THE SUN shone, the bands played and everyone had a great time on the great Independent on Sunday decriminalise cannabis march last week.

The police estimated that 11,000 marchers gathered in Hyde Park but an autonomous observer has calculated that 15,000 arrived for the rally in Trafalgar Square.

There were no arrests during the two-mile march and everyone, including the police, can congratulate themselves on the good natured, party-like atmosphere of the whole event.

Many campaigners from Scotland and parts of Wales sent messages of support and regret at not being able to make the long journey to London. While others, some with unhappy previous personal experience of the law, stayed away for fear of being arrested.

After the march the Drugs Tsar, Keith Hellawell, denounced the campaign in a newspaper interview as a 'red herring'. "That must be proof positive that you are getting through to him, why else would he try so hard to marginalise the march?" wrote Brian Flowers of Brighton.

Here is a sample of the many other messages from supporters.

"It was good to see everyone using their basic human right to peaceful protest. I believe that last week's march was just the beginning. If we can continue with this pressure over the coming year(s) maybe we will be criminals no longer," said Graham Powell of Cambridge.

"The rally was the nearest thing to a free festival I have been to for years. I danced my life out down Park Lane and outside Fortnum and Mason's. I had to get a train home at 7pm so I hope I didn't miss any of the after- rally fun," writes Ana Heyatawin, Gloucestershire.

Yorick Brown e-mailed from Leeds to say: "It was great to be with like- minded people last week, the backing of a national broadsheet makes a difference ... keep the pressure up and maybe some day the laws in this country will be based on intelligent and considered opinion, rather than knee-jerk reactions and mass hysteria."

One writer, who asked for his name to be withheld, reported: "I saw loads of policemen laughing, joking, lazing around in vans and yawning, it just goes to show that cannabis smokers are not a problem to the police. Can you imagine that number of drinkers all together? What a nightmare."