The environment is something I’ve always taken a keen issue in since when as a young boy I gave all my meagre savings to help seals in the North Sea. I’ve written a few posts here and there on the subject and even had a few cover stories published in specialist publications.
When I am touring the political parts of London, I always take the time to introduce people to the primary points of protest, the people who were protesting and what they were protesting, whether universal suffrage, the Magna Carta, Nelson Mandela and the ANC, the story of Gandhi in London, Brexit and many more.
Recently London has made the news again as the protest capital of the world and this for the Extinction Rebellion environmental protests. I must say, hardly a day goes by when there hasn’t been protests going on. Brexit of course has been happening for a few years but the last week or so has seen many of the key junctions and bridges in London to be peacefully occupied by environmental protestors who want not just further change in Britain but to inspire the world to follow suit as has so often happened from the events in and around Westminster.
I thought I would share just a few photos of the last week.
The photos above and below have protestors who have scaled some trees in Parliament Square and laying in hammocks above some of the great figures of democracy. Nelson Mandela on the left, Sir Robert Peel on the point who founded the first professional police. Just out of shot on the right is Gandhi and behind the double decker bus in Abraham Lincoln.
The following images are from the junction of Westminster Bridge, Whitehall and Parliament Square. It was a nice change being able to walk around the streets like this.
Parliament Square like several other places were peacefully occupied for a week before everything re-opened. I think there is something uniquely British about people being able to peacefully protest for days on end, blocking or key roads and right infront of Parliament with the police by and large happy to let things be as opposed to the much more aggressive actions of the police and governments around the world with even in France the police taking aggressive action and spraying chemicals in the faces of protestors. Sadly it is countries that are the least abiding of the right to protest such as China and Russia where the pollution levels are amongst the worst in the world.
I wonder what all the big figures would make of people defending and asserting their rights, campaigning for dramatic changes to be made in the very places where it has been done for a millennia or two.
I took the video above yesterday (April 23rd 2019) as more protestors from Extinction Rebellion moved from Marble Arch to Parliament Square. How apt I caught this at Constitution Hill, right next to Buckingham Palace on St George’s Day.
My tourists really love the fact that they don’t just see the famous sights but that I take them to see real London. Some of them cheering on protests that would never be allowed to take place in their own homelands and thus doing just a little bit more at further the causes of freedom, democracy and peaceful protest that we are so lucky to be able to enjoy.
Just a decade or so ago it was the politicians here that spear-headed debt cancellation across the developing world and many of the elements that were eventually signed off in the Paris Climate Accords, who knows if once again real change will spread across the world inspired by the events in Parliament Square.