Posts Tagged ‘2014’

Decent Housing & Saving the NHS – 2014

Friday, July 5th, 2024

Decent Housing & Saving the NHS: Ten years ago today there were protests over two of the major issues which still face our incoming government today, but which I have no faith in them facing or improving.


Focus E15 March for Decent Housing – East Ham

Decent Housing & Saving the NHS

The housing crisis largely stems from successive governments, largely starting with Thatcher prioritising private ownership above all other ways of providing homes for people. Thatcher gave away publicly owned social housing to tenants at knock-down prices and refused to allow councils to try to replace what had been lost.

Decent Housing & Saving the NHS

Government housing policy since have been obsessed with the idea of the “housing ladder“; housing isn’t – or shouldn’t be – about ladders to increase personal wealth but about homes, and the ladder is very definitely that in “Pull up the ladder, Jack! We’re all right” and sod those left at the bottom below.

Decent Housing & Saving the NHS

Private renting has also moved from being a way in which owners of properties derived and income from properties they owned, to a scheme where more and more tenants are paying high rents to buy properties for their landlords. It’s a crazy system and one which should be stopped.

Decent Housing & Saving the NHS

We have also seen a huge growth in properties which are largely built to be bought as investments, particularly by overseas investors, often being left unoccupied for all or most of the time. Clearly this needs to be made economically nonviable, not only because of the effects it has on the shortage of homes, but also because of the way it is seriously distorting the development of our cities.

Second (and multiple) home ownership is also an increasing problem, particularly in the more desirable rural areas of the country and we need to find ways to reduce the impact of this, perhaps through taxation to provide a fund to build social housing in these areas.

But the basic solution to the country’s housing problems is simple. Build more social housing. Any government which comes in without this as the main thurst of their housing policy will fail to improve the housing crisis.

As I wrote ten years ago “We need a government – national and local – determined to act for the benefit of ordinary people, making a real attempt to build much more social housing, removing the huge subsidies currently given to private landlords through housing benefit, legislating to provide fair contracts for private tenants and give them decent security – and criminalising unfair evictions.” We haven’t got one.

You can read more about the march in East Ham organised by Focus E15 Mums to demand secure housing, free from the threats of eviction, soaring private rents, rogue landlords, letting agents illegally discriminating, insecure tenancies and unfair bedroom tax and benefit cap on My London Diary.

The march was supported by housing protest groups from Hackney, Brent and from South London and organisations including BARAC and TUSC. I was surprised to see the popular support it received on the streets with even some motorists stopping their cars to put money in the collection buckets.

More at Focus E15 March for Decent Housing.


Save our Surgeries on NHS 66th Birthday – Whitechapel

The National Health Service began on 5th July 1948 and on its 66th anniversary the Save our Surgeries campaign against health cuts in Tower Hamlets marched to Hackney in a show of opposition to health cuts, surgery closures and NHS privatisation.

The setting up of the NHS was opposed by the Conservatives and they and the doctors and dentists associations forced many compromises which led to it being a less than comprehensive health service, though still a great national achievement and one which for we are justly proud of.

Many doctors made – and some still make – large incomes from private practice and fought to keep these rather than back a universal system wholeheartedly. But in more recent years a huge private medical system has grown up alongside the NHS and more and more people are covered through work schemes providing private medical cover.

This private system has grown parasitically on the state medical system and all governments over the past thirty or more years have found ways to syphon off money to it, by allowing it to tender for various more straightforward aspects of NHS services.

Successive governments have also created huge administrative burdens on the NHS, setting up new levels of administrators which oversee and to some extent override clinical decisions. But financially the most disastrous impact on the NHS comes from the various PFI agreements, largely made under New Labour, which enabled the building of new hospitals without the costs appearing in the government’s debts, but tied the trusts running the hospitals into huge debt repayments and the kind of service contracts that make replacing a light bulb cost £1200.

General practice was set up in 1948 under doctor-owned surgeries but increasingly these are now owned by healthcare companies after New Labour in 2007 allowed larger companies to buy them up. Operose Health, part of US healthcare giant Centene Corporation in 2022 was running 70 practices and a BBC Panorama report showed they were only employing half as many doctors as average practices, while employing six times as many physician associates (who have only 2 years of medical training rather than the 10 for GPs) who were being inadequately supervised.

Unfortunately Labour policy appears to be to increase the reliance – and transfer of funds to the private sector rather than reduce it. You can read more about their position in the 2023 Tribune article Labour’s Love Affair with Private Healthcare by Tom Blackburn, which aslo sets out clearly the financial links of Wes Streeting to private healthcare. And of course he is not the only Labour MP with a financial interest. Labour might sort out a few of the problems but the creeping privatisation seems sure to accelerate.

The protest in East London was over changes in the funding of NHS surgeries which have failed to take into account the extra needs of deprived innner-city areas and were expected to lead the closure of some surgeries as well as other NHS cuts, particularly those happening because of the huge PFI debt from the new Royal London Hospital.

There was a brief rally in Altab Ali Park before the march with speeches by local politicians and health campaigners before the crowd of several hundreds set off down the Whitechapel Road on its way to London Fields in Hackney where it was to meet up with other protesters for a larger rally. But I left the march at Whitechapel Station.

