March for Free Expression

The next phase

Sunday, March 26, 2006

How did that happen?

Patrick booked Trafalgar Square and the PA system, led the liaison with the police, arranged the insurance.

Nick brought a superb organising ability to the event, recruited and coordinated the stewards and designed and made all the signs - which lent the occasion the coherence and visual impact it needed. There was a round of applause for Nick, but it wasn't enough.

Dan worked tirelessly in the blogosphere and the comments section, as well as behind the scenes.

Gosia emailed and wrote to all the MPs who opposed the Incitement of Religious Hatred Bill. Replies are still coming in.

And the stewards were wonderful - calm, committed, professional and passionate about the principles behind this campaign.

26 Comments:

Blogger Sonic said...

And you got 200 people.

Sorry guys but it is impossible to spin this as anything other than a flop.

11:45 pm  
Blogger Will B said...

I think it was more like 400. And it's just the beginning.

11:49 pm  
Blogger Voltaire said...

Ah, a diss from sonic. That doesn't make us right, but it's a very good start.

11:51 pm  
Blogger Sonic said...

Guys if we got less than 500 people to an anti-war demo you would be all over us.

I understand you worked hard and I'm impressed that you managed to distance yourself from the hard right. However it has to be admitted that the turnout was awful, despite all the publicity and mentions in the Observer.

Perhaps you should reconsider if this issue actually resonates with anyone in the real world.

11:56 pm  
Blogger Will B said...

Who would? Me? Na.

12:03 am  
Blogger Voltaire said...

I haven't fed trolls much, but sonic is a good representative of a certain type of "indecent" leftie.

He'd be first up against the wall if the intolerance he supports won through. Next, would be everything he holds dear. Yet he still snipes and lacks the guts to stand, with however many, or few, people, against fascism.

Useful idiots, someone once said.

Yup.

12:07 am  
Blogger Will B said...

Ah...

12:10 am  
Blogger redchris said...

I was in Trafalgar Square, it was far more than 200 - and I'm not a regular inhabitant of the blogosphere, having read about it in the Observer the week before. Not perfect in every way but far from a flop, in fact a platform to build on.

12:19 am  
Blogger Sonic said...

Any chance of dealing with the point Voltaire rather than just accusing me of being some sort of closet fascist as I chose not to support your campaign?

No explanation of the turnout?

12:22 am  
Blogger Sonic said...

"and I'm not a regular inhabitant of the blogosphere"

er, apart from having a blog that is.

12:23 am  
Blogger Temporary said...

>>>>>>Sonic Said : "Perhaps you should reconsider if this issue actually resonates with anyone in the real world".

Time will tell, Sonic. No doubt there will be more demonstrations which will continue the issue. Many people were probably worried about attending this march, thinking it was just going to be a white supremacy gathering, and didn't want to be associated with it.

By the time things suddenly changed and many people decided to boycott the event, it was probably too late for their places to be filled with well meaning people. And, it probably wasn't advertized as well as it "could" have been. Or,like you suggest, perhaps most Britons just don't give a damn (as I suspect).

Anything with "Bush is Evil" and it seems flocks will join a demo in a second. A demonstration about defending ourselves from our freedoms increasingly being infiltrated by Religion (whatever Religion), doesn't seem to spark the same reaction as much. We will all find out on the next one.

At least there were 200 people who "did" give a damn. That is how I'm viewing it. A very modest attendance indeed, but not one full of Muslim haters (as your friend Lenin seems to say on his Blog). I found his Blog rant quite laughable really. He may have been right about the tiny attendance, but he certainly got "me" wrong if he thinks I fit his "sinister" analysis of the handfull of attendees :)

12:36 am  
Blogger Will B said...

Yes! Lenin's rant was rather funny! XD

12:48 am  
Blogger Chatterton said...

Sure it was small, but that would have been partly due to the way it was organised.

It's also testament to the left's abandonment of libertarian issues.

But the important thing is that a demo was held. You have to be on the right side in history, and everyone on this demo has shown their colours when few others have. This is a good thing.

Finally, ask yourself: how many people demonstrated against the threat to Salman Rushdie. If I remember rightly there were a couple of secularist demonstrators at a big London anti-Rushdie march (plus Women Against Fundamentalism), who were attacked by some in the crowd.

By that standard, this is progress.

9:04 am  
Blogger CarnackiUK said...

I was there Saturday and can vouch that there were far more than 200 in the crowd, whatever sonic or the police claim. I would say that there were at least 500/600. Looking at photos of the event on the net I've also noticed many groups, individuals and banners that I wasn't aware of on the day.

In fact the gathering was large enough that an attempted assault by militant islamists on the fringe of the crowd went almost entirely unnoticed by the majority.

