Posts Tagged ‘BDS’

Holloway, Nabja, Vegans, Refugees & Topshop – 2016

Tuesday, May 14th, 2024

Holloway, Nabja, Vegans, Refugees & Topshop – I celebrated 14th May 2016 with a busy day of protests around London.


Reclaim Holloway

Holloway, Nabja, Vegans, Refugees & Topshop
Jeremy Corbyn

Islington Hands Off Our Public Services, Islington Kill the Housing Bill and the Reclaim Justice Network marched from rally on Holloway Road demanding that when Holloway prison is closed the site remains in public hands, and that the government replace the prison with council housing and the vital community services needed to prevent people being caught up in a damaging criminal justice system.

Holloway, Nabja, Vegans, Refugees & Topshop

The prison is in Jeremy Corbyn’s constituency and the then Labour leader turned up on his bike to speak before the march to give his support.

Holloway, Nabja, Vegans, Refugees & Topshop

There was a long rally outside the prison with speeches by local councillors, trade unionists and campaigning groups.

Holloway, Nabja, Vegans, Refugees & Topshop

Islington Council wanted to see the site used for social housing and in 2022 gave https://www.ahmm.co.uk/projects/masterplanning/holloway/ planning permission for a development by Peabody, who bought the site in 2019 with help from the GLA, and London Square for 985 new homes. 60% of these will be affordable, including 415 for social rent, together with a 1.4-acre public park, a Women’s Building, and new commercial spaces.

Reclaim Holloway


68th Anniversary Nabka Day – Oxford St

Holloway, Nabja, Vegans, Refugees & Topshop

A rolling protest outside shops which support the Israeli state made its way along Oxford St from Marks and Spencers, with speakers detailing the continuing oppression of the Palestinian people, and opposing attempts to criminalise and censor the anti-Zionist boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

It came on the day before Nabka Day, the anniversary of the ‘day of the catastrophe’ which commemorates when around 80% of Palestinians were forced to leave their homes between December 1947 and January 1949, and later prevented by Israeli law from returning to their homes, or claiming their property.

The protesters included both Palestinians and Jews opposed to the continuing oppression of the Palestinians by the Israeli government. They were met by a small group of people holding Israeli flags who stood in their way and shouted insults, accusing them of anti-Semitism.

The organisers were clear that the protest was not anti-Semitic but against Zionism and some actions of the Israeli government. Both police and protesters tried hard to avoid confrontation with those who had clearly come to disrupt and provoke.

Many UK businesses play an important part in supporting the Israeli government by selling Israeli goods and those produced in the occupied territories and in other ways, and their were brief speeches as the protest halted outside some of them detailing some of these links.

More on My London Diary at 68th Anniversary Nabka Day.

This Saturday, 18th May 2024, you can join the march in London, starting at the BBC on the 76th anniversary of the Nabka calling for an end to the current genocide in Gaza.


Vegan Earthlings Masked Video Protest – Trafalgar Square

Vegans in white masks from London Vegan Actions were standing in a large circle on the North Terrace of Trafalgar Square, some holding laptops or tables showing a film about the mistreatment of animals in food production, bullfighting, etc. Although bright sun made the laptop screens almost impossible to see and the sound outdoors was largely inaudible the large circle of people standing in white masks did attract attention.

More pictures Vegan Earthlings masked video protest.


Refugees Welcome say protesters – Trafalgar Square

Also protesting in front of the National Gallery were a small group holding posters calling for human rights, fair treatment and support for refugees. Some held a banner with the message ‘free movement for People Not Weapons‘.

More pictures Refugees Welcome say protesters.


Topshop protest after cleaners sacked – Oxford St

After Topshop suspended two cleaners who were members of the United Voices of the World trade union for protesting for a living wage and sacked one of them protests were taking place outside their stores around the country.

The UVW were supported by others at the London protest which began outside Topshop on Oxford Street by others including trade unionists from the CAIWU and Ian Hodson, General Secretary of the BWAFU as well as then Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Class War.

A large crowd of police and extra illegal security guards wearing no ID blocked the entrance to the shop stopping both protesters and customers from entering. The several hundred protesters held up placards and banners and protested noisily but made no serious attempt to go in to the store.