More at

Rev Paul Nicholson & More – 2014

Friday, March 29th, 2024

Rev Paul Nicholson & More: Many of us particularly in London have fond memories of the Rev Paul Nicolson (1932-2020), a redoubtable campaigner for the poorer members of our community. He appears somehow to have passed Wikipedia by but you can read more about his life from many online sources. On Saturday 29th March 2014 I photographed the Thousand Mothers March in Tottenham he and Taxpayers Against Poverty organised demanding demanding living incomes, decent truly affordable homes for all and rejecting the bedroom tax, the housing benefit cap, unfair taxes, hunger and cold homes.

Rev Paul Nicholson & More

Huff Post tells us Nicolson worked in the champagne trade from 1965 until he made a dramatic career change in 1967 and was ordained by the Church of England as a Minster in Secular Employment. This meant he had to find a job in the real world and he got a job at the ICI HQ in Millbank as a personnel officer. In 1975 he took one of the first Employment Trununals challenging ICIs redundancy procedures and was later involved in supporting other trade unionists elsewhere. In 1979 he ventured into politics becoming an Independent councillor where he then lived in North Herts.

Rev Paul Nicholson & More

After a long fight against the Poll Tax in 1997 he founded the charity Zacchaeus 2000 Trust (Z2K), based in London, a group who were were deeply concerned about the impact of the Thatcher Government’s ‘poll tax’ – a fixed payment from every adult, regardless of their income or circumstances. Z2K became a registerd charity in 2005 and Nicolson left it in 2012 withdrawing to found Taxpayers Against Poverty (TAP) to avoid the restrictions on political campaigning by charities.

Rev Paul Nicholson & More

Perhaps his most important action was to commission Minimum Income Standards research from the Family Budget Unity in 1999, which formed the basis of the London Living Wage, with Mayor Ken Livingstone setting up the Greater London Authority Living Wage Unit in 2005.

Rev Paul Nicholson & More

What would have been an ever greater achievement would have been the adoption by the authorities of the Memorandum to the Prime Minister on Unaffordable Housing he commissioned by Professor Peter Ambrose in 2005. New Labour read it but did nothing, continuing to concentrate on unaffordable housing. Had Corbyn been allowed to win by the Labour Party in 2017 we would have seen changes in the right direction – but policies like there were why thy fought hard to prevent his election.

Of course I’ve not mentioned the best-known fact about Nicolson. It was while he was living in Turville near High Wycombe that he allowed the BBC to take over his church to film The Vicar of Dibley. Dawn French was playing Grealdine Grainger as the Vicar, but the real vicar was Paul Nicolson, though I think he kept away from the cameras.

He retired and settle in Tottenham, becoming welll known for his campaigning in the area – and for a number of arrests and trials. He had called this march and its demands were neatly summarise on the placard hanging from a string around his neck: ‘We march for Freedom from Hunger, Cold, Outrageous Rents – Fight for a Living Wage’.

You can read a short article on him in the Guardian which contains around 30 of his letters which were published by the newspaper as well as links to many more. He truly was a great campaigner.

I left the march as it passed Tottenham Police Station with Carole Duggan walking in front of a large banner with the face of Mark Duggan, her nephew, murdered by police in Tottenham in 2011.

More about the march and many more pictures at Mothers march for justice.


I was on my way to two further protests that day which you can read about on My London Diary:

At Kilburn Square was a Kilburn Uniform Day protest where the Counihan Battlebus Housing For All campaign, along with the TUSC Against Cuts and TUSC were calling for rents to be capped and for everyone to have a home.

Kilburn Uniform Day

And in Parliament Square, staff and students from Oasis Academy Hadley in Ponders End were protesting against the Home Office plans to deport fellow A-Level Student Yashika Bageerathi to Mauritius.
She came here with her mother and two younger siblings in 2012 after physical abuse from a relative and claimed asylum in 2012. The application has been rejected and the whole family are under threat of deportation.

Yashika is now 19 and the Home Office decided they could deport her on her own and she had been in Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre since March 19th. She and her fellow students want her to be allowed to stay – at least until she has taken her exams this summer. The #FightForYashica petition had attracted over 171,000 signatures.

Attempts by the Home Office to deport Yashika failed before this protest when pressure from campaigners led to British Airways refusing to take here. Ahe had been booked into an Air mAURITIUS flight for the day following this protest, but an avalanche of tweets led to them refusing to take her.

Finally she was deported on her own in April 2014 and fortunately was helped there to take her A-levels, receiving the grades she needed to go on to university and end her brief period in the public eye.

Fellow Students Fight for Yashika.


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Tibet, Syria, Fukushima, EVF & Lions – 2014

Friday, March 15th, 2024

Tibet, Syria, Fukushima, EVF & Lions – Protests in London on Saturday 15th March covered a wide range of issues across the world. Another varied day for me in town.


London March for Freedom for Tibet – Downing St

Tibet, Syria, Fukushima, EVF & Lions

Around a thousand Tibetans and supporters of the Free Tibet campaign met at Downing Street to march to a rally at the Chinese Embassy on the 55th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising against oppressive Chinese rule.

Tibet, Syria, Fukushima, EVF & Lions

Before the start of the march they sang the Tibetan national anthem then marched up Whitehall. I left the marchers at Trafalgar Square to cover another event.

Tibet, Syria, Fukushima, EVF & Lions

It was a colourful march, with many carrying the Tibetan National Flag or wearing items in its colours. In my post on My London Diary I wrote more about Tibet and the brutal Chinese regime there along with many more pictures.
London March for Freedom for Tibet


Syrians March for International Action

Tibet, Syria, Fukushima, EVF & Lions

Before going to Downing Street I had gone to Hyde Park Corner where Syrians were gathering at the start of their march to Downing St on the third anniversary of the start of their fight for freedom to show their commitment to the cause and their solidarity with fellow Syrians inside and outside Syria.

