Wave power washes gently around Auntie
Sunday 04 April 1993
Calling out their slogansin received pronunciation, the nicely dressed multitude assembled at Hyde Park Corner from many corners of the nation as well as a few corners of foreign fields (small contingents from France, Holland and Germany claimed that the transferral of Radio 4 programmes to an FM waveband will make them inaudible to Continental listeners).
Quite a few of the men wore beards, anoraks, polo-neck sweaters, cream corduroy trousers and aggrieved frowns. Many of the women might have been heading for a gymkhana. They often led the chanting: 'What do we want?' 'Long Wave]' 'How do we ask?' 'Pleeease]' Civility and solicitude were not wanting.
Having marched to BBC headquarters, the protesters formed a semi-circle in front of the building. It would be an exaggeration to say that a section of the crowd of about 400 then stormed the entrance; rather, they were wafted towards it, their coloured balloons aloft, by temperate urging that required no intervention by police escorts. No scuffles broke out. When a balloon exploded, many nearby almost swooned.
The protest was billed as an opportunity for Radio 4 listeners to demonstrate their concerns about the proposed change which, the organisers suggested, was the work of 'latter-day Romanovs' at Broadcasting House. The point about 'Romanovs' was the closest the march got to a full- scale uprising. Certain tense- looking men did wear red berets, but these were explained as necessary identification for 'our lawyers and the like'.
But there were just as many pistachio-green berets to counterbalance the revolutionary headgear. All, with their balloons, soon floated away.
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