Archive for the ‘Political Issues’ Category

Finsbury Park Again

Monday, September 25th, 2017

I walked past the New River on what seemed a long march on Saturday, against the London Borough of Haringey’s intention to give away a couple of billion pounds of public property to a rather doubtful Australian property developer. It’s a course of action that should be criminal, but unfortunately our laws are seldom written to protect the rights of ordinary people, many of whom will lose their homes as a result.

Haringey’s plan, being pushed through by a small group of Labour councillors and officials is unusual only in its scale; one poster being carried on the march listed over a hundred council estates in London that Labour councils either have or intend to hand over to private developers (who now include housing associations) with an almost complete loss of truly affordable social housing, a process they call ‘regeneration’ but which is more accurately described as social cleansing. It’s really long past time the Labour party put it’s house and its housing policies in order.

Of course local government in the UK has always been rife with corruption, a curious mixture of public service and private gain, with the private interests of councillors and their relatives often profiting from public decisions. It was doubtless so in the Victorian era, though at least then it was tempered by a great deal of municipal pride which provided some fine public buildings – and more recently at least in some areas by the building of flagship council estates, like the Heygate in Southwark and Central Hill in Lambeth which I’ve written about here in the past.

And back then there was perhaps some satisfaction for those people thrown out of their homes with nowhere to go in the feeling that those responsible might eventually get their just reward in the fires of Hell, whereas nowadays they are more likely to end up on hefty expenses in the House of Lords.

But more of that in a later post, after I’ve put the picture from the march onto My London Diary, currently stuck somewhere in early August.  But walking along the street I suddenly remembered I’d been here before.

Back in 2002, I was busy with my Hasselblad X-Pan in and around FInsbury Park, having recently acquired the 30mm lens which changed it from a panoramic format camera into a true panoramic camera. There seemed to me to be little point in using the camera with the standard lens, although the larger negative (24mm high and 65 mm wide) did produce medium format quality on 35mm film. The 30mm f5.6 gives a horizontal angle of view of 94 degrees, about the maximum that makes sense with a rectilinear perspective, with any larger angle of view the elongation of subjects at the image edges becomes unbearable.

If you are wondering, the 45mm is roughly equivalent ot a 25mm lens on a 35mm full-frame camera, while the 30mm equates to 16.7mm. And while I’ve used wider full-frame lenses, including the remarkable Sigma 12-24mm zoom, anything less than 16mm is almost always better done with a fisheye.

Most of the 36 images on the Finsbury Park mini-site were taken using the 30mm lens, which came with its own viewfinder, and a filter to even out exposure across the frame. Although the centre of the film when focused at infinity (as all these pictures probably were) was only 30mm from the film, the extreme edges are almost 44mm away, and receive slightly over a stop less light, though lens design probably makes the difference even greater. With colour negative film the centre spot filter was essential, though you could use the camera for black and white without and compensate in the darkroom.

One of the images from this set, of the New River, won a small competition and now hangs on my bedroom wall, though it wasn’t my personal favourite of the set. On Saturday I didn’t quite make the march as far as Finsbury Park. Photographing a march is considerably more physically tiring than simply walking, involving a lot of hurrying to and fro, a little climbing on walls and too much walking backwards, and I also find it mentally tiring, and buy the time we reached Manor Park I needed to rest.

More panoramas from Finsbury Park though the print prices are rather out of date.


Culture Calls

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

Looking back at around 15 years of My London Diary I’m very much aware that the main focus of my photographic work has shifted from a broader cultural perspective towards the more narrowly political. In part the reasons for this have to do with changes in society and the outside pressures and the great increase in grass roots political activity over those years, and in part they reflect changes in my own political perceptions.

First there was the increasing frustration with the failure of a Labour government to put forward Labour policies, continuing basically Thatcherite policies under Blair and then Brown. Then we had the remorseless austerity of the coalition and and Cameron years, before the national interest was sacrificed to Tory in-fighting with the Brexit referendum. Now we see a weak and failing adminstration dedicated to following not the will but the whim of the British people who voted on the promise of the unobtainable .

Of course it isn’t only British issues. The UK and London in particular has always provide a stage for protests for and by the world, in part because of the involvement of this country around the world, probably greater than ever in these post-Empire and post-Colonial days thanks to the devious antics of the City and companies based here.

And thinking about some of the events I used to photograph I perhaps feel I’ve said all I have to say about them. Delightful though it is to photograph – for example – Vaisakhi, I rather feel I’ve taken enough pictures and covered enough of what is essentially the same festival every year. But whatever the reasons, these days I seldom cover the religious and other cultural events which once took up much of my time.

