It's a glorious hot and sunny evening in London when a ragtag group of supernatural misfits turn up at Leicester Square to wave their placards and begin their march for peace and unity among the city's supernatural communities.
Organised by students at the Redbright Institute, the march begins at 6.30pm and ends at 8.30pm outside the Night Council Headquarters in Whitehall. While the march is open to all, the timing is not vampire-friendly which is not a coincidence; there's a noticeable anti-vampire sentiment amongst the crowd.
The human media pay no attention: they've had the far larger Pride march earlier in the day to report on and this event has been billed as a marine environmental awareness campaign to the outside world. No one cares. But the Night Council do, of course, and accordingly the march is policed by Guardians who are dressed as police community officers. They will intervene if the protest appears to get out of hand and stop anyone who attempts to enter the Night Council HQ.
What's the march about?
The official objective of the Peace and Unity March as posted by the Redbright student organiser is to demonstrate support for a unified supernatural community. Despite the name, it attracts a variety of protesters who all want different things. Those attending or observing the march will see and hear support for the following, in rough order of prominence:
• PEACE AND LOVE. We just want everyone to get along.
• STOP THE FIGHTING. Not just pacifism, there's also a general sense of being sick of losing loved ones and driven out of parts of the city due to fights between factions. Some of the more extreme stances also blame the "monstrous" species for inciting violence i.e. vampires, werewolves, fae.
• WE STAND TOGETHER. A stronger message of solidarity and defiance against the Night Council and its perceived biases.
• REPRESENTATION FOR ALL. Also anti-Night Council. This bleeds into discontent against both vampires and witches.
• VAMPIRES SUCK. The vampires are taking over! This is a disaster for everyone and should be stopped.
• WITCHES SUCK. The witches have been controlling London for years! Down with the witches.
There are likely to be some rather heated debates between the protesters themselves as these varying sentiments contradict each other. Some protesters feel that Sylvia Redbright was unfairly ousted from the Night Council and are vocal in supporting her. Others are just cynical about the Night Council in general.
6.30-6.45pm: Leicester Square
The crowd gathers at Leicester Square where the first fifteen minutes are spent gathering everyone together, waving some placards and generally getting everyone ready to begin the march. At this point the Guardian presence is hardly noticeable, though they are watching as soon as the march begins.
6.45-7.15pm: Victoria Embankment via Trafalgar Square
The crowd walks from Leicester Square to Trafalgar Square, then takes a diversion along the Strand before crossing over to Victoria Embankment. They pause at the Hungerford Bridge and Golden Jubilee Bridges to look out across the Thames to Waterloo, which is in Lambeth, a territory controlled by the Islington Nest. A few protesters spit in the river.
7.15-7.30pm: March from Victoria Embankment to Whitehall
From Victoria Embankment it's only a short walk to Whitehall, where the protesters march along the street before eventually coming to a halt outside the Night Council Headquarters.
7.30-8.30pm: Outside Night Council HQ
The remaining hour is spent as a sit-in protest outside the Night Council HQ. There are chants about standing together as one community, about the perceived lack of representation in the Night Council, and about peace not war. A few use loudspeakers to make speeches which are received with varying levels of enthusiasm. A small group even attempt to enter the Night Council HQ but are quickly rebuffed by Guardians who look increasingly menacing as the evening draws on.
At 8.30pm the protesters are ordered to disperse. Anyone who refuses to leave will be swiftly marched off, or even arrested, though for the most part the Guardians are trying to keep the peace.
Late evening: Off to the pub
There's no official gathering after the protest is over, but various groups do disperse to pubs around the central London area to continue the debate and generally have a good time and/or cause trouble. Some of these – the ones that are identified as potential political troublemakers – are quietly followed by undercover Guardians.