Richmond's Own (but unowned) Website

strike signs
inside Tower of London
spiral stairs!
soldier manning the wall
Today was the day of the protests! The teachers’ unions, and other public sector unions went on strike today to protest pension cuts, and had a march and rally in London, and we were able to go and observe this citizenship in action.

But first, we covered a little about our planned (and now changed) session of security and terror, a little about the 7/7 bombings in London in 2005.  We went to a memorial outside a tube station, where an innocent man who was suspected as being part of the terrorist plot was shot while running down the tube with a backpack. It was a horrible day, though the reception to it may not have been quite as shocking as our 9/11 attacks, as there is a little more history here of bombings (IRA, etc) – but comparing the two events and the response and reaction by government made for an interesting discussion. 

We then followed the J30 rally toward Westminster. There was a large police presence, as well as several police helicopters flying overhead throughout the ordeal.  There were a lot of signs, some people tried to do chants as they were walking down the street. Many of the signs were regarding pension cuts and teachers, but there were also signs from socialist parties demanding a general workers’ strike and a few signs calling for other things like David Cameron’s resignation, LGBT rights, and cutting war spending.

But overall, the rally was very peaceful – it will be interesting to see how the media portrays it. Though most media coverage in my opinion has seemed to be less sympathetic toward the protesters. There’s a statistic about only 32% of people support the strike (I forgot what the Wisconsin support numbers were this spring, but I feel like more people supported public union rights in Wisconsin. Though I may be mistaken.) Also, most newspaper coverage (from what I’ve been able to read on the tube) mostly covers the mom who is burdened by the strike because her child cannot go to school, confusion caused by closed schools and long lines at customs at airports, and not so much about the issue at the heart of the strike. Though I think I need to look at a wider variety of sources to see if this represents the wider media portrayal. 

We left before the speeches started, and went over to the Tower of London. We ate lunch outside before going in. We had the yeoman tour, which was quite entertaining (think Jungle Cruise tour guides, but less bad jokes, and more entertaining, like jokes about the French…and Americans.), talking about some of the history and grandeur and prisoners and ravens and death and executions at the Tower. The area was quite big – a castle or palace I suppose – it was very big, much bigger than I thought.  It was fun, though I was very tired! After the tour, we went to see the Crown Jewels – which was much like a Disneyland ride (in fact, there was a moving walkway to stand on to see the crowns). There were long lines, and not a whole lot of attraction – though while we were in winding Disneyland like lines, we snaked through some rooms with videos showing the Royal Jewelry, before being able to actually see some of it – crowns, maces, dishes, and more, after passing through some mighty looking steel doors into the “most secure place in London.”  It was nice to see, though short – and it started raining when we came out! Afterwards, we split up into groups. Ahren and I went to the torture place, which was short, and only one room, but had a few torture devices. After that, we went onto the walls, going through the towers, over the ramparts, past exhibits about animals in the Tower, weaponry, and other things – Kelsey and Nicole joined us for a bit. After that, we went to White Tower for a whirlwind tour, going past royal armour, wooden horses, a dragon, cannons, guns, and more. And at the end, we went up into one final tower about murders at the Tower.

We came back and I took a rather long nap, headed out to the bar in Putney that Ahren and Tom went to last week out by the water, which was nice, and now time to work – 86 pages of reading!s

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