Posts Tagged ‘apartheid’

More Support to Gaza – 27th January 2024

Saturday, February 3rd, 2024

More Support to Gaza: Local actions took place across the country last weekend calling for an end to the genocide in Gaza and for an immediate ceasefire and freedom and a just peace in Palestine.

More Support to Gaza - 27th January 2024
Barclay’s Peckham branch

Most of the protests last Saturday were directed against local branches of Barclays Bank, demanding they stop bankrolling Israel’s attacks on Palestinians and calling customers to boycott the bank. Barclays has investments in weapons companies BAE Systems, Boeing, Elbit Systems, Raytheon all producing weapons and systems used in Gaza and Caterpiller whose bulldozers are used to demolish Palestinian homes, schools and civilian infrastructure.

More Support to Gaza - 27th January 2024
Barclay’s Peckham branch

The protests came the day after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague, the UN’s top court, had ruled that there was a plausible case against Israel under the 1948 Genocide Convention, and that the Palestinian population in Gaza was at real risk of irreparable damage.

More Support to Gaza - 27th January 2024
Barclay’s Peckham branch

The ICJ stopped short of ordering an Israeli ceasefire and instead directed Israel to take every measure possible to avoid genocide while also ensuring humanitarian aid. The six provisional measures the court voted on to protect Palestinians from “irreparable” damage were all passed by overwhelming votes by the 17 judges, with even an Israeli judge supporting two of them, while a Ugandan judge voted against them all (although the Ugandan government issued a statement backing the ICJ).

More Support to Gaza - 27th January 2024
Barclay’s Whitechapel branch

Media reports here in the UK have generally been rather lacking in detail and have underplayed the ICJ judgement. You can read it on the ICJ web site in full or as their lengthy unofficial summary. The court demanded that Israel must:

  • take all measures in its power to prevent all acts against Palestinians in Gaza violating the Genocide Convention;
  • ensure its military does not commit any acts of genocide;
  • punish all incitements to commit genocide;
  • take immediate and effective steps to provide basic services and humanitarian assistance in Gaza;
  • take effective measures to preserve evidence related to allegations of genocide;
  • report to the ICJ within one month on actions it has taken over these orders.

The ICJ has no powers to enforce its decisions and statements from Israeli government and military have been defiant, while the UK and USA governments seem determined to continue their support for genocide and to continue giving support to Israel, including supplying weapons

Edmonton Green march to a rally at Silver St

The ICJ decision came after South Africa brought the case, but protesters around the world have been clear that this is genocide. And in December the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention, continuing the work of Raphael Lemkin, the Polish lawyer of Jewish descent who coined the term genocide and campaigned to establish the Genocide Convention, issued a statement explaining “the reasons why we believe the Israel-Palestine situation constitutes an instance of genocide.”

Edmonton Green march to a rally at Silver St

The killing in Gaza continues, with over 26,000 Palestinians now known to be killed including over 10,000 children. More than 8,000 are missing, probably most of them buried under the rubble, and over 65,000 are severely injured.

Edmonton Green march to a rally at Silver St

A BBC report states that more than half of all buildings in Gaza have been destroyed or damaged by the Israeli assault. There are also said to be almost 20,000 children in Gaza who have been orphaned or separated from their families. Other reports suggest that around three-quarters of Hamas fighters are men who became orphans, and so the current attacks are likely to be a powerful recruiting ground for future militants against Israel.

Edmonton Green march to a rally at Silver St

The whole Israeli policy over the years has been counter-productive. Peace in the region requires a thriving Palestine, not an area subjected to military occupation, under an apartheid system and subjected to destructive attacks – and certainly will not be achieved by genocide.

Edmonton Green march to a rally at Silver St

It’s very hard to see how any positive outcome can emerge now for Israel and Palestine, but perhaps the ICJ ruling is a small glimmer of hope – as years ago was Oslo. But hope then was soon defeated by Israel’s determination not to accept peace.

Edmonton Green march to a rally at Silver St

Last Saturday made my way around London on National Rail, Overground, Underground and Elizabeth Line to visit several pickets outside Barclays branches and then to Edmonton Green.

Edmonton Green march to a rally at Silver St

I arrived at Edmonton Green just in time for the march organised by the Enfield branch of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to a rally at Silver Street. They demanded Israel ends its genocidal attack on Gaza, calling for an immediate ceasefire and an urgent programme of humanitarian aid to end famine and provide shelter, medicine and water. They praised South Africa for taking Israel to court for genocide and called for a just peace with freedom for Palestine.

At the start of the rally at Silver St

The pictures here come from protests outside Barclays branches on Rye Lane, Peckham and Whitechapel High Street and from the Edmonton march. You can see more pictures online at Barclays Told Stop Banking On Genocide and Enfield for Gaza Ceasefire, End to Occupation.


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Armistice Day Protests 2006

Saturday, November 11th, 2023

Armistice Day Protests – Today I hope to be photographing a huge protest calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and peace in the Middle East as it makes its way from Hyde Park to the US Embassy. It’s an event some Tory politicians have tried to arouse controversy around, aided by some of the media in their lies. Armistice Day has always been an occasion for protests for peace and making it out as some huge national celebration we all share in is untrue as this post shows.

Armistice Day Protests

Both the BBC and the Tories seized on the fact that some people at a protest in London shouted ‘Jihad!’ but lie in saying it was an offshoot from the huge march taking place in London calling for peace and justice for Palestine.

