Saturday, February 15, 2003

I am in an internet cafe at Picadilly Circus, getting a respite from the cold. (This has been a cold winter). I have just walked from Lancaster Gate, across the top of Hyde Park, to Marble Arch, up Oxford Streed and down Regents Street to Picadilly Circus. (I had hoped to catch a bus, but they were not running between Lancaster Gate and Marble Arch due to the anti-war demonstration, as I should have predicted). My thoughts on this are that the demonstration is clearly enormous, perhaps the biggest I have ever seen. There were a large number of buses from all over England parked nearby and I heard a lot of regional accents. (I managed to avoid the temptation to burst into song and start singing The Star Spangled Banner, which explains why I am still with you). There is still a loud demonstration in Picadilly Circus outside.

The demonstration features lots of signs: simple "No War", lots of "Not in My Name", various things denigrating George Bush and Tony Blair, assorted pacifict sentiments ("Preemptive violence is never justified" is one I saw. I think that depends on what you are trying to preempt). Quite a few with Freedom for Palestine. (I am all for an independent Palestine. I simply don't know how to get people in Palestine (more broadly defined) to stop killing one another. (Yes, I do have more detailed sentiments on the subject, but this is enough of a digression).

This was a big demonstration, however. The British people are, I think, rather badly spit. Rather more so than I would think from reading Samizdata sadly.

Plus as I walked down Oxford Street, I saw some people on a balcony of one of the buildings chanting "We want [something muffled", and waving a sign saying Make Tea, Not War. I am not sure if this is a truly British sentiment, or some strange statement of solidarity with the people of Boston circa 1773.

Update: As I was walking out of the internet cafe, I saw someone with a hand drawn sign saying "Bomb France, not Iraq". I didn't manage to get close enough to the chap to ask him his precise political positon.

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