'reclaim love' 2012 - pics and reportTagged as: love no_borders reclaim_love samba
Neighbourhoods: piccadilly_circus westminster west_end
despite the pouring rain, hundreds attended the annual 'reclaim love' event at piccadilly circus yesterday, and in an antidote to valentine consumerism, they partied, hugged, laughed and played. in sync with other events around the globe, they also held hands in a huge circle round eros, and central london resonated to the chant 'may all the beings in all the worlds be happy and at peace'. this is the ninth such event in london.
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the afternoon kicked off with a samba band (made up of rhythms of resistance, sambatage, and barking bateria). as a crowd formed to listen to the music, the 'reclaim love' t-shirts were handed out, and the hare krishna food trolley dished out lovely dall and rice to anyone who wanted some.
meanwhile, more sambaistas were leading the no border march from st paul's, and accompanied by several vanloads of riot police they arrived at eros too. with all the love around, most of the police beat a hasty retreat, leaving a few officers and a couple of FIT looking on.
some of the 'no borders' crew left for a solidarity noise demo at wandsworth prison, but others remained and took part in the circle at 3.30. this is the bit where 'venus' persuades londoners, tourists, workers, and passers-by, to join hands in a large circle all around the eros fountain, and then start chanting in unison 'may all the beings in all the worlds be happy and at peace'. this continues for a few minutes, and the central pavement becomes eerily empty (excepting the occasional bemused tourist walking through).
it takes a lot of skill, determination and love to make this happen each year, and 'venus' has now managed it for the ninth time, with a growing number of similar events joining in around the world each year.
after the circle, it was party time, and the sound system took over while people laughed, played, hugged, and danced. in previous years, there has been a swathe of live musicians and artists playing on into the evening, but with the damp conditions this year's event was curtailed a little, although the skies did clear and the sun came out for a while after the first circle.
as the pink evening light began to die, venus encouraged another smaller circle and more chanting before packing up, clearing the area of litter, and handing out some more parting gifts.
bizarrely, some people like having a go at the event, calling it a hippie fest and such-like. all i know is that it's infectious, and that people who wouldn't otherwise speak to eachother share a moment in central london that is different, happy, loving and uplifting, and that can't exactly be a bad thing.
venus' website is reclaimlove.org, and the event normally takes place on the saturday near valentine's day each year. if you missed it and you like the sound of it, come next year.
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