Stronger together, united we march
The two of us who joined the Strengthen the Ban march on 10th March are volunteers for the Bristol League Against Cruel Sports group, and have been actively involved for about a year now. We both felt that it was important for the League to have a presence at this march so we went along to show our support.
The meeting point was Cavendish Square and this area soon filled up with anti hunt supporters from many different groups around the country, including Acton Against Foxhunting, Locals Against The Mendip Farmers Hunt, Weymouth Animal Rights, various hunt sab groups, and others that we didn't see but have since seen in the many photos on Facebook. We were told that there were over a thousand in the march.
The whole atmosphere was friendly and welcoming, and there was a definite sense of camaraderie. We met some great people from all over the country who were all united in one cause - to end hunting! We’d like to thank the organisers for putting on the march and making us, and all groups feel welcome on the day!
One of my first impressions when I arrived at the meeting point was that there were a lot of police in attendance!. I saw at least four police vans and several motorbikes and just happened to mention to a fairly friendly police officer in Starbucks, that it would be nice to see such a police presence at hunts, where illegal activities are carried out on a regular basis. He responded with a knowing look!
Prior to the march moving off, there were two speeches which set the mood and we left Cavendish Square about 1.15pm. We followed a route along Regent Street, past Trafalgar Square, along Whitehall and finished at Downing Street. We had a continual police escort all along the way and marchers were filmed continuously from start to finish. We passed many people, the majority of whom stopped to watch and some took photos. I didn't witness any hostility from the public, and some were actively supportive of the cause.
While walking along Whitehall, we encountered another march coming towards us on the opposite side of the road. It was the Free Tibet movement, and we acknowledged each other and showed support for one another cause.
We reached Downing Street about 2.30pm and initially congregated on the opposite pavement to the Downing Street entrance. Some of the crowd moved towards the central reservation and were asked by police to remain on the pavement, but we moved towards the centre of the road and then over to the gates outside Downing Street. Despite efforts by the police to move everyone away from the entrance we did stay there for quite a while, with banners and placards proudly displayed to all passers by. There was a significant police presence, but we didn't encounter any agitation from them even when their requests were ignored. We didn't know if number 10 was occupied, but several chants were directed at Mrs. May just in case she happened to be in residence!
The protest started to disperse about 3pm, and I think the general feeling amongst those present was that it had been a very positive event and that we had made our presence known!
Well done to everyone who gave their time and support to this march. See you all again soon!
If you would like to find out how to get involved and join a support group, please click here to find out how.