We had a new microphone for the boombox and the half-dozen Scientologists were very much on the back foot, first trying a small radio, then carting round a big sound system from the Whitfield Street 'org' around the corner, but never having the desired impact. After about an hour, they managed to summon the police. The sergeant, having seen us before, laid down simple rules to keep the two sides from getting too close and blocking the way for shoppers.
We handed out leaflets, they handed out tiny invitations to a five-hour 'Dianetics workshop' in Whitfield Street the next day. Much of the space on the invitation was taken up with vital information such as that "The Dianetics Symbol in a circle is a trademark and service mark owned by Religious Technology Center and is used with its permission." - in a leaflet without the aforesaid symbol!
After a couple of hours we retreated to the coolness of a neighbouring hostelry to compare notes and make future plans.
-- John Ritson *** "Alright, let's mock-up a guiding light now. And more and more and more guiding lights. Make it glitter more. More of them, and more of each one of them, and denser on each one, and get the fire on it hot and radioactive. See if you can get it to continuously glow, or get them to continuously glow. Lots of them now. More of them. If they do anything peculiar, just keep putting them where you were putting them originally. Just keep putting them there. More glow, more power, more glitter. Put some more of them there. More of them. More guiding lights. And have the guiding light tell you what the future's going to be like. And keep putting it there while it tells you all about the future. Have it tell you a century's made out of vanilla gum drops now. Have it insist on this." - L, Ron Hubbard 'Automaticities' ***
It was quite a hot sunny day, the usual britsh summer which generally runs from 5th June to about 15th June. L loaded up on a mega-burger of real beef and salad (i.e. not McGreasyburger but lots of genuine cows butt with barbeque sauce) and diet coke. For those who've missed it, world cup soccer kicked off today played in Germany starting with, I think, England v Paraguay around 2pm to 4pm at the time of the demo. None of us follow football much, and we were glad out pub hadn't got a large screen TV running. It did mean the cops were preparing for large numbers of football-minded drinkers emerging at 4pm.
We were lined up at the eastern, traffic edge of the pavement/sidewalk and they were lined up opposite on the western, building edge -- total width is about 12ft. Tony seemed to be having fun talking to one clam of vaguely balkan appearance. I tagged on playing the old trick (one of theirs tralking to one oftheirs so neither leafleting that position, one more of us there so our leaflets got out). The clam was useless at leafleting, he was COMMANDING people to take tham, "take one, you must take one," getting in people's faces and following them down the street, which most folk don't respond at all well to.
Around this time the cops turned up, about ten or twelve officers in two vehicles. I can only infer that these guys were on stand-by to be dispatched to any pub where a fight broke out --- indeed we later passed the two vehicles, probably full of cops behind their tinted rear windows, sitting idly in a quiet side-street awaiting their next dispatch order. I hope they had air cond, it was rotten weather to be stuck in the back of a van :-[
THey were led by a female sergeant who was giving Jens and Tony a bit of a hardtime. She said it was all a bit much, who says that, the people in the (Scientology) building, well they would wouldn't they they just don't want to be protested against... are any shoopers or shopworkers complaining? She still thought it was intimidating for people to run the gauntlet between the two lines of leafletters, I opined this wouldn't really stand up as obsstruction but just to be nice we could displace ourselves one shop up still on the east side of the pavement.
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This worked out quite well. Tony, Charlotte, and I were mostly at the north end by the slot-machine arcade. Public resonse was uniformly good. One guy said he was delighted to to find, at last, someone doing a protest. Another woman was talking at some length to Charlotte about what a menace the Cof$ is in Russia.
Tony called a halt around 15:10. Jens and I went past their other building where he took some photos. Then we sat down in the pub for a long chat, and went by taxi back to the train station. All in all, we had a grand day out.
__ .' '. "OUR GRAND DAY OUT" : : | _ _ | cracking clams, grommit! .-.|(o)(o)|.-. . . -- -------( ( | .--. | ) )-----.',_ '.------.' _,'.----------- '-/ ( ) \-' / /' `\ \ __ / /' `\ \ / '--' \ /.' \.' './ '.\ \ `"===="` / ` : _ _ : ` `\ /' |(o)(o)| `\ /' | | http://www. /`-.-`\_ / \ xemu.demon.co.uk _..:;\._/V\_./:;.._ / .--. \ .'/;:;:;\ /^\ /:;:;:\'. | ( ) | / /;:;:;:;\| |/:;:;:;:\ \ _\ '--' /__ _____/ /;:;:;:;:;\_/:;:;:;:;:\ \_.' '-.__.-' `-.__art_by_jgs.
A hearty bunch of UK suppressives braved the gorgeous weather and turned up to picket one of the London shops of the criminal organisation known as the "church" >spit< of $cientology. If there is a crack team of planners at ARSCC UK, they had taken the year off and left the crap team in charge. The crap planning team had placed the demo on the day of the first England game in the football World Cup. At least the weather was really good, and the pub (fortunately with no TV) was pretty quiet ;-)
We all admired "Charlotte's" Xenu costume and set off to protest after a nice lunch sat on the tables, in the shade, outside the pub.
The dreaded microphone lead thetans returned and made the boombox a bit of a damp squib, but a replacement microphone+lead sorted that out, and John could have asistance for his excellent information service announcements.
The clams started leafletting. A new leafletting clam tried to get people to take his leaflets by being in their way, trying to push leaflets into their hands, and resorted to reading out the leaflet while walking alongside them. That got an even more grim reaction than usual from the passers-by.
After some time the police showed up. They were obviously just passing by, and wanted something that could get them out fo there and on with doing their actual job, as opposed to protecting the pretend-wounded feeling of a bunch of victims of the mind-fuck of the $cientology cult. We agreed that perhaps the protesters and the clams facing each other in front of the shop narrowed down the pavement a bit, and suggested that we the protesters splitup so that we could be on the edge of the pavement and not right in front of the $cientology shop. The police thought that was a good idea, and made that the rule to the clams and rode off.
The clams couldn't quite manage to stick the agreement with the police, of course, but having the protesters split in two groups probaby made the flow of pedestrian traffic a little smoother.
Nothing much more stuck to mind before we signed off at the time announced, following Dave Bird appearing on the boombox in fine voice.
On the way back to some more cold (or warm!) beer, I stopped by the new org in Whitfield street which is a bigger building than the shop we'd been in front of, with no foot traffic. At all. There was a clamette inside who insisted that I was not allowed to take pictures which I continued to do. She followed me around until I tired of having her reacting to my superior purpose ( ;-) ;-) ).
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