i’m not too big on politics. the odd news story might spark my interest, but in general, political campaigns and the such seem to play out more like a media circus than anything else. but nevertheless, when i heard that the protestors outside of st. paul’s were going to be evicted soon, i thought it’d be interesting to walk down there and have a first-hand look at the scene before the protestors got kicked out.
like many other places around the world, london has been plagued with unrest over the past year. a year ago, i inadvertantly let a whole bunch of student protestors into the university london campus. they occupied the building for a week and proceeded to completely trash the place; posters were torn down, doors blocked and chained, bathrooms wrecked, garbage thrown around, etc. so, the london campus was subsequently closed and classes cancelled. how this was supposed to help decrease student fees is beyond me. ultimately, police stormed the building, raiding from the roof like something out of a hollywood blockbuster, and the students were forced out. personally, all this seems like a farce, especially since the increase in UK student fees to a maximum of £10,000 per year still looks like a bargain to me, a hapless american graduate currently paying off loans at about $10k per year, for the next - decade or so. *weep* converted into dollars, the new UK student fees is "only" $15k per year (for three years, since their degrees don't take as long), which is cheaper than some of the cheapest schools in the states. so, needless to say, i had very little sympathy for the student protestors, especially when taking into consideration their haphazard and nonsensical approaches to protesting, which seem more like childish tantrums than anything reasonable and potentially effective.
i was also living in central london when the riots broke out last year. however, as awful as it all was, i think the media somewhat blew it out of proportion - made it seem as though all of london was burning down. i live in the waterloo area, so quite central, and aside from a few closed shops, i didn't see anything out of the ordinary - wouldn't even have noticed that riots were going on if it weren't for the news.
anyways, as for the st. paul's protestors, my feelings were pretty much the same as for the student protestors. yes, they've camped out and turned the surrounding area into squalor, but what does that actually Do? the economy is still struggling and people are still unemployed. and can't protestors get their message across without littering and wrecking things?
at any rate, i wound up just walking around st. paul's and taking some photos of the protestors. i might not really agree with them, but it was still nice to personally photographically document this little piece of history. =)
see my photos here.