Some of you may remember when Ben Corner wrote about the Fossil Fools guys...
I went to the G-20 protests today in the city center today. I figured since I'm technically "living" here this semester, I should at least have some idea of what was going on. Plus, I wanted to be part of the anti-war protest, and can definitely sympathize with the people mad at bankers- England's banks are pretty corrupt in terms of buy-outs and upper-cut benefits.
The protest was different that I expected. Granted, my first real protest (that I remember, my dad tells me I went along to some labor disputes in my babybag) was the RNC, so that may have skewed things a little. It was funny to hear people complaining about the metal cages, since I definitely remember them from the Excel Center in September, and how much they scared me then. What London police did that was different than marches at home was they divided up the crowd into little groups. Therefore, with the exception of the climate camp, I was probably surrounded by no more than a couple hundred people at a time. Less of a mob mentality I suppose. It didn't stop protesters from throwing things, though. It was interesting, too, a lot of the shops had closed, and barricaded their windows in the event a fight broke out, all these boarded up windows really changed the feel of walking down the streets.
Climate camp was pretty interesting. It's a stretch of about three two blocks in the center of town (right off of Liverpool St. Station, for those that know) where people have set up tents. They've chalked the streets, hung posters, and have even created a human sized (though not to scale) monopoly game that they're playing as a demonstration event. As this one guy said, "we've got hippies, we've got faries, we've got hoodies, we've got just about everyone."
And from where I was, the protest wasn't violent at all- loud, demonstrative, but peaceful. The police were friendlier than the ones I remember from the RNC at home, more ready to joke and smile at protesters. I was surprised when I walked to the tube that afternoon and all the newstands where hawking headlines of violence ruining Obama's first day here. I know at least one person was injured, but still, I think the media is skewing things.
On a more cheery note, "The Boat That Rocked" is a hilarious and very sweet movie. See it if you get the chance.