I had never been on an anti-war protest, i’d been on anti facist and criminal just act demos. February 15th’s demo looked like it would be fun as well as sending a message to our Government. My Dad having lived in Palestine, before the Isreali state, has very strong opinions about the middle east and how the west always interfear and this passed on to me, he wanted to come but due to his age he would not have coped with the walk so he just shouted at the TV coverage! I attended with a freind, he drove down and on the M1 we saw so many coaches on their way to the same destination. We parked at Camden and got the tube to Embankment with lots of other protesters. As soon as we were out of the staion we joined the march as throngs of people made thier way to Hyde Park. The march moved slowly and we sighted people from all walks of life: adults, children, babes in arms, muslims, christians, jews and many many more who all were like minded, this gave me a sense of unity. From time to time we spoke with my friends girlfriend who had stayed at home with the children unsure if it would be safe for them. We gave comentry of what was going on, who was there and where we where, she was happy for us but really wanted to be there to be part of our history.
We read all the home made banners, we joined in the chanting and we chatted to so many peole, they day was fantastic and i have never, before or after, been to a demo with such an amazing atmosphere. We guessed on how many people were there but underestimated it dramatically. We arrived on Park lane and headed in to Hyde Park along with the other thosuands of people. We manged to get the last couple of speakers who said things like ‘I’ve just had a call from a friend in Iraq and all he want to say is thank you’ ‘A friend at Embankment has just asked me when the march is to start’ ‘the Government must listen to all these people, thank you for taking the time to be part of it’ and many more words of thanks and encouragement. It was at this point the cold hit us, whilst marching we had all the body heat from others but standing about, or moving about that we had started to do, made us realise it was only February! Park Lane was still full of protestors and more were filing in from as far as the eye could see.
Slowly people left Hyde Park whilst many more were arriving, we were told that this tube station and that tube station were closed so we took a walk out of Hyde Park on the opposite side to the rally area. We walked with some other demonstrators and talked of the day, we were all on such a high.
We got to Baker Street tube and made our way to Camden, whilst on the tube my friend just kept saying ‘where did 1 million people go?’ as the train was not rammed with protestors as we had imagined. When we arrived at Camden we took the opportunity to have a nice warm cuppa and some food, something we had put to the back of our minds beacuse of the high. We happened to be in a Syrian cafe and they had the news on watching the coverage of the demonstration, we watched the live pictures of people still at Embankment, we were so shocked by the sheer volume of bodies and that the demo had not yet finished. We spoke to the staff in the cafe and we told them all about it, we then had a discussion about the UK Government and how they surley had to listen now to all these people. The TV coverage, funnily enough, did not give true accounts of the day and tried to make out it was only activists not the general public that were demonstrating. We thanked the staff in the cafe and made our way to the car, what an amazing day we’d had, we got in to the car tired, cold but very much still on a high and this continued for many days to follow. We showed everyone our photos, recalled our stories and disputed the media reports.
We are proud to say we were there along with the other 2 million people. The fact that the war went ahead just confirms that we do not live in a democracy, it might as well be a dictatorship. I now try to go on all the anti war demos i can and have met so many wonderful and committed people, it makes me proud to be part of the anti war movement.