It’s a lie that the BBC continues to let them promulgate without question, although their journalists must surely know that this was at an entirely separate protest organised by Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, an Islamic fundamentalist political organisation dedicated to the establishment of an Islamic caliphate, whose lead banner at their protest read “Muslim Armies! Rescue the People of Palestine!”.

Armistice Day Protests

I’ve photographed many protests by Hizb ut-Tahrir in London since I first came across them in 2004 and they are very different and entirley separate from those organised by mainstream Muslim organisations, Stop The War, CND and the others now leading the protests by hundreds of thousands across the country calling for an end to the killing of civilians – whether Palestinian or Israelis – in Palestine and Israel. Most are particularly enraged by the killing of so many children in Gaza by air strikes which Israel claims are targeted, but are targeted on places where many people live and so die in them.

I think most of us who march – and the many more who support the marches but are unable to attend – want peace and the justice that can only come if there is a thriving country where Palestinians can live normal lives in peace and not under military rule and an apartheid regime.

Armistice Day Protests

Probably that can only come about with a two-state solution and a massive world aid programme to restore the incredible damage in Gaza as well as establishing rational borders for Palestine with the removal of many of the illegal settlements.

I grew up in a largely working class area on the outskirts of London in the 1950s, and then I think it was true that virtually the whole of the country paused to celebrate and commemorate the armistice, joining in with the minute’s silence in schools, shops, works and offices and traffic on the roads coming to a halt.

Armistice Day Protests

But even then relatively few joined in the military style parades on Remembrance Sunday, with most of my friend’s parents who had fought in WW2 having had more than enough of that kind of thing. My attendance was compulsory as a Wolf Cub and Boy Scout but I resented it and my freezing legs as cold November winds blew up my shorts – and the derision from friends who weren’t members. And by the time I was a Senior Scout we collectively refused to take part.

The idea that Armistice Day is not a suitable day for a peaceful protest calling for an end to the fighting and peace in the Middle East seems to me to be beyond absurd – yet again is taken seriously and promoted by the BBC. Armistice Day has I think always seen protests for peace – and November 11th 2006 was no exception.

On that day I began on Park Lane, where there was a brief ceremony in front of the sculpture commemorating animals who died in war in the central area there at 11 am. There were only a small group there, wearing poppies they described as purple, though to me they seemed more lilac or mauve. In 2018, the Peace Pledge Union sold 122,385 white poppies: more than any year since white poppies were first worn in 1933, and many keep their white poppies to wear in following years, as unlike the red poppies their sale is not intended to raise funds but they are simply worn as a symbol of remembrance and peace.

I moved on to Grosvenor Square and the US Embassy where School Students Against The War had scheduled a ‘die-in’. Unfortunately only around 20 had turned up for it – probably now many work on Saturdays or prefer to enjoy a lie-in at home.

Another short walk took me to Marks & Spencer on Oxford Street, where a protest was taking place as a part of the fourth International Week of Action against the Apartheid Wall in Palestine.

Fight Racism, Fight Imperialism who had organised this event also hold regular vigils outside M&S every Thursday evening, calling for a boycott of the company as part of a wider Boycott Israel campaign. M&S sell goods including those coming illegally from the occupied territories of Palestine and give financial and moral support to Israel.

School Students Against The War came from the US Embassy to join them and staged their die-in on the wide pavement in front of M&S. This certainly generated a great deal of attention and they made some short speeches to the the crowds milling past M&S before marching off down Oxford Street with their megaphones and banner. They staged a second ‘die-in’ further down the street, again attracting the attention of shoppers, although perhaps surprisingly, not the police none of whom seemed to be around.

I went on to Trafalgar Square where I hoped to photograph the fountains filled with red poppies, but I arrived a little late to find a man in waders fishing them out with a shrimp net. It was bizarre if not surreal, although not quite what I’d been hoping for.

My main event of the day was taking place on Whitehall, at the Cenotaph. Not the military parade ‘at the eleventh hour‘ which I had refused to cover, but a commemoration by some of the families of servicemen killed in Iraq.

Led by a piper they marched solemnly to stand in front of it, while they came up to read out the names of the 121 dead British servicemen killed in the Iraq war. A small selection of names of Iraqi civilians killed was also read out. It’s difficult to estimate the exact number who have died, and more deaths have occured since 2006. The US Brown University Watson Institute now states “we know that between 280,771-315,190 have died from direct war related violence caused by the U.S., its allies, the Iraqi military and police, and opposition forces from the time of the invasion through March 2023.”

A deputation then took a letter in to Downing Street for Prime Minister Tony Blair who had misled parliament and ignored the largest protest ever seen in the UK to take the country into a misguided invasion together with the USA.

Among those taking part in what was an extremely moving ceremony were Rose Gentle of Military Families Against The War, and others who have lost sons or partners in Iraq, including Ann Lawrence, Roger Bacon, Natasha Mclellan, Maureen Bacon as well as Lance Corporal George Solomou, from the London Regiment of the Territorial Army who refused to go to fight in Iraq. Families of some serving soldiers also took part.

Also there and supporting the event among others were Kate Hudson of CND, Yvonne Ridley and Lindsey German of Respect and Stop The War, fashion designer Katherine Hamnett, and Jeremy Corbyn MP.

This was an event that attracted considerable media attention; there is a delicate balance between intruding on private grief, but those there had chosen to make their grief public, and we had to record it for them.

More Pictures on My London Dairy – Scroll down the page there for links.


