[Continued from Part 1]
The exit from Temple station was severely congested with crowds of people trying to move slowly out. We were herded to the right and towards the Thames and embankment where apparently the back end of the march crowd would be found.
There was still some time to go before the march began so I used it to make my way through the crowd to get somewhere nearer the front, though after half an hour I was back again at Temple Station (about where I would have been if I’d turned left on leaving it – I’ll know that next time!). By the time the march started I had got perhaps halfway through the long crowd.
The crowd was very good-natured, there was something of a gentle carnival spirit around. I saw representatives from many different organisations including Greenpeace UK, Avaaz, the Green Party, Friends of the Earth, Socialist Workers, and various trade unions, to name just a few. Plus, of course, thousands of individuals like myself who had decided to ‘stand up and be counted’ even though we don’t belong to any political organisations.
We marched from Temple, past Embankment and then the Palace of Westminster to Abington Street Gardens. There we congregated – people standing around or picnicking on the grass – for a mass rally. Various organisers and celebrities gave speeches from a parked open-top bus. I particular concurred with the heartfelt talk from Emma Thompson.
Despite the subdued talks and the bad news they contained I felt that the overall mood of the march was very buoyant. I think for most people it will not be the end of their campaigning but more likely a beginning. I enjoyed my time there and felt it was time well spent. I will certainly be looking for further opportunities to get involved in these sorts of actions.
Of course, the London Climate March – which has been estimated to have involved 40000 people – was not the only one in the UK; there were others in Manchester, Edinburgh and Sheffild. These were just a few of many around the world. There were big marches in Australia, Germany, Canada, India, Italy and elsewhere. The biggest was in New York, with some 400,000 people attending.