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28 Sep 2005: Bright On

A picture

Warm Cradle

Earlier this month, 4000 police officers were assigned a single mission: to guard the ExCeL Centre near our flat. The latest DSEi conference was taking place, dubbed an arms fair by its detractors, although apparently is a government-endorsed business exhibition vital to the economy. It was quickly lined up in the sights of various protest groups but most of the protests were organised in cooperation with the police.

The protesters would say "we want to march right up to the doors of ExCeL centre" and the police would say, "there's a slot free on Tuesday," and then add, "but I'm afraid we're going to barricade the road leading up to the centre, because you could end up disrupting the exhibition. Would you like some tea?"

What the police were more concerned about were unauthorised protests. It did seem that were far more police than protesters in the area for the whole week, police vans circling the area continuously without pause. Did they know something I didn't?

On the day I worked from home, I spotted one of these dangerous unauthorised protests. A clear and present threat, a noisy group of young 'uns dressed up like a failed circus decided to go on a private march. They took the road around our building and the police followed them closely. Finally, the police decided they had gone too far and surrounded them, preventing any further progress (that is, left in the above photo).

The protesters sang and played in their police cradle for one hour.