Palestine, Syria & the NHS – 2018

Thursday, April 13th, 2023

Palestine, Syria & the NHS – 2018:
I’m not really a superstitious person and though five years ago it was Friday 13th April 2018 this didn’t worry me at all and I worked exactly as usual, photographing protests in London.


Palestinian Prisoners Day protest – South Bank

Palestine, Syria & the NHS - 2018

Palestinian Prisoners Day, established by the Palestinian National Council in 1974 as a national tribute in solidarity with the thousands of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli occupation prisons and supporting their legitimate right to freedom is actually 17th April every year. This protest was held on the closest Friday to that date.

Palestine, Syria & the NHS - 2018

The location on the South Bank made this rather more visible to visitors and tourists who walk along by the river and visit attractions such as the National Theatre and the Royal Festival Hall where this vigil was taking place.

Palestine, Syria & the NHS - 2018

Some of those taking part were those who regularly protest with the organisers, the Inminds human rights group, outside companies that support the Israeli state, including G4S and HP who are both heavily involved in running prisons in Israel, but for this event they were joined by a number of others, speaking, handing out leaflets, holding flags and banners and talking with people about the situation in Palestine.

Palestine, Syria & the NHS - 2018

Under Israel’s ‘apartheid’ system, Palestinians are not tried by the Israeli civil courts but by military tribunals with a 99.74% conviction rate. Since 1967, roughly 1 in 5 of the entire Palestinian population have been held in prison at some time. Physical torture during interrogation is standard practice, even for children, and many are sexually abused; since 1967, 72 prisoners have been tortured to death.

Palestine, Syria & the NHS - 2018

In two months this year alone 1319 were imprisoned, including 274 children, 23 women and four journalists. Over 500 of these prisoners are currently held indefinitely without charge or trial under administrative detention orders.

Palestinian Prisoners Day protest


Don’t Bomb Syria protests – Downing St

There were a number of protests here against the UK’s plans, along with the USA and France, to bomb Syria after the Assad regime had carried out chemical attacks there.

Stop the War were joined in a rally by other activists, including some from CND and Veterans for peace. They had come with a letter signed by MPs, trade unionists and others to hand in at Downing St, but they were refused entry at the gate. Only Kensington MP Emma Dent Coad was allowed through the gate as an MP to deliver the letter.

After the Stop the War rally ended people from the South Bank Palestinian Prisoners Day vigil who had arrived at the protest provided provided a PA system for the protest to continue.

Syrians began to arrive early for a protest organised by a UK based Syrian surgeon which was due to start at 6pm and joined them. Protesters crossed to the gates of Downing Street and then briefly blocked traffic in Whitehall in both directions. Police fairly quickly cleared the south-bound carriageway, and the Syrians were eventually forced onto the pavement but other protesters continued to block the road, sitting down on it.

The road was still blocked when I left, but many more police had arrived and it looked as if the road would soon be cleared.

Don’t Bomb Syria protests


Ditch the Deal say NHS Staff – Department of Health

I left Whitehall although the protests were continuing there as I was late for a protest with NHS staff from hospitals across London at the Department of Health in Victoria St. Despite running most of the half-mile there I arrived just in time to see them in the distance walking into the foyer and followed them in.

They were being told they could not protest inside the building – but they were doing so – and although I was almost certainly told I couldn’t take pictures, I did. Though perhaps they would have been better had I been less out of breath.

They were protesting against the proposed NHS pay deal for all staff except doctors, dentists and very senior managers which will mean a pay rise well below expected inflation levels, while also bringing in a new appraisal process before staff can progress to their next pay point. The proposals have also been criticised by shadow chancellor John McDonnell and shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth.

After sitting in the foyer for a few minutes they posed in front of pictures on the screens in the foyer of Health Minister Jeremy Hunt and then left for more photos on the pavement outside.

Ditch the Deal say NHS Staff


Climate, Universal Credit and Boycott Israel

Thursday, December 1st, 2022

Three protests in London four years ago on Saturday 1st December 2018


Stop Universal Credit day of action – Camden Town, Saturday 1st December 2018

Climate, Universal Credit and Boycott Israel

Protests were taking place across the country called by Unite Community in a day of action against the continuing problems of Universal Credit, a reform and simplification of benefits. The main drive behind the move to this was to cut the amount that benefits cost the country and its implementation has been extremely badly thought out and managed, largely under the control of IDS, the widely detested Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions from 2010 to 2016.

I chose to photograph the protest at Camden largely because it was taking place next to an Underground station which I could conveniently travel to and then back to the main event I was covering. I could have taken similar pictures at other locations across London or elsewhere.

Climate, Universal Credit and Boycott Israel

The campaigners want an end to the long wait which leaves claimants penniless for six weeks or more before UC kicks in and for them to be able to make their applications in person at job centres as well as online, which causes difficulties for many, either because they lack the equipment and connection or particularly among older people competence on-line. They point to UC having created incredible hardship, pushing many into extreme poverty and destitution, making them reliant on food banks and street food distributions and greatly increasing the number of homeless and rough sleepers. Thanks to Tory policies, more than 120,000-plus homeless children in Britain will spend Christmas in hostels and B&Bs, many without the means or facilities to provide a Christmas meal.

Climate, Universal Credit and Boycott Israel

Academic studies suggest that UC is a part of a “state euthanasia” system for the poor, with academic estimates that it and other benefit cuts and sanctions since the 2010 elections having caused 110,000 early deaths, including many suicides. A cross party committee has called for its rollout to be halted until improvements are made, but the government has dismissed virtually all criticism of the system, making only insignificant changes.

