Coming down the M4 first thing in the morning, it was just one coach after another and the Leigh Delamere services looked like a coach rally. Exeter usually manages one coach for big demos, half-full if we’re lucky – this time we sent 20 !; Exmouth sent a coach; Chagford (pop: 1,500) on the edge of Dartmoor sent a coach! Bristol sent at least 60.
We arrived at Parliament Square at 12. I was with 5 other members of our local samba school and we started drumming; en route we picked up another couple of volunteers with their own instruments. By 12.30 we’d only got as far as the MoD building on Whitehall when we heard on someone’s transistor radio that there were a million people in Hyde Park already! In Trafalgar Square we brought the march to a halt with people dancing on the street and on the lions till the stewards moved us on. The march went in a series of short advances and pauses until we joined the second column on Picadilly. In one such pause on Haymarket we had two Pakistani men dancing with us in front and two Brazilians behind, singing along. We reached Hyde Park by 4.45 after a half-hour coffee break. The speakers and the crowds there had gone, but the march was still coming 8-10 people wide for as far as we could see. The Met’s estimate of 1/2 million people was a joke even by their standards.