An English summer brings to mind sandwiches and cold drinks, barbeques in the back garden, leisurely days by the seaside or amidst the green and rolling countryside. And we mustn’t forget the bright pink skin from too much sun on too pale skin. Instead, the summer of 2011 is going to be remembered, particularly in London, for being the year of the riots and for being cold and wet and distinctly un-summer-like.
Emerging from our semi-housebound state (work commitments have kept us tucked up inside), we relished the opportunity to get out into the sunshine with cotton clothing on instead of the cashmere cardigans that have been our friends for months. So on this bright and sunny Saturday, we ventured a few train stops away to go to the markets at Spitalfields and Brick Lane.
The sight of London’s police force out in great numbers was a bit jarring as we emerged from the Liverpool Street Station and heard the shouting crowds in the distance. Whole streets were closed off to pedestrians and vehicles alike and we could see — no exaggeration — hundreds of uniformed officers in every direction. According to the late coverage in The Guardian, “EDL London march halted by police”, approximately 3,000 members of the police were in attendance at several key locations in the East End.
And the reason for all of this police presence? The EDL — English Defence League, a white supremacy group, was marching in force in the East End and we could certainly hear the roaring and chanting both for and against these people. I lingered long enough to take a few pictures, but we thought it best to keep moving in case the situation degenerated into the kinds of violence that we all lived through in early August.
There was a calm sense of purpose on the faces of those uniformed men and women — orderly and matter of fact. It’s an odd thing to comment on, but London has been rather turbulent lately so it is comforting to think that there are enough law enforcement folks nearby to keep any potential violence in check.
Come back soon!
©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
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