I'm familiar with sonic's posts from Harry's Place. The attention-seeker has never been anything other than a totally negative, carping waste of space. Best ignored!

9:06 am  
Blogger Bagrec said...

Sonic,
can you tell us clearly, and precisely what it is that you object so strongly to about this March?

Cos I'm frankly baffled.

And it was more like 6-700.

9:12 am  
Blogger Titus AduxAss said...

I was at the rally on saturday and was totally unaware of the combat clad pretend jihadists. As much as I was unimpressed with the organisers ban on the parading of the cartoons, I was glad I attended.
It's easy to snipe at the police on many issues, but the fact that they attended to the 'potential spoilers', showed an evenhanded approach for which they receive little credit.

As much as I disliked them taking up a complaint by an anonymous person which resulted in Reza being relieved of his cartoon plackard, they had obviously entered into an agreement with Voltair on this issue. And who honestly knows all about the bye-laws of old London town.

Speaking as a first time public protester I felt re-assured and not intimidated by the police presence, especially when I read about what went on behind my back.

9:28 am  
Blogger caviar_to_the_general said...

Where can I see some pics?

10:04 am  
Blogger TheFriendlyInfidel said...

Well done everyone! You spent my money, well and wisely.

10:06 am  
Blogger publicansdecoy said...

Sonic,

Were you there yourself? Where are you getting that figure from? There was no official count of attendees, but having stood in Trafalgar Square I can say with confidence that it was far more than 200.

But, you know, that's not necessarily the point. I don't think an idea becomes more 'right' or 'better' if 10000 people back it instead of 700. Even if only one person believes in something, that doesn't make him wrong.

10:11 am  
Blogger DaveA said...

I was there. I was somewhat disappointed that there weren't more, but I think that just underlines the job we have to do to get the mass silent apathetic majority interested. Despite a healthy interest in current affairs, I would have counted myself in that group until the cartoons. My last demo was 1985. In that sense, the cartoons and the rally have inspired at least one person (in fact two mates too) We loved the rally, hated a couple of speakers ;-) But importantly, we left with a real sense of activism. We want the permanent website, we want futher rallies, we want cartoons on show, we want solid definitions to (try) and cut down some of the rubbish that's been on this blog (and we're happy to write them) In short, for us, this is the start and is something we want to grow. A big thanks to all of you who organised it, and you who cared enough to turn up. Many people, myself included, estimated independently about 600 people there.

Finally, I think standing there for a cause like that was far more worthwhile than every bit of silly politico posturizing I've read here over the last few weeks.

Thanks again.

10:44 am  
Blogger Steven said...

Karridine:
America determined long ago that 'offensive' is in the eye of the beholder. Perceiving something as 'offensive' is your right and prerogative, BUT you (or I, or anyone else) DO NOT HAVE A RIGHT to legislate YOUR perceptions into law; no right to ABRIDGE MY THOUGHTS with YOUR PERCEPTIONS!

For example: "I find white people offensive. Therefore you must eliminate white people!"

Same broken reasoning applies to 'Danish cartoons' and 'blacks' and 'Jews' and 'Gypsies' and 'homos' and 'old people' as it does to 'white people!'

10:50 am  
Blogger Polish Solidarity with Denmark said...

Caviar, the pics are here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/4844634.stm
here great pics:
http://www.thatshot.org/march_for_free__expression_london.html
http://nordish.net/blog/london_25march/
http://www.pinknews.co.uk/news/articles/2005-922.html

11:12 am  
Blogger schmoo said...

There are also a few pictures at http://schmoontherun.blogspot.com

11:22 am  
Blogger Dan said...

Also, someone should mention that the rally happened because Peter's been running round like a blue-ar$ed fly, emailing, blogging and phoning at the expense of his paid work no doubt! And many thanks must go to the un-named volunteer who helped hassle all the MPs by writing them letters and emails. Good work!

More photos and links here.

Incidentally, didn't "all the publicity and mentions in the Observer" amount to one paragraph at the end of a Nick Cohen column? Or did I miss the rest?

But lest we forget, it was Sonic (of all people!) who helped highlight the dodgy nature of the Danish march. That said, we could have filled the Square and I'm sure he'd have found something to complain about!

12:37 pm  
Blogger mostazaf said...

http://www.nordish.net/blog/

Picture of the notorious complainer who claimed to the police: "That picture of Muhammad threatens me."

His short crop beard is a sure sign of a rotten Islamist fascist.

4:07 am  
Blogger Anonymous said...

And Sonic:-

No wonder you complain about censorship - it affects your ability to spread your purile message. Glad you're pissed off - it's a very good sign that Voltaire did something right.

You were going to use the march for your sick aims weren't you?

10:56 am  

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