Saturday, October 15, 2011

"No occupation, just visiting"

An arguably copycat demo has broken out today near the St. Paul's cathedral with an intention to occupy the London Stock Exchange like the Wall Street in US is. Similar to other protests by left-wing activists which happened often in last two years, this one still introduced something new.

The narrow passages connecting the squares around the cathedral with the main streets were blocked by police as well as by private guards. The signs telling about the private status of those side streets were put outside and only tenants were let in. That was the first thing I didn't notice on the previous similar events.

Private passage to the Warwick lane blocked

Major landmark on Saturday - yes, the tourists were there and were apparently happy to see something not offered by their travel guides. As the police presence grew heavy, more an more of them were scared away but at the beginning it was a mixture of protesting locals and random people. Not as easy to make a distinction though as everybody brings a camera on demonstrations nowadays.

Tourist having fun

There were much more police than usually, clearly prepared to block all the means of getting to the building - from the very beginning the arc was already put under control, and as the crowd thickened more of them appeared proportionally.

Police prepares to block the way Police blocking the passage to the Stock Exchange building

So I'd say that the planned occupation has really happened, only the occupants were wearing uniforms.

Police blocking the St. Paul's Churchyard

Another successfully occupied venues were posts and railings - it was nearly impossible to find a place to chain a bike in 500m radius.

"Occupy railings"

I tried to sketch, but it was hard to concentrate.

According to the most recent tweets protesters are now being kettled away. That was, I suppose, expected and doesn't mean much - what will define the success of today's action will be the number of people staying for occupation on the streets, not necessarily near the Stock Exchange. Nights became noticeably colder recently so that'd be a challenge to carry on.

Mask and tattoo

You're welcome to peek into the full Flickr set if interested.

Update: BBC tells Assange was there addressing the protesters. I left too early to see him.

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