Sunday, 27 March 2011

Quod erat demonstrandum?

Some scenes from yesterday's march:

Near Westminster, two French tourists (wearing his'n'hers pastel anoraks that give the lie to their country's stereotype of fashion consciousness) wander into the demonstration from a side alley. With consistency that is admirable going on for perverse, the policeman who had had refused to let me use that alley as a short-cut refuses to let them back the way they came, so they have to join the crowd, weaving between GMB and student union banners as the sluggish current carries them along to Parliament Square.

Walking up Regent Street (past an unattacked Apple Store), the absence of cars and buses creates an eerie calm, broken only by distant sirens and the repressive chatter of helicopters' rotors. A tweedy woman walks past, shouting into a mobile phone her shrill shock at the disruption to her shopping trip.

North of Oxford Circus, a gaggle of protestors surround two fleeing figures in hoodies, shouting 'Police informer! Police informer!' and trying to photograph their faces. To prove their point, the hoodied figures mutter a few words to the police forming a cordon round Topshop, and are let through. Outside, vindicated, their pursuers leap up and down with glee. I am uncomfortably reminded of the old black-and-white photos of the denuciations of collaborators in post-war France.