Yesterday saw the march to Save Womanby Street (SWS). The weather was of no fixed mood as Sian and I turned up at the City Arms. As part of the campaign we'd volunteered to steward at the march. There were about a dozen fellow stewards and we were given luminous SWS t-shirts. We were milling around hoping that some people would turn up to go on the march.
Ewan Moor is the brains behind the SWS campaign and has been very honest and eloquent about what Womanby St means to him. On the day he was calm and organised. With one of the other organisers and a group of police we were walked around the route of the march, from the City Arms up to the green across from the Museum. Sian and I bumped into our mate Steve Dixon who we walked back with. By the time got back back a healthy amount of people had started to amass in Womanby Street. I went to talk to a friend outside Fuel and seemingly from nowhere hundreds of people appeared for the march. Local promoter MInty addressed the masses from the balcony of Fuel with a rosining Soviet style speech. A Samba band led us off and I helped with questions and made sure everyone went in the right direction.
It was really great being a steward, not that I did much stewarding.I sorta waved people in the right way, gave some other people directions unrelated to march and chatted to some slightly well refreshed visitors to Cardiff about Womanby Street. It was a good natured march and I spent the last part of it chatting to Steve Dixon before meeting back up with Sian at the rally outside the Museum. Politicians from all the parties (except the Tories) were set to address the crowd, kicked off by the Labor MP for Cardiff Central Jo Stephens.
There had been evidence of some elements trying to co-opt the march,the Lib-Dems were visible, and there was a small group of anarchists who were being aggressive and shouty, which I guess is what anarchists do, but one of them had an agenda which was to lay into the Plaid Cymru counselor. Now I don't know if anything that the anarchist was yelling was true, he may have had a good point (some people we chatted to afterwards said he did) but he did in such a confrontational way that it was difficult to have much sympathy, but then again being aggressive for an anarchist is part of the job description, yet he was so fucking charmless. He got into a ruck with a few others, and one of the crowd asked one of the organisers to do something, so I walked up to one of the Police and pointed out what was happening. I felt conflicted about doing this, but I know it was the right thing to do.
We Sambared our way back to Womanby Street and had a crafty beer with Steve Dixon. It was an amazing afternoon and brilliant to see such support, and gave me huge reason for optimism for the future of Womanby Street,