They were calling for the international community to help them get rid of the Assad regime which had murdered over 150,000, seriously injured 500,000 and imprisoned 250,000 people in Syria. 1.5 million refugees had fled Syria and over 4.5 million were internally displaced and recently Assads forces had started using chemical weapons.

I left Piccadilly as the march was about to leave and met them again as they turned into Whitehall and began their protest opposite Downing Street. Unfortunately the west was not prepared to stand fully behind the Syrian revolution, with Turkey very much opposed to the autonomy it was providing for the Kurds and supporting ISIS and Russia stepping in to support Assad.

Many more pictures on My London Diary: Syrians March for International Action.


Fukushima Nuclear Melt-down Remembered

Also at Hyde Park Corner were protesters on the third anniversary of the nuclear melt-down at Fukushima, including many Japanese, marching to remind the world of the dangers of nuclear power and nuclear weapons.

They were led by a group dress as flurescent barrels of roadioactive waste, while others were dressed up in various ways and some carried giant sunflowers. It was a fairly small group but made a colourful impression as it made its way first to the Japanese Embassy.I left them as they arrived there.

I met the group again as it arrived at Downing Street where they stopped for a short protest and photographs in front of the gates before moving on to a rally in Parliament Square. But I had other things to do.

Many more pictures at Fukushima Nuclear Melt-down Remembered.


English Volunteer Force march in London

I met the English Volunteer Force, combining a number of right wing ‘patriotic’ groups outside the Lord Moon of the Mall at the top of Whitehall just a minute or two before their march to Parliament Square began from there.

I had a little trouble getting there through a loose line of police who were there to ensure that the anti-fascist opposition to the march were kept well away. The around a hundred EVF supporters were accompanied by rather more police as they marched down Whitehall, but I was able to walk with the and to talk to a few of the protesters who knew me from earlier right-wing events.

They seemed pleased that I was covering the event, but as I reported in 2014, “one man came over and shouted at me, pushing my camera into my face. I complained to police at this assault but they simply pushed me away. Later the same individual came and threatened me, and a police officer did ask him to stop, though it seemed rather half-hearted given that he was clearly breaking the law.

The major police effort was directed against the larger number of anti-facists and was largely successful in keeping the two groups apart and enabling the EVF to hold their rally as planned in Old Palace Yard. I saw several arrests of EVF supporters who tried to attack the anti-fascists. Police had kettled some of these briefly but they were soon allowed to leave so long as they went away from Parliament.

You can read more about the event and see more pictures at English Volunteer Force march in London.


Save Our Lions – Ban Canned Hunting – Trafalgar Square

I walked up to Trafalgar Square where several marches from different starting points in London were combining for a protest calling for a ban on the ‘canned’ hunting of captive lions by wealthy trophy tourists.

‘Canned hunting’ is big business in South Africa, with more than 8,000 lions in captivity, bred on lion farms and over 160 lion killing camps. These lions are raised without fear of humans and are often drugged to make them easy kills.

The tourists kill male lions and buy the lions heads stuffed and mounted as trophies. The bones fetch high prices in the Far East for use in ‘medicines’ or ‘aphrodisiacs’ though they have no testable beneficial effects.

Most female cubs are killed at birth with just a few being kept for breeding. The cubs are kept and tourists pay to ‘pet’ and play with them and when they are a little larger pay for the experience of ‘walking with lions’. Once they outgrow this, they are crammed into overcrowded cages in poor conditions until they are mature and can be shot.

Canned hunting also threatens the wild lion population as some are captured to combat the inbreeding in captive lion populations.

More at Save Our Lions – Ban Canned Hunting.


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All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall.
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Climate March & Open House 2014

Thursday, September 21st, 2023

Climate March & Open House: On Sunday 21st September 2014 I photographed the so-called ‘Peoples Climate March’ in central London before going to party with Focus E15 Mothers on the Carpenters Estate where they celebrated a year of their fight to be rehoused in the area.


Peoples Climate March – Embankment

Climate March & Open House

As in this week in 2023, a Climate Summit was taking place in New York in September 2014 and marches were taking place in London and elsewhere to demand divestment in fossil fuels and an end to the domination of politics by the fossil fuel industry which has blocked action against climate change.

Climate March & Open House

Little has actually changed in the 9 years since then. More empty words and promises but too many governments including our own in the UK continuing to encourage exploration for more gas and oil and even approving new coal mines. And carbon levels continue to rise, with at least a 2 degree rise in global temperature now seeming inevitable.

Climate March & Open House

What has changed is that we are all much more aware that climate change is real and are feeling its effects. While many in the Global South have been suffering for years, we in Europe and North America have now felt the new record high temperatures and seen the increasing wild fires and unstable weather caused by global temperature rise.

Last Saturday I photographed another Climate March in London, and it had a rather more serious and committed air than the 2014 event, not just because it was organised by Extinction Rebellion, but because the global situation has worsened, with new an disturbing reports coming out almost weekly.

Climate March & Open House

Back in 2014 I wrote about some length about the march and how it “seemed to have been rather taken over by various slick and rather corporate organisations rather than being a ‘people’s march’ and seemed to lack any real focus.”

