Sunday, 30 May 2010
An overview of the past month at Democracy Village
I just want to apologize for the slowness in updating the blog..it's been busy, busy, busy down at Democracy Village. We have been re-arranging and tidying up the camp, creating a warm, inviting, welcome area at the front, planting more vegetables in our peace garden, doing direct action in and around Westminster, holding different workshops and classes, growing and expanding each day. I will be uploading pictures and videos on here soon showing everything that has been going on whilst we've been on the Square; but right now I will map out the sequence of events over the course of the month. Apologies..this may be a long blog, but I want everyone to know the latest. Here's a quick list of what is in this blog so you can scroll down to whatever takes your fancy:
*Background information on The Democracy Village
*Peace Festival and activities
*Guerilla Gardening Event
*The Queen's State Opening of Parliament
*Groups that protested on or around Parliament Square whilst we have been here
Background information on The Democracy Village
We have been occupying Parliament Square now since May 1st. There were only a few of us back then but now the camp consists of around 30-40 people from different groups and genuinely concerned citizens about the current state of the world. We are a diverse community who try to live by our ideals, working together to bring about real change. We hold meetings everyday at 10am (camp duties) and 7pm (open to the public) where we discuss any immediate issues and find solutions to problems. Everyone is welcome to submit their topic of discussion to the daily agenda at the meetings and this way all voices are heard. We eat communally in a food circle in the peace garden and try to find time to relax through meditation, yoga, playing instruments, dancing, poi.
Peace Festival and activities 6.5.2010
We organised a Peace Festival at the Square on Election Day which attracted many people from all walks of life. The day was filled with fun, creativity, speakers (open mic), face painting, banner making. We made signs and banners calling for Peace and to bring the troops out of Afghanistan then we took to the streets, making our way down to the Media Camp at College Green where we were greeted by TV presenters, security and police. We were successful in sending out our message over the live broadcasts. Later we then proceeded to Downing Street with the dragon parade where we had police escorts there and back to camp. We had a wonderful time! (Pictures up soon)
Guerilla Gardening Event 15.5.2010
Next up we had our day of Guerilla Gardening, adding to the existing Oak Tree in the centre of the Square which was planted a few days prior to the event. Guerilla gardening is where you go out into your local community or any urban area and spontaneously dig and sow the land in order to restore diversity and bring a previously derelict site back to life or it can be done anywhere, even in window boxes. The choice is yours!
There was alot of excitement and anticipation in the air as we rushed around getting plants, vegetables, seeds and tools ready for the occasion. We all sat around in a circle carefully planning and discussing ideas about how we wanted to design the garden, based on permaculture methods. Once we had finalised the plan, which was to plant around the oak tree expanding out into wider circles, we carefully went around measuring and mapping out where the circles would be. We all stood at the ready, spade in one hand, plant in the other and on the signal dug small holes in which we gently placed geraniums, strawberries, peppers, sunflower seeds and trees into. This was very empowering!
Growing your own food and becoming self-sufficient is liberating because you free yourself from dependence on bland, mass-produced foods in supermarkets and instead nourish yourself and your family with fresh fruit and vegetables planted by your own hands. It's incredible..a wonderful experience. The gardening continued throughout the course of the day and is still ongoing. So if you have any spare plants or seeds that you would like to see in full bloom on Parliament Square then come down and "dig for victory" today. (Pictures up soon)
The Queen's State Opening of Parliament 25.5.2010
We were awoken at 6.30am by police activity on the camp: they were searching all the tents in order to look for any bombs or dangerous items ahead of the Queen's arrival at Parliament. They didn't find anything, once again proving that we are honest, peaceful citizens with nothing to hide. The whole Square was cordoned off whilst the day's events took place. There was a relaxed, festival atmosphere around the camp with small groups singing and playing acoustic instruments. A women's group was also set up to celebrate and embrace all that is feminine, as well as provide a healing, support network for women who live at and visit the Democracy Village (Pictures up soon).
Peaceful activists at the Democracy Village have been doing direct action everyday over the last few weeks but here are some instances that come to mind:
-Making a "peace poncho" for Churchill on 10.5.2010, which attracted alot of attention from the public, DSG, police and a mysterious, loud, aggressive guy who coincidentally worked in the Churchill Rooms at the War Museum. Firstly the DSG came and asked us to replace the previous cloak with a cleaner one because it was too "tatty", which we immediately did. We were then greeted by Community Support Police and The Met; by now Churchill was sporting his brand new spanking poncho which read: "Bring our soldiers home" on the front and "Troops home now" on the back. A crowd had also gathered by this time and with the activists respectfully refusing to strip Winston of his new garms, the constable had no other choice but to walk away. Later a journalist from The Sun came and reported on the event with a policeman climbing up onto the top of a van to remove Churchill's attire.
-Two concerned citizens ascended St Margaret's Church dropping banners: "Troops out" and "Time for Peace, bring our boys home" on 11.5.2010.
- Two comrades climbed the tree outside Downing Street with a message for our new Prime Minister: "Come on Dave, Time for Peace, Bring our Boys Home" on 12.5.2010.
-A peaceful protestor scaled the Treasury building with a sign saying: "Bring our Troops Home" on 20.5.2010.
-Three caring individuals climbed Westminster Abbey to send out their message to the world: "Soldiers Home, Please" on 20.5.2010. They spent 6 hours up there, after which they were approached by the police and carefully led back down.
-A citizen at the Democracy Village scaled the Houses of Parliament on the first day of its opening (26.5.2010) where he unfurled a banner reading: "We respect the soldiers, we do not support the war". He stayed up there for 5 hours and on coming down was arrested. So a group of us went to the front gates to "see him off" as it were, but ended up sitting down in front of both gates of Parliament, calling for Peace. We blocked any traffic from coming in or going out, which meant people could now walk past freely. We were in good spirits, singing and holding signs. After a few hours we were all arrested (about 10 of us) but remained peaceful and non-violent, expanding the circles of our love and compassion out to those around us, including the police, and ultimately to the whole world. It was a very powerful moment.
Groups that protested on or around Parliament Square whilst we have been here
Although we are occupying Parliament Square right now, we do not stop others from protesting here as well and welcome them to come, network, engage in discussions and send their messages out to the world. Groups who have protested on the Square whilst we have been here are the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND); Climate Camp Vigil; Take Back Parliament, who came onto the square after protesting outside the Houses of Parliament; the English Defence League (EDL), who marched up to Downing Street, around the square then down towards Victoria; a small group later came onto the square and attended our evening meeting; and the British Tamils who gathered on the square on 22.5.2010 to commemorate the first year of the mass genocide that is taking place in Sri Lanka. We respectfully moved our tents to the perimeter of the Square in order to give the Tamils space to protest. There was a powerful energy on the Square that day as we stood in solidarity with them. We welcome all to come and share their ideas, skills and visions.
Wow, it has only been a month but so much has happened during that time. Well I think you are pretty much up-to-date now. I will try my very best to stay on top of things from now on.
Ok until next time...
Peace, Love and Light..You are Divine, let your light shine bright