MILLION MASK MARCH, LONDON

5 November, 2016

Remember, remember the fifth of November. Anarchists certainly do. The Million Mask march - held on the date of the Gunpowder Plot - is a global event. About 20,000 people said they would be attending the London event according to responses on a Facebook page. The police - stung by attacks on businesses in and around Trafalgar Square last year - obtained a court order this year which ruled that the gathering had to end at 9pm after which it was illegal and arrests would be made. Indeed the police presence was extraordinary. Lines of officers sealing off every road from the square and teams of riot police marching up and down. In the end, less than 500 people - masked and otherwise - turned up. Maybe it was the cold weather. They occupied the base of Nelson's Column, let off some flares, chucked some fireworks and taunted the police. 

I saw a couple of arrests, but the whole thing felt played out. It ended up with a group of about 40 people dancing to Sham 69's If The Kids Are United. I sympathised with the anarchist who turned away in disgust saying something like: "it's supposed to be a fucking revolution." 

Million Mask March

Man joins crowd preparing to march from the Houses of Parliament

Million Mask March

Mask in the crowd, near the Houses of Parliament

Million Mask March

Smoke from a flare caught in headlights near the Houses of Parliament

Million Mask March

Man lets off flare in street near the Houses of Parliament

Million Mask March

Protesters outside the Houses of Parliament

Million Mask March

Protesters at the base of Nelson's Column, Trafalgar Square

Million Mask March

Protester lets off flare from one of the lions at the base of Nelson's Column

Million Mask March

Woman remonstrates with police officer at Trafalgar Square

Million Mask March

Protester in blond wig confronts line of police at Trafalgar Square

Million Mask March

Protester wrestled to ground by police shortly before arresting him

Million Mask March

Protester checks phone from on top of a lion at foot of Nelson's Column

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Female police officer with riot squad colleagues

Million Mask March

Protesters dance near Trafalgar Square

Million Mask March

Photographers take pictures of protesters

Million Mask March

Protesters clash with riot squad