I wouldn’t have bothered to cover the Willesden Green Wassail if I hadn’t had a message from the organiser inviting me to do so.  I’d enjoyed photographing it back in 2014,  and had nothing essential in my diary for that day, so decided to make the journey to photograph it another time. And I enjoyed it again.

Willesden is an interesting area, a part of London that seems very happy with being multicultural, with a borough, Brent, which until hit by the cuts was very intent on celebrating the various festivals of its different groups.

It’s also an area served by a great number of small shops, helped by lower rents than in many areas of London – though this is beginning to change as gentrification creeps in, if more slowly here than in much of London.

A couple of days later came a more political event around culture, organised as a part of a week of actions by trade unions and celebrating some of our cultural institutions and those union members who work in them.

Although our culture celebrates the stars – and rewards them with often astronomical salaries for doing usually what they love to do – and a few months later the BBC was forced to reveal how much it pays its highly paid staff, some of whom clearly don’t deserve it – these stars depend on many others who work in the industry, including some on or close to the minimum wage, and in London in particular below the living wage.

Our tour reminded us of some of these, particularly the workers for Picturehouse, and the continuing fight by those at the Ritzy, in Hackney and elsewhere who are still fighting for a living wage in an industry that makes billions and rewards the stars extravagantly. And in our great public galleries staff are increasingly being replaced by out-sourced workers on low pay, minimal conditions of service and little or no job security. Management are pinching pennies from those who can least afford them, while those at the top get fat salaries – and yachts as leaving presents.

Show Culture some Love
Willesden Green Wassail


Death on the Roads

Sunday, September 17th, 2017

Die-in remembers 3 cyclists and 2 pedestrians killed on London roads in the previous week

Cyclists arouse deep and entirely irrational prejudice among many vocal members of the British public, and I’ve spent some time trying to understand why, though with no great success. And here some of my somewhat random thoughts possibly related to the subject.

Many at the protest wore phoographs of one of the cyclists killed that week

Back in the 1890s there was a bicycling craze here and in the US in particular; the introduction of the ‘safety bicycle’ with its smaller wheels and chain drive and its widespread availability changed the way people lived.

In particular it led to much greater freedom for women, changing the way they dressed and how they behaved – so much so that Susan B Anthony in 1896 said, “the bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world.” The popularity of bicycles also provided a need for smoother, pothole free roads, and the roads that we now use were largely made for the use of bicycles.

Back in the 1940s and early 1950s, pretty well everyone except the rich rode bicycles. They were (and are) a cheap and reliable form of transport and schools and factories would have large cycle sheds. But times were changing, and as Harold Macmillan said in 1957 “most of our people have never had it so good”; the post-war boom meant the working class was getting more money and it became a part of everyone’s aspiration to get a car. Back at school in the early 1960’s we all envied one of my friend who had a part-time job and could afford to own and run a Morris Minor, not least for its potential in attracting members of the opposite sex.

Bicycle clips became an emblem of failure. Or of extreme crankiness (rather appropriate for cyclists although of course it derives from the Dutch or German for sick.) People on bikes began to be seen inferior beings who should always give way to their motorised superiors. Planners and road engineers (with a few exceptions, particularly in the new towns) almost entirely disregarded the needs of cyclists in the interest of making the movement of motorists faster and reducing congestion.

Attitudes and behaviour towards children have also changed. When I was primary school age my parents were happy for me to go and play with friends out on the streets, to ride around the area on my bike. By the time I was in long trousers – at 11 – I was cycling all over a wide range of outer London, making my way to Box Hill, Virginia Water, Windsor, the Devil’s Punchbowl and more, sometimes with friends, but often on my own.

When those of my generation went to youth clubs or activities we weren’t taken by car (my father didn’t own one, though he had possibly driven when in the RAF and had certainly ridden a motorbike in his younger days, but when I knew him he rode an ancient bike, or when he had heavy loads used a push-cart) but used bike or occasionally bus.

Roads then were even more dangerous than now. In 1960 almost 7,000 people were killed on UK roads; by 2015 that had dropped to 1700, and injuries, particularly serious injuries, were also greatly reduced. Though the kind of side streets that I lived and played on are perhaps more dangerous, partly because there are many more parked cars which obscure vision, but mainly because people drive much faster down them – why more areas are now getting 20mph limits – though nothing is done to enforce them.