Partly the problem obviously comes from the complete failure of IDS and others planning the system to understand what it is like to be poor. They have savings and resources – families with money and the ability to get loans and overdrafts, well-stocked cupboards, quarterly energy bills rather than having to pay in advance and so on. They are used to being paid their larger salaries on a monthly basis. Most of those claiming benefits have no savings and no one to help them tide over even a few days without money.

Stop Universal Credit day of action


Together for Climate Justice – Saturday 1st December 2018

The Campaign against Climate Change has organised marches, protests and rallies since its formation in 2001 when it protested against Bush’s rejection of the Kyoto treaty, including an annual event around the time of the UN Climate talks since 2005, and I’ve photographed most of these. Particularly in recent years they have been joined by many other groups as concern over the climate disaster has convinced a wider audience of the need for urgent action to save our life on Earth.

In 2018 they were extremely worried that the UN climate talks in Katowice, Poland, taking place the following week, were being sponsored by leading firms in Poland’s fossil fuel industry. Several thousand marchers gathered outside the Polish embassy for a rally before marching through central London to Downing St.

Outside the embassy we listened to a whole raft of speakers including ncluding Labour MP Clive Lewis, Green Party co-leader Sian Berry, Anna Gretton from Extinction Rebellion, UCU Vice President Nita Sanghera, Neil Keveren of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, Paul Allen from Zero Carbon Britain, Beatriz Ratton of Brazilian Women Against Fascism, Asad Rehman of War on Want who all expressed solidarity with protesters in Poland and stressed the urgent need to cut CO2 and methane emissions.


We then learnt and practised a few Polish slogans, some of which were on the placards for the protest including ‘Razem dla klimatu’ (Together for the Climate) which appeared on a number of placards, and the rather less pronounceable Polish for ‘Time to limit to 1.5’, as well as for ‘Climate, jobs, justice!’.

We got more speeches at a rally at the end of the march opposite Downing St, with Labour MP Barry Gardiner, Liz Hutchins of Friends of the Earth, a woman from Frack Free United, In the final speech Claire James of Campaign against Climate Change introduced a speaker on behalf of the Global South, where people are already dying because of climate change.

Together for Climate Justice


BBC Boycott Eurovision Israel 2019 – Broadcasting House, Sat 1 Dec 2018

Finally after the climate rally ended I rushed up to Broadcasting House where the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and others were calling on the BBC to withdraw from the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest hosted by Israel, to avoid being complicit in Israel’s ongoing violations of Palestinian human rights.

Campaigners said that the contest was being used to ‘artwash’ Israel’s human rights record as a state whose laws have created an apartheid system in Israel and Palestine, and whose forces in the last eight months since protests began in Gaza have killed over 200 Palestinians.

As well as the PSC, the protest and the #BoycottEurovision2019 was supported by the Stop The War Coalition, Palestinian Forum UK and Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA). Also present in a pen a few yards away were around 15 Zionist counter-protesters who waved Israeli flags and shouted insults and lies, with one man loudly insistent that Palestine had never existed.

I’m happy to boycott Eurovision wherever it is taking place, and have been doing so ever since it began.

BBC Boycott Eurovision Israel 2019


Central Hill, Brian Haw & Al Quds

Saturday, June 18th, 2022

Central Hill, Brian Haw & Al Quds. 18th June 2017 was a Sunday, and though I now prefer to observe Sunday as a day of rest, five years ago it was for me another working day. Since the lockdown I get tired much more quickly and I’m cutting down a bit on work. Today I’ll probably go for a walk with my wife after lunch, stopping off on the way home to sit and eat an ice cream before picking more strawberries from the garden and relaxing a little before dinner.

But back in 2017 I was making good use of a Travelcard, going first to the Central Hill Estate which looks down over London close to Crystal Palace then travelling to Westminster to remember Brian Haw before taking the tube up to Oxford Circus and walking to the BBC to join marchers gathering for the annual Al Quds march.


Ted Knight speaks for Central Hill – Central Hill Estate

Central Hill, Brian Haw & Al Quds
A woman comes to talk to me about living on the estate since it was built

I deliberately arrived very early at Central Hill so I could take a walk around and make more pictures of one of London’s finest council estates, but almost missed the start of the talk I had come to hear opposing Lambeth Council’s plans for its demolition as I spent some time talking with a woman who had seen me taking pictures who was still living in the home she had moved into when the estate was built and had raised her family here. She told me how good it had been living here in a fine home that was still in good condition and had never needed any major repairs.

Central Hill, Brian Haw & Al Quds

Ted Knight, former leader of Lambeth Council, had come to speak in support of the campaign to save the Estate, passed for demolition by the council despite the almost unanimous vote of residents for plans to refurbish rather than demolish and the plans by Architects for Social Housing which would achieve the increase in density desired without demolition.

Central Hill, Brian Haw & Al Quds

Knight as council leader earned the name ‘Red Ted’ from the gutter press for standing up to the Tory Government’s rate-capping 1984 Rent Act which severely limited the spending of local councils – which eventually led to him and 31 other councillors being surcharged and banned from political office for five years in 1986. He remained an active trade unionist and in the Labour Party and when he spoke was Branch Chair of the Gypsy Hill ward which includes Central Hill. Although his politics and mine were not entirely the same, I was sad to hear of his death in 2020.

