The March (Stop Bush) was a very enjoyable and friendly atmosphere again - a bit like a mini carnival in places with quite a few street entertainers and a fair bit of music being played along the route.
One of the things that surprises me on the anti-war/anti-Bush marches is the sheer range of people you get on them. All ages, all races, all religions - the only thing they have in common (apart from taking part in the protests) seem to be the good spirits. You've got the kids with their parents, the kids that have obviously bunked school for the afternoon, Uni/college students, the employed, the unemployed and the retired.
Taking into account that todays march was a mid-week affair and that many people wouldn't have been able to attend due to work or other commitments the turn out surprised me. I've no idea how many people turned out (the Met say 70,000 the organisers up to 200,000 - I reckon its in the region of 120,000??) but I can say that it took me two hours to walk from Euston to the Thames before I took a short-cut via the NFT and Embankment to Trafalgar Square which was already packed with speakers on stage. There were plenty of people still behind me before I parted from the main march to go to Trafalgar Square too.
Whatever the actual numbers were it proves that they are a lot of people unhappy with the current state of world affairs and how Bush/Blair are handling things. I don't for one moment think that todays march will change the Bush/Blair mentality anymore than the millions who marched earlier this year changed the possibility of Iraq being invaded by the 'Coalition of the Willing' (and it's great reading some of the countries that where involved in that Coalition - Geography and Politics are two of my strong points and I hadn't even heard of a couple of the countries listed ;-p). But I do think that the more people see there anger and protests being completely ignored and disregarded the greater the chance of seeing new faces in power in the next couple of years.
Of course government (or as some would say regime-) change won't be able to change what has already happened but hopefully they will look at the situations with a greater vision and common sense. Of course we can not pull our troops out of Iraq now. That would be incredibly irresponsible (although our governments seem pretty good at being that) and would leave Iraq in an even worse state that before we invaded it and open to worse dictatorships or prolonged civil war. We should never have invaded in the way we did in the first place but now we have the governments responsible have to face up to their responibilities and foot the bill - whilst getting the UN in to manage the rebuilding of the country.
Anyway, I could end up ranting about this for hours and the rest of you would probably just get bored and wander off to another Journal anyway :-p
So I'll stop. Chat laters!