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(Ack, oops - typoed the page title the first time.  Can I get an html->wiki converter?  I think I got most of it, but I probably missed a bit)

This morning I woke up,dragged myself out of bed - and learnt that war had started.

And I thought I'd go and demonstrate.  But I didn't know anyone else who was going, and I couldn't find any details of where a gathering was happening.  To cut a short story even shorter, I wimped out and went to work.

Didn't get much work done.  People chatted about what was going on.  Annoyingly, I seemed the best informed (knowing about the first four scuds into Kuwait before I got in.  Oooh, just learnt they're probably not Scuds.  But they're some kind of missiles.)

So this evening, I am on my way home from swimming - and I bump into a demonstration, blocking one of the roads.  Not a very sensible road to block (there's a motorway sliproad right nearby)  One major advantage of a bike is that it makes it very easy to stop and join a demonstration.

I *will* go into London on Saturday.  I'm not going to wimp out of this one.

6:40.  A big sign says "ISR".  Dunno what ISR is.  Two BIG socialist party signs, and a whole load of 'no to war' signs obviously printed up by them.  And a big rainbow banner from the Quakers.

One lighter, held by a guy in a TShirt reading "Make peace, make love, not bombs, not war"

One loud hailer and two bongo drums.

The chants are.. Fun.  Mostly.

To the tune of 'Bob the Builder':  "Can we stop it?  Yes we can!"

To the tune of 'The dogs out': "Who let the bombs drop?  Bush, Bush and Blair"

200ish people.

Bush bush, we love you.  Daddy was a killer too.

Twenty police or so - about half redirecting traffic.  Everything is very peaceful.

They say Warfare - We say Welfare.

(ooh, this is a funny one) Bush Blair, CIA.  How many kids did you kill today?

The traffic is having to go all the way around the townhall.  I guess it means that they get the best possible view.  And they blocked it all rush hour.  Obviously a copy of the blocking of princess parkway in Manchester this morning.

LOTS and LOTS of socialist posters.  The crowd has some traditional trouble makers, students and Beardies - but a surprising number of families.  Mum, Gran, two kids and the baby.

Seven PM.  They run out of chants.  The drummer plays on.  Cameras flash blue.  The TV crew is still here.

What do we want?  No WAR.  When do we want it?  Now.

The crowd seems to be breaking up.

Hey Ho, Bush and Blair have got to go.

The town hall bell tolls.  The drummer wraps it up with a drumroll.

About half of the people who were here are gone.

Some conversation.  Some hugs.  The drums are passed on.

A desultory attempt at the Bob the Builder chant.  But nobody knows the verse!

The loud hailer guy exhorts the crowd to louder effors.  It fails.  Applause.

There is a bus going from the cenotaph, and from the students union.  Presumably to London.  When?  They didn't say.

"Get a job you scum!" - And the scum cheers!  Made no sense to me either.

Loud hailer guy (belatedly) retaliates: "Shut up, Fascist"  A protest so peaceful it's probably asleep.

The camera crew is back.  Loud hailer guy: "We salute you"  {applause}

Planning.  7pm, tomorrow, portsmouth (inaudible) south arch.

This is NOT a coalition of the willing.  Show them that the UK is not part of any coalition.

About 90 people are left now.  Something inaudible, dot com.

There is a policeman with a handycam here.  I wonder why.  Taping it for history?  For his own interest?  Is he a supporter?  Or is this something official - in case of trouble, to identify key organisers perhaps?

1234 We don't want your bloody war.  5678 Stop the killing, stop the hate.

They say: drop the bombs.  We say: Drop the deaths.  {sheesh.  that doesn't even make sense}

As I type this in, I learn that Britain has now gone in with hovercrafts and tanks.

The protest is completely peaceful, it seems.  But isn't it a bit pointless to chant with no one around?  Aww... bubbles.  Some kid has one of those bubble tub things.

Heh.  Loud speaker guy promises to bring more pens next time, and pleads for help from 'anyone who wants to be an organiser'

A new variant chant:  Bush, Blair, IMF, how many kids did you starve to death?

Loud hailer guy starts a speech.  It seems that the dean of the local college denied their 'right' to have a debate on the invasion.

And then he runs off into a spiel about socialist politics.  About privatised schools, and unison strikes and how they need to link this to the war and send the message to big business and organise a national strike and how they need to spend more on welfare and...  GUH.

I am slightly tired, slightly hungry, slightly cold and VERY bored.  And I do *NOT* like being manipulated into appearing to support totally unlinked politics.  It seems this whole demonstration was organised in order to give more publicity to their socialist cause.  Attempting to stretch their anti-war powerbase into an unrelated area.

This sickens me.  Luckily, I suspect it will largely fail.  Life long conservatives may oppose the war, but they won't vote socialist.  And students may vote socialist, but they don't vote.
That's not fair!
It's overly sweeping, but the massive evidence is that most students don't vote.  And 'people of no fixed abode' *can't* vote.

I don't like this adding of political spin.  Luckily no-one watches local news, and national news is focussed on the larger demonstrations.

The time is 7:15 and I'm on my way home.

I *will* go to the demo on Saturday.  Honest.

[Civil] [Disobedience] - /CivilDisobedience?

Garbled toyed with the idea of going to a demo, but was slightly annoyed by the connections made between iraq and palestine, and a nice Socialist Worker poster with a anti-semitic billboard amongst the ranks. I need the Socialist Workers Party about as much as I need National Socialists. Left or Right, they are still wrong.
There are fair comparisons to make there - Israel is doing a lot of what Iraq is accused of doing, and America is blatantly hypocritical in its policy there.  As to the rest, I'm not certain I share your hatred of that party (I know nothing about it) but the whole 'lets link up to this hot issue and get some screen time' is uttterly foul.  EthicalPeopleAgainstPolitics?.

OP == Vitenka

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