My Millbank Experience (UPDATED)

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

I've now been up for 13 hours. 13 hours of coaches, fast food and one hell of a protest.
A/N: By the time I got home to edit this it was 17 hours and counting. Disorientated doesn't even cover it. I'm not good at this not-getting-sleep malarky.

52,000 people attended the protest in Westminster but the rioting that was all over the news was a tiny minority of people. Don't get me started on how many of those were actually students. Probably about 1000 people were assaulting Millbank Tower. And how do I know? I was bloody well there. Right in the middle of it. Purely as a journalist of course.

When I heard about the riot at Millbank the journo in my heart only wanted to be in one place. I headed straight to the building.

The rioting itself was in the centre of the courtyard, the outer area of the courtyard and the road was populated with non-violent protesters.

With a lot of ducking and diving I managed to make my way near the front, around 2 metres from the entrance. Next to the entrance was a huge glass door/window thing that was completely destroyed by the rioters. They got into the lobby and caused huge amounts of damage. It didn't take long after the entrance was breached for a few renegades to make their way to the roof of the building. The chaos continued on the ground floor though. A bonfire burned away in the middle of the courtyard and police were swarming through the crowds to reach the violence.

It was so exhilarating to be right in the centre of such a massive news story as a journalist. I got brilliant footage an images and saw things I'd only ever seen on the news before.

Now I'm back home (finally) I've had chance to watch the news. Some of the pictures are incredible. I find it strange that the crowd was so chaotic that though I was in the middle of it all I didn't see any of it. I just heard it. The sound of that glass breaking really chilled me to the bone. But more importantly than any of that I want to know... did it make a difference? Or did a few bad apples ruin the whole barrel. I think the news coverage kinda tells that story.


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