The weather a bit unusual for London, this time of the year. The skies were clear and there was a beautiful bright sunshine with a cool breeze that filled the air. Perfect weather for cycling to Regent’s Park and having a picnic at Primrose hill, however such was not the case
After hearing about Occupy London Stock Exchange at work yesterday, I was keen to experience what was going to take off in St. Paul’s Churchyard. Was this going to be a repeat from Tahrir square ?After a quick coffee, I made my way to get to St. Pauls Cathedral where young people with a dream and a fire in their belly plunged into the heart of action demonstrating against alleged corporate greed around the world.
No sooner I got there, I saw the streets filled with police vans from a distance outside St. Paul’s station. I walked ahead trying to make way to the stairs and the roads were cordoned off. I could hear people campaigning and shouting slogans from inside the churchyard but wasn’t allowed in
More protesters were arriving and were furious the police were blocking entry to the main area for fear the peaceful demonstration might turn violent. In the meanwhile I met a photographer and he was following timely updates from twitter on his mobile. I got to know Julian Assange was in there addressing the crowds. After climbing onto a few gates to get a glimpse into the action, I saw people walk in from a different alley. I immediately got down and we went there. The police were asking questions, however I smiled and we were let in.
The square inside St. Pauls Churchyard was nicknamed ‘Tahrir Square”. A lot of people stopped by to do some photography. The atmosphere was great, you could tell people were angry with the government and the number of cuts and were there to fight for a chance to live their dreams chanting things like ” Bankers your days are numbered” “Cameron needs a reality check and Obama’s hands are tied.”
Shouting slogans ‘We are the 99 per cent” “Governments should serve the people not banks”, there was a lot of resentment on the streets. Protesters included many young people, unemployed graduates and pensioners hoping for a change. Some of them were in the process of setting up their tents, and preparing to camp several nights out there. but I overheard this wasn’t going to be allowed by the police.
Why was I there? Not until a few months ago I was one among the many unemployed graduates who felt taken advantage by the whole work experience and internship system in media companies because of these greedy cats who abused the financial system, as a result of which there have been many cuts that has had an impact on the media industry among others
Watching the film ‘Inside Job’ further infuriated me and as more financial corruption scandals start to unfold, I wonder if the regulators are still sleeping as the greed and corruptions continues. Not so long ago, the very controversial Alessio Rostani candidly said “Traders don’t really care about how the government will fix the economy, our job is to make money from it.” This saw many jaws dropped, including the BBC interviewers. “Clearly governments don’t rule the world, Goldman Sachs rules the world.” he added. But this is exactly how traders are taught to think, just very few admit it, If you read the Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort, it talks about exactly the same thing, big risks, private jets, escorts, and billion dollar deals, that sums up the situation we are in today.
What started in New York has gone global with smaller demonstrations in Rome, Sydney Seoul, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Stockholm, Zurich, and Frankfurt. Unlike Rome and Frankfurt, I must say the demonstrations were peaceful however; as I walked to the other side I saw the streets filled with riot police.
People around me said these protests would go on for as long as they saw some justice, with some even planning to storm into the buildings of the Royal Bank of Scotland and Northern Rock on a Monday morning.