Knives & Guns

Last Saturday and Sunday I photographed two very different events, both marches concerned largely with gun and knife crimes on the streets. I didn’t get to Manchester, where Mothers Against Violence were celebrating 10 years of success in reducing the street killings there, but there were very different marches in London on Saturday and Sunday around the issue.

I’ve photographed several related events over the years around London,  Not Another Drop in Brent in September 2007, Communities Against Gun and Knife Crime in Clapton in October 2007, the Seventh Day Adventist Youth March against Knives, Guns & Violence in June 2008 and  ‘The Peoples March’ against gun and knife crime in September 2008.

© 2008 Peter Marshall
Pathfinders gathered for the 2008 Adventist Youth march

As Saturday’s march was again organised by the Seventh Day Adventists, I expected it to be similar to the previous Adventist event, but it turned out to have a very different atmosphere. Last year’s was considerably larger and dominated by the presence of the Pathfinders, the Adventist uniformed youth movement similar in appearance to the Scouts and Guides though seeming rather more disciplined and military; this year there were few if any uniforms on display, apart from the leaders in dark suits.

© 2009 Peter Marshall.
LIVE marchers waiting on the steps of the DECC, Aug 2009

Their ‘LIVE’ (Living Intentionally Versus just (merely) Existing) youth movement had joined forces with South London based ‘FAME’ (Families Against Murders Escalating) who marched with placards ‘Life Should Mean Life‘.

© 2009 Peter Marshall.
A relative holds a FAME placard with 36 pictures of victims, Aug 2009

Hackney’s rather smaller Million Mothers March event on Sunday had a very different feel and emphasis, and one I felt rather more comfortable with.

© 2009 Peter Marshall

Here the main banner read ‘Peace On Our Streets‘ and there were other colourful banners and t-shirts printed in a local workshop, as well as people from a lively local youth project, and the event ended with some fine gospel singing that had me wanting to join in.

© 2009 Peter Marshall

As its title implies, this community-based event was in support of the wider movement and the marches in Manchester and elsewhere on the same day.

More pictures from both events and more about them and my thoughts on My London Diary. FAME in Saturday’s march highlighted some serious issues around justice some of which I mention there, but Hackney’s Million Mothers seemed to me to have a much more positive message about tackling the problem.

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