When the police are cutting people’s lockons, it doesn’t half smell. I watched them at it in the morning and afternoon. Several phone photographers were cranking round the police lines. “Pity she won’t stand somewhere else so we could get a better view,” said one, as the sparks flew. Those plastic shields would have protected us. I don’t know whether the police provided the protester’s visor and ear protection.
“What are Quakers then?” asked the policeman. I started talking about the 17th century. Don’t tell them anything. Then I offered Advices and Queries, but his colleague said they could not accept any literature. “Are you having a nice time?” he asked. “We’re here to ensure the protesters have a nice time.” He said his shift had started at 4.30am, and he would be on until ten. We watched the yoga together.
However, south of Nelson’s Column it is more edgy. This was the state in the morning, no traffic but a heavy police presence taking over Whitehall.
By the afternoon, there was some traffic in the square.
There were protestors finding clever ways of staying on the road:
Some were heavily guarded.
The woman on the tower was directing protestors where we were needed.
I have a cold coming on. I was twice asked by protestors what Quakers are, and I gave away Advices and Queries. J was a project manager with a county council. Her boss supported her protesting, though would not like it if she were arrested. Most people she has told she would be here are supportive. She was sitting in the Christian Climate Action tent, dressed as if for a day out.
I had a thick steaming bowl of lentils potatoes and chick peas. Seeing my woebegone look in the drizzle, maybe they thought I was camping.
Over a drain, someone had erected a toilet tent, with a sign “this is not a turdis”. It would give some privacy. Toilets were confiscated.
We worshipped north of the fountains, with the Quakers for Climate Justice banner held high. We were visible. Some suggested on Facebook meeting up then going to worship in the road.
I went into the National Gallery and saw two Rembrandt self portraits. I got chatting to a Rebel who inveighed against the thick carved frames and the hoarding of wealth. I objected that it is free for all to see. He seemed cast down. I think we did well to stop traffic as long as we did. Outside a Labour Party activist explained that 176 CLPs had supported the carbon neutral by 2030 motion at conference, more than any other motion. I said I am a member.
I am tired. I have done my bit. Two men in suits, with a sound system, have signs on the pavement claiming climate change is caused by solar variation. I looked one in the eye and said “Shame on you”. He said nothing, but moved his head back slightly as if hit, then forward again. This encounter may fuel his martyr complex and persecution narrative.
I have done my bit for this protest.