A man wears a mask of Topshop owner Phillip Green

Some protesters, led by the Class War ‘Womens Death Brigade’ moved onto the road, blocking it for some minutes before the whole group of protesters marched to block the Oxford Circus junction for some minutes until a large group of police arrived and fairly gently persuade them to move.

They stopped outside John Lewis, another major store in a long-running dispute with the union as it allowed its cleaning contractor to pay its cleaners low wages, with poor conditions of service and poor management, disclaiming any responsibility for workers who keep its stores running.

The protest there was again noisy and there were some heated verbal exchanges between protesters and police, but I saw no arrests. After a few minutes the protesters marched off to continue their protest outside another Oxford Street Topshop branch close to Marble Arch.

More at Topshop protest after cleaners sacked.


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Protest Under Threat – 2008 and 2024

Friday, January 12th, 2024

Protest Under Threat – On Saturday 12th January 2008 I photographed six protests in London, and two of them were against the increased restrictions on public protest introduced by SOCPA, the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 which considerably increased the powers of arrest of police, criminalised trespass at designated ‘Protected Sites’ which included nuclear sites and a long list of royal, parliamentary, and government sites.

Protest Under Threat - 2008 and 2024

But most controversially it seriously restricted our right to demonstrate within a “designated area” of up to one kilometre from any point in Parliament Square. Although Trafalgar Square was excluded from this, it was a wide area which included areas on the south bank of the river including County Hall, the Jubilee Gardens, St Thomas’ Hospital and the London Eye and extended west on the north bank as far as Tate Britain.

Protest Under Threat - 2008 and 2024

These sections of the act were repealed or rather replaced in 2011 by the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 which narrowed its scope to prohibiting some activities in Parliament Square, more specifically aimed at protests such as that by Brian Haw.


Hizb ut-Tahrir protest Bush’s Middle East tour – Marble Arch – Saudi Embassy

Protest Under Threat - 2008 and 2024

Other protests on the day included a march by supporters of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain from Marble Arch to the Saudi Embassy in Mayfair to show their opposition to George Bush’s Middle East tour and American policies in the region as well as against the current corrupt ruling elites in the area.

Protest Under Threat - 2008 and 2024

Although I don’t support the ideology of Hizb ut-Tahrir and was certainly worried by their global intentions which we later saw put into practice by Islamic extremists in ISIS in Syria and others elsewhere as well as uneasy about their treatment of the women who were at their protests clearly as second-class citizens (and who I was often requested by stewards not to photograph), this like their other protests was extremely tightly managed by the organisation.

Clearly the protest presented no real threat to public order and it was hard to see why there was such a large police presence, when all that was needed was some traffic control and perhaps a few officers to monitor the speeches for any illegal content – though I don’t think there were any present who could understand those not in English.
more pictures


Young Rich Protest Siena Airport Expansion

There were two protests taking place around Trafalgar Square, and one of them I found it a little hard to take seriously. This was what I described as a “small but very select” protest against the expansion of Sienna airport “led by the young grandson of a Lord” by “models and young people from some of the richest families around (the kind of people who own Guinness rather than drink it)” who enjoy their times at nice big villas there and don’t “want all sorts of riff-raff coming in on cheap flights“. Of course we should all be against airport expansion.
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 CSG Freedom to Protest Border Post – Trafalgar Square/Whitehall

On the traffic island at the south of Trafalgar Square and the top of Whitehall a group calling themselves the CSG (Citizens Supporting Government – rather than the Met’s TSG, sometimes said to stand for Thugs Supporting Government rather than its official Territorial Support Group) set up a ‘Freedom to Protest Border Point’ again on Saturday on the edge of the SOCPA zone to advise the public about the danger of passing into the an area where freedom is severely restricted.
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Freedom to Protest – outside Downing Street

But the main Freedom To Protest demonstration was taking place at the gates of Downing Street with a couple of hundred protesters. Although police usually try to move protesters away from the gates, things as I arrived seemed fairly relaxed.