As Knight said, under borough architect Ted Hollamby the estate was planned by Rosemary Stjernstedt as a living community and had remained remarkably successful, with a number of original residents from the 1970s still living there and wanting to continue to do so. At that time Labour believed that nothing was too good for the working people and the estate was built to high specifications and is still in sound condition. A deliberate process of managed neglect – like that which had resulted in the Grenfell Tower disaster had – had been carried out by Lambeth Council to legitimise its demolition.

Lambeth council now refuse to allow the community to use the resource centre

Although the meeting was poorly attended, surveys of estate residents have shown a very high proportion of residents want to remain on the estate and oppose the demolition. The council quotes very different figures and its response to feedback from estate residents has been to remove the estate representatives from the consultative body.

Faults in the paving are marked but left without repair

Lambeth Council has also ridiculously inflated the estimate for the refurbishment of the estate and rejected without proper consideration a carefully planned alternative scheme for a much cheaper limited infill of the site rather than demolition which would involve far, far less disruption to the families who live here and also result in the retention of much-needed social housing. The only real problem with the alternative scheme proposed by Architects for Social Housing is that it would not generate excessive profits for the developers.

Ted Knight speaks for Central Hill


Brian Haw remembered – Parliament Square

This was the sixth anniversary of the death of peace campaigner Brian Haw who had made a ten-year political stand against war in Parliament Square despite considerable harassment by police urged on by politicians, laws introduced against his and other protests, Westminster Council officials and almost certainly MI5 agents.

Brian Haw began his camp here on 2 June 2001, and remained in place despite many attempts, legal and otherwise to remove him for almost 10 years, leaving only when arrested, for court appearances and to speak at protests at Trafalgar Square and Downing St until 1 January 2011 when he left England to receive treatment for his lung cancer in Berlin. He died in Germany in the early hours of 18 June 2011.His ten years of protest and the frequent and repeated harassment undoubtedly hastened his decline and death.

His protest in Parliament square was continued by Barbara Tucker who had joined him in 2005 and had been imprisoned twice for her role in the protest and arrested 48 times. The level of harassment increased and she went on hunger strike on 31st December 2012. Late in January 2013 she was taken into hospital close to death, and was treated for frostbite and exposure. Her protests continued on-line.

Brian Haw remembered


Al Quds march – BBC to US Embassy

Several thousands came from around the country for the annual Al Quds (Jerusalem) Day march in London. Organised by a Quds committee with the Islamic Human Rights Commission it was supported by various groups including the Stop the War Coalition, Muslim Association of Britain and Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods. At the front of the march were a group of Imams and Neturei Karta anti-Zionist Jews.

The march called for ‘Freedom for Palestine’ and for all oppressed peoples across the world. It supports of the BDS campaign for a boycott of Israel Israeli goods, divestment from companies supporting Israel and sanctions against the Israeli state. It demands that Israel ends its breaches of international law and its oppression of the Palestinian people in what is an apartheid system, and ends its siege and attacks on Gaza.

Zionists oppose the march with a protest close to the final rally at the US Embassy, but a small militant group carrying Israeli flags attempted to stop the march on its route, calling those taking part supporters of the banned terrorist group Hezbollah.

A number of the marchers were holding Hezbollah flags, which carried a message indicating they were supporting Hezbollah as a political organisation – it is one of two main parties representing Shia Muslims, Lebanon’s largest religious group – as a part of national unity governments in the Lebanese parliament.

Police seemed very reluctant to move the Zionists off the road in front of the march which was held up for some time, with marchers simply waiting for the police to clear them. After some time the the marchers held their planned minute of silence for the Grenfell Tower victims before getting up and telling police that unless the police cleared the road they would simply push them aside and march through.

The Al Quds day march is very much a family event but with the numbers involved the march stewards would clearly have been able to do so and the statement did galvanise the police into action, and the march was able to move on slowly.

The event organisers make it very clear that this is not an anti-Semitic event, and I think one or two placards which might have suggested this were rapidly removed by stewards. In 2019 Home Secretary Sajid Javid decided to proscribe Hezbollah’s political wing as well as the military wing which had been proscribed in 2008, so showing any support for Hezbollah would be an offence carrying a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

Al Quds march
Zionists protest Al Quds Day March


Nakba, NHS, Gitmo etc & Tamils

Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

NakNakba, NHS, Gitmo etc & Tamils – Saturday 18th May 2013 was another busy day for protests in London and I covered a number of demonstrations.


End Israeli Ethnic Cleansing – Old Palace Yard, Westminster

65 years after 700,000 Palestinians were driven out of their homes as refugees in the ‘Nakba’ (catastrophe) when the state of Israel was created, Palestinians and their supporters protested outside parliament calling for an end to the continuing ethnic cleansing and a boycott and sanctions until Israel complies with international law.

There had been protests in Jerusalem earlier in the week on Nabka Day against the continuing sanctions against Palestinians that have crowded them into an ever-decreasing area of land, diminishing almost daily as new Israeli settlements are created and new restrictions placed on the movement of Palestinians. Many of those protesting in London from Jewish or Palestinian backgrounds and as usual these included a group of extreme orthodox Neturei Karta Jews who had walked down from North London; they see themselves as guardians of the true Jewish faith, and reject Zionism.

The speeches were continuing when I left to cover another event. More at End Israeli Ethnic Cleansing


London Marches to Defend NHS – South Bank to Whitehall

On the opposite side of the River Thames thousands were gathering by the Royal Festival Hall to march against cuts, closures and privatisation of the NHS, alarmed at the attack by the government on the principles that underlie our National Health Service and the threats of closure of Accident and Emergency facilities, maternity units and hospital wards which seem certain to lead to our health system being unable to cope with demand – and many lives put at risk.

