Police yesterday said that the protests deviated from the “arranged route.” This fact was used as a reason to kettle several thousand protesters in various parts of London, particularly for six or more hours on Westminster bridge.
The problem is, their claim is rubbish.
The recent protests have not been any one group, but hundreds of groups in towns and cities all over the UK. Those groups are organised through Facebook groups and events, through conversation on twitter, through email, text message and word of mouth. The action of any “leaders” extend as far as sending out a message as to time and place, and maybe creating a facebook event. Decisions such as which direction to march in have been made spontaneously in reaction to actions by the police and informed by information shared between protesters and people at home via Twitter.
I am sure that the police did speak to someone claiming to be in charge and they probably did arrange a route with them, but whoever it was had no say in what most of the protesters did yesterday, because these protests have no leader. Or perhaps they have hundreds.