I came back from the peace rally in London a few hours ago. I live right across the street from Hyde Park, so I didn't have long to go. Even though we didn't go until about 4pm, there were still thousands of people arriving by the minute. Some never got there, as the streets were so crowded it was next to impossible for all the people who followed the march to get there in time.I came back from the peace rally in London a few hours ago. I live right across the street from Hyde Park, so I didn't have long to go. Even though we didn't go until about 4pm, there were still thousands of people arriving by the minute. Some never got there, as the streets were so crowded it was next to impossible for all the people who followed the march to get there in time.
We did catch the speeches by Ken Livingston (mayor of London) and Rev. Jesse Jackson, though. Especially Jesse Jackson was incredible. I'm an atheist, so his more religious comments didn't exactly impress me much, but his drive and passion, and his ability to get the masses going was immense.
The latest figures from the police as I'm writing this indicate more than 750.000 demonstrators, some say up to 2 million. Regardless who you believe, it was the largest demonstration of any kind in UK history, dwarfing even the celebrations after the end of World War II apparently.
And it wasn't the only place in the UK where people demonstrated.
To put this in perspective: If you believe the police, almost 1.5% of the population of the UK was on the streets of London today, marking their disgust for Tony Blair and George Bush.
And Tony Blair dare to continue to fight for a war? How dare he argue for a war that the people who elected him, who he is supposed to serve, so strongly has shown they do not want?
It showns clearly that he needs a lesson in democracy.
When you can draw a crowd that large, and when you can draw loud cheers by calling for the overthrow of the government if he don't change his mind (as at least one speaker did), it is time for the government to think things over very carefully.
I've never demonstrated outside of a few May first demonstrations when I was younger, even when I was politically active for a few years. This drew me out. My fiancee has never demonstrated before. This drew her out. We saw thousands of pensioneers, kids, people of all races, people in expensive coats and suits and people in cheap clothes, people of all kinds. People you'd normally never see at a demonstration side by side Socialist Worker Party people and other "professional" radical demonstrators.
It's a serious wake up call when pensioners, students, working people go to the streets in such large numbers.
These are people that are hard to draw out. These are people that stay away from elections in droves because they don't see it as important. These are people who'd rather stay inside, in front of the TV than go out in the could February wheather.
Yet they came. And they chanted anti war slogans. And they carried slogans.
And Blair still ignore us. How dare he defy the will of the people he serve?