The crowd outside the research wing of the hospital had grown quickly in a short space of time. Not quite with the same speed that a flashmob would come together but for the passerby, there wasn’t much difference. Signs and placards were held up by men and women wearing PETA t-shirts, proclaiming their hatred for animal testing. Among them were the dreadlocked and tie-dyed crew; the protesters who opposed capitalism as a whole and for whom the pharmaceutical industry was one big melanoma on the skin of society. Behind the front line of the protest specific that had been bussed in from far and wide and the protest ever-present were the locals who had heard of what was going down through social media. Publicly shared Facebook pages, #hospitalprotest trending on Twitter, along with Snapchat and Instagram shots being fired about by almost everyone present had made sure that anyone with even a remote interest in animal welfare, “bad” pharma or even just protesting and playing Rage Against The Machine really loud had come along to take part or spectate.
Viewed from a socio-anthropological angle, the crowd assembled outside the hospital resembled a trifle, with distinct layers clearly visible from observing dress code, behaviour and language. The only thing messing up this picture was the floaters. Men and women in the crowd with scarves and bandanas covering their faces and hoods pulled over their heads, milling amongst every layer and making comments to anyone who would listen about turning violent and doing something. These were the dark anarchistic “bad seeds” that the media loved to blame everything on whenever a protest got out of control or riots started up. At an even smaller level that academic observers would miss, there was one hooded woman who wasn’t an anarchist at all, but was using their presence to mask her own purposes. Sophie had an edge, she knew where the cameras pointed and where she could stand and spread discontent without being picked up. Despite the cameras not being advanced enough to have been equipped with face recognition, she knew that the men sitting in the CCTV control room would recognise her. She fixed the bandana covering her face and pulled her hood down tighter so that only her eyes showed and continued through the crowd.