It had been a year since the crackdown, a long, grey, austere year of sporadic violence, police brutality, disappearances and suppression. But unlike last year there was a sense of hope in the air.
Yesterday, Anna had been woken by voices; singing old songs, traditional songs, songs she hadn't heard in a long time. The voices grew louder as the trickle of people became streams. They were coming from all directions, descending on the square in their droves. The square below became flooded with people, a sea of colour and noise, a mass statement of defiance.
Anna had noticed the atmosphere was different from last year. Last year there was no hint of the sudden response from the authorities so people had believed they could bring about a change for the better. But this year, despite the gaiety, people had been expecting the violent hand of the law to clampdown on their insubordination at any moment. There was a sense of resigned defiance, a feeling that the action was worth the reaction; the anniversary of last year’s protest needed to be marked and damn the consequences.