I am sure that had they been on the parade route of a Middle East royal wedding, they'd have met a grislier fate: anti-war, anti-globalization protester Brian Haw and friends have been in the vicinity of Parliament Square--right across the Parliament building--since 2001. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya...Blair, Brown, Cameron...wars and prime ministers have come and gone, but these folks remain a literally immovable fixture of the British political landscape. They even have a fairly elaborate website if you're curious.
My favourite placard obviously remains "CAPITALISM ISN'T WORKING." Despite being a rather unpleasant eyesore at first, at least some Londoners may have come to view the so-called Peace Camp as a tourist attraction in its own right. Although Parliament Square was fenced out a few months ago, Brian Haw and a number of his hardcore holdout Peace Camp buddies remain on its perimeter. And so it has proven that their lasting power is again validated as today, as billions of persons around the world focussed their eyes on Central London, they remained in its midst. This despite the best efforts of Tory PM Cameron, Home Secretary Teresa May, and Mayor Boris Johnson to eject them prior to the wedding:
Prince William and Kate Middleton will be driven past anti-war campaigners and rag-bag of other protestors on Parliament Square after a failure by the combined might of David Cameron, Boris Johnson, Theresa May and Westminster City Council to get them moved in time for the royal wedding. The unsightly collection of placards, sheds and tents will remain in place on the day of the royal wedding, yards from the entrance to Westminster Abbey. The cars carrying the bride and groom will pass alongside Parliament Square on the way to the Abbey.While you may not agree with their message in its entirety, you have to admire the persistence of this ragtag bunch. Neither the passage of a decade nor the combined might of the British political establishment has dislodged them. In a way, they are as British as the royal wedding as their dogged persistence demonstrates the fabled "stiff upper lip."
The Prime Minister and the Mayor of London have both made it clear in the weeks and months leading up to today’s event, which will be beamed to millions around the world, that the so-called “peace camp” would be dismantled. Mrs May created a specific amendment in the Police Reform Bill to deal with the protestors but that has still to become law. Westminster City Council is hopeful that legal action next month will result in the protestors' removal, but it will be too late to stop the environment around the Abbey being disfigured by the signs and daubed slogans.
UPDATE: Brian Haw and the rest claim they were harassed some more today ("Day 3618") for good measure; the pictures of them along the parade route say a lot nonetheless. Watching the footage, the BBC cuts out as soon as Wills & Kate's carriage reach Parliament Square [!] I wonder why. Brian Haw gets the last hee-haw.