The change isn’t driven by safety but by perceptions of danger, and particularly perceptions of ‘stranger danger’ driven by some rather hysterical campaigning. Children have always been at risk from some adults, largely from family members, but also from a few strangers, and I don’t think those risks have increased. We were given simple and straightforward advice. But we were also given a freedom which no longer exists. Parents who behaved like almost all parents did then would now find themselves threatened by social workers – as happened to a family we knew in our area a few years ago.

Owning a car if you live in a city like London isn’t an entirely rational act, but one that the car makers have had to encourage and promote though millions spent on advertising. For longer journeys, except in the outer suburbs where public transport is often poor it’s a slow and generally inconvenient way to get to places, and for shorter journeys a bike is generally much faster. At least some of that motorist hate comes from seeing people on bikes moving much faster than them through traffic queues – and sometimes doing so in slightly unconventional ways.

Green Party London Assembly member Caroline Russell

Perhaps the greatest boost to cycling in London came from the 2005 terrorist attack, making some reluctant to use tube or bus to get to work. Another factor has certainly been the rise of the Brompton folding bicycle, which many can take on the train and into their workplace to cut the risk of theft. Brompton’s aren’t cheap, though there are also cheaper folders on the streets. And thanks to Ken Livingstone we also have ‘Boris Bikes’.

With more people cycling we have more deaths of cyclists and the protest and die-in outside the Treasury in Parliament Square came at the end of a disastrous week in which 3 cyclists and 2 pedestrians were killed by drivers in London. Most deaths of cyclists come from them being hit by lorries and other large vehicles which have large areas of restricted visibility due to their design – something which has to change.

Serious accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians are rare – the energy involved in such collisions is so much lower. Probably rather more injuries are caused by accidents involving other pedestrians which are common and usually unrecorded. Probably pedestrian hate is more a matter of the visibility of cyclists – and the way some mainly young cyclists ride fast on pavements past people. Usually their fast reactions and control of their bikes avoids collisions but can frighten some. While cyclists and pedestrians can mix safely – as they do on many miles of officially shared pavements – cyclists should certainly do so with appropriate caution, as the movements of pedestrians are often unpredictable.

Cycling has much to contribute to the city, cutting down congestion and pollution, and to our health as a nation suffering from over-consumption and obesity. It should be encouraged by making it easier and making it safer. London needs a giant leap in spending to cut deaths from traffic pollution and poor health, as well as policies that increase public transport and cuts the use of cars and other motor vehicles, both petrol and diesel, moving all those buses, taxis and other necessary vehicles to electric over a relatively short time-frame.


Shame on May

Saturday, September 16th, 2017

One area that has shown the real inhumane and nasty nature of our current government most clearly has been its treatment of refugees, particularly those fleeing Syria. Theresa May’s response stands in such incredible contrast with that of Angela Merkel. Merkel isn’t a person whose politics generally I have much sympathy with, and certainly not someone I would have regarded as a person of great warmth. But faced with the huge flow of people in distress she made a courageous decision – and one which she will have known was politically dangerous – to help the refugees.

Theresa May in complete contrast has been consistently inhumane – both as Home Secretary and Prime Minister over this and related issues. It isn’t just that she lacks any empathy for her fellow human beings, but it is also cowardice, running scared of the right-wing bigots of her own party.

The Lord Dubs, formerly for some years Alf Dubs, Labour MP in Battersea, gained widespread support in both houses of Parliament for his amendment to the Immigration Act 2016 which offered unaccompanied refugee children safe passage to Britain and the Tory government was forced to accept it. But they did so grudgingly, and acted in a desultory manner, inventing excuses to avoid implementing it to any great extent, pretending there were no places for the children to go even when many local authorities had offered them, and eventually abandoning the program in February 2017 after only 300 of the 3000 children should have been brought here.

I’m pleased that my own signature was one of the 44,434 on the petition that was taken to 10 Downing St, but angry that this failed to get a response. Though not surprised, as this is only one of a number of occasions on which the Tory government have ignored or flouted the law.

Lord Dubs has of course a particular personal involvement in the issue. Born in Czechoslovakia in 1932, he was one of the almost 700 children saved from the Nazis by the English stockbroker Nicholas Winton and his team of helpers, though it was only in later life that Dubs learnt the details. Among those who spoke at the event was a woman who had been a friend of Winton (who was knighted in 2002, thanks in part to campaigning by Dubs) who reminded us of his motto, ‘If it’s not impossible, there must be a way to do it.‘ Unfortunately, despite wide political support for bringing the children here, May remained unmoved.