Climate March & Open House

Then I commented that “There was one block – the ‘‘Fossil Free Block’ that I felt was worth supporting, and what the whole march should have been about. We have to stop burning oil, coal, gas. We are certainly on our way to disastrous climate change if we fail to severely cut carbon emissions, and probably need to actually reverse some of the rise that has already occurred. Drastic action really is needed.”

The 2023 march was behind a banner ‘NO NEW FOSSIL FUELS’ and another read ‘BIG OIL HAS FRIED US ALL’. But it didn’t get the kind of corporate support of the 2014 event and I don’t think there were any celebrities on the march, though I think some spoke at the rally afterwards, but I had left before this.

Worryingly in 2023 it was much smaller than the 2014 March. Back in 2014 I still felt there was time to avert catastrophe, but now I’m rather less optimistic. It may be too late. I have a feeling that in another nine years time we will be marching again, world leaders will still be talking and doing little and the world will be descending into chaos. Given my age it may still see me out but I worry about those younger.

More on My London Diary at Peoples Climate March.


Focus E15 Open House Day

I left well before the end of the march in 2014 too, catching the Underground to Stratford to get to the Carpenters Estate in Stratford where Focus E15 Mothers were celebrating the first anniversary of their fight against LB Newham’s failure to provide local housing for local people.

It was a year since Newham Council had cut funding for their hostel in Stratford run by East Thames Housing and they had been given eviction notices. Newham, which had a statutory duty to rehouse them told them it would be in private rental property miles away in Birmingham or Hastings or Wales but they wanted to stay within reach of families, jobs support services and friends in London.

Unlike many others they decided to fight the council, and launched an active and successful campaign, later widening their personal fight into “a wider campaign for housing for all, for social housing in London and an end to the displacement of low income households from the capital, with the slogan ‘Social Housing not Social Cleansing’.”

Despite the desperate shortage of social housing in Newham, the council led by Mayor Robin Wales had been trying to sell off its Carpenters Estate for ten years, moving people out and leaving good homes empty. The estate is next door to Stratford Station and Bus Station and so has excellent transport links making it very desirable for development. It is a post-war estate with large numbers of good quality low-rise housing along with three tower blocks. By 2014, most of the properties had “been boarded up for years, empty while thousands wait on the council’s housing list.

Carpenters Estate June 2014

In June 2014 I’d come with Focus E15 to the estate and had photographed them pasting up large photographs of themselves on some boarded up flats with slogans such as ‘This home needs a family‘ and ‘This family needs a home‘ and ‘These homes need people‘. I’d been told something intersting might happen at the party and wasn’t surprised when after a noisy session by a samba band to mask the sounds of removing some of the metal shutters at the rear of the flats we saw some of the E15 mums and supporters waving at us from a first floor window.

“It was Open House Day in London and courtesy of the Focus E15 Mums, 80-86 Dorian Walk was now one of the houses open to the public, even if not on the official lists, and we formed an orderly queue in best Open House tradition to go in and look at the four flats.

I was surprised to see what good conditions the flats were in, “fitted kitchens and bathrooms still in good working order – with running water, wallpaper and carpets almost pristine, and the odd piece of abandoned furniture. In one of kitchens, the calendar from 2004 was still on the wall, a reminder that while Londoners are desperate for housing, Newham council has kept this and other perfectly habitable properties empty for ten years.”

Focus E15 occupied the flats for a couple of weeks, leaving after the the Council issued legal eviction notices but their fight continued. Most of them have been rehoused in London and they have supported many others in Newham and neighbouring boroughs to get proper treatment from the council and prevent evictions. Their actions saved the Carpenters Estate and it is now being regenerated, although the plans don’t satisfy many of the groups demands. Their campaigns for housing for people in Newham continue.

More on My London Diary at Focus E15 Open House Day.


Cinelli, Poppies and Music at Class War Poor Doors – 2014

Sunday, September 17th, 2023

Cinelli, Poppies and Music at Class War Poor Doors. I only photographed one event on Wednesday 17th September 2014, one of the long series of weekly protests by Class War over separate entrances for rich and poor occupants of the large block of flats at One Commercial St on Whitechapel High Street.


Music at Class War Poor Doors – Aldgate

Cinelli, Poppies and Music at Class War Poor Doors

One Commercial St is a 21 storey largely residential block occupying an extensive corner site on Whitechapel High St and Commercial St which includes 207 flats above lower floors of offices, shops and an entrance to Aldgate East Underground Station.

Cinelli, Poppies and Music at Class War Poor Doors

The building, opened in 2014, received strong criticism in architectural circles, and Wikipedia quotes Building Design as commenting on what was developer Redrow’s “first flagship development” with “First flagship development? Please God let it also be their last. No one who can liken this incoherent hulk of ill-fitting glass sheets to a blade of light deserves to build again in such a sensitive location” and it was nominated for the Carbuncle Cup for “the ugliest building in the United Kingdom completed in the last 12 months“.

Cinelli, Poppies and Music at Class War Poor Doors

But it became controversial for other reasons too. To meet planning regulations the block contains some flats at affordable rents. While those in the main part of the building enter through an impressive foyer with a concierge desk and seating from the High Street adjoining Aldgate East Station, tenants of the affordable section had to go down what was then a dirty and dingy alley at the side of building, Tyne Street, to a door with a card-entry reader leading to a long empty corridor. On 17th September the card reader had been broken for 3 weeks, leaving the building insecure and the building management had failed to repair it.