But when a number of protesters decided to sit or lie down in the middle of the road this prompted the police to take action. “They grabbed the first couple of guys who went down on the tarmac and handcuffed them as well as seeming to try out a few strange holds.”

And when a dozen or so laid down in a neat line along the carriageway a squad of around 20 officers who had been waiting 50 yards down the road rushed in and began by clearing photographers and others standing on the road back onto the pavement. “Any who showed a reluctance to move were given a hand, sometimes with what seemed like unnecessary force. I was almost knocked flying when they threw one man bodily backwards – and I was in his way, probably rather luckily for him, as otherwise he could well have cracked his head open on the pavement.”

They then carried those sitting or laid on the ground back to the pavement, warning them they would be arrested if they returned to the road. Some who had linked arms were separated with some of the police clearly seeming to be enjoying themselves using pain compliance holds and inflicting unnecessary pain as they twisted arms behind backs and generally pushed the guys around.

Brian Haw – whose continuing peace protest in Parliament Square had been one of the main targets of SOCPA – was there using a small video camera to record the police violence and I photographed him with a nasty trickle of blood running down his left cheek after an officer had forcefully pushed the camera into his face. When he tried to complain to the officers in charge he was ignored and finally told to go to a police station if he wished to complain. Some of the police were rather obviously amused at both his injury and his complaints.
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Kenyans Demand Justice after Election Fraud

Across Whitehall in the designated protest area there were two protests taking place. Kenyans were protesting against election fraud in their country, where the man who had almost certainly lost the vote set up an electoral commission that was certain to declare him as the winner, and he remains President. SOCPA was having an effect on their protest as my picture shows, with a man using a megaphone hidden under brown paper!
more pictures


End the Siege on Gaza

Also across Whitehall from Downing Street were a group of protesters calling for an end to the Israeli siege of Gaza which severely limits the supply of essential goods including medicines and for an end to the military occupation of Palestine.

Among the protesters still present when I arrived rather late to photograph it were Jewish activists supporting Palestine and a boycott of Israeli goods, part of the growing campaign for BDS – Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. In 2024 the UK government is putting through a Bill to stop “businesses and organisations–including those affiliated with Israel-being targeted through ongoing boycotts by public bodies” because of the increasing success of this campaign. If passed it will stop public bodies, “including universities, local authorities, and government departments, from making investment decisions that align with their human rights responsibilities and obligation.” They will be unable “to avoid causing or contributing to human rights abuses and international crimes” such as “the Chinese government’s systematic repression of Uyghurs, Israel’s crimes of apartheid or war crimes in Israeli settlements, Saudi Arabia and UAE’s war crimes in Yemen, or the Myanmar junta’s crimes against humanity.
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Free Palestine, Free Ahad Tamimi – 2017

Saturday, December 23rd, 2023

Free Palestine, Free Ahad Tamimi – Six years ago Palestine was also in the news and on Saturday 23rd December 2017 I photographed three protests in London related to the country and its occupation by Israel. These were protests called at short notice and there were larger protests in the New Year.


Jerusalem, Capital of Palestine – US Embassy

Free Palestine, Free Ahad Tamimi

Outside the US Embassy – still then in Grosvenor Square – a rally by Palestinians and their supporters condemned the decision by US President Trump’s announcement that the US Embassy in Israel will move to Jerusalem.

Free Palestine, Free Ahad Tamimi

Jerusalem is one of the oldest of world cities and is of great significance to three major world religions. It was where Soloman built the first temple after the city had been captured by his father, King David around three thousand years ago. Here Jesus was tried and crucified around 30AD, and here that the prophet Mohammed died and ascended into heaven in 632AD, and the Temple Mount is the third holiest site in Islam with the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosque.

Free Palestine, Free Ahad Tamimi

Jerusalem was from 1923 until 1948 the capital of Palestine, and in 1948 was declared by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 to be an international city. After the 1967 Six Day War Israel gained control of the whole of the city and in 1980 Israel passed its Jerusalem Law declaring it the “complete and united” capital of Israel. The United Nations Security Council responded with ‘Resolution 478 on 20 August 1980, which declared that the Jerusalem Law is “a violation of international law“, is “null and void and must be rescinded forthwith“. Member states were called upon to withdraw their diplomatic representation from Jerusalem.’