Nine years later we are seeing the effect of these policies with ambulance services unable to cope with demand, lengthy delays in treating people in A&E, delays in diagnosing cancers leading to increased deaths and more. And although it was only a matter of time before we had a pandemic like Covid, and exercises had shown what needed to be done to prepare for this, the NHS had not been given the resources to prepare for this, leading to much higher death rates than some comparable countries.

Part of the problems of the NHS come from disastrous PFI agreements pushed through under the Labour government, landing NHS trusts with huge debts that will continue for many years. This forced NHS trusts into disastrous hospital closure plans, some of which were defeated by huge public campaigns. Many of those marching were those involved in these campaigns at Lewisham, Ealing, Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Central Middlesex, Whittington and other hospitals around London.

I left the march as it entered Whitehall for a rally there. More at London Marches to Defend NHS.


Guantánamo Murder Scene – US Embassy, Grosvenor Square

London Guantánamo Campaign staged a ‘murder scene’ at the US Embassy on the 101st day of the Guantánamo Hunger Strike in which over 100 of the 166 still held there are taking part, with many including Shaker Aamer now being forcibly fed.

More at Guantánamo Murder Scene.


More US Embassy Protests – US Embassy, Grosvenor Square

Other protesters outside the US Embassy included Narmeen Saleh Al Rubaye, born in the US and currently living in Birmingham, whose husband Shawki Ahmed Omar, an American citizen, was arrested in Iraq by American forces in 2004 and turned over to Iraqi custody in 2011. He was tortured by the Americans when they held him and was now being tortured by the Iraqis and also was on hunger strike. She has protested with her daughter Zeinab outside the US Embassy for a number of weekends and on this occasion was joined by a small group of Muslims who had come to protest against Guantanamo, appalled by the actions of the US waging a war against Islam and Muslims.

Shawki Ahmed Omar is still held in Iraq; before he died in 2021 former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark recorded a video calling for his release which was posted to YouTube in with the comment by another US lawyer “This case is one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in recent United States history. It is a case where the US government essentially lied to the US Supreme Court to cover up torture and to be able to turn an American citizen over to people who they knew would torture him.”

A few yards away, kept separate by police, a group of supporters of the Syrian regime, including some from the minor Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) was also holding a protest in favour of the Assad regime and against western intervention in Syria.

More at More US Embassy Protests.


Tamils protest Sri Lankan Genocide – Hyde Park to Waterloo Place

I met thousands of British Tamils and dignitaries and politicians from India, Sri Lanka and the UK as they marched through London on the 4th anniversary of the Mullivaikkal Massacre, many dressed in black in memory of the continuing genocide in Sri Lanka. Many wore the tiger emblem and called for a Tamil homeland – Tamil Eelam.

Although it was a large protest, with perhaps around 5,000 marchers I think it received absolutely no coverage in UK media, and I seemed to be the only non-Tamil photographer present. Tamils were rightly disgusted at the lack of response by the UK, the Commonwealth and the world to the organised genocide that took place in Sri Lanka, of which the massacre at Mullivaikkal four years ago was a climax.

The march had started from Hyde Park, and I caught up with it on Piccadilly and went with it taking photographs to Waterloo Place where there was to be a rally. But it had been a long day for me and I left just before this started.

More at Tamils protest Sri Lankan Genocide.


The Wall Must Fall & Kyoto March

Monday, May 16th, 2022

Back in 2004 I was still working with the Nikon D100, one of the first really affordable DSLR cameras which I bought when it came out in 2002. It used a 6Mp Sony sensor in what Nikon called DX format – though it could have been called half-frame. For years Nikon insisted we didn’t need larger sensors, and though they were correct, marketing pressure eventually forced them to move to “full-frame” and us zombies followed them.

The D100 was a decent camera, but let down by a rather small and dim viewfinder, and to some extent by the processing software available at the time for its RAW images. If I had the time to go back to the RAW files these images would look sharper and brighter. Here are a few of those I posted on My London Diary from the two events I photographed on 16th May 2004 along with the two sections of text (with some minor corrections.)


The wall must fall. Free Palestine rally, Trafalgar Square

Israel has a right to exist and defend itself, but not to put itself outside international law. We all need peace in the Middle East. Support for Palestine is also support for an Israel that can coexist with the rest of the world, and for the rest of the world.

Peter Tatchell protests the persecution of Queers in Palestine

The wall must fall rally in Trafalgar square on 16 May 2006 started with an an ugly scene, when stewards stopped Peter Tatchell and a group from Outrage from being photographed in front of the banners around Nelson’s column.

Neturei Karta orthodox Jews had walked down from Stamford Hill on the Sabbath to oppose Zionism

The rally organisers argued that raising the question of the persecution of gays in Palestine distracted attention from the Palestinian cause. Their childish attempts to distract the attention of photographers by jumping in front of the outrage protesters, holding placards in front of theirs and shouting over them simply increased the force of Tatchell’s arguments.

Fortunately the rally soon got under way, the main speaker was Jamal Jumaa – director of the Stop The Wall campaign in Palestine, although there were many other speakers, including Sophie Hurndall, the brother of Tom the murdered peace activist, Green MEP Caroline Lucas, Afif Safieh, Palestinian general delegate to the UK, George Galloway and more. Too many more for most of us.

