By Milun Syms, 6.1
Last Friday, roughly 60 Bedales pupils – led by Aggie Levingston and Bella Evershed – joined the masses of students in London taking a stand on the imminent issue regarding their future.
As we departed from Waterloo and advanced to Parliament Square, the bold and energetic chorus of various chants and slogans began to pick up and would continue for the entirety of the march. Once the seemingly large group of Bedalians reached Parliament Square, it became clear just how many people were involved, all forming a monumental pack.
Instantly immersed in the crowd, everyone was surrounded by brightly designed pickets with various slogans regarding climate justice, with the occasional humorous comment about Teresa May. As the exponential growth of the assembly began to slow, the thousands of people embarked on the slow but steady march to Buckingham Palace, passing Downing Street on the way. Along the way, tourists, construction workers and even police officers showed their support as we progressed.
The front gate to Buckingham Palace was eventually reached, and from here, one could see countless heads, flags, signs and the fluorescent glow of the police jackets that lined the sides of the road leading up to the palace. After some time, the front of the group reached the end of the road, met by a wave of police officers attempting to prevent them from entering. As expected, this did not last very long, and soon people were flowing in, quickly inundating the Queen Victoria Memorial. A few daring individuals even began to scale the colossal statue (who were very quickly brought down by police), climbing above Victoria’s head, causing the droning chants to rapidly increase in volume. After an hour or so, the crowds begin to leave, and the march is more or less over.
Before attending the march, I believed, along with many others, that protesting in this form was not going to achieve anything big enough to make a difference. However, once immersing myself, I can now see that non-violent protest could be successful. The overall disruption it caused could not possibly be ignored. Furthermore, blocking roads, bridges and flooding the streets most definitely caused an inconvenience, and this was just one day.
On 15 April, Extinction Rebellion is planning a week-long strike in London. With persistence, composure, and vast support, change is definitely up for discussion. However, I must say that it was far from a perfect demonstration. The numerous empty bottles, trampled signs, and various other rubbish that had mostly been left behind by protesters highlighted the irony of the event. Although in all fairness, faith was restored as various people began to walk around picking up litter left by others.
Overall, it was an interesting event to attend and I’m glad that our students are opinionated and interested in controversial topics such as climate change. It’s important that as a school we show an interest, and Friday’s strike was an excellent example of that.
Pictured: Bedales student Dan Hall, 6.1