“I’m sorry, sir, I can’t let you through. We have orders not to let anybody on or off the bridge.”
It was John’s first experience of kettling – many protestors being concentrated (kettled) into a small area, but after a day at work, he was tired and simply wanted to catch his train home.
“Okay, how do I get to Waterloo Station? What routes are open?”
“You can get there over Waterloo Bridge or Lambeth Bridge [the next bridges, east and west], sir, but I’m sorry, I can’t let you onto Westminster Bridge.”
“Okay, thanks for nothing”, muttered John, already turning and beginning to fight his way through the crowd. “Fucking Extinction Rebellion”, he muttered, under his breath.
It only occurred to John later that evening, what right did the policeman have to stop him crossing the bridge? Wasn’t it always touted that the UK was a free country? So, why was he not free to cross the bridge? Why were the protestors not free just to clear the fuck out of his way?
He spent the next three hours on Google, and, by the end of the evening, another protestor had been born.