Cinelli, Poppies and Music at Class War Poor Doors

This difference in treatment for rich and poor was highlighted in an article in The Guardian which commented on the growing trend for London’s new housing developments to include separate entrances like this for the less wealthy, known as “poor doors” and which gave One Commercial Street among the examples.

Many people expressed their distaste at this social segregation, and in New York Mayor Bill De Blasio announced he planned to take action to prevent new developments having such separate doors for low-income residents after a single such block was built there. But it was becoming common in London.

Anarchist group Class War decided it was time to take some action, and from July 2014 organised a weekly series of evening protests outside One Commercial Street, continuing (with a few breaks) until the following May. I photographed all but a couple of these, and later published a zine with some of the pictures I made. This is still available, but carriage costs make buying single copies expensive, however there is a good preview online.

Others joined with Class War on various occasions, and on Wednesday 17th September 2014 Reggae band Different Moods from Tottenham came to perform their ‘Poor Doors’ song specially written for the protests.

The protests by Class War did raise the profile of the problem, and resulted in some minor changes – including better lighting and cleaning for the side alley. They probably also embarrassed the owners enough to make them sell the building, though the new owners proved no better and the social segregation remains. And it’s perhaps why the building was later renamed and is now the Relay Building.

Music at Class War Poor Doors


Sea of Poppies – Tower of London

On my way to Aldgate I stopped at the Tower of London and made a photograph of the Sea of Poppies, work of art remembering the ‘Great War’, the ceramic poppies, one for each of the British forces killed in the war. I commented that for me “it seems decorative but shallow” and “lacks any real sense of the numbers involved and is far less graphic than the war cemeteries with their seemingly endless rows of crosses.

A little more at Sea of Poppies.


Vintage Cinelli in poor state

Earlier in the day I’d taken a picture showing the terrible state of my old bicycle, no longer ride able. It’s still in my shed, as several attempts to find a replacement chainwheel have failed. You can read more of the story about it at Vintage Cinelli in poor state. Perhaps I should try searching again.


Israel, Egypt, ISIS, Sewol & Marikana 2014

Wednesday, August 16th, 2023

Israel, Egypt, ISIS, Sewol & Marikana: The Marikana massacre when 34 striking mine workers were shot dead in South Africa took place on 16th August 2012, so today the 11th anniversary will be marked in London by a commemoration beginning at 16.00 outside the South African Embassy in Trafalgar Square. You can read more about the massacre and these commemoration in my post last year, London Solidarity with Marikana Miners.

Israel, Egypt, ISIS, Sewol & Marikana

On Saturday 16th August 2014 I attended the event on the Second Anniversary of Marikana Miners Massacre and you can see more pictures from this on My London Diary.

But the Marikana commemoration was not the only event on that day, and here are also some of the other things I photographed.


Boycott Israel – Boycott M&S – Brixton

Israel, Egypt, ISIS, Sewol & Marikana

Protesters outside M&S in the centre of Brixton argued that the store legitimises the illegal occupation of Palestine and supports Zionist racism and brutality by selling Israeli goods and called for a boycott in solidarity with the people of Gaza. I made a brief visit as the RCG picket was beginning and then took the tube to Bond Street.

More pictures at Boycott Israel – Boycott M&S.


R4BIA remembers Egyptian massacres – South St, Mayfair

Israel, Egypt, ISIS, Sewol & Marikana

Marchers met at the Egyptian Embassy to march to Downing St on the anniversary of the massacres by Egyptian forces at Rabaa and Nahda squares on 14th August 2013 in which over 2600 were killed, 4000 injured and many arrested.

Israel, Egypt, ISIS, Sewol & Marikana

The Rabaa hand sign with four fingers extended and the thumb pressed into the palm was adopted in Egypt by the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters following the overthrow of President Morsi by a military coup. After his election Morsi had given himself unlimited powers to make laws and moved the country towards an Islamist state, eventually leading to mass protests which led the army to move on 3 July 2013, deposing him and suspending the new constitution. Pro-Morsi demonstrations were brutally dispersed with Human Rights Watch documenting over 900 deaths.

More pictures at R4BIA remembers Egyptian massacres.


March against ISIS massacres – Portland Place

The Kurdish People’s Assembly and others met in front of the BBC to march against the attacks on Kurds, Shia, Sufi, Christian and Yezidi communities in Iraq, calling on the UK government for greater action including pressure on Turkey and Qatar to end support for jihadism.

They met in front of the BBC to emphasise the lack of proper reporting of what is happening in Iraq and as one poster said, ‘Your silence is Killing people‘. The BBC has failed to report on the support that Turkey with its increasingly Islamic regime has given to the Islamic State jihadist forces. ISIS relies on oil exports smuggled through Turkey to support its existence and murdering attacks.

Our government keeps quiet about Turkey and refuses to condemn its activities as Turkey is a key member of NATO, and as in so many areas, the BBC toes the government line. While it employs many fine journalists they are constrained by their editors and managers up to the highest level and not allowed to report impartially, particularly on the UK domestic channels. Sometimes the World Service does rather better.

More pictures at Kurds Protest against ISIS


Koreans call for special Sewol Ferry Act – Trafalgar Square

Koreans had been holding regular silent vigils in Trafalgar Square since the Sewol ferry disaster in April that year when schoolchildren on board were told to ‘Stay Put’ below decks and drowned.