War On Want activists came with a wall to dramatize the effect of the wall in Palestine. When the march moved off down Whitehall, the wall walked with them, and it was erected opposite Downing Street. There was a short sit-down on the road before the event dissolved.


Campaign against Climate Change Kyoto March, London

Bristol Radical Cheerleaders in the Kyoto march to the US embassy

I caught up with the Kyoto march, organised by the campaign for climate change, as it reached Berkeley Square on the last quarter-mile of its long trek from the Esso British HQ in Leatherhead. Esso are seen as being one of the main influences behind the refusal by George Bush and the US administration to ratify the Kyoto accord. The campaign has organised a number of marches in London, and this is an annual event.

Among the marchers it was good to find a number dressed ready for the promised ‘dinosaur party’ at the US embassy, as well as the fantastic Rinky Dink cycle-powered sound system. It was also good to meet a couple of the Bristol Radical cheerleaders again, bouncing with energy as ever. A little colour was also added by a small group of of Codepink activists forming a funeral cortege, carrying the globe on their coffin.

The police in Grosvenor square were not helpful, but eventually the speeches got under way in the corner of the square.


You can find more pictures on My London Diary starting from the May 2004 page or from the pages for the two events, The Wall Must Fall and Campaign against Climate Change.


Four Years Ago

Thursday, October 14th, 2021

Four years ago, on October 14th 2017, I found myself in the unusual position of looking for a Michelin starred restaurant in Mayfair, definitely something well outside of my normal social and financial territory. But I wasn’t looking for somewhere to eat, but to photograph a protest outside calling on the restaurant’s owner and his head chef not to break the Palestinian call for a cultural boycott of Israel by participating in Brand Israel culinary event ‘Round Tables’ in Tel Aviv in November 2017.

The protesters say that events like these are part of an Israeli government’s Public Relations efforts to distract from its policies of occupation and apartheid by bringing international prestige to Israel’s culinary scene and that his event is sponsored by Dan Hotels who have a branch built on stolen Palestinian land in occupied East Jerusalem.

This was a peaceful protest, with Palestinian flags, banners about Israeli apartheid and ethnic cleaning and supporting the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel (BDS) and calling for justice for Palestinians. Those protesting included both Palestinians and Jews. A small group of counter-protesters also came, holding an Israeli flag, one of whom came to tell me that everything it stated on the protesters banners were lies. I told him that I had friends in Palestine and know how they were treated both by the Israeli government and by Jewish settlers who came and destroyed their olive trees while Israeli forces stood and watched taking no action against them.

I left to join Class War and London 4th Wave Feminists who were protesting again outside the tacky tourist trap in Cable St which glorifies the exploits of ‘Jack the Ripper‘ and his brutal series of 19th century murders and exhibiting materials relating to the death of working class women who were his victims.

The so-called ‘museum’ only gained planning permission by claiming it would celebrate the history of women in the East End and not their horrific slaughter, and although Tower Hamlets council were unable to withdraw the consent they were now failing to enforce decisions about inappropriate signage and unuathorised metal shutters. Class War came with plastic inflatable hammers to symbolically attacked these.

Police tried hard to get the protesters to move away from the shop with no success, and escorted a few customers past the protesters inside. There were few during the hour or so of the protest, and at least one group went away when they heard what the protesters had to say, while another group who had been inside came out and told them that they thought the “museum” was very disappointing in the way it treated the murders.

I left as the Ripper protest was coming to an end to go to the Zimbabwe Embassy, where every Saturday afternoon the Zimbabwe democracy and human rights vigil takes place. Today was a special day as the first vigil was held on 12th October 2002 and they were celebrating 15 years (780 vigils) having vowed to continue until the human rights abuses of the Mugabe regime are ended and there free and fair elections in the country.

Among those present were several who had been at that first vigil in 2002 including human rights activist Peter Tatchell who had been badly beaten when he attempted a citizen’s arrest on Mugabe in Brussels in 2001, and his is one of the hands holding the knife to cut the cake.

Zimbabwe vigil celebrates 15 years
Class War return to Ripper “Museum”
Little Social don’t break the cultural boycott


Free Palestine and My London Diary

Saturday, May 29th, 2021

National Demonstration for Palestine, London, UK

London, UK. 22nd May 2021. Thousands march through London in support of Palestine calling for freedom for Palestine and end to the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian communities, the occupation of Palestine and apartheid laws. After Israeli attacks on Gaza that have killed around 250 and wrecked much of it they call for a huge international effort to rebuild Gaza and to bring a peaceful solution that will enable Palestine and Israel to live in peace and avoid future attacks. Peter Marshall

National Demonstration for Palestine, London, UK

I still can’t get around to deciding whether to resurrect ‘My London Diary’ which I brought to a halt when I went into personal lock-down early in March last year, when I was ill and cases of Covid were rising dramatically, although the government was still dithering, still pursuing a ‘herd immunity’ scenario.

National Demonstration for Palestine, London, UK

I reached for a piece of scrap paper and began a quick calculation based on the then available facts – herd immunity would require around 70% or more of the population to get Covid, the death rate was thought to be around 1% and Google told me that the UK population was around 68 million. It would mean around 48 million or more becoming infected – and that would mean around 480,000 deaths. And given that we knew it was much more likely to kill older people, I stood a very high risk of being among those deaths, particularly as I also suffer from diabetes, another risk factor.

