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Protests scheduled in London this Sunday 20 October?

I was just using the Citymapper app to map public transport options between the Wallace Collection and Hatchards on Piccadilly for this Sunday afternoon. One recommendation was to take bus 139 yet there was a warning of a potential route diversion or the route cut short due to protests.

Does anyone have any information about these protests including when and where?

I was thinking of either walking in the area or taking the bus depending upon how I feel.

If buses are diverted or terminated, is it still possible to walk in that area or will sidewalks be closed to pedestrians or anyone not protesting?

Thanks.

Posted by
21243 posts

The best answer is, "Who knows?" These things can take on a life of their own. Sidewalks will not be closed for just the protesters -- BUT -- it is smart to avoid area of protest since you have no idea of where the protest is headed or if it gets out of hand. We have been close to protests in both Paris and Madrid. Never had any problem but just made sure we stayed a couple of block away.

Posted by
1654 posts

So it sounds to me like anyone who happens to traveling in London this weekend should try and adjust their plans to include the Trafalgar Square area so that they can be part of these important demos --
It always rubs me the wrong way when this topic area comes up and commenters are concerned about traffic or about avoiding any commotion -- why would you throw away an opportunity being put practically in your lap?

For example, I happened to be in Rome during the annual marathon and got to see runners and supporters at a couple of spots along the route, including the Spanish Steps and Largo Argentina -- it added an element of fun and camaraderie to those locales; it would have been crazy to try and avoid the areas because they're busy with activity, amirite?

Posted by
43 posts

We were just in London Wednesday last week. There were 'protests about something to do with global warning' is what we were told. We had tickets for the hop on hop off bus, but it couldn't go everywhere because bridges and streets were closed. We got a taxi and had the best driver on the planet. He managed to get us to see everything we wanted to see, and for a very reasonable price. Stopped in the middle of the street so I could jump out and get a pic of Buckingham Palace. The road and bridges being blocked caused some huge traffic jams, but there was plenty to look at while sitting in traffic. If you need to get somewhere, a taxi can get you there!

Posted by
3173 posts

avirosemail, I chose to come this weekend because I was very curious to see all that is happening for myself. I went to England recently at the end of March and it was a fascinating trip.

That said, I don’t want to be in the middle of a protest because I have a back disability and standing without walking is excruciatingly painful and can cause further damage to my spine as it is slipping forward.

In March, I was not with the hundreds of thousands on that Saturday before the 29th of March in front of the Houses of Parliament but I was walking along the Thames on the south bank meeting people who were there to be part of the protest. I enjoyed some interesting conversations while seated on many benches. I did know in advance that there was going to be this huge rally of people on that Saturday. I did not know about this coming Sunday which is why I asked because I have been formulating plans. I will be in York all day Saturday.

Thus your assumption about me isn’t accurate.

Posted by
1654 posts

Thanks for the clarification, Continental - you are indeed not what my comment was addressing.
I was addressing, as I indicated, a tendency that shows up in the forum to assume that political demonstrations should be avoided by travelers and seen as interruptions to the experience they were aiming for, rather than as part of what there is to gain from being lucky enough to be in the place at the right time.

Emma and I are in disagreement about matters of purity of intent and the somehow sacred nature of a protest - I think that people come to these kinds of things for a whole range of reasons, from wanting social time with friends and/or likeminded neighbors to deeply held ideological beliefs to furthering one's interests (variously conceived). It's not up to Emma to decide the purity test as to whether anyone else is attending or watching or participating for the right reasons. I'll even admit that sometimes a big part of why I choose to march in a demo is simply to have a chance to be in the street lanes that are normally occupied by motor vehicle traffic. Not having to heed the traffic signals is another bonus.

Posted by
1063 posts

"Extinction Rebellion", by protesting about train travel (a very efficient way to transport thousands of people, rather than them traveling in cars) just shows what a bunch of "rent a mob" hypocrites they are............How did THEY travel to the demonstration??

Posted by
348 posts

I'm with Emma on this. Many of the police officers have been working 16 hour days, had rest days cancelled etc. And are being taken away from their usual current workload (which is considerable).

I think its absolutely our right to demonstrate, eg on this weekend's march, but the current situation is just nuts. I have managed to be not too badly affected so far, apart from this morning when I had a meeting to get to near Oxford Circus - and this area was for a brief time the immediate focus. The police were great in re-directing people and fortunately by the time I came out of my meeting the police had cleared the chaos. But to decide to go and sightsee the protests (or whatever) and add to the chaos and police burden is ridiculous.

Posted by
1654 posts

Continental says they "had to look up “extinction rebellion”."
Good -- then this thread has done some good!

I can empathize with the extra work that municipal employees have to take on and with the extra inconvenience that is added to others' daily conduct, without knuckling under to some kind of rulebook concerning how to react or participate or by-stand a protest!

Posted by
4408 posts

This is what happened on the tube in London yesterday - 17 October, 2019:>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_-wSckXbfc

That was my feel good video of the day and, as Harleydonski pointed out, the irony of causing mayhem and disruption to people using a very efficient method of public transport is spectacular. Sometimes I wonder if they have any common sense, those two men on the tube did absolutely nothing for their cause and most likely turned many people away from it.

