Welcome to London

Big Ben in the morning.

Big Ben in the morning.

So, as I mentioned previously, I took the tube to Westminster. I walked out of the station and looked up at good old Big Ben, shining gloriously in the morning sun. That was pretty exciting in itself. I walked along the Thames a bit, marveled at the London Eye (ferris wheel on steroids), and generally walked in circles touching on Horse Guards, Downing St, WWII memorial, and so on.

I came back out onto Parliament St and noticed more activity in a crowd gathered there. This turned out to be another day of protest by Sri Lankans demanding a cease fire between the Tamil Tiger rebels and the Government.

Crowds with signs outside Parliament.

Crowds with signs outside Parliament.

Pretty quickly, the mass had spilled out on to the street, chanting “We want, cease fire!” and the police piled in to push them back. But before long the throng pushed police lines back and it was chaos. The police reformed a line half a block back. But then a commander came and I heard him say, “They must not reach Parliament. It must not be breached!” as he order the line off the street, effectively abandoning the streets to the marchers in order to defend the House of Commons and Parliament.

Police get pushed back as protesters break through lines.

Police get pushed back as protesters break through lines.

Before too long reinforcements showed up with wagons and blocked the streets with vehicles. I stayed around too shoot for awhile, but eventually thought it was time to do some more conventional sightseeing.