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Flashmob protests in the UK - The Guerrilla Orchestra

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posted on Dec, 15 2010 @ 02:47 PM
At 6pm on Fri 10th December "Guerrilla Orchestras" assembled in Leeds, Manchester, London, Birmingham and Liverpool city centers to protest against cuts to music & arts funding in the UK. They played the Mission Impossible theme, then left.

The reason for the post isn't necessarily to draw attention to the plight of the arts in the UK, but to talk about the method of protest. 'Flashmob' style protests (often organised via facebook & twitter) are appearing more and more, and I think they're a brilliant idea. This one in particular made me smile.

Birmingham Guerrilla Orchestra

The Birmingham orchestra (partly organised by friends of mine) was conducted by Peter Donohoe, an internationally renowned pianist that's played with orchestras all over the world. The orchestra itself comprised of professional members of the Birmingham CBSO, right through to amateurs who dusted off instruments they'd learned at school. If you could vaguely play an instrument you were encouraged to join the protest.

Manchester Guerrilla Orchestra

Heather Bird, the organiser of the protest said...

Heather Bird - Protest Organiser
"There will be no placards, no aggression, no marching. We want people to ask, 'What was all that about?' The point is that this is what we'll be missing in a few years – because we won't have the players if the cuts go ahead."

Sadly, peaceful, clever protests don't draw the attention of the UK's press, and instead we're faced with videos of police on horseback charging at 'anarchists' (in reality a mixture of university/college students and school kids) being beaten, dragged around or kettled in (some 'kettles' lasted for over 10 hours, with no toilets or food provided to those held, en masse, by police).

The 'protest movement' is being portrayed in a very narrow and (imo) negative way. Attempts were made to get the local BBC to cover the Birmingham protest (their office is 600m away from where the protest took place). Sadly, they weren't interested. The Guardian wrote a piece in the run up(LINK), but the media response to these types of protest has been to mostly ignore them.

I'd LOVE to see more of this type of calm, collected protest. They're interesting to be a part of and interesting to watch, and ultimately get people talking about positive change rather than being 'disgusted' by the anarchists on the news. I'd also love to see coverage of what I'd call "positive protests" in the media, and I don't see how they'll be able to ignore the next one...

The group [FACBOOK GROUP LINK] plans to have professional and amateur choirs from across the UK perform Verdi: Messa da Requiem - 2. Dies irae [SPOTIFY LINK] [YOUTUBE LINK] outside the gates of Downing Street. They hope to have hundreds, potentially thousands of people join them.

Again, if you can vaguely sing you're invited to join, turn up on the day and belt out a bit of Verdi at TPTB. At least if the police decide to charge this one with their horsebacked-truncheon-men-of-doom-and-depression, it'll be appropriately soundtracked.

What do you lot think of these types of protests? Has anyone got any other good flashmob ideas? We all seem to sit on here and moan a lot, why don't we organise an ATS UK members protest against the government cuts & bank bailouts?

edit on 15-12-2010 by eightfold because: speelling errorz.

edit on 15-12-2010 by eightfold because: ack, I must learn to use the preview button.

posted on Dec, 15 2010 @ 03:02 PM
Wow. I have to say it's excellent - and very moving. Their protest really illustrates why the money should not be cut.

It won't get press coverage, as you say, but it might do a lot to get public opinion behind them.


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