More at Dubs Now – Shame on May.

Flares at King’s

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

Photographing people holding flares is something of a hit or miss thing, with rather a lot of unpredictable behaviour. There are the people holding the flares, and protesters movements are often fairly unpredictable, but smoke is also peculiarly so. And if you actually get in the smoke, camera exposure metering gets pretty unhinged too and it can also be difficult to focus.

Though I usually like to get as close as possible for most of my pictures (though I know it often pays to stand back a little for a wider view) it seldom works to get too close to people holding smoke flares – and can be quite uncomfortable too. The smoke isn’t good for the lungs or the eyes and has an unpleasant smell, and very close contract can result in burns and stains on clothing that are hard to remove.

It isn’t I think illegal to set off smoke flares, although police and government web sites state it is. The relevant law is clear that it is only an offence “if in consequence a user of the highway is injured, interrupted or endangered” and I think that would be hard to show in this case. But of course, I’m not a lawyer.

Another case where laws are often invoked against protesters is for the use of chalk and other easily removed markings on roadways, pavements and walls. Police during this protest talked with and asked for names and addresses of some of those who painted with chalk on the wall of King’s College. It’s had to prove ‘criminal damage’ when a simple wipe of a damp sponge – or even the rain – will remove it, though at least one protester was convicted for this a year or two back at the University of London Senate House – and a specialist cleaning company apparently got paid hundreds of pounds for a few seconds wielding a damp rag.
The organiser of this protest, PhD student Roger Hallam had been suspended for writing “Divest From Oil and Gas Now. Out of Time!” in spray chalk at an earlier protest, and in response at this event there was a great deal of displaying messages by other non-permanent methods, as well as a few who chose to deliberately paint washable coloured dots.

There is so far as I’m aware no law relating to the use of balloons on the public highway, and the protesters took full advantage of this. It was just a little difficult to photograph the long line, and space was limited between the wall and he protesters as they moved to tape them onto it.

The aim of the protest was to persuade King’s College to end its investments in fossil fuels and switch to investments in renewable energy,  part of a London-wide divestment  campaign.

More at King’s College Divest Oil & Gas Now!


Trump & May

Monday, September 11th, 2017

Mobile phones are a mixed blessing. I don’t like the thought that your every movement can be tracked whenever you carry one, though it was very useful when I left mine on a bus earlier this year – and was able to watch it slowly moving along the map towards the depot, from where a couple of days later I collected it. But as a journalist I don’t like the idea that the police can now track my movements – and would like it even less if I was working in some foreign countries.

And on my recent holiday it was great to be able to see my own position on the OS map I’d bought and downloaded to the phone, something I used far more than the paper copy. This year, rather unusually I didn’t get lost at all.

But being available for people who know your phone number to contact you at any time – or at least when your phone is switched on and has battery – is not always a good thing. Though much of the time when I’m actually working there is too much noise for me to hear (or notice a vibration) from the phone in my pocket.

Dawn Butler MP

At lunchtime on 4th Feb I was more or less at the front of a densely-packed crowd in front of the US embassy, in a good position to photograph the speakers at a rally calling for Trump to end his Muslim ban and for May to withdraw the invitation to a State Visit here. It was at a quiet moment in the proceedings when a refugee poet was reading one of her works that I heard a faint ringing and answered the call.

It was my wife, and she was locked out as the lock on our back door would not open with her key. And she wasn’t well, or I might have stayed to finish the job before making the fairly long trip home, but I began walking to the bus stop as I talked to her, abandoning the protest. An hour and a quarter later I found my key didn’t work either, but fortunately I had the keys to the front entrance which did. More bad news was that we needed a locksmith who came, couldn’t open the lock and had to use a jemmy and then an angle grinder to cut through the lock and fit a new one. It wasn’t cheap.

Fortunately I’d already taken enough pictures to file a decent story, including probably the two most important speakers, Brent Labour MP Dawn Butler, shadow minister for diverse communities before she resigned to vote against the Brexit Bill and NUT General Secretary Kevin Courtney, and plenty of the protesters and their placards – it was a protest that brought out wit and obscenities – so I was able to file a decent story, though I had to miss the march to Whitehall and the further rally there.

It’s often the case with marches than the best opportunities for pictures are before they start, when people are often more closely packed and a little less organised. Back when I photographed some carnival processions with a few of my photographer friends we would usually pack up and go the the pub as the procession began. And for many of the longer political marches in London don’t walk the whole way.

