Recently, I blogged about the minor disruptions at the Israeli embassy. Despite the police helicopters overhead, I hadn't even known there was a protest until I saw it on the news. It was fairly easy to forget that less than 400 metres away, protesters were clashing with police.
Today, though, it was impossible to ignore. Walking back from a heavily barricaded High Street Kensington, I figured something had to be in the works. Our usually noisy street was eerily quiet -- police had closed it to traffic and were blocking off all the side streets. Wondering what on earth was happening, I checked the Internet. Just as I discovered that our street was on the proposed route, we heard the drums and shouts of approaching protesters.
Two hours went by as we watched protesters march down our street towards the embassy. There were thousands of people of every age and nationality. Even people in wheelchairs! Peacefully, they sang, shouted slogans and waved their flags as they swarmed by our window.
You either have to be truly apathetic or completely anti-humanitarian to ignore a protest that's happening, quite literally, on your doorstep. Although I'm not an expert on the issue of Gaza and Israel, I can't help but sympathise with the humanitarian plight of the Gazans. The Man and I put on our warmest clothes and headed out, slipping into the crowd. We filed down our street, past hundreds of policemen, and onto High Street Kensington where the march halted.
Although it wasn't much, walking the 400 metres down our street had never felt so important.