Free Palestine, Free Ahad Tamimi

Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem was a clear dismissal of this UN resolution and was condemned by those who spoke at the rally. They called for peace and freedom for Palestine and also condemned the increase in hate crimes following Trump’s announcements and the brutal repression of protests against it in Palestine, including the shooting of peaceful protesters, one in a wheelchair by Israeli forces, and the beating up and detention of 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi and members of her family.

Jerusalem, Capital of Palestine


Free Palestine, Free Ahad Tamimi – M&S, Oxford St,

The protest invited people to “discover more” about M&S and to boycott the Israeli goods they sell

The Revolutionary Communist Group held a weekly protest outside Marks & Spencer’s flagship store on Oxford Street for 13 years as a part of their ‘Victory to the Intifada‘ campaign in support of freedom for Palestine and an end to the Israeli military occupation of Palestine.

They point out that M&S support Israel by selling goods produced their including the illegal sale of some items produced in the occupied territories and urge shoppers to boycott M&S and support the growing BDS campaign – Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions.

They say many British companies including Marks and Spencer are collaborators with the apartheid regime in Israel and call for the release of all Palestinian political prisoners, many of whom are being held effectively indefinitely without trial or have been sentenced in unfair trials. Israel has reacted to the BDS campaign with a number of schemes including campaigns in both the Tory and Labour parties. Many of the controversies about anti-Semitism in the Labour party and elsewhere are a part of this orchestrated anti-BDS campaign, particularly directed against Jeremy Corbyn for his very public support for freedom for Palestine.

Today’s protest was a special one called to demand the immediate release of 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi, beaten up and arrested by Israeli soldiers at her home in the village of Nabi Saleh in the occupied West Bank at 4am on Tuesday 19 December.

Free Palestine, Free Ahad Tamimi


Free Ahed Tamimi – Trafalgar Square,

Another group of protesters calling for the release of Ahed Tamimi were in Trafalgar Square to condemn the kidnap, beating up and arrest of 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi by Israeli soldiers at 4am on Tuesday 19 December, and the later arrest of her mother Nariman Tamimi and cousin Nour Tamimi, and called for their immediate release.

The two younger women had earlier slapped Israeli soldiers in their occupied village of Nabi Saleh when their 14 year old male cousin was shot in the face by Israeli soldiers. Among those taking part in the protest were some who knew Ahed and her family personally and had visited them in their village of Nabi Saleh where regular protests are brutally repressed by the Israeli army.

Ahed’s father Bassem Tamini was also in some of the photographs the protesters held and he has been detained by the military many times in the past.

This was a fairly small protest in front of the National Gallery and had been going for some time when two men turned up to shout at the protesters and disrupt it.

They tell the protesters that Palestine will never be free and that Israel has offered peace, but the protesters reply that Israel has never been prepared to make a serious offer of peace with justice. When a two state solution seemed possible following the Oslo accords, Israel prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated for having signed them and Benjamin Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon, both opposed to the peace, took power in Israel, and the building of settlements on occupied land tripled.

The two men told the protesters they should “go home” which seemed a peculiarly stupid and insensitive comment as some of those present had lost their homes in Palestine when they were forced out of them by Israel.

Both of the men were well-known Zionists who have attempted to disrupt other protests calling for boycotts of Israel and supporting Palestine. Their shouting and disruption had the effect of calling more attention to the protest calling for the release of Ahed Tamini. After some minutes they were joined by a third Zionist, and angry woman who joined them to scream a message of hate and then left.

Eventually police arrived and told two men that they should behave themselves and suggested they leave. They didn’t go but quietened down considerably. The following year after even more aggressively disruptive behaviour at a pro-Palestine protest one of the two was fined and issued with a restraining order under the Public Order Act.

One of the protesters complained to the officers about the racist comments the two had made to him, but the police showed no interest. The protest continued but it was soon time for me to catch my train home.

Free Ahed Tamimi



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Israel, Palestine & Syrian Refugees – 2015

Friday, October 13th, 2023

Israel, Palestine & Syrian Refugees: On Tuesday 13th October 2015 supporters of Israel and Palestine faced each other on the street in Hammersmith. From there I went to a candlelit vigil at Parliament calling for the UK to resettle Syrian Refugees.