National Demonstration for Palestine, London, UK

I’d been getting advice from one of my two sons for several weeks urging me to isolate. One of his wife’s sisters was involved with the medical group giving advice to the government about the virus and had passed on what they knew about Covid. I ordered a re-useable mask but continued working without one. I became ill, but when I put my symptoms into the checker on the NHS web page it told me it wasn’t Covid. A few weeks later they added more possible symptoms and my result might have been different. I’m still unsure as to whether what I suffered from back then was Covid, though if so it was a very mild case.

National Demonstration for Palestine, London, UK

Now my two injections should have had their effect (although I did take an antibody flow test several weeks after the first of them which found none) and on May 1st this year I went up to London to photograph the May Day events. Since then I’ve returned a couple of times to photograph protests, mainly those against the Israeli evictions in Sheik Jarrah, attacks on worshippers inside Al Aqsa mosque and the air attacks on Gaza which have killed around 250 Palestinians, including many children, and shocked the world by their intensity.

National Demonstration for Palestine, London, UK

The pictures here come from last Saturday’s National Demonstration for Palestine in London, attended by an estimated 180-250,000, but which received very little media coverage – I didn’t hear anything about it from the BBC, despite it being about an issue very much in the news. Our official broadcaster seems to have an incredible reluctance to report on protests in the UK, and relatively little has made other media. My pictures were at the agency in time to meet deadlines, but so were those by hundreds or thousands of other photographers, and so far as I’m aware none of these has sold, though several have been shared quite widely on Facebook where I also posted them.

National Demonstration for Palestine, London, UK

I haven’t yet put any pictures taken after March 8, 2020 onto My London Diary. It didn’t seem worth sharing the pictures from my walks and bike rides around my home, though perhaps sometime I might persuade myself to look through them and publish something. And so far I’ve not reopened the site to add anything I’ve taken since getting back to work. There isn’t as much happening in London as there was pre-Covid and I’m also deliberately doing less.

National Demonstration for Palestine, London, UK

I also have some minor technical problems. I haven’t yet got the software I been using for over 20 years to write ‘My London Diary’ and other sites onto my new computer and I think it unlikely to work under Windows 10 which I’m now using. I have problems with web space, not with the actual size, but with the number of separate files and am now fairly close to the limit of my contract. Continuing for any length of time with ‘My London Diary’ would mean an expensive upgrade.

National Demonstration for Palestine, London, UK

Before I stopped posting new work on My London Diary it had already a relatively low level of site visits – in the hundreds per day. Several times as many of you come to read Re-PHOTO, and to look my work on Flickr. I had hoped to transfer the site to a major institution but that fell through.

Click on any of the pictures to go to my Flickr album on the protest. It currently has 25 pictures but I may add some others later.

1988 Free Mandela march

Friday, October 23rd, 2020
https://www.flickr.com/photos/petermarshall/50512791032/in/album-72157716552761153/
Camden Town

Although I first took pictures at protests in the 1970s, I had been taking part in protests since the middle of the 1960s. But I was then a penniless student with no idea about how you could cut costs by developing and printing your own films; I did own a camera, a Halina 35X, but had dropped it in the lake at Versailles and it never worked reliably after that, delivering random but usually very slow shutter speeds from its rusty leaf shutter.

Free Nelson Mandela - Birthday March and Rally - London 1988 88-7h-55

Even after I had taken a short photographic course and got a job and could afford a new camera (a cheap Russian Zenith SLR) and had rigged up a temporary darkroom in the kitchen of our flat, I was still going on protests as a protester and took few if any photographs.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/petermarshall/50511912768/in/album-72157716552761153/
BBC

Of course there were fewer protests back in the 70s and 80s, or at least it was harder to find out about them in the days before the World Wide Web. There were of course huge events such as the Miners’ Strike, but unless you lived in the mining areas or could travel to them, which didn’t fit with my full-time job you read about most of these after the events were given newspaper coverage if at all. Many other protests related to strikes and union issues were simply impossible to know about unless they concerned your own union.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/petermarshall/50512626361/in/album-72157716552761153/

My attendance at protests was largely limited to the big national demonstrations organised by groups I belonged to – such as CND and the Anti-Apartheid movement and a few others that were advertised in advance in the alternative press. Many protests were only advertised by fly-posting on walls mainly in the areas they were to take place in – and there were few if any such postings in the area where I lived.

Free Nelson Mandela - Birthday March and Rally - London 1988 88-7j-65

I began to be more a photographer of protests than an actual protester in the 1980s, particularly after a few of my photographs were accepted for an exhibition on protest (and I think one won a prize.) I began to realise that I could make a great contribution to the various causes with a camera than simply marching or attending rallies, and, a little later, began contributing my photographs to a picture library concerned with social issues, and later still providing my services directly to some protest groups.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/petermarshall/50511912913/in/album-72157716552761153/

As more and more people and groups went on-line things began to change. I found out about more and more protests, at first as groups set up web sites to promote their activities. I’d spend an evening or more a week going through a list of perhaps 20 or thirty different groups and using sites which listed bus and travel diversions and various search engines to find out about events and put them in my diary. Then Google arrived and made searching easier and finally Facebook and I had little time to photograph anything but protests.

Free Nelson Mandela - Birthday March and Rally - London 1988 88-7j-13

The Free Nelson Mandela march in London was on Saturday 17th July 1988, the day before his 70th birthday and two years before he was released from prison. I walked with the protesters taking pictures from Camden Town to Hyde Park, and took a few pictures in the crowds in Hyde Park, but none of the stage and speakers at the rally. You can see more of the pictures in the Flickr album uploaded a couple of days ago. Clicking on any of the pictures above will take you to the larger version in the album.


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.