London Million Mask March 2015 Review by Mitchell Boissery.
As a bit of a departure from the usual health and fitness mumbo jumbo I've offered to host a guest blogger.
Mitchell Boissery is a fellow PT at Pure Gym Edinburgh West and as well as a fellow revolutionary.
However while he fully supports my health and fitness revolution his passion is slightly more conventional. To support this he attended the Million Mask March protest against government misrule.
The following is his personal account and review of how that went. To contact him use Mitchell.firstname.lastname@example.org
On the 5th of November 2015 several thousand people met in Trafalgar Square to protest alongside Anonymous against corruption and secrecy in the government. They wanted to have their voices heard against inequality, mismanagement of taxpayers’ money and most importantly, to return the power from the government and corporations back to the people. Unfortunately this was met with and created mixed results.
The march had to follow a designated route and was limited to3 hours. This begs the question; how are we meant to changeor even approach a conversation for change towards ourflawed system in 3 hours? I believe that this is the point, we aren’t meant to change the system. It isdesigned full of flaws to not allow everyone to succeed which in turn creates poverty, homelessness, misuse of finite resources for profit, destruction of the planet and environment, creation of wars, the list goes onand on and it is virtually impossible to change.
The protest began at Trafalgar Square where we marched for a brief 20 minutes when were abruptly blocked by lines of police who demanded for us to go back. We were forced to turn around and keep walking until we came to yet another police line which again directed us away, this process was repeated several times which caused increasing frustrations within the group. People were starting to get more aggressive and caused unnecessary damage to public property, tearing down road signs and construction fencing etc. Along with this, main roads were being blocked off and traffic was brought to a standstill.
The herd of people moved to Buckingham palace where around 20 or so mounted officers tried to control the group.Unfortunately some protesters took it upon themselves to launch fireworks at the horses causing even more mayhem, completely losing the message of why we were all there.After some “kettling” the thendwindling group decided to crash the Hunger Games premiere. Again damaging the credibility of the protest. This lasted for a mere 10 minutes or so and got promptly moved on by a few police officers and some security guards.
Meeting back in Trafalgar, police were stationed all around the square whilst a couple of hundred protesters were held inside and not allowed out. Chanting and noise was coming from everywhere bringing in more and more lines of officerswho began to surround the group as a whole. Police initiated pushing and the protesters began to push back against the attempted kettle however they had the upper hand so we were again held for multiple hours. Eventually they began to let people go in small groups and this was the end of what should have been a moving, powerful march for change.
I was at the protest the entire night and spent most of my time talking to fellow protesters, police and passers-by. Of the few protesters whom I actually spoke to the general feeling was one not of solidarity for the cause but rather interest in fights, riots and exerting their authority over the police. That or to take a few selfies to show everyone on Facebook how cool and alternative they are in exchange for likes. In fact myself and a few other marchers had to stop a protester from further disrupting traffic as he was pulling a large bin to block the road. I asked him why he was there and why he thought this was a good thing to do, embarrassed the protester put up his hood and disappeared into the crowd.
Towards the end of the night and at the final police blockade a female protester, who leaned back to take a selfie with all the police, was grabbed by a few officers who violently threw her to the ground and began jumping on her. The protestors were screaming out against the police brutality. The girls’ boyfriend immediately ran in to help her where he was grabbed and dragged towards the police line with her. I grabbed him and started pulling him back into the protesters line. Others ran in and the police were swinging their batons at us and pushing people back. We managed to get the guy back to our line and the police eventually let the girl go. The pushing and police brutality stopped for about 10 mins. During this time I was talking to a female officer about the police brutality and violence that just happened to the girl. This is what she was allowing to happen, this is what she was standing for that day. She broke down into tears then fled the front line and was replaced by a male officer.
Whenever we were cut off, stopped or kettled I made my way to the front line to talk to the officers who were working that night. My main questions were why they support and work for a system that does not support them or look after them.Mostof them didn’t say anything they just looked around anxiouslyand avoided eye contact. Some replied that they are just doing their jobs, simple as that. In my opinion if the police were doing their jobs there would be no need to protest. The real criminals that prolong this failed system, the bankers, politicians and corporations who lobby governments for their own agendas would be arrested and a new system would be put in place that actually benefits everyone. Not a popular opinion amongst the ranks of officers. Despite this I felt as if I was starting to get through to a few of them not as a collective but as individuals. They could see I was calm, patient, not being violent and I wanted to help them as they are also victims of the same system. They needed to know and tounderstand that I support them as we are all on the same team.I tried to explain and spoke about how there is no other way we can change this delusional system other than this. We don’t have the option to just call our prime minister or write an email to our MP who will actually do what we ask. The only thing we can do is protest once a year for 3 hours following a designated route and that’s the initial problem, if the government was really representing the people they would allow the system to be changed to support the people.
After being “kettled” for 3 hours I was grabbed by an officer from a CCTV unit who took me to several officers and asked for them to arrest me. Confused I asked what was the charge, when did this happen, all legitimate questions that he could not answer. The officer who arrested me also asked these questions and was told he wasn’t sure andhas to go back over the footage. I was placed in a police van and escorted to Charing Cross station where I stayed for the next 11 hours, I asked several times for a lawyer and I was not provided one. During my stint in the station I was getting through to a young constable who understood my cause and felt some empathy for my situation. At about 11am the next morning he escorted me out of the station shook my hand, gave me some change for the bus and told me to keep protesting.
Since the system doesn’t allow for change I believe we, as the people, need to demand change.It’s not just a case of “if you feel like protesting then go for it”, it simply has to be every man, women and child opposing the current norm. It is more than a right, as dramatic as this may sound, it is the wellbeing and future of our entire human existence. We need to do more than just protest, we need to educate ourselves, stop the random acts of violence and destruction that the system pushes us towards and stop the hatred against the police, minorities and everyone else who is just a pawn to this failedsystem. We must rise above all of thisand convince everyone, including the disenfranchised to join our cause, then take it to the real criminals who are clinging onto their power through controlling the people with this system. Then we can really make a positive change to this world.