As the Tory party crowned its new leader and our prime minister, Londoners took to the streets
Boris Johnson is prime minister, and no one is happy about it. OK, sorry, 0.13 per cent of the British population is happy about it. Democracy! In protest of his victory, thousands of people took to the streets yesterday (July 24) to reject the Tory premiership in London.
Part of that resistance culminated in the Fck Govt Fck Boris march at central London’s Russell Square. Named after a lyric in Stormzy’s “Vossi Bop”, the march was organised before Johnson was officially announced (but we all knew it was a cert) as our new PM on Tuesday (July 23), with the Facebook description reading: “Boris Johnson – a proudly racist, sexist, homophobic prick – will take hold of a government defined by its violent cruelties to people of colour, migrants, women.”
It continues: “At the time he gives his first speech as PM, we will hold a street festival celebrating the power of our communities.” Showing unity and resilience, and proving Boris opposers know how to have a good time (unlike Tories who run through fields of wheat), the march was more like a party than a protest, with music, dancing, and colourful flares.
“The vibe is positive,” 27-year-old protester Vineet told Dazed, “we’re all on the same page. We don’t like the fact that our government is deciding stuff for us instead of actually listening to us. We don’t like the fact our voices aren’t heard, so we’re here to make them heard.”
“He’s not elected, we didn’t ask for him, and we want him gone” – Vineet
An estimated 10,000 people joined the march, which was organised by numerous activist groups including Sisters Uncut, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, Black Lives Matter UK, as well as gal-dem, Owen Jones, and more.
“I’m here today because Boris Johnson is absolutely not my prime minister”, 30-year-old Amy explained. “He’s incompetent, he’s elitist, he’s homophobic, he’s racist, and he doesn’t represent the Britain I know.” Holding a sign that read ‘Ovie 4 PM’ (the fan favourite on Love Island), Amy described the attractive basketball player, and one of few well-rounded humans in the show as having “all the good qualities of a prime minister”. “He has always demonstrated integrity and respect for his fellow islanders. He’s a supportive friend, and he also handles drama well.” Fair TBH.
Continuing the cult TV references was Mairon, 29, who was dressed as Joffrey from Game of Thrones. “Joffrey is an arsehole,” she declared, “no one wanted Joffrey and no one wants Boris.”
Protesters were joined by a red London bus with a ‘Fck Govt Fck Boris’ sign draped over it – a direct reference to Vote Leave’s notorious campaign bus that declared: “We send the EU £350 million a week, let’s fund our NHS instead.” This lie almost sent our prime minister to trial for “lying and misleading the British public” – you have to laugh or you’d cry.
“Fuck Boris, man!” 23-year-old Jerome asserted. “Calling black people ‘piccaninnies’, the letterbox stuff, his association with Steve Bannon – we’ve got to oppose this every way we can. This is how fascism slowly creeps into society.”
Holding a sign that said ‘Remember Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’ – the British-Iranian woman who Johnson incorrectly stated was training journalists in Iran – 18-year-old Katrina told us: “His comments ensured her imprisonment in a barbaric Iranian prison, and she’s still there without any chance of freedom any time soon.”
Chanting “Boris Johnson, fuck off back to Eton”, demonstrators remained peaceful throughout the evening, with no arrests being made.
“He’s not elected, we didn’t ask for him, and we want him gone”, Vineet concluded. “Make sure you’re voting, make sure you’re taking part in elections, make sure the future is yours and not someone else deciding it for you.”
Read back on our politics editor-at-large GAIKA’s piece about standing together in a world run by racists and charlatans. “Culture matters: it’s the battlefield we can fight on before the bloodletting starts,” he says.