We have yet to hear how ‘Ban Elish Angiolini from Oxford Day’ went yesterday amidst the dreaming spires, but Hollie London’s street action to mark World Down’s Syndrome Day 2012 in front of the Houses of Parliament went with quite a swing!
We had not announced our demo in advance to the police so we attached ourselves initially to the encampment at Parliament Square which continues alive and well, although its original incumbent, Brian Haw R.I.P., his lungs done in by years of exposure in roughly equal measure to weather, traffic and roll-ups, passed on in 2011.
His successor at the camp, Barbara is a keen Hollie supporter so was only too happy to allow us to unfurl the 2 long green banners on her patch.
The ever-watchful Met police couldn’t argue as Barbara has authorisation for up to 20 protesters to come and do their stuff alongside her at any time. So for the best part of 2 hours a stream of motorists and bus-passengers were introduced to the names ‘Hollie Greig’ and ‘Robert Green’ which hopefully gave rise to much googling yesterday evening.
The main demo of the day, it being also Budget Day 2012 was the ‘Protest Against the Cuts’ confraternity, a polyglot assemblage of some 500 students, teachers, welfare services and NHS personnel of which the molten core was a small flotilla of the disabled in their wheelchairs, whose Disability Living Allowance has been reduced below anything liveable.
All these filed straight through Barbara’s encampment and our demo on their way from Downing Street to Parliament Green, where an encrustation of MSM (mainstream media) reporters and cameramen were lying in wait in their gazebos, not for the protesters, but for any politician from the Gothic edifice across the road to come and report to them on what was transpiring within its portals.
I have to say it looked like precious thin pickings for them on this Budget Day 2012, largely thanks to the protesters who perfectly legitimately took over the Green throughout throughout the entire afternoon until they were cleared just in time for the 6 o’clock BBC News broadcast live.
Black Rod appeared briefly in the early afternoon in an attempt to defend this patch of the Parliamentary Estate from the invaders but was immediately surrounded by a swarm of angry people and cameramen and had to give up and for the first time in decades the Chancellor and his shadows did not deliver their traditional post-Budget address from the Green.
By the end of the afternoon we can safely say that all 500 protesters and several camera crews and journalists knew about the “world’s most famous Down’s Syndrome person on Down’s Syndrome Day”, as we were visible and vocal all over the Green throughout the afternoon.
Hundreds of leaflets were given out and wherever we saw a camera rolling we were there with Hollie placards right behind the interviewee! We managed to secure a few interviews ourselves, albeit with somewhat minor media.
All in all, it felt like a successful day of action which Hollie’s Army London resolved will be repeated regularly over the summer.