Yet again the voices of thousands of dissatisfied students, school-children, parents and tutors have been drowned out by a few unrepresentative shouts.
Between Camilla’s “dreadful ordeal” and the mindless destruction of Parliament Square, the true nature – and more importantly motivation – of last week’s protest has all but vanished in a puff of anarchist-red smoke.
I am appalled by the level of police violence especially directed at the most vulnerable in the crowd – girls, disabled people and school-children. Yet my anger is not only concentrated on the police – I, like many, feel betrayed by those we stood shoulder to shoulder with in the crowd.
We were marching for a legitimate cause – which was all but forgotten when the collective anger of the passionate crowd was manipulated by a minority intent on violence.
It was obvious that not all those who turned the protest into a battleground had begun the day with this intention. Most of them were young boys for whom the smashing of windows was about so much more than their EMA or university places. It was about being part of something in a society where Cameron’s “We’re all in this together” couldn’t be further from the truth – something the more organised troublemakers were keen to take advantage of.
Because of this the whole day was dictated by the anticipation of and reaction to violence. The aftermath of “DayX3” has been disgust at the recorded police brutality, outrage that the country’s youth attacked the Royals and fear that the desecration of Churchill’s statue is just the beginning of a revolt. Little column space has been given to the vote. The demo itself has over-shadowed the reason for protesting.
Nowhere in the popular media are there pictures of the two rakish university students reciting Byron to the police, or the impromptu bashment rave started by college kids in Parliament Square. Or the balloons, bubbles and paint that streaked the protest with colour. It is all fire, police, balaclavas and blood.
Attention has been deflected to anyone other than the group we should be scrutinising. People are not condemning the government that has so obviously lied to such a large proportion of those who voted for them. They are too busy attacking the students, or the police, or the college kids, or anarchists, or socialists or unions or whoever their newspaper of choice deems responsible for the events of Thursday.
How do you feel about what happened in London on the December 9, 2010? Were you there, or affected by it as you went about your day? Whatever your politics, ELL would really like to hear your views – please comment.