Zionists and Palestinian protests over killings

Israel, Palestine & Syrian Refugees

The Zionist Federation had come to protest outside the Palestinian Authority UK Mission following a number of stabbings of Jews in Israel. Jewish and other groups supporting Palestinian resistance to the occupation and Israeli terror against Palestinians came to oppose them, calling for an end to Israeli occupation and all violence against both Jews and Palestinians in Israel.

Israel, Palestine & Syrian Refugees

Police kept the two groups well apart though both had powerful sound systems so they could each hear what the others were saying. But while the Palestinian ambassador to the UK Professor Manuel Hassassian quite clearly spoke condemning violence on both sides, a speaker at the Zionist Federation protest continued to insist as the main point of his speech that Palestinians refused to condemn violence against Jews.

Israel, Palestine & Syrian Refugees

I commented then:

“There is of course a great assymetry between violence against Israel and Palestine, with much smaller numbers of Israelis being killed, largely in suicide bomb attacks and knifings. Palestinians have been killed in much larger numbers, by the attacks of the Israeli army, by Israeli police shootings and by the Jewish settlers occupying parts of Palestine; Israeli army and police turn a blind eye to their raids on Palestinian villages in which people are sometimes killed as well as the olive trees on which they depend being uprooted.”

My London Diary
Israel, Palestine & Syrian Refugees

Many of those in both groups were Jewish, with the pro-Palestine counter-demonstration being organised by Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods and supported by The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and the British Committee for Universities of Palestine, as well as other Jewish protesters. There were also some Palestinians and others from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the British left which also includes many Jews.

Supporting the Zionist Federation were some right-wing British Groups including some extremist Christian groups. The shouting match was continuing when I left to go to Westminster.

More at Zionists and Palestinian protests over killings.


Citizens UK Vigil for more Refugees – Old Palace Yard, Westminster

Although the British public has been greatly moved by stories of refugees fleeing Syria drowning as they cross the Mediterranean and struggling as they cross Europe the UK government has so far made only a trivial commitment and limited this to admitting a small number from those still in refugee camps in the countries around Syria. Overwhelmingly when people see the actual numbers they think this is nothing like enough, with many individuals, organisations and local authorities making offers to take in refugees.

People fear that many more will freeze to death in the bitter European winter and Citizens UK were calling on the government to take urgent action. Their demand for the UK to take a thousand more Syrian refugees by Christmas and then 10,000 a year for the next five years seemed rather low given the huge numbers now in the refugee camps – where six children froze to death last winter and so many trying to make their way across Europe.

Among the speakers calling for the government to take urgent action to save refugee lives were SNP MP Angus Robertson, Labour MP Yvette Cooper, a leading East London Imam, The Right Reverend Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, Bosnian refugee Zrinka Bralo of Citizens UK and Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron.

Labour MP Yvette Cooper

Protests like this fall largely on deaf ears in the government, who are scared of doing anything that might anger the right-wing press and the racist bigots in their own party. But Cameron did later agree to resettle 1000 by Christmas and considerably large numbers were admitted from 2015 to 2019.

Tim Farron

The Tories keep making pledges to cut immigration and keep harassing migrants and imprisoning in detention centres sometimes for several years those who have come to the UK to claim asylum rather than attempting to process their claims in a timely manner. According to a House of Commons Research Briefing there are currently around 140,000 people awaiting an initial decision, a small number appealing there refusal and over 40,000 “Subject to Removal” having had their claims rejected.

Now they complain about the huge costs of housing asylum seekers and resort to extreme plans such as sending them to Rwanda or housing them in crowded barges. Many of those who are currently prevented from working have skills which we need and could be making a contribution to our country – and paying taxes.

Between 2014 and 2020, 20,000 Syrians were resettled in the UK – compared to around 180,000 Ukrainians in 2022-3. The total number of asylum applications in the UK in 2022 was only a little over half the average based on population for the 27 EU countries.

More pictures at Citizens UK Vigil for more Refugees.


