On Valentine's Day in Oxford a group of mums (and some dads) gathered in a quiet back street to march through the city centre in protest at the devastating effects of lockdown on their children. The location and route had been kept secret until the last minute as social media groups are often infiltrated and phones are spied on. These are the times we are living through. The atmosphere was friendly and upbeat despite the freezing weather and drizzle; many people already knew each other and exchanged hugs. There was no sign of fear anywhere and not a mask in sight. This was the route that the group followed:
Red balloons were handed out on the route and some people were carrying signs and placards.
This is my favourite picture of the entire day.
The march continued to University Park, where the plan was to have some speeches, however the inevitable happened. Two police officers arrived, masked up in the open air, and advised us to disperse. They were soon backed up by a team of around 20-30 police officers, all of them deployed to break up a group of peaceful mums and kids.
Francis has captured some of these scenes on video. Here's a short one showing the great atmosphere on the march to the park:
And this was the moment when the peaceful gathering was interrupted by the police:
Here come the reinforcements...... Absolutely necessary of course when you are dealing with a group of dangerous domestic terrorists......
Someone is getting good training from a very young age! Listen to this young boy asking the police, "Can you tell me your oath?"
Do we really need all these police officers to tackle one man eating a crepe?
In spite of the dispersal of the protest, the threats of fines and the singling out of the 'crepe eater', Francis felt that overall, the police behaved well, compared to some footage we have seen over the past year of other incidents in different areas of the country.
Perhaps the way forward is to continually remind them of the oath they swore to uphold human rights? I would also add that we should inform them that upholding a 'law' which removes the right to peaceful protest is TREASON against the people. We believe that this summer will not see the end of lockdowns. We need to become familiar with the law and work on our strategies of dealing with the police. In some European countries, they are now refusing to enforce legislation against the people. Could that happen here in the UK? It might be if we try to peacefully engage with them and appeal to their sense of right vs wrong.
Am I being naive? Maybe I am, but I do believe that it's worth trying.