This past weekend marked my debut appearance as an AIM Poet/Emcee at the One Law For All: Rally Against Shariah And Religious Laws organized by Human Rights Campaigner Maryam Namazie. First I would like to say that I was really pleased to finally get to meet some of the other AIM members, they all seemed humble and kind but also very passionate and active... my kind of people! It was also a great experience performing with Lilith, meeting Maryam and generally taking part in the entire protest and march. It was an interesting and eye opening afternoon to say the least...
Originally scheduled for Trafalgar Square, the protest was relocated by Police to Russell Terrace (at the junction of Whitehall & Downing Street) due to Al-Muhajiroun planning to counter-protest our event. When Subsonic and I arrived, I noticed that there were indeed two protests going on... The police had set up two gated sections and divided them with a police van for each group to hold their protest in.
This simple set up of protest and counter-protest was soon met by opposition in the form of the EDL who turned up to hurl abuse from across the street at Al-Muhajiroun. The Police eventually detained them but not before moving them across the street... next to us, and essentially creating a Fascist sandwich with Freedom filling.. lol! As both groups continued to hurl their negative energy at each other - with ourselves trapped in the middle, I must say the Police did a good job of clearing up the chaos and ensuring our safety all day. As I watched the news clip from RT, I couldn't help but laugh at the lady who spoke on behalf of the EDL when she said that they had actually come to support and join our protest "because we want one law for all.." - watch her smile as she says it.. what a liar, too funny.
Anyway.. after that, the protest continued and some great speakers including Women's Rights activist Yasmin Rehman, Naomi Phillips from the Humanist Society, MC Fariborz Pooya from The Iranian Secular Society, Maryam Namazie and more addressed the crowds. Unfortunately due to the venue change and news that the counter-protest was going to be joined by yet another protest, by a group that was already on a march and were allegedly anti-fascists but seemed to all be shouting Allah hu'Akbar and showing their support for Al-Muhajiroun... the rally was cut short and Subsonic and I were not able to perform the full set, which was a bummer but the day was in no way a waste!
We were then poised to go home as we had decided beforehand not to join the march... until we got to Parliament square, walked around it once and saw the precession heading in the direction we were going and I convinced Subsonic to join the march "as we're going that way anyway.." I said, lol.. and so we marched. On to the Iranian Embassy!
I promptly then volunteered myself to help carry one of the long "One Law For All" banners through the center of London, displaying it proudly to the shoppers and tourists until we reached the Iranian Embassy where sadly my blog ends. I wasn't able to stick around for the last part of the protest and had to get on the bus to start heading home. It was a brilliant experience which I'm very happy to have been a part of, both as Brent Lee Regan and as a representative of the AIM... I can't wait for the next event!
Shalom shalom! BLR out!