Posted by
10008 posts

I have a feeling there will be more "vigilante justice" in the future. People are getting fed up with the tactics of this organization. (Not the Brexit folks.)

If you want people on your side, you show them why it is beneficial to them. You don't make their lives more difficult. That just makes them hate you.

Demonstrations rarely change things. But it makes the demonstrators feel good. If gets the TV cameras pointed at them. (An orderly demonstration will be more respected by the public than a disorderly one.)

The only way to get things changed is to get to the politicians. And to do this you need money. But that's not as much fun as disrupting lives.

Posted by
6678 posts

It always rubs me the wrong way when this topic area comes up and commenters are concerned about traffic or about avoiding any commotion -

Well, I always mention staying away from protests because I have a friend who suffered permanent eye damage during the CPE protests here in Paris in 2005 as a result of being shot in the eye by a police officer’s rubber bullet.

She just went to “observe” from the sidelines — she had no intention of participating — but being there, she put herself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It’s just not very smart. You never know when something may escalate. Going to observe a marathon is of course a totally different thing, but going to a protest for a lark is simply not very smart.

Posted by
2634 posts

When there is a protests going on, the police doesn’t need tourists going to the area to be “part” of it for fun. These protests are about issues that will effect the British, they aren’t doing it for fun. I completely agree with Emma, that tourists should not go to have fun or walk down the the middle of the street.

Posted by
1063 posts

"Sometimes I wonder if they have any common sense, those two men on the tube did absolutely nothing for their cause and most likely turned many people away from it."

Yes JC, it's commonly called "shooting yourself in the foot".

Posted by
3301 posts

Avirosemail - if want want to attend, have fun. If things go south and you somehow end up hurt or arrested, don’t call the embassy to help you. Protests, especially when you don’t have a full understanding of what they are about, are best seen from a distance. All one has to do is look at recent demonstrations in Ecuador and Chile to know that peaceful protests can turn violent in an instant.

Posted by
6678 posts

Or at the footage of Anglophone tourists in Paris three or four weeks ago getting tear gassed in the face despite their cries to the police that they were tourists.

Posted by
3173 posts

I played it by ear yesterday. I went to St Margaret’s for the 11am service and then walked over to St Martin-in-the-Fields to have lunch in the Crypt which for me was my main meal of the day.

I then walked to Piccadilly Circus and that is where I came upon what looked like a very organized rally condemning Turkey’s President Erdogan. No violence. People including parents & grandparents with children marching holding flags and signs. They were people distributing pamphlets on the sidewalk and one man came to talk to me and asked if I had any questions about why this march was taking place. I said I was familiar with what’s happening in the news and asked where they were marching. He said toward Parliament Square. He could not have been nicer. I kept walking and was impressed with all that I saw.

Posted by
4934 posts

We once lived in the Washington, DC area. The commute to work every day was bad enough, but when some groups protested and hung up commuters for hours, the protests had the reverse effect. People were cursing the protesters. Why punish the general public?

Posted by
3469 posts

An event like a marathon that is scheduled and organized is one thing, a protest is completely different.

Many times I have been in cities where they have their marathon happening (or parades as well). The event is fun to watch, there are plenty of food/drink stands set up, the people are enjoyable to chat with as the event happens, the police and medical staff are there to insure everything runs smoothly. Yes, there are traffic problems, but for a marathon the event is usually held early morning on a weekend to minimize impact on businesses and the road blockages are cleared quickly as possible. They cities want you there for these type of events.

A protest is something completely different. It is the opposite of a marathon. It is usually scheduled (if scheduled) at peak commuter times in the busiest part of the city. The entire purpose of most protests is to cause as much confusion and headaches as possible so they get shown on the news.

If I happen to run into a protest while I am traveling, so what, I will get through it. I will not consider it t be the total ruin of my trip. But I am not going looking for one no matter how much I might support their point of view. Since I have enough difficulty with mobility, being in a crowd of potentially unfriendly protesters surrounded by potentially unfriendly police is not fun, it is only dangerous.

Posted by
4408 posts

The most peaceful demonstration I've ever experienced in London was the 2008 Police march against cuts to pay (I still have the t-shirt). I think it was 'policed' by about 20 police officers which for a demonstration of around 23,000 is pretty good going. The Police Federation gave us all £10 each to pay for a meal but most spent it in various pubs afterwards!

Posted by
2139 posts

Since tourists are usually uninformed about local political issues, and are additionally unaware of important behavioral issues, I wouldn't go anywhere near a demonstration. They can get out of hand, and, in some cases, bystanders can be injured.

In the Tarir Square protests in Egypt in 2011, a well-known journalist was badly molested by people in the mob. She was with others, but that did not protect her. Finally, a US soldier picked her up and physically carried her to safety. It took months of rehab for her to be well again.

She did not understand the Egyptian culture, and had no idea how a mob might treat a Western woman. Without getting into details, there are many issues in how women are regarded.

I'd stay far away from demonstrations. Even photographing them can be dangerous. My wife and I were in Athens, and I made the mistake of moving my camera while across a wide boulevard from a group of Syrian immigrants. They shouted at us, and one ran across the street to yell at us.