The protest on 16th August was part of global day of support for the Sewol Tragedy Victims’ Family Committee petition, already signed by around 4 million, for a special bill to investigate the deaths of 304 people, mainly high school students in the ferry disaster.

Koreans call for special Sewol Ferry Act


Second Anniversary of Marikana Miners Massacre

Taking place later in Trafalgar Square was the commemoration of the Second Anniversary of Marikana Miners Massacre mentioned at the start of this post.

Among those taking part was mime protester Charlie X, who came with a poster of the constitution of the Republic of South African and stood holding this and with a miner’s lamp in front of the locked gates of the embassy.


Olympic Park, Barts and Food Poverty – 2014

Sunday, April 16th, 2023

Olympic Park, Barts and Food Poverty. On Wednesday 16 April 2014 there were two events in the evening I wanted to photograph, the first in Whitechapel and another in Westminster. It was a fine Spring day and I decided to go out much earlier and take a long walk around the former Olympic site, much of which had just been opened to the public ten days earlier.


Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Panoramics – Stratford

Olympic Park, Barts and Food Poverty - 2014

My walk got of to a poor start, as I followed the large signs in Stratford Station to the park and found myself hopelessly lost.

Olympic Park, Barts and Food Poverty - 2014

I retraced my steps and went through where I thought I had probably missed a turning and walked though Stratford Westfield past many shops I would never feel any desire to enter.

Emerging on the other side I could still find no way into the Park, keeping coming up to areas still blocked by fencing.

Olympic Park, Barts and Food Poverty - 2014

Google Maps wasn’t much help. Streetview, claimed to work on some streets in the area, “but actually carries out what seems a fairly random translocation to some varied London locations. All of them seemed more interesting than the actual topography I had found myself facing on the ground.”

Olympic Park, Barts and Food Poverty - 2014

Eventually I managed to access the park, though it didn’t seem much like a park to me. As I wrote back then, “It gives the impression that as little has been spent and done as possible post the Olympics and it largely remains a series of routes to the Olympic stadium, ready for the mass tramping feet of West Ham fans, though some might favour more direct routes. It is a complete contrast to what might be expected of a new park for – and there is a good example of one just a couple of miles away in Thames Barrier Park.”

It has improved a little in the nine years since this visit, but still in many areas seems more desert than park, and my conclusion that it was “a rather bleak area, enlivened occasionally by the odd art work” still seems apt for much of the area.

Of course I was comparing it to the same area before the Olympics, which I had often wandered and enjoyed, and had been a more exciting and much wilder area. Of course a part of its attraction had been its relative isolation and the new park will attract hugely greater numbers to its various attractions. The local schools were on holiday and there were areas in which children were playing which for various reasons don’t feature in my pictures.

Many more at QE Olympic Park Panoramics


Barts cuts Health Advocacy & Interpreting – Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel

From Stratford Marsh and Pudding Mill Lane Station it was a short journey to Whitechapel, with just a short walk in the middle from Bow Church DLR to Bow Road on the District Line.

The Royal London Hospital at Whitechapel is run by the Barts Health trust, who were proposing to make drastic cuts in advocacy and interpreting services.

The hospital is in the centre of a multiethnic community of great deprivation and need, a community desperate for an increase in these services,with an ageing population many of whom speak and understand little English but are now in much greater need of health care.

I was there to photograph the handing over of a petition by GPs and other health professionals as well as members of various parts of the BME community, including Somalis, Bangladeshis and Chinese. The Mayor of Tower Hamlets backed the campaign and had sent apologies and a representative to express his support, and a Labour councillor gave support from the Labour group.

The removal of the services at GP surgeries and community and hospital services would mean the loss of around 11 full-time Bengali/Sylheti Health Advocates and the languages affected would include Somali, Punjabi, Urdu, Hindi, Tamil and French.

Bart’s Health Trust has huge financial problems because of the huge PFI debt incurred in the building of the sorely needed new hospital in front of which we were meeting, with continuing huge payments that mean that they have been unable to fully use the new building and have cut other vital services. PFI was always a mistake and the civil servants who negotiated the terms were no match for the skilled and highly paid operators for the developers who ended up with terms that were hugely favourable to them – and which changes in the financial conditions since then have made even more so.

The hospital tried to restrict the publicity for the event, although they had agreed to accept the petition, they wanted to do so in private. Hospital security staff tried to stop most of those present from witnessing the handover, and to prevent photography, but without success.

Barts cuts Health Advocacy & Interpreting


End Hunger Fast Vigil against Food Poverty – Old Palace Yard


Over 600 leaders from all major Christian denominations, including 47 bishops had earlier in the day called for urgent government action on food poverty, and earlier in the month thousands had taken part in a 24 hour day of fasting, praying and reflecting on the hunger in the one of the world’s richest countries came to the vigil.

On 16th April, ‘End Hunger Fast’ campaigners held a vigil outside Parliament, lighting candles and breaking bread together.

Earlier in the day figures from the Trussell Trust and independent food banks had been released showing that one million food parcels were handed out over the previoUs year as the safety net for the poor and vulnerable in Britain was crumbling.

There were a number of speeches before a sharing of bread in a minute of silence before eating to reflect on the problem faced by those who cannot afford food. CanDles were then lit (with some difficulty because a a stiff breeze) for another period of silent contemplation before the final address by End Hunger Fast media spokesperson Keith Hebden. He was then going without food for 40 days and 40 nights to draw attention to food poverty, and stressed the importance of getting politicians to take action on the issue.