Whitechapel & Illegal Dates

Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

Whitechapel & Illegal Dates; On Saturday 27th September 2014 I went to Whitechapel early to photograph campaigners who were to protest against Sainsbury’s who were selling dates and other goods from illegal Israeli settlements, in defiance of international law. Around two years earlier I had made a panoramic image of part of the new Royal London Hospital which interested me but I felt was not quite what I wanted.

Whitechapel & Illegal Dates

Going back to re-take photographs is often disappointing, with key features having changed, but I think this time I did at least come up with an improvement. This was a more complex panorama than most of those I now make, and needed me to stitch together three separate exposures. It would perhaps be a little better with some slight cropping on the botton edge.

Whitechapel & Illegal Dates

The Royal London Hospital has much great problems, all arising from the poor PFI deal that was used to finance its construction. All PFI schemes have turned out to be a mistake, but this was worse than most and I think has left the hospital group in financial trouble while providing excessive profits to the investors, with payments continuing for many, many years. The contract means they can charge silly prices for necessary services,

Whitechapel & Illegal Dates

After several attempts at producing the picture I wanted I went for a short stroll around the area making a few more panoramic images before it was time to join th protest.

More pictures at By the Royal London.


Sainsbury’s told Stop Selling Illegal Goods – Whitechapel High St

Whitechapel & Illegal Dates

Campaigners from the Tower Hamlets & Jenin Friendship Association held a protest on the high Street close to Sainsbury’s, calling on the store to end selling dates and other goods from illegal Israeli settlements, in defiance of international law.

The protes was part of the international BDS campaign calling for a Boycott of Israeli goods, divestment from Israeli firms and sanctions against Israel until it ends the persecution of Palestinians and comes into line with international law and UN resolutions.

Similar protests earlier outside Co-op stores had led to the company in 2013 stating they would ‘no longer engage with any supplier of produce known to be sourcing from the Israeli settlements’.

The BDS campaign was given added impetus early in 2014 by the disproportionate use of force against the people of Gaza. During the recent Israeli attacks on Gaza over 2,100 Palestinians were killed, roughly 1500 of them civilians, among them over 500 children. 66 Israeli soldiers died, along with 5 Israeli civilians (including one child.) Over 500,000 people – roughly 30% of the population of the Gaza strip were displaced from their homes, and over 17,000 homes made uninhabitable, with over twice that number suffering less severe damage.

The raids also destoryed much of Gaza’s industry, including factories making biscuits, ice cream factory, plastics, sponges, cardboard boxes and plastic bags as well as the main electricity plant. Two sewage pumping stations were damaged, as were the main offices of the largest diary product importer and distributor.

The protesters had several tables on the pavement outside the library on Whitechapel High St ,one selling Palestinian olive oil, almonds and a range of decorated purses etc. Some handed out leaflets and a postcard ‘Sainsbury’s: Taste the Indifference’, while others held banners or collecting signatures for petitions. At intervals people made short speeches about the Palestinian situation and the campaign to get Sainsbury’s to stop selling illegal Israeli goods.

After an hour or so on the busy street, some of the protesters decided it was time to visit Sainsbury’s, just a couple of hundred yards away down a side-street. They folded up their banners and walked down to the store, where Sainsbury’s were ready and waiting for them with extra security on duty, and they were stopped in the very spacious lobby area in front to the store.

Here they opened up their banners and protested for a little over 10 minutes. There were a few moments of some tension, when store employees or security tried to grab one of the banners, but the whole protest and Sainsbury’s response was pretty civilised.

After 12 minutes, a man in casual dress arrived, and after asking the store manager to request the protesters to leave came across and talked with the the protesters, showing them his poolice warrant card and apologising that the police station didn’t have anyone in uniform available to send at the moment.

Having made their point by their protest, they decided to go quietly and a little exultantly back to the High Street, where others had been continuing the protest. Shortly after I decided it was time for me to leave.

Sainsbury’s appears still to refuse to follow its own ethical guidelines and still apparently sells some products from the occupied West Bank and to deal with suppliers who source goods from there, although probably rather less than in 2014. They have claimed not to source goods from the occupied territories but do still deal with wholesalers who deliberately mislable such produce.