Taking photographs means a lot of walking backwards as well forwards, going too and fro, and is considerably more tiring than simply marching. And as I usually want to cover marchers at the back as well as at the front (and those in-between) with large marches I try to find a convenient point to take the tube to the destination.

I often see other photographers standing around talking with each other before a protest starts, and while I like to be sociable (and often we have useful information to exchange) I sometimes feel they are missing opportunities and will leave them and get on with the job. And at some marches there are some photographers who only photograph the people carrying the banner at the front and just walk ahead of this all the way. It’s seldom a place to get the most interesting pictures.

And a small note to event organisers. A red roof to the stage is not a good idea. It really doesn’t provide a good background and it bathes the speakers in red light which isn’t flattering. Please chose a fairly neutral colour, perhaps a light or mid grey.  18% would help with our exposures!

More pictures at: No Muslim Ban, No State Visit.


Slash, Trash & Plunder

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

STP must be one of the most overloaded TLA’s (Three letter acronyms), with well over 30 possibilities listed on a Google disambiguation page, including the Government’s latest back-door approach to the transfer of our National Health System (NHS) to the private sector, the Sustainability and transformation partnerships, but not the alternative interpretations favoured by pro-NHS campaigners such as Slash, Trash & Plunder.

Campaigners, many of whom work in the NHS, see the STP’s as a part of the plan by minister Jeremy Hunt to replace our NHS with a privatised system based on the US model which he advocated in a book published well before he became Health Secretary. They say the STPs amount to a cut of £22m in NHS funding and will result in cuts in services, reduction of quality, cuts in social care and increased health inequalities And they point out that our public system is several times more cost-effective than the US model the government is moving to by stealth.

It’s a move that will mean rich pickings for those with money invested in healthcare companies, including many Conservative MPs. Already companies like Virgin Healthcare are taking over many more straightforward aspects of the NHS, with Richard Branson laughing all the way to the bank – and currently suing the NHS because he hasn’t been awarded more contracts.

My medical knowledge is probably at about the level of playing that the ‘Operation’ game demands, though I lack the hand-eye coordination and motor skills required to do well.

After a rally with speeches, including one from the first baby born under the NHS in the first seconds of 1948, Aneira Thomas (shown below with Junior Doctor Aislinn Macklin-Doherty), the campaigners marched to the Department of Health on Whitehall for a further rally.

But unfortunately it will take more than a minor medical miracle to cure the deliberate deafness of the Tories chasing the scent of lucrative winnings from replacing a public service by their private businesses.

Perhaps another of those TLA possibilities listed by Google might be appropriate for the British public given the plot of the Tory privateers; there is apparently a Society for Threatened Peoples, and our health provision is certainly facing a massive threat. And the only hope for the NHS is a change of government.

More pictures at Save our NHS from STP Cuts.



Sunday, September 3rd, 2017

In the past I’ve bought HP printers. Both inkjet and laser printers for the college at which I taught, and we still have an HP Laserjet 1100 attached to my wife’s computer, still going strong after around 18 years, though now always with cheap compatible toners. I won’t buy HP – and their toners cost 5 times as much.

I probably first bought HP printers after seeing them on the HP stand at BETT, which used to be known as the British Educational Training and Technology Show but is now billed as the “World’s Leading EdTech Event” and likes to hide the British bit of its name. Back when I first went it was at the Barbican, then moved to Olympia, where I took my first ever pictures with a digital camera on one of the stands (and wasn’t too excited by the quality) and is now held every January at the Excel Centre on London’s Royal Victoria Docks.

People do come from all around the world to the show now – not that there is really any need to, but it’s a good excuse to get out of school for a few days and get a trip to London and your hotel paid for by your employer, though for me it was only a day off and the train fare. You can pick up a few ideas at the various sessions and stands of all the leading companies, and I certainly saved my employers money by getting some good deals on gear, but that was before the days there was so much on line that big shows like this with all the travel etc are really just a perk for those who get to dine out on them. How much longer we can waste all the carbon involved?

But now I certainly wouldn’t buy from HP, as I’ve read all the information from Inminds at this and other protests, and know the vital role that HP play in supporting the often illegal and inhumane persecution of Palestinians by the Israeli state and its military. Inminds launched its campaign to boycott HP in September 2014 and I’ve covered a number of their protests at various venues since then. You can read why they boycott HP on their web site, which also has some of their pictures from the protests and graphics which show some of the posters too small to read in my pictures.

