It was little reported, but there were two marches yesterday in London. The City of London put on its Lord Mayor’s Show., crowds look sparse (small wonder as public transport yesterday morning ground to a halt). The City streets were closed , there was a tube strike and Westminster went into lockdown for fear of a hate march on the Cenotaph,
It waa pretty well impossible for us to get from the City to Victoria yesterday morning, except on foot. While the City paraded, half a million British citizens marched in protest -we ended our day joining them.
This blog is about our personal experience of 11th November , it started and ended in the City of London and everything about our day suggests the public were and are being misinformed.
While the City of London promoted a show of arms, up river in Westminster and Lambeth the people of Britain protested against the use of them.
Ongoing disinformation from our political leaders
The latest misinformation being fed us from our prime minister conflates the activities of Hamas with those of Tommy Robinson and the English Defence League. This is how the Daily Telegraph reports things
The Prime Minister said far-Right hooligans clashing with police, and pro-Hamas regalia witnessed during the National March for Palestine, had disrespected the military and Britain’s fallen on Armistice Day.
The “jostling ” of Michael Gove outside Victoria Station. I can confirm it was busy outside Victoria station and yes, it was frightening, but that was down to weight of numbers. The reporting of “terrifying scenes- from all sides” is inaccurate and an incitement to hatred of a peaceful protest.
When we returned from our Armistice Day rail trip, we found ourselves inside Victoria Station, It was hard to get out of the station as the police were barring the gates to stop the crowds outside getting in, It was so hard to get into the tube we gave up and walked back to the City (there being no busses).
So we walked though and with the crowds of protestors on what we had heard was a “hate march” and found no hate, only sympathy for those who are trapped in a wa-zone). I saw no one supporting Hamas or the IDF and though there was some chanting to free palestine, I saw no evidence of violence. We saw fireworks but there was no violence on the peace march. I am prepared to believe my own eyes which accord with the testimony of those who spent the day in the crowd.
I was in a crowd of a million for 6 hours.
For most of it alone cos my group lost each other!
I was smiled at, hugged, given dates to eat. I chatted to kids, held babies.
I was never once so much as jostled.
Meanwhile the men who say I need them to protect me from Muslims: pic.twitter.com/ovy06FJeZv
— Dr Louise Raw (@LouiseRawAuthor) November 11, 2023
Apparently the police are hunting for 3 protestors professing support for Hamas, that is statistically a vanishingly small number against a crowd variously estimated at 300,000 to 800,000.
Meanwhile, the EFL of whom 120 were arrested seem to have been drunk and disorderly to a man (and I use the gender deliberately).
Sunak’s conflation of EFL , Hamas and a peaceful crowd of protestors , reinforces the odious comments of the Home Secretary last week , which cast peaceful protestors as hate marchers.
The British dislike of disinformation
We like to think ourselves as a country that forms its opinion based on good information served to us by independent sources. We can see with our own eyes that what is happening in Gaza is a humanitarian disaster and we can see that it is being caused by violent factions that have provoked Israeli wrath. But that wrath must be directed with precision and not indiscriminately against innocent citizens of Gaza.
We have trusted our politicians to make these points and many of us, myself included, now feel betrayed by these politicians who have failed to stop or even condemn the violence. These failures are cross-party.
Instead of representation , we have been given disinformation that is quite at odds with what we can see and read with our own eyes.
This has led to public disquiet and the huge march we saw yesterday. Having been a part of the march (having no option but to be) , I can see no evidence of hate. That these people were marching for a cessation of hostilities on armistice day appears entirely appropriate, that they brought peace and not hostility to the streets of London seems admirable, that they were opposed by violent thugs appears despicable. The police we spoke to were calm and authoritative, they have had their reputation reinforced by Mark Rowley and their standing with the public is independent of whatever the Home Secretary said about them.
The police I met yesterday were doing their job and doing it with a smile on their faces.
A day of peace not violence
Yesterday was a day of peace not violence, it was armistice day
We remembered at 11 am as we travelled through Kent and we remembered when we got to Sheerness.
As we pulled in and out of this little visited place, the trackside was lined with people waving hands and poppies.
— Henry Tapper (@henryhtapper) November 11, 2023
The nation is opposed to violence and especially violence on a day marking the beginning of peace.
But so long as our politicians promote a peace march as a hate march and conflate the activities of half a million peaceful protestors with a handful of rightful thugs, our resentment will grow.gaza