Update. The Million Mask March in London showed the usual mix of promise and noisy ignorance. The gathering moved amicably down to Parliament Square, although I did try and intervene when some idiot in a mask began to move massive road signs IN to the way of the oncoming protesters. At Westminster tube someone tells me the police are starting to kettle people and that we ought to split up - and to pass the message on. I turn to do so and attempt a 'mic check'. I'm fairly new to this ingenious concept whereby those nearest to the person wishing to speak repeat the exact message and so on, in order for people at the back to hear. However I was faced with blank looks. Fair enough. Someone tells Russell Brand to pass it on and everyone listen accordingly. We split and travel round the back of Parliament Square but by the time we reach the police barricade, opposite the Houses of Parliament, some fool has sent a firecracker in the direction of the police.
Predictably things start to get a tad more aggro as the police run at us waving menacing 2 foot batons. A small amount of 'protestors' start shoving the barriers into the police and a few blokes get a bit excitable (and to my mind menacing) as they accost Russell Brand and start spouting some fairly aggressive nonsense. At one point I find myself intervening and tell them to go home if they're not going to be peaceful as they're at the wrong protest.
I have to emphasise that the majority of people there are peaceful and want genuine change. They may not all have fully formed ideas about quite what is wrong with the world and how we can effect the necessary change, but they have the good sense to be highlighting that there is an issue to be addressed. As teachers always used to say, "a few of you are ruining it for everyone else". Standard.
I say ruining, it's not as bad as all that. Hopefully the behaviour of the actual activists; the protestors and revolutionists, will distinguish us from any violent rent-a-mob who have previously damaged the reputations of the animal rights movement and Islam, amongst others. One minute they're throwing traffic cones at cops and aiming fireworks at Buckingham Palace, the next bombs are being hidden under cars. Slightly more organisation required for the latter, and a great deal more hate, but the riots of 2011 demonstrated how quickly things can escalate when a volatile and excitable mob gather with any suggestion of a cause.
The already fickle and controlled media has enough ammunition from tonight's influx of videos uploaded of violent and aggressive bullies damaging property and intimidating the public - if they happen to drive a nice car - to discredit us in the eyes of your average Joe. It is the responsibility of the rest of us to reject this bullshit as I think I speak for the majority when I say I don't want to be associated with these wankers.
Vive la revolution!