Lone Protester disrupts Olympic Torch Relay…
A leaflet dropped through the letterbox last week mapping the route of the final day of the
Olympic Flame around London. This morning’s route started at 6.40-ish at the Roundhouse at Chalk Farm and then proceeded down Camden High Street and via Camley Street onto the Regents Canal.
It was too good an opportunity – indeed a
once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – to miss. To see the Olympic Flame in our own back yard – YES, it simply had to be done.
Last night we laid out clothes and set the alarm clock for 5.30 and we achieved getting out the house, surprisingly brightly, just after 6.00am. We were down at
Kings Cross by 6.30 joining a growing crowd roadside across from the steps that lead to Granary Wharf.
To view the fun and
ahem games that ensued!
6.40am. There’s something about the quality of the light in this photograph that hints at the early hour. This is Claire and Mol in our good viewing position overlooking the canal on the section between Camley Street Nature Reserve and Granary Wharf…
7.08am. The arrive in force, a convoy of sponsors buses and very official looking Olympic vehicles. The all-in-grey official in the foreground perhaps captures the stresses behind the Flame Relay Support Team massaged PR image of the ‘oh, so smiley energised beautiful people’ that crowd the coach and hand out streamers and Cola… The loud speaker calling out.. . ‘The torch is just five minutes away…’
7.09am. Molly with one of the official Olympic mascots – Wenlock
7.09am. meets his match in Joe…! Wenlock
7.20am. And… slowly around the corner, one of the community boat fleet, ‘Pirate Prince’ comes into view with the torch bearer, 16yr. old Paris Walker, in the bows. The Pirate Castle
7.21am. A small flotilla of kayaks accompany the boat…
7.22am. We were positioned opposite this boat and it was oblvious from his flurry of activity, speakers, mic, banner etc. that he was up to something. A fact that (worryingly) seemed to totally escape the Olympic security team and the solo PC wandering along the towpath. As Pirate Prince came close he let loose his bow ropes and began to drift into the path of the oncoming ‘torch boat’. Yells from our side of ‘Grab the boat! It’s floating out! He’s let loose the ropes, he’s trouble…’ etc. brought a heart-warmingly swift response from outraged spectators on the towpath who immediately grabbed the bow rope before it slipped into the water and began to haul him back in…
7.22am. As the lone PC stood seemingly impotently by talking into his radio, furious spectators board the boat and attempt to tear the offensive banner from the protesters hands. Cameras turn from the ‘main event’ to capture the sudden scuffle…. People Power?
7.23am. The purile message in all it’s ‘glory’….
7.23am. Don’t you feel for the young torch bearer, this is her proud moment being utterly ruined by the thoughtless action of the protester? I can certainly empathise with the Olympic official (with his back to camera) who looks about to launch himself at the protester and ‘make his feelings known…’
7.25am. To me, this is the most reassuring photograph of the series – the protester is increasingly cold-shouldered and the Olympic celebrations go on despite his idiotic antics… ps. as we passed him later he was arguing loudly to whoever would listen that he was defending boaters rights to full access to the waterways??? He was NOT representing any boater that I know. pps. how on earth did he get an official Olympic clearance license for his boat???
7.26am. The torch relay continues. The flame is handed on to the next bearer….
…and ticker-tape explodes into the morning sky.
8.03am. I couldn’t resist putting this one in…Claire & Fin leaping down the steps from Granary Wharf… as we headed back into Camden along the towpath – but then that’s another story….
Aftermath 1. A vital member of the team. The sweeper-upper who has to clear the site of ticker-tape once the carnival has moved on…
Aftermath 2. The morning’s ‘Monet’ moment as the ticker tape floats on the mirror surface of the Regent’s Canal…