Query on London March

Martin Spellman mspellman at cix.co.uk
Wed Feb 12 04:05:09 MST 2003

	Details of the London March are on www.stopthewar.org.uk including details
of the rally, which is now taking place in Hyde Park. There are now two
marches: one from the Embankment and the other from Gower Street in the
University quarter, which will converge at Piccadilly Circus. There are also
demonstrations at Glasgow Green and in Dublin on the same day.

	I don't think there was any question here of the march being banned. That
would have been politically impossible. Given that it is going to take place
and the sheer size of it it is going to have to disperse somewhere. Where?
was the problem.

	The trouble is that London is not designed or equipped for demonstrations
of hundreds of thousands of people. Demonstrations were conceived as the
populace lining the streets for royal processions to the Abbey; Cathedral or
Parliament, not mass protests. It is going to be the biggest ever: at least
half a million are expected and though I have heard promises that accurate
counts would be made for over 30 years I don't expect this to be done and
with the amount of people it is impossible anyway. When it gets to that size
you are just THERE.

	It is going to take forever to get to the park and people will get
frustrated and find their own way and drift off to the pubs.

	The 'problem' was not the march but the rally and dispersal. Several venues
were considered. Trafalgar Square is currently being pedestrianised -- so is
a semi building site. Even when it is finished it is still a very small
square by 21st century standards/demands. It was completed by the building
of Canada and South Africa House in the 19th century and while a symbolic
national centre is really only big enough for some open air concerts and
medium sized demos.

	The Mall (the broad avenue linking Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace
and used during last years royal jubilee) was rejected. The Royal Parks
Agency (that runs Hyde Park; Green Park; St. James's Park and Kensinton
Palace Gardens) had concerns about the grass but have now been told they'll
have to deal with it.

	I'm not going into the park myself. The Fire Brigades demo was bad enough.
It will be a quagmire; there will be so many people it will be difficult
navigating around  or meeting up with peopleand you'll never get near the
sound stage, let alone hear anything. We have Jesse 'Keep hope alive'
Jackson BTW.

	What we could do with is a large open stadium near the centre of London for
concerts and demonstrations. A project for a future socialist government:
the present ones seem quite happy degrading what we already have. While
there are many historical buildings there are plenty of areas of useless
office buildings and crap that could be torn down to make way for it, such
as around Victoria.

Martin Spellman

> Could someone post on the situation in London - with the ban on Hyde
> Park.  the New York ban and the British one are of course related
> at a very
> deep level.  We have a ruling class taking an offensive in both countries
> and they have prepared badly for it and as a consequence are
> vulnerable to
> public protest.
> regards
> Gary

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