Today I popped into town to replace the lens hood I lost at Glastonbury. A Nikon HB-48 lens hood actually I was informed by the kind man at Grays of Westminster, but he like every other London Nikon dealer was out of stock. Being so close I decided to pop round the corner and take a look at the J30 day of public sector workers action. I don't hold any strong views either way about today's protest - as I heard someone say on the radio today, "politically I am a leaf floating on the breeze" I guess that probably sums me up.
On arrival at Westminster I must admit I was impressed with the turnout - I have not seen so many photographers, news crews and police since the Royal Wedding! There were a hell of a lot of protesters also, just as well I suppose. Many of them looked too young to be public sector workers especially if youth unemployement figures are to be believed, so I assumed they were students spending the day supporting their teachers!
I'd not been there long when I clocked my first interesting person. He shouts his protest as his angry partner exclaims "I thought I told you not to wax it".
I could tell it was going to be a fun day but hold on what's all this comotion?
Our young would be anarchist has been singled out by a dozen boys in blue and paperwork in triplicate has been completed for a "stop and search". The gent in the hat with pad and phone was an on site legal advisor who prolonged the whole process by asking more questions than PC Plod. The best advice would have been to explain to the lad that wearing a scarf over your face and badge declaring I am an Anarchist might just arouse the interest of the cops patrolling a massive protest march. Anyways the lad seems proud of his little ticket.
Back out of the mele a more genteel image
The old folk seem quite happy, they've found some space and what a nice banner. However it did not win my prize for 'best banner of the day' this one did...
Ten out of ten for creativity and a touch of humour. There was some competition for teachers witty banners..
Too subtle miss - take a look at Easy Rider sitting top of the class
Then just as I was thinking this is all good humoured and light hearted I spotted some more police action...
There was a massive crowd and a lot of tension, I muscled through a crowd of fellow togs and to my surprise I found KG 501, was he chanting his favourite Jim Reeves number? or is he holding a mobile phone ID parade? Neither, he was telling the aggressive crowd to 'back off' or he'd call his chums at The Feathers and they'd be there like a flash. I decided to check for myself...
...he wasn't joking, as I arrived at The Feathers I heard 'Smiffy' say finish your pints lads and outside now - KG 501 is in a spot of trouble. They swiftly assembled and adopted the folded arms body language - arms and hands can be difficult in the absence of a pint and a ciggy.
Enough of the police I thought, I had better shoot, that is photograph, some teachers and their placards, I set off to find some...
Silly me, I'd left it too late, strike or no strike, when the afternoon bell goes it's business as usual!