Posts Tagged ‘Anti-Racist’

Fossil Fuels, Bradley Manning & Global Racism

Wednesday, July 27th, 2022

Fossil Fuels, Bradley Manning & Global Racism – my Saturday 27th July 2013 began with a “radicalized midsummer cloud forest dream” against the support given to fossil fuels and climate chaos by the banks and the City of London, continued with a vigil for Bradley Manning who exposed US war crimes and ended with a march and rally against and Injustice.


Rev Billy at HSBC – Victoria

Fossil Fuels, Bradley Manning & Global Racism
Golden Toads to the rescue with ice

I met the Rev Billy and his choir on the Stop Shopping Church Tour England in a green open space on Victoria Street, opposite New Scotland Yard (which has since moved to the Embankment.) There they practised their performance as species – monkeys, jaguars and eagles – among those threatened by climate change.

Fossil Fuels, Bradley Manning & Global Racism

Some had heads of Golden Toads, a Costa Rican species already made extinct by climate change. These were hidden away as the group walked towards the HSBC bank at Victoria, and we all walked in trying our best to look like normal customers and going up to the long line of ‘Express Banking’ cash machines.

Fossil Fuels, Bradley Manning & Global Racism

Then the group erupted into dance action, with the Rev Billy using a megaphone to tell bank staff and customers what is happening and why we are in HSBC. Fossil Fuels are killing life on this planet and London banks and the London Stock Exchange play a key role in this – a quarter of all fossil fuel shares are traded on the LSE and in 2010-12 the top five UK banks raised £170 billion for fossil fuel companies, with the HSBC in the lead. He promised that they would leave the bank after the short performance.

Then the Golden Toads arrived to save the species, bringing with them some large eggs of ice to help cool the planet down, and then as promised people left the bank to continue to the end of the performance on the wide pavement outside. Police arrived and went into the bank as the players were leaving to celebrate their action in a nearby cafe and bar.

More at Rev Billy at HSBC


Free Bradley Manning Vigil – St Martin’s, Trafalgar Square

Saturday 27th July 2013 was an international day of action by the Bradley Manning Support Network, and in London they held a vigil on the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields.

Bradley Manning’s trial had started on 3rd June in Fort Meade, US, and protests have continued both inside and outside the court, with the ‘gay whistleblower’ being celebrated in countries across the world and awarded the Sean MacBride Peace Prize. Many see Bradley – later Chelsea Manning as a hero who should be honoured rather than imprisoned. Her trial ended on 30th July with a sentence of 35 years, but in 2017 this was commuted by President Obama to seven years, dating from her arrest in 2010.

Free Bradley Manning Vigil


Against Global Racism and Injustice – US Embassy to Whitehall

Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) UK held a rally outside the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square before marching to Whitehall in solidarity with families of Trayvon Martin, Stephen Lawrence, Azelle Rodney, Jimmy Mubenga and many others to highlight the reality of racism and seek justice, both in the UK and US.

The protest was supported by many anti-racist organisations including Operation Black Vote, the National Black Students Campaign, Global Afrikan Congress, PCS, RMT Black Members, Counterfire, UAF, Love Music Hate Racism, Lambeth TUC and Lambeth People’s Assembly and a number of well-known faces from the British left were among the marchers, some were scheduled to speak at the Downing Street rally.

The US Embassy was chosen as the starting point because of the killing in Florida of Trayvon Martin and the global outcry against the acquittal of his murderer under the Florida ‘Stand Your Ground’ law.

But although this was a protest against global racism and injustice, and it had a particular focus on this country, and as Lee Jasper stated “We march for Jimmy Mubenga, Mark Duggan, Kingsley Burrell, Smiley Culture and Azelle Rodney.” And others also made clear in speeches they were appalled by UK cases, including We march for Jimmy Mubenga, Mark Duggan, Kingsley Burrell, Smiley Culture and Azelle Rodney and many, many other cases.

I followed the march as it went through Mayfair, but then had to leave rather than attend the final rally.

More at Against Global Racism and Injustice.


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Anti-Racist & Migrant Rights reclaim Pride

Friday, July 8th, 2022

Anti-Racist & Migrant Rights reclaim Pride – 8 July 2017

Anti-Racist & Migrant Rights group unofficially leads Pride 2017

In 2017 the organisers of the official London Pride decided to strictly limit those taking part to groups that had made an official application with those who were approved being issued with armbands for their members to go on the route. In previous years the parade had been open to all, with smaller and more radical groups joining on the end of the march behind the main participants.

For years many in the gay community had protested that, as I reported “Pride over the years has degenerated from the original protest into a corporate glitterfest led by major corporations which use it as ‘pinkwashing’ to enhance their reputation and it includes groups such as the Home Office, arms companies and police whose activities harm gay people in the UK and across the world.”

They set off to join Pride

The new policing of participation seemed to them a further step in the direction of corporate control, making it no longer a community event, but one dominated by commercial interests.

Walking into Oxford Circus

I don’t think those who organised the Migrants Rights and Anti-Racist Bloc had deliberately set out to challenge the policy, more they had simply not anticipated that it would be applied strictly to prevent them joining in at the end of the parade as usual.

Stewards stopped them moving to the back of Pride, so they stayed in front

They met up at the west end of Oxford Street. As well as Movement For Justice, Queers Against Borders, Lesbians & Gays Support The Migrants and No Pride in War there was a strong contingent from London Supports Istanbul Pride. They made the point that being gay is still illegal in many countries, and that the persecution of gays is a major reason for many people coming to the UK to seek asylum.

Police let them march along the main route in front of the rest of Pride

Eventually the group of a few hundred marched off down Oxford Street towards Oxford Circus, where they intended to go up Regent St to join the end of the main parade. Their way onto Oxford Circus was blocked by barriers and police vans, but they simply split up to walk around these, lifting up some of them and grouping up again on Oxford Circus. And of course I went with them.

Here they were directly in front of the head of the main parade, stopping it from starting, and surrounded by large crowds of people who had come to see the procession. They tried to march up past the Pride stewards to the back of the parade but were stopped. There followed some minutes of argument, with the group staying in place in the middle of Oxford Circus and stewards refusing to let them go to join the main event.

And the crowds cheered

Police made some effort to get both sides to come to a compromise or get the Anti-racist and Migrants group to leave the area, but failed. Too many people were watching for them to use force to disperse the group – and there were probably many among the spectators who would have joined in to support them. Eventually police decided the group could march along the route and held up the rest of the parade for around ten minutes before they followed.

The march ends on Whitehall

So rather than being as in previous years at the back of the parade, going along the route hardly being noticed, with many of the spectators having by then drifted away to nearby bars or on their way home, the Migrants Rights and Anti-Racist Bloc lead the procession, marching past cheering crowds (though a few did look rather confused) all the way to Whitehall.

But No Pride in War decide to block the road

While most of the group ended their protest here, No Pride in War protesters proceeded to lie down across the road with their placards, blocking the route of the official procession which had to wait at Trafalgar Square until police finally managed to clear them, threatening them with arrest.

And the official parade has to wait again.

Later that day and on the day afterwards I watched and read the news reports on Pride, some giving it lengthy coverage. But although they had been there with their reporters and cameras, all of the mainstream media had for some reason decided that the very successful – if unintended – gatecrashing of the event by people protesting over Migrant Rights and other issues to wide acclaim by spectators along the route was not news.

More at Anti-Racist & Migrant Rights reclaim Pride.


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All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall. Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.