Thursday, October 22, 2009

Protest outside BBC

Well, that was an interesting evening. It seems that BBC headquarters across the country had protests and occupations - in Plymouth, Glasgow, and some other cities that I don't remember. A number of protesters managed to scale the gates to the BBC headquarters in White City (one placard read: "It's not THAT kind of White City, Nick") before the main protest actually began, thus panicking the police briefly. I believe the actual filming of the Question Time programme was delayed by a couple of hours because of the protest, and that a number of antifascists did get into the studio. (In fact, I see from the clips being shown on the BBC that the studio audience detested Griffin, as they should have done, and were far more effective at challenging Griffin than any of the creepy politicians they had on the show - especially the pathetic Jack Straw). And I also hear that Jonathan Ross was inconvenienced in some way.

By the time I arrived, the protest had swelled to several thousand people congregated on the road outside Wood Lane tube station. It was quite noisy and rebellious, and there was an inordinate number of young people there. I hear there was some rumours of violence outside the gates or something. I didn't see any violence on the part of protesters whatsoever, but the police did pepper spray a couple of kids, a few people were assaulted by coppers not wearing their numbers on their shoulders, one guy was throttled and another fellow did get his head cracked open by a truncheon. Aside from the usual police brutality, it was a straightforwardly militant, multiracial protest in the mainstream antifascist tradition. The audience passed through security gates behind plexiglass where they could see us outside protesting, and were clearly rather excited and intrigued by the whole thing. When filming ended, the protesters then marched to where Griffin's car was supposed to be exiting, and blockaded it for a while, before a number of ominous looking police vans turned up and despatched a platoon of riot cops. There were some fascists around, and a number of few Nazis wandered over from the nearby pub to taunt the protest before being chased away.

Here are some pictures of the protest as I arrived:

Here, someone symbolically burns the 'television licence':

The protest stayed on for a while, until well after filming had ended, at least ensuring that Nazi Nick had a late drive home after what one can only hope will have proved an abortive publicity opportunity.