event.

Marching down Haymarket in the middle of the road was a great pleasure in itself, and something that strengthened my conviction that the City should be made entirely pedestrian. It was just such a pleasure to be able to walk without fear of oncoming traffic, although it took a while to adjust to the idea. A lot of people had horns that sounded exactly like car horns, and every time one was blown, I looked back to make sure that I wasn't about to be run over. Old habits die hard.

It was around that point that I first felt incredibly moved. Moved, and very proud of London and its people; which after so much time being cynical and frustrated with the famous British apathy was a beautiful feeling.

Little things that especially stick in my mind:

* A tiny banner that read "small print for peace" in blue felt tip

* A very striking woman in a black coat and traditional funeral director's hat

* The cheering every time a new lot of people - whether the other half of the march or a small group of Hare Krishnas - turned up

* Reaching the edge of a slight dip in the road just past Green Park Station and looking down on a section of the people ahead of us - a section that resembled this. Impressive, ne?

I would have liked to stay to the end, but my family were feeling parched and wanted to go and seek refreshment, so I reluctantly left the March near Hyde Park.
I got to hear bits of the speeches on the News, though, and probably better than I would have done in real life.

All in all, it was a day like no other I have ever experienced, and I am extremely glad to have had the opportunity to take part in the demonstration. I know I'm starting to go on a bit, but by gawd, it was amazing.

Long may the people of the world stand up for Peace!


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