End Hunger Fast Vigil against Food Poverty


Xmas Protests – Low Wages, Evictions, John Lewis – 2014

Monday, December 13th, 2021

Three Xmas Protests – Low wages, Evictions, John Lewis – in Brixton, Mayfair and Oxford St on December 14th 2014.

‘Santa’s Naughty List’ Living Wage

Lambeth Living Wage campaigners, led by an impressive Santa, protested in and outside shops in the centre of Brixton, handing out flyers calling for all workers to be paid a living wage. They urged shop workers to join a union and gave out forms.

While I was with them they visited department store Morleys, Subway and Poundland and they were going on to other stores in Brixton paying poverty wages. The protest was supported by Unite the Resistance, the Socialist Party, Unison (who provided the Santa costume), the Fast Food Rights Hungry for Justice campaign supported by the Bakers, Food & Allied Workers Union, BFWAWU, the National Shop Stewards Network and other groups.

‘Santa’s Naughty List’ Living Wage


Class War: ‘Evict Westbrook, Not New Era’

Scrooge at Christmas 2014 was US property developers Westbrook Partners who were intending to evict the tenants of the Hackney New Era Estate by Christmas so they can refurbish these low rent social properties and re-let them at market rents at roughly four times the current rents. Class War and friends protested at their Mayfair offices of in solidarity with the tenants.

Class War came with banners and posters and a Christmas Card which they presented to Westbrook with the message ‘Christmas Greetings! – but not for Rich Bastards’ and a pictures of wrapped gifts and the cover image from Ian Bone’s autobiography ‘BASH THE RICH’. It’s an interesting read and might make a friend a good Christmas Present, available from Freedom Press at a special discount.

This was one of a number of protests by the residents, Class War and other housing activists, with a video by Russell Brand going viral and a petition with 350,000 signatures that led to Hackney Council entering into talks with Westbrook and resulted in the estate being sold to the affordable housing group Dolphin Living.

Class War: ‘Evict Westbrook, Not New Era’


Cleaners Xmas Protest in John Lewis

Many shoppers who can afford it go to John Lewis to buy Christmas presents, but members of te IWGB trade union and supporters including some John Lewis customers were there not to buy gifts but calling for the London Living Wage for cleaners there and an end to their treatment as second-class citizens. Many of the Christmas shoppers applauded their noisy protest.

I met the cleaners on the top floor of the store where they had gathered in the restaurant before getting out banners and flags and a megaphone, with IWGB organiser Alberto Durango used to inform customers why they were holding the protest.

The together with a group of John Lewis customers they slowly and loudly made their way around the top floor to the escalator, moving carefully through the gangways to avoid any damage.

They made their way down floor by floor, pausing on the balconies to display their banners.

John Lewis security staff and managers met the protesters and asked them to stop protesting and leave the store. They continued their way protesting until they reached the ground floor, where police stopped them from leaving. Here the situation became confused, with a great deal of unnecessary pushing by the police which blurred many of the pictures I made. The protesters were trying to get out, store security was pushing them out and the police were pushing them back. Eventually most of the protesters managed to get past the police and the protest continued on the pavement outside. The protest inside the store had been totally non-violent for a little over a quarter of an hour and had the police not decided to push the protesters back they would simply have walked out.

A police officer made an attempt to seize the amplifier the protesters were using, but they held onto it and eventually he gave up. At least one person was arrested and carried out of the store by police, though I think charges were later dropped.

Cleaners Xmas Protest in John Lewis


Class War Occupy Rich Door 24 Sep 2014

Friday, September 24th, 2021

A few days ago I had to sit down and write some explanations to a friend who lives on a smallholding in rural France who doesn’t have a computer or internet access. It made me realise how much has changed for most of us since some time in the 1990s, when we all began to be connected by the World Wide Web and browsers such as Mosaic which really made the breakthrough to something like the web we now know and most of us spend large parts of our life in.

Some time ago I’d sent him a copy of my book – or rather ‘zine’ – ‘Class War: Rich Door, Poor Door‘ I published in 2015:

“A photographic account of the protests from July 2014 to May 2015 at One Commercial St, Aldgate, London against separate doors for rich and poor residents. The book includes over 200 images from 29 protests. ISBN: 978-1-909363-14-4”

It is still available, and at the very reasonable price of £6.00, though given Blurb’s postage rates it only makes sense to buy it if you get together with a few mates to order several copies.

More recently my wife sent him a copy of a postcard with my picture from 2014, ‘Vigil for Ferguson, US Embassy – No Justice, No Peace’ and he wrote back asking who Ferguson was – and included a couple of questions about the Class War book.

Google of course would have supplied him the answers in the twinkling of a mouse click, and told him Ferguson was a town in Missouri where riots had followed both the shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer and the failure to indict the officer for the murder. He could have got the answer even quicker on my own web site, My London Diary, where putting ‘Ferguson’ in the search box at top right on most pages returns links to the Solidarity with Ferguson vigil, Hands Up! Against Racist Police Shootings protest following the shooting and this Candlelit Vigil for Michael Brown following the decision not to charge Darren Wilson with his murder.

His second question was about the Class War banner with its message “We must devastate the avenues where the wealthy live” Lucy Parsons 1853-1942, and was simply to ask “Who was Lucy Parsons”. Again Wikipedia and other web sites such as the IWW Archive would have given a fast and far more comprehensive answer than the brief reply I wrote.

