Riots! (2005-07-05 - 8:17 a.m.)
Man, you should SEE the paper today. Naked protesters, police in riot gear, people throwing rubbish bins and park benches... it's absolutely crazy, and sadly I missed most of it. We did have a bit of excitement out in Corstorphine when twelve police cars pulled up outside the Zoo and started donning their riot gear, though. We were all hanging out the window trying to see what was going on.
When I went back into town all the busses were diverted, but it was pretty quiet, so I just went home. Then I headed for the gym around 8 pm. My gym's on the North Bridge, meaning Princes Street is between me and it, which was an ideal opportunity to go see what was going on. All the action was more or less over with - there were just little groups of people sitting in the street chanting. A line of police in riot gear was blocking the street (black outfits, giant helmets, clear shields and all) but they disbanded just as I got there. You could smell the horse manure from the horses they use to charge the rioters.
As I walked down to the other end of Princes Street I saw a group of police in riot gear with their helmets off eating sandwiches and crisps! It was a pretty strange sight. There were still people yelling but no violence or anything. According to the Metro this morning there were huge riots at about 7 pm, so apparently I should have got my butt to the gym a half-hour earlier! I was a little worried about walking home after, but the streets were deserted. It had this weird hushed feeling - rubbish all over, bins pushed over, and people standing around in little groups talking quietly or watching the police helicoptor.
I have to say I'm pretty impressed by the way the police have handled the whole thing. They've been really restrained about the whole thing from what I've seen, not too pushy or full of themselves, and they've always been really polite when I've spoken to them (usually to try and figure out which streets I can walk down and which are blocked off!) They've got reinforcements in from all over the place - the guy I talked to yesterday had a Geordie accent, and I saw police vans from Merseyside and South Yorks. The police station from my house is jammed with cars, and they've commandeered part of the Safeway parking lot as well.
I guess we'll see if anything happens today, but I doubt it. Yesterday was "anarchy day", so that may be the end of the excitement. The G8 itself is tomorrow, though, so we will see.
In other news, Brad has lent me his Fringe program and I am going to have a very hard time not spending all my money on shows in August. SO MUCH GOOD STUFF on. I already have tickets for Franz Ferdinand and a Japanese drumming show. I see that Bonnie Prince Billy is playing, and I'd love to see him live. I haven't even started reading about the theatre shows yet, but I'm sure there are some amazing ones. Going to be so hard to decide... Apparently there's a lot of free stuff too, though, thank heavens. And happily I can skip all the comedy entirely, as that doesn't really do it for me. August is going to be interesting.... the plan at the moment is to lie fairly low for July and do cheap day-trips if any (like Sunday's, £2.80 for the train and 70 pence for an ice cream) and then go Fringe-mad in August.
24 747 steps yesterday (including a stint at the gym). Why am I still chubby?!
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