Ian Blyth – It's Just a Thought

My thoughts and opinions

London New Year Fireworks Farce

Posted by Ian Blyth on 5 January 2007

OK – not the fireworks. Those were spectacular. They made good use of the London Eye as a backdrop and launch site. Plenty of pictures on Flikr and videos on YouTube.

What I am talking about was the poor crowd dispersal afterwards. Whoever planned it did not do a good job at all. As a group of us tried to make our way to Charing Cross the only exit out from where we were was via Trafalgar Square which was still busy with revellers. When we got past that we could not get near the station. The crowd came to a halt. There was a line of police on horses and it looked like they were stopping the crowd moving in the only direction (unless they wanted to go back to Trafalgar Square). One of the policemen was using a megaphone but it was not very loud and it is unlikely that people past the 3rd or 4th row could hear. I certainly couldn’t and I was quite close. Everything was barriered off forcing people in one direction. Although the crowd were good humoured the police were treating them like a riot crowd.

When we eventually got past they had erected barriers so you had to walk a way before getting in. We decided to keep walking to Waterloo station. That was just as bad. The police there were forcing everyone round to use just one entrance and when we went for the tube we were forced around again to just one entrance which seemed like miles away. I am not sure of the point of this as these stations are used to rush hour commuter traffic each day! And the number of people there was a lot less than I had seen on a working day. We eventually got back three and half hours later although it should have just been thirty minutes.

We all agreed it was a great spectacle but no one in the group wanted to repeat the experience due to the poor handling of the crowds. Shame.

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