From 10.00am the relatively small group of protesters had steadily, stealthily grown into hundreds, then thousands in The Meadows. Suddenly, swarms of people had arrived from every direction. Two children wielded a megaphone, chanting in support of their cause. One marcher arrived armed with a boom box strapped to his back, up-tempo music filling the air with already heightened anticipation.
From the green of Middle Meadow Walk, the front of the march passed at 11.40am. A seemingly endless conveyer belt of passion and purpose, the end could not be seen until an hour later. Peaceful protesters clutching placards, waving flags and beating drums moved as one. The crowd roared, the piper played, the mass was on a mission. It was truly an impressive sight to behold.
All the young people I spoke to made it clear that while it was important that their age group show initiative, all ages must share the responsibility to help a cause that will affect everyone eventually. Police and specially hired security staff darted to and fro among the throng of people. Wave upon wave of signs and slogans migrated along the leafy walk as audiences assembled on the sidelines watching the spectacle while clapping and cheering them on.
Some messages were inspired.
‘Do it for David’, with a photograph of Attenborough, springs to mind as one among many. The young were politically engaged and socially aware while the older were taking them seriously, guiding and supporting – and some even taking part.