G20 Bank Protest - April Fools Day
Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
Another example of the incredible difference between the mediatised image, the reality of a situation, and the uses of power within how we operate (see Inauguration entry for example). I cycled over to the event at Bank, which was coined as a carnival atmosphere by its adhoc organisers, and it was. There was a variety of games, costumes, live and prerecorded music, and a very diverse age range. The police practiced what the call 'kettling' keeping people penned up in sections. It was very mellow, there wasn't much chanting or slogan yelling, just a lot of standing around in what was arguably the most beautiful day of the year so far. We wanted to get into Bank but it was impossible, all cordoned off by walls of police in high-vis gear. They were generally at this point good natured, joking with the crowds, who were at most pretty bored outside trying to get into where the music seemed to be. One protester offered to take them to get a cup of coffee, as it seemed rather pointless to stand around... We walked around the perimeters, through side streets and followed a marching troop of horso-cops prepared for serious battle. People were not happy at the sight of this, as it brought a feeling of menace and violence to an otherwise chill afternoon... We passed Jesus on the way and ended up past the horses and police and by RBS, the now infamous smashed bank windows. I suppose the link of police opened up for the horso-cops to take their place and we inadvertently walked past. Shortly after a group of young anarchists began smashing the bank. It seemed so timely, it all felt very rehearsed. As the police presence became more heightened the kids got angrier and responded in turn. As they smashed the windows, an incredible amount of cameras flew out, both handheld, professional, phones. I was really taken by how mediatised the event was, and the desperate need to capture the moment seemed more violent than the window smashing. The cops stood idly by on their horses, letting it happen...
Watch the video I uploaded, its celebratory, most people standing around watching the event unfold like a football match. Can you spot the difference between media and reality?(beware of close-ups!) Lets just assess who is breaking, who is capturing the breaking and who is watching the capturing and the breaking, look at the gap of people between the police and the action.... We left the scene and wandered about, but there was no exit in sight, I wondered why not let people leave, it was so obviously quite on the side streets. Fear, fear, fear.... But we were able to get out on one street that was open, and wandered off to Trafalgar Square to a peaceful demonstration with intelligent speakers and well timed hooting. I found both scenarios emotionally effective in their purpose I suppose, what other options are most people left with if they cannot influence public policy otherwise? Was I a participant or just another voyeur, like perhaps you are now if you watch this clip