It was immense at least double the 100,000 expected and probably more than that. Nick my Australian marching comrade and I went down to the Meadows around 11.30, I’d made a reckie around 11am and it was already packed. People were milling around stalls and tents and gathering on the middle path getting ready for the march and there seemed to be thousands of them, there were practically no spaces across the Meadows as a whole it was just awash with white-shirted people. We joined the queing throng around 12.15 and there was barely any movement, occasional inching forward. At 12.30 we were told over the tannoy that the first set of people that had left the Meadows were now arriving back in the Meadows again having marched the ring around. We had, they said now completed the ring around the city, it was a ring that was to remain constant for well over 5 hours.

It wasn’t until about 2pm that we finally got going. We stopped in the shadow of the back of the castle around 3 for the minutes silence and made it back to the Meadows sometime around 3.30. There were still thousands of people it seemed who hadn’t even set off yet. In fact we saw people still marching into the Meadows having completed their circuit up to about 7pm. The only march I can compare it with for sheer size and atmosphere was the London Feb 03 Anti-War march so that goes some way to describing the semblence of significance and enormity of it all. As a proportion of the population of the city we were at about 1/4 which is like getting 2.5 million in London, it’s a pretty stunning achievement on balance.

After the march at the Meadows, Billy Bragg did a couple of numbers and Bianca Jagger spoke. There was a Stop the War stage where Georges Galloway and Monbiot spoke. Nick hadn’t heard George Galloway before and George was on good old fashioned firebrand form so he didn’t disappoint. I said a brief hello to “my mate” John Rees who also did stirring stuff from the platform.

The atmosphere during the march and for the whole time down at the Meadows was congenial and carnival like. The official figure bandied around now is around 250,000. From what we hear there was only 1 arrest and one point where the police sectioned off a group of 30 odd around Buccleuch St. It is unclear exactly why they did this but knowing the Plod it was probably the fact that some people were carrying the wrong flag or dressed in black or whatever. There cannot have been any real serious reason since no arrests followed.

I went pretty mad with the camera, took photos and movies and all sorts. I hope at least some of the pics will give an impression of what it was like to be on the march. Trouble is I may need to buy some more memory, I don’t have a lot left and I need to ensure that I have some for the last day at Gleneagles.

I didn’t really watch Live8 to be honest, it all seemed a little tame in comparison with what we were doing, more of an assuaging guilt ceremony rather than something designed to achieve. The pictures of Geldof and Blair only serve to reinforce this.

Song Of The Day ~ The Magic Numbers – Forever Lost

Advertisements