Monday 16 October 2008: 100 years ago to the day Emmeline Pankhurst and the Suffragettes stormed the Houses of Parliament to demand the women’s vote. In 2008 it was the turn of the environmentalists.
Up to 1000 protestors from Plane Stupid, Climate Camp, Greenpeace, and every other environmental group in-between broke the fences designed to contain them on Parliament Square and marched on the main entrance of Parliament, chanting “Deeds Not Words”.
Inside the house Prime Minister Gordon Brown was still trying to defend the failed act to enforce 42-day detention without charge for terror suspects. This does not take into account the foreign nationals still locked down, some for seven years or more without charge, in our own Guatanamo Human Rights void Belmarsh prison.
Outside police, who seemed to be caught unawares, despite the action to storm parliament being announced several days earlier across the Internet, battled to hold back the huge crowds of peaceful demonstrators.
One of the main points brought up in speeches prior to the women and men in ancient dresses (you’d have to see it to believe it) storming the seat of UK democracy, was it had taken the UK government little more than a week to act on the Global Credit Crisis – otherwise known as the less critical mass “Credit Crunch” – yet in 20 years there has been little to no action on Climate Change.
It would seem in the last week there has been a spilling of mass civil disobedience in recent days in the streets of London, a signal that all is not well in the green and pleasant land.
Yet again we see little to no news coverage of the dissent on the streets, on the television or in the newspapers. It would seem to this journalist, considering the historical link to the day, the image of UK citizens storming their own parliament, this should have made it out there.
But as the stock market dropped yet again, the short-term confidence holding for about 24-hours, this, as with last Friday’s March On The City, will drift off into the history books, with most outside the activist or environmentalist world not even knowing it happened. As someone said to me today, history does not always make the six O’clock news.
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