mercredi 1 avril 2009

Burnin' and a-lootin' at the G-20

Diego here. Back again. I know we haven't been keeping up the blog lately, so sorry. Those who know understand that there are other things on our minds lately. Also, for me, the humdrum of the day to day routine saps me of my creative energy sometimes, so there you go.

Luckily for me, the humdrum routine was broken today. The G-20 pow-wow is going on in London tomorrow, the big O is in town and today there were protests planned throughout the city. The City (financial district) was a particular target today. That's where I work. Several days ago, the HR department sent out an e-mail advising us to dress down since some of these anarchists might target suits for violence. I had seen on the Evening Standard that Moorgate station, right by my work, was supposed to be the gathering place for one of the marches. So off I went this morning, dressed in the scruffiest getup I could find along with my Fidel Castro looking hat, thinking that if push came to shove I could raise my fists in the air and pretend to be a protester.

By mid morning, Moorgate was full of police vans and officers in every direction. All my bored colleagues kept staring out the windows waiting for something to happen, and waiting...and waiting. Nothing. Just a lot of cops. Hey, what can I say, when you work in a cubicle farm, you value any little bit of excitement that comes your way!

At lunchtime, a colleague and myself decided to go have a wander and catch some of the action. We walked down by the Bank of England where the protesters had gathered. The police had sealed most of the area off, but we managed to sneak in to a small, crowded area. I'd say there were about two cops for every activist there, and furthermore about 2 gawkers for every cop. Yes, it was so easy to tell that most of the people around me were bored office workers in casual attire, just like myself, trying to see what all the fuss was. Oh, and the place was swarming with journalists. Cameras everywhere. I'm surprised there actually are that many photojournalists in London. I guess those are the guys that follow celebrities and the royal family around when there are no G-20 protests. At one point I saw a guy spray-painting some graffitti on the pavement and there were no less than 4 media people taking his picture. Talk about exposure!

After that, we headed to the carbon exchange where the environmentalists were protesting. Also a lot of cops and journalists but there was much more of a party atmosphere going on. There was a sound system blasting music and a bunch of trippy hippies dancing to it. The loudest cries of protest I heard were whenever the music was switched off. No angry speeches. No manifesto. It felt like a very pleasant block party but a rather useless protest.

That was it. Totally overhyped and anticlimactic. I managed to get a few snaps on my way home. They are appropriately boring:

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