Date: Monday, 24 May 2021
On a typical damp grey Sunday in London, Eritreans from all corners of the great city converged on Belgrave Square, home to London’s diplomatic community.
Though the London weather was its usual grey and miserable self, it did not deter those Eritreans who had gathered to celebrate Eritrea’s 30th Independence anniversary one bit.
As cars adorned in the bright colours of the Eritrean flag began to roll out of Belgrave Square and make their way to Parliament Square, the cloudy quiet streets of London stirred into life and vibrated to the sound of hooting horns and the beat of the music blaring from the open car windows. The greyness of London dispelled by the shining smiles of Eritreans, unable to withhold their jubilation.
As the long queue of cars snaked its way past Marble Arch — the sight of past demonstrations, the Houses of Parliament, Whitehall — where in 1975 a group of Eritrean students had staged a hunger strike to highlight the plight of Eritrea, Trafalgar Square, Langham Place — home to the BBC, Euston, Kings Cross and White Lion Street, it sent out to all who care to listen, that Eritreans are as united as ever and will always enthusiastically celebrate 24th of May, the day the children of Eritrea grasped their destiny in their own hands.
White Lion street in London where the Embassy of Eritrea stands proud, is usually quiet on a Sunday, but not on this Sunday, the eve of the independence of Eritrea. White Lion street was heaving with traffic as a steady stream of cars flying high the Eritrean flag, passed by the doors of the Eritrean Embassy for a full four hours from midday Sunday up until four PM in the afternoon. The street was bursting at its seams with as a large crowd of jubilant Eritreans gathered.
Community representatives, elderly, Embassy staff, officials including the Ambassador H.E. Estifanos Habtemariam stood outside undeterred by the occasional rain fall greeting everyone until the car parade ended.
The police unable to stem the flow of cars and contain the ever growing crowd of jubilant Eritreans in White Lion street, in the end decided to close if off to non-Eritrean traffic, turning a small part of London for a brief few hours into Eritrea.