Monday 5 January 2009

Come on, you London!

As this morning became this afternoon, the BOF returned to Palace Green, or as close as he could get. 

The Israeli Embassy cowers in a private road, festooned with traffic
 calming and permanent police blockades, where photography is banned, a situation close to ideal for a bullying coward.  

Even the Americans exist in a public square, though it's a relief to note that they're pissing off to Wandsworth and giving central London back to its inhabitants. 

This time, there was activity. One of the morning's stalwarts was still there, but she was frozen to the marrow and soon left. 

The major presence was the Met. Their vans, parked in threes, dominated the side streets and even Kensington Gore itself.

It was cold by today's standards, the protesting turnout was small (maybe 100 or so) and so most of the bobbies stayed in their nice warm battle-wagons. Some, however, couldn't resist the chance of a ruck. One over-enthusiastic officer had donned his balaclava immediately he hit the street, looking for all the world like one of the terrorists he's supposed to protect us from. A gentleman of the barriers leaned forward as he shouted his slogans. This was all that balaclava-man needed. A tiny scuffle ensued.

This did not go down well with his superior.  A bollocking was delivered.

The BOF believes it was noticed.

And here's the problem: it only takes one or two twats to cross the line at a moment of tautness for vileness to happen. Reacting to provocation is a fool's game, yet this is what they were here to protest about. 

The ironies abounded. Children have been obliterated in Gaza and, perhaps, Israel. And there were children here, bearing witness no doubt, but also being dragged into the fray.

As the evening drew in, the odd passing driver tooted his horn, a few pedestrians stopped to enquire what it was about ("Where is the Israeli Embassy, anyway?") and the chanting continued, through the obligatory bull-horn.

As the temperature dropped the Met went into cold-weather-kit, looking like the opposition at a fancy-dress party.

But all the while there was empty space. The boys in blue had clearly expected to see a larger crowd, looked almost disappointed - the Police Cameraman in his SWAT hat had done his job in a matter of minutes.

And the BOF was ashamed of London. You walked by, hurried on your way, turned your heads, and left the field for those stalwarts of the Mail, the Professional Demonstrators. All the talk that could be heard was about "next time" and "getting the others". True, there were some genuinely home-spun placards

but the majority were pre-printed, pre-used slogan guns, complete with URLs. 

Perhaps, as the week moves on, a few more might attend the 5.30 appointment with the death-dealers, and not leave this as the memorial for London's reaction to a bleaker place's misery.

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