Sainsbury’s told Stop Selling Illegal Goods

Royal College of Music, Al Quds 2015

Monday, July 10th, 2023

Royal College of Music, Al Quds: I photographed two unrelated protests on Friday 10th July 2015. The first was calling for decent pay and conditions for outsourced workers and the second was the annual Al Quds day march.


IWGB protest at Royal College of Music – Kensington

Royal College of Music, Al Quds

Outsourced cleaners and other low paid workers at the Royal College of Music immediately south of the Albert Hall in South Kensington belonging to the IWGB were protesting to get similar conditions of sick pay, holidays and pension to workers employed directly by the RCM.

Royal College of Music, Al Quds

The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain is a registered trade union which organises cleaners, porters, hospitality workers, domestic workers and other precarious workers in a number of sectors. It is a grass-roots union run by and representing mainly low paid migrant workers in London and has proved effective in getting better pay and conditions for these groups of workers who have largely been neglected by the larger traditional unions, who have often seemed more concerned with preserving differentials in pay than in improving the lot of the lowest paid.

Royal College of Music, Al Quds

The IWGB had called for talks with the RCM management and their employers to discuss their claims, offering to call off the protests if they agreed to this. But the employers had refused to recognise the IWGB or to hold talks with them.

Royal College of Music, Al Quds

So the IWGB and supporters came and held a noisy protest outside the College entrance, handing out leaflets about why they were protesting to those entering the College for a graduation ceremony. RCM security tried to move them further away where the protest would probably not have been heard inside, but they refused to move, while taking care not to impede those entering or leaving the college.

One woman came out to argue with the protesters, telling them to go away and eventually lost her temper and kicked one of them. The RCM’s head of security quickly led her away. The protest was continuing when I left for my next event.

IWGB protest at Royal College of Music


Al Quds Day march – Portland Place to US Embassy

The annual Al Quds Day march on the last Friday of Ramadan, organised by the Islamic Human Rights Commission gathered close to BBC Broadcasting House, marching from there to a rally at the US Embassy, calling for justice and freedom for Palestine.

As I’ve written in previous posts, he celebration of Al Quds Day on the last Friday of Ramadan was introduced by Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran 1979 and spread from there to other countries. The march in London is organised by the IHRC which has received some support from the Iranian regime.

As usual, most of the banners and placards and the chanting on the march were calling for freedom for Palestine, and there were many placards against Israeli violence in Gaza and the West Bank, and calling for a boycott of Israel, a movement which seems to be growing in strength.

This year I saw few celebrating Khomeini and fewer Hezbollah flags and badges than in some previous years. As usual the Neturei Karta were prominent with their anti-Zionist placards stating that ‘Authentic Jewry Always Opposed Zionism And the State of “Israel”‘, but I found no evidence for anti-Semitism, which opponents of the march always charge it with.

Perhaps because the march was on a Friday there were fewer Zionists protesting against the march, and I only saw one man who was protected by march stewards and then led away by police. I imagine there would have been more waiting to protest against the march when it reached the US Embassy, but I left before then.

Al Quds Day march


Nicaragua, Votes for Women & Al Quds

Saturday, June 10th, 2023

Nicaragua, Votes for Women & Al Quds – Events in London on Sunday 10th June 2018


End Government Killings in Nicaragua – Trafalgar Square

Nicaragua, Votes for Women & Al Quds

Nicaraguans protested in Trafalgar Square against the violence in their country where since the 19th of April police had killed over 100 protesters and a injured more than 600, and many have been unjustly detained, tortured and raped.

Nicaragua, Votes for Women & Al Quds

President Daniel Ortega first came to power during the Nicaraguan Revolution as a leader of the Sandinista National Liberation Front which ousted the US-supported Samoza dictatorship, becoming leader of the ruling junta which replaced them in 1984 and getting a large majority in the country’s first free and fair presidential election in 1985. His government then implemented a number of leftist policies despite widespread campaigns against him by the US who supported rebel forces and imposed a full trade embargo on the country, even mining its ports.

Nicaragua, Votes for Women & Al Quds