The final question was one that amused me. “Who, ” he asked, “was that elderly gentleman with a walking stick” and “why was he being arrested and being put into a police van in one of the pictures“. It was of course Ian Bone, and again my web site contains much about him on many occasions, including pictures and an explanation of his arrest on Wednesday 24th September 2014.

When the building manager had held open the ‘Rich Door’ for a resident to go through, the person holding one end of the Lucy Parsons banner had stepped in front of it to prevent him closing it. He made the mistake of walking away to the concierge desk, probably to ask the concierge to call the police, but leaving the door open and unguarded. So Class War walked in unopposed, bringing two banners with them and continued to protest in the the foyer.

Ian Bone talked to the building manager, then held up a couple of framed notices from the desk, and talked about them and the objections to social tenants being made to use a separate door on a dirty alley at the side of the building, before putting them back carefully on the desk next to a vase full of flowers. Others spoke briefly and people loudly shouted slogans.

And then “there was a crash and the vase of flowers was no longer on the reception desk. Ian Bone had knocked it off with his walking stick, which he had been swinging around rather wildly as he spoke. I only saw it out of the corner of my eye and couldn’t tell if it was deliberate or accidental.” Though I was fairly sure it would have been on purpose.

Shortly after, the police arrived, and there was some discussion; I went outside and a few minutes later the protesters followed and the protest continued as usual on the pavement, with more speeches and noise. Eventually the protesters decided it was time to leave and were moving away when a police office approached Ian Bone and told him he was being arrested as the CCTV in the ‘rich door’ foyer showed him breaking the vase. There was considerable argument as he was led away and put in the van, but no attempt at resistance.

Later we heard that Ian Bone had agreed to pay £70 for a replacement vase and the building owners had decided not to press charges. And at the following week’s Poor Doors protest Class War brought along a couple of vases of flowers to play with and to try and get the building manager to take, though as they probably came from a Pound Shop they “they were perhaps a little plastic and tacky looking compared to the one that had been broken the previous week.”


The building manager refused to take the replacements, but later made the mistake of grabbing hold of one which was thrust in his face, “probably by reflex. His face when he found himself holding it was interesting, and he quickly put it down, placing it on the desk in the reception area in the same place as the one knocked off last week, complete with its with a ‘Toffs Out!’ Class War card.” And I was just able to photograph it through the window there on the desk.

More on My London Diary:
Class War Occupy Rich Door
Class War Poor Doors Week 10


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Wool Against Weapons

Monday, August 9th, 2021

The seven-mile long scarf was joined up at 1pm

On Saturday 9th August 2014 I took a bike ride outside London, putting my bike on the train to Reading, from where I cycled west to Burghfield and on to Aldermaston. It was Nagasaki Day, remembering August 9th 1945, when the US exploded an atomic bomb at the city of Nagasaki, killing around 80,000 people, and CND were holding an unusual protest, stretching out a seven mile long knitted scarf between the two factories where Britain’s atomic war heads are made. 69 years after the bomb was dropped, the UK government was about to vote on huge spending on a new nuclear weapons system, and CND were calling for Trident and its replacement to be scrapped.

‘Drop Stitches Not Bombs’ at the Burghfield end of the 7-mile scarf

I’d taken my bike, both to get to Burghfield from Reading but also so that I could cycle along the whole seven mile length of the protest and photograph the scarf along the way. A bike was ideal for this, as I could easily cover the whole distance and unlike a car you can jump off anywhere and take pictures. But for the moment when all the lengths of wool were joined up, I jumped off my bike and ran along the first section of the scarf, taking picture after picture.

Joining up the lengths of scarf

Here’s some of what I wrote in my 2014 post Wool Against Weapons along with a few of the pictures I took along the road.

”Groups from all over the country and some from France brought long rolled up lengths of knitted and crocheted scarves, made in individual sections and joined together. A lot of planning was needed to make sure that there were enough rolls and they were taken to the right places to be unrolled and joined together, but it all worked on the day.”

One of many banners on the fence around AWE Aldermaston

“The project involved a very large number of people, many of whom had taken no active part in protests against nuclear weapons before, but who are convinced that we should not waste public money on the Trident replacement – money that could be put to something useful like keeping our NHS running.”

‘NHS Not Trident’

“I cycled to Burghfield from Reading, and arrived just over two and a half hours before the whole scarf was scheduled to be joined up at 1pm. After taking some pictures around the end of the scarf there, I got back on my bike and cycled slowly along the route of the scarf to Aldermaston, stopping at all of the ‘mile points’ which were the bases for the various regional groups (and a ‘faith’ group) and also where people were busy laying out the rolls of scarf and joining them up and taking photographs. It took me around an hour and a quarter to get to the Aldermaston end of the scarf at the fence around the AWE there.”

Protesters at Burghfield

“I made it back to Burghfield – with just a few stops for more pictures – in half an hour. It helped that there is quite a long downhill section and the wind was behind me, but I wanted to be sure to be back well before the planned ‘linking time’ of 1pm.”

At side roads the scarf could be lifted to allow cars through.

“I took pictures at Burghfield of the linking when people rang bells at 1pm, then started running along the scarf, stopping to photograph the people holding it up. After almost a mile I gave up and returned back to Burghfield where a rally was to start at 1.30pm.”

‘PAIX’

More pictures on My London Diary at Wool Against Weapons.


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.