Stroud District & Cotswold Green Party members rock up to the Climate March
3 coaches from Stroud, with a pick up at Cirencester, headed for the Climate Demo in London on 29th November. One of our Stroud protestors was a penguin, a climate migrant who presumably had first hand experience of global warming. (I expect he did by the end of the day after a march in a fluffy suit anyway!)
Grouping under the Stroud District Banner, manfully held aloft by 2 strapping Green Party members who fought valiantly to keep the banner flying despite large gusts of wind, we found ourselves fairly near the front of the march. The advertised departure time was 12.00, but we actually started slowly edging forward at about 1 o'clock after some rousing speeches relayed to us by a bank of speakers held aloft by a fire engine. There were speakers from the nursing and firefighting unions - both groups being at the forefront of dealing with climate change as natural disasters occur ever more frequently. Fashion Designer Vivienne Westwood exhorted us to 'Be Specific' in our fights although some of her facts and figures were a bit dodgey. Jeremy Corbyn got a rapturous reception and Green MP Caroline Lucas delivered the last speech to fire us up on the march.
What was most striking was the number of different groups coming together - Greenpeace with their huge cardboard polar bears, Frack Free Lancashire, Cafod, petition group Avaaz, Friends of the Earth to name but a few. There were the obligatory drummers and a band complete with saxophone. Young and old marched in peace and the policemen at the side of the road must have had little to do. Those inside the barred gates of Downing Street looked especially fierce with their guns, but otherwise I did not see any riot police.
At the end of the March there more banks of speakers held aloft and this time some big screens to show what was happening on stage. There were people from the Arctic and Pacific islands bearing witness to how climate change was affecting them. Francesca Martinez, the stand up comedian who describes herself as 'wobbly' (cerebral palsy) gave an impassioned speech. Performance poet Kate Tempest was invigorating and wildly cheered by the crowd. Everyone had the same message - climate change must be taken seriously NOW.
Official estimates say 50,000 marched. I could find little press coverage the next day except for a few photos, but I am told it was on TV on the Sunday.