On October 15, the starting point for Occupy London Stock Exchange campaign, Floellia helped a young university student to set up a tent. Hours later, the like-minded two bonded and crashed in the same tent along with another person on a cold London night.
“Three strangers crashed in a tent for a night, and I’m sure we’re going to be friends forever,” says Floellia who didn’t want to identify her last name.
On the fourth day since the campaign began in London following other cities around the world, most of the people showed solidarity and spoke of support for their presence in the St Paul’s area. They reflected a sense of community and a selfish motive.
Organized by the Occupy London group, largely a campaign through social media, the organizers say roughly 4,000 to 5,000 became a part of the event on Saturday. While many came and went, some of the few determined to stay back, camping on tents outside St Paul’s Cathedral in London’s financial district.
London’s event marks the ongoing “occupy” protests around the world aiming at economic injustices criticizing governments for being influenced by corporations. The protests have been followed by more than 900 cities worldwide.
Phil McKeenen, 37-year-old broadcaster who runs an Internet radio station sees events like these as “defining point of our civilization, not just generation.”
He says that it’s not the time people sit in their kitchens and discuss the issues but come out and take a stand.
“We’re actually going to take these opportunities we have and come here, say something and try standing up for it,” he says.
And so far, according to David Ham at the campaign’s information center, though the numbers keep fluctuating, some 100 tents have been set up with about 600 people.
He says people of “all classes, all regions, all cultures” has created a good communal atmosphere adding that “its democracy at its best.”
And people were exercising their rights within a community of people sharing the same values, progressing toward a common goal.
Braving the chilly wind and cold autumn nights, men and women bundled in blankets and sleeping bags, shared tents. While the communal kitchen cooked and provided food, a small first aid center was set up with doctors and nurses. There is also a media center and a library that hosts lectures and workshops.
“It’s all like-minded people with like-minded ideas,” McKeenen says. “It’s a real diverse bunch which goes to accentuate the profundity of what’s going in here [and] we want a profound change.”
But can these people, battling the cold, out of their homes and on the streets lead into a solution?
While many might think the negative, Jack Hartup, 21, thinks it is possible.
“Even if it doesn’t it’s not the way u look at it,” he says as he sits inside the tent as the wind tries to blow it away. “Doing a protest isn’t going to change everything, its more about taking a stand and making your voice heard.”
The banners that surrounds the area makes it apparent what they’re there for: against the financial prejudices and big companies corrupting the world. the Tahrir Square, City of Westminster sign a reminder of the people’s power.
And that’s only the way, Floellia says.
“If we had another way that we would be listened to, I’m sure we would do that than sleeping on cold floors,” she says. “But unfortunately that’s the choice we have.”
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