Les gens qui ne rient jamais ne sont pas des gens sérieux

Be who you are and say what you mean, those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Equality March 2006

Much to my shame I haven't been on a protest march since my Mum dragged us along to one through woods that were to be demolished by a new motorway in the UK when I was about 8... yesterday was great.

After a slightly rough start (police in full riot gear lining the streets, approaching the parade's start by going past the skinheads' counter-demonstration and breaking my banner which was swiftly repaired with duct tape - all hail the magic of duct tape) we quickly got into the swing of things.

It was huge and colourful and friendly. The police were on hand in enormous numbers and created a barrier between us and the rather straggly group of counter-protestors, who incidentally seemed to be protesting against paedophilia, which didn't counter any demonstration I was trying to make (nobody's told them homosexuality isn't the same thing as paedophilia you see, poor ignorant bunch).

People waved from their windows, there were trumpets and whistles, banners and flags. People had come from Sweden, Germany and the UK. There were families, gays and straights; young and old (although mainly young); groups and individuals.

The only violence I saw happened at the end. The square in front of the opera was full of marchers, music blaring out and speeches at the front. I noticed a few anti-EU protestors sneaking round the back, then suddenly swarms of black-clad people, faces covered and some carrying black flags were walking swiftly through the crowd. A roar erupted from the anti-us lot and there were sticks and beatings. The police, to their credit, moved in quickly and effectively. The people in balaclavas streaked back through the crowd to melt into the marchers, apart from one guy I saw tackled to the ground and taken away, much to the delight of the swarm of cameras which quickly surrounded the captured troublemaker.

After giving away our banners, we went for a well deserved pint, and watched the rest of the England game. Perfect end to the day.

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