I didn’t stay too long at the protest – the courtyard in front of the exhibition centre is a cold and windswept place. It’s also one of London’s many (and increasing) privately owned public spaces, and although the centre’s management don’t try to prevent the protest, they do try to marginalise them. Throughout the time I was there the police were constantly coming to the protest organisers and trying to move them further away or restrict their activities, though their requests were not always complied with.

Quite a few of those going into the show came to read the posters and others came across when they came out from the exhibition for a cigarette break. There were a couple of people who reacted adversely – one complained bitterly and loudly that they were not protesting about the mistreatment of Armenians, and was told if he felt strongly about the issue he should organise a protest. Police eventually led him away and talked to him and he went on into the exhibition.

Another man threw a hefty show catalogue at the protesters, fortunately missing them and complained that they were anti-semitic. They told him that they had no issues with Jews – and several of the protesters were Jewish, handed his catalogue back and told him to behave himself, and again police came and told him to keep the peace.

But there were more who came to praise the protesters and thank them, taking photographs on their phone and tweeting about the protest, including one woman who then went along the line of protesters, hugging and kissing each in turn.

More pictures: Ban HP from BETT show


King’s Cleaners

Saturday, September 2nd, 2017

Until recently, my main contact with King’s University in the Strand in London has been waiting for buses outside it, most usually for the short journey to Waterloo or Westminster. A lot of buses stop there, though as often in London you can wait a little while before the one you need comes along. And while you do, there are giant portraits along the frontage of Kings (aka KCL) of some of the alumni listing their achievements.

And it is an impressive pantheon. King’s began in 1829 when King George IV and the Duke of Wellington got together to found it, and not surprisingly it got a royal charter that same year. In 1836 it got together with University College London (which predated it by 3 years) to found London University. In more recent years it has added to the names it can proudly display by a number of mergers, taking in among others Queen Elizabeth College (formerly its Ladies Department), Chelsea College of Science and Technology, the Institute of Psychiatry, the United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals and the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery.

Something it can’t be so proud of is the way it has treated its cleaners. So ashamed that it actually has employed another company to do its dirty work, outsourcing the cleaning to Servest.

Cleaners at King’s are paid less than the London Living Wage and are overworked, often expected to do the work of colleagues who are sick or on holiday in addition to their own. They have conditions of employment significantly worse than King’s would dream of giving staff directly employed by them, getting only statutory sick pay and other benefits and are subjected to arbitrary disciplinary measures. They work in King’s to keep King’s clean – but King’s denies any responsibility for them.

Perhaps surprisingly, the cleaners are members of one of our major trade unions Unison. And much less surprising was that in the ballot they voted 98% in favour of taking strike action. And this rather dull day I was photographing their lunchtime rally on the second day of their strike. They had been picketing there since the early morning, but were still in great spirits, blowing horns, speaking, shouting and dancing, supported by some King’s students and staff, and Unison members from other branches, as well as some cleaners from elsewhere in other unions including the UVW. There does seem to be an increasing feeling that low paid workers need to work together to get a wage they can live on and for cleaners to no longer be treated like the dirt they clean.

King’s College cleaners strike

Peckham against Deportations

Friday, September 1st, 2017

A week after their march in Brixton, Movement for Justice returned to South London for another march against deportation, this time in Peckham, another area where immigration raids have met with anger from the local population.

The protesters are calling on the governments of Nigeria, Ghana, Jamaica, Pakistan and Afghanistan to end their collusion with the racist UK government. They say that immigration raids and mass deportation charter flights are targeting long-established African, Asian and Caribbean communities, dividing families, deporting people who have built lives in the UK with parents, partners and children here.

One of several stops for short speeches to let everyone know why they are protesting

They compare these flights to the ships used in the slave trade, calling them modern slave ships, with deportees shackled with a guard on each side in a cruel and divisive act of racist discrimination.

High Court decisions have ruled that the Home Office has exceeded its legal powers in its deportation of people between 2005 and 2015 with over 10,000 asylum seekers having been illegally deported from the UK in that period. But those who oversaw these illegal acts – including Theresa May have gone unpunished.

Among those supporting the march were SOAS Detainee Support (SDS), Anti Raids Network, Zimbabwe Human Rights Organization Mazimbabweans, Jewdas, BLMUK, London Mexico Solidarity, Sisters Uncut South East London and Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants.

More at Peckham march against deportations.