London's Burning! Rioters close down the City! Mob Smashes Bank! This I had to see, so I strolled up to the front of a line of riot police and asked the copper how I could get the 149 bus to London Bridge.
Breaking through the angry mob wasn't hard, a straggling line of scruffy students, trendy looking folk and the odd out-of-town hippie with dirty dreads and dull combat trousers. All standing around, trying to crane their necks to see over each over to look down the front. Across Bishopsgate there was a line of policemen, shoulder to shoulder, glowing brightly in their high-visibility yellow jackets, shining numbers and untouched riotshields, they formed a glimmering wall across the road. Immovable and adamant, they stood their ground against the stagnant crowd of onlookers, but like a coiled snake, they looked ever ready to lash out.
The crowd had taken their places and were awaiting the show. Most carried cameras in anticipation of a scene - in fact, only one or two protesters at the front DIDN'T have a camera. One of them was a wild dervish of a dreadlocked traveller girl, singing at the coppers and tapping out a tune onto their clean riot shields, amusing the onlooking crowd who laughed and took lots of photos of her. A tall protester tried to push past the police cordon, and the day-glo snake lurched - a baton was raised and a shield was pushed up against him. The mob moved in, their cameras flashing wildly. The shouting erupted and the police threatened everyone to move away, but more cameras clicked away, the lenses clashing into each other until the flurry of flashbulbs calmed down...
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