LIVING on the City fringe, I couldn’t resist. With a compulsion to see what was going on, I decided to head out. Before leaving, I had noticed a couple of things. The first was the sound of helicopters buzzing around, possibly linked to awful digital television reception. The other thing was an almost complete lack of buses. Being smart, I waited until the lunchtime news to get an idea of what was happening. That’s where I learnt about the brief violence, the breaking of windows and police cordoning of all the roads around the Bank of England. “Oh well, at least I’ll be able to go as far as the cordons” I thought. So, at 1:50pm, I set off. And this, is everything I saw. Up until my camera phone ran out of battery.
On the way to Bishopsgate from Bethnal Green Road, this graffiti seemed ominous. Or, if you are an anarchist, hopeful.
There were some police milling around RBS’ Bishopsgate building. But not as much protest as I was expecting. None at all in fact.
By this point, I noticed that Bishopsgate was a little quiet. Too quiet. And, in the middle of the road was the first of dozens of outside broadcast trucks I would see.
The reason for Bishopsgate’s quietness quickly became clear. The Climate Camp had camped out in the middle of the road. Too their credit, they were a lot of fun. No trouble or bad attitude. Lots of fun and interesting people doing their thing. Not that I agree with their message. But it was a jolly jape to camp out and have a mini-carnival in Bishopsgate. Here are some of the things I saw while passing. Warning: white people with dreadlocks ahead.
There weren’t many police officers on duty. No wait. That’s not accurate. There were more police officers and riot police than I’ve ever seen before.
By the end of the Climate Camp, I found myself near the junction of Threadneedle street. How far can I get, past the boarded up shop windows, to the police cordon? Let’s find out…
When I got there, here’s the hodgepodge of different protesters I found at the corner of Threadneedle and the Royal Exchange.
People were hanging off every statue and piece of street furniture. You could see people on the balcony on the Bank of England. The atmosphere was good. But I got bored. So I headed across the Exchange Buildings area over to Cornhill. And met a variety of funny figures en route. One even gave me some pink “Clown Money”.
Over on Cornhill, I was able to get right up to the police line. With the police keeping other people inside, and me outside the cordon, the atmosphere was different. With the police telling people to stop climbing onto the Royal Exchange and protesters outside the cordon shouting at the police, the atmosphere was starting to buzz.
After staying here for a few minutes I got bored. Popes Head Alley was straight ahead so I walked off to see what I could find.
At this point, I want to keep showing you photos. Unfortunately, the stupid Firefox web browser can’t handle this many photos in a WordPress blog writing text box. So, check ABOVE this post for PART 2. Or click on this: http://hywelsbiglog.wordpress.com/2009/04/01/eyewitness-of-protests-and-kerfuffle-at-the-bank-of-england-01-april-2009-part-2/