I found myself surrounded by protesters in Guy Fawkes/v for vendetta masks on 5th November at Westminster Abbey, as part of the Anonymous hacktivists protest. There were a variety of different reasons people were there, from protecting badgers, tuition fees, health cuts and world suffering to name a few. It was seemingly an innocent protest for people to raise their concerns about the government, and there were also posters encouraging people to think for themselves, despite this there were several police officers, all of which looked bored and on edge waiting for something to happen worth arresting someone for. Having said this, I have recently found out that the police made 11 arrests, which is expected as things did get slightly hectic towards the end of the protest.
I was expecting there to be a lot more media coverage concerning the event, but there wasn’t. Whether this is because they thought it did not make for good news or because they wanted to keep the protest as quiet as possible, a masked protest with over 1,000 people hardly seems like something worth conceding from the public.
The protest made its way from Westminster Abbey with the sound of drum and bass and people climbing all over Winston Churchill, to people proclaiming green peace whilst beating drums on their way to Buckingham palace. The police at this point were very protective over people being directly outside the gates, resorting to people climbing on the Victoria memorial. The protest could have been a lot more effective if there was one specific reason going on such as the cuts, but because there were several different reasons for people being there it was not as focused as it could have been. However, there does seem to be a common theme regarding global injustice. At Buckingham palace, fireworks were set off and ended up hitting the walls of the palace, which when you are stood right next to it can be pretty daunting.
Has this protest been as popular as it was due to Russell Brand’s interview with Jeremy Paxman? In which his remedy is not voting for any parties at all? Seeing the video and how passionate he was about his beliefs made me begin to think about my own. But, is not voting for any government at all really the way forward?
“before we change the world, we need to change the way we think.”
In the interview, Russell Brand revealed that he does not vote due to;
“absolute indifference and weariness and exhaustion from the lies, treachery and deceit of the political class”. Paxman responded: “If you can’t be a**** to vote, why should we be a**** to listen to your political point of view?”
The presenter has now told the Radio Times that he did not vote at a recent election, a decision which he regretted. “I think part of Russell Brand’s diagnosis is right. There is a huge sense of disillusion out there” (Source: Telegraph)
Russell Brand attended the protest, unfortunately that part of the protest I missed. He had a Guy Fawkes mask and his noticeable hair at the ready to march with the protesters. The ‘revolutionist’ as he has been labelled took to being not so anonymous, taking off his mask and taking pictures with fellow protesters. The protest did have a lot of young people attending, which leads to an even bigger question, will there be a revolution for the new generation? If so, we are sure going to see Brand’s face at the front of it.