17 June 2008

Welcoming George Bush

On Sunday evening I joined a demonstration against George Bush's foreign policies, particularly with respect to Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran, but not forgetting his other indiscretions, such as Somalia and Palestine.

We convened in Parliament Square next to the Houses of Parliament, which you can see in the background here.

Parliament Square is on the tourist bus route so we had a succession of open-top buses going past full of intrigued tourists taking pictures of the demonstration. All publicity helps.

Once assembled we were treated to a number of rousing speakers, including the surprisingly (to me) effective Bianca Jagger. Another surprise was the loud cheer of support given for the actions of the Conservative MP, David Davis, for resigning his seat so the he could fight an election on the one policy of this (Labour) government's increasing restrictions on civil freedoms.

And we soon got a taste of those restrictions when we were refused permission to march down Whitehall past Downing Street. We tried anyway, of course, and a few people got hit on the head by the police for their efforts. I saw three people with bleeding heads moving away from the front line.

But this was not a group of agitators looking for a fight. There were lots of older people and women there as well as the more bumptious students. I spent some time standing next to a 30s something pregnant woman in a Liberty dress. She and I are now on the police video.

The announcements made by Gordon Brown following his meeting with George Bush show that he is as supine as Blair was and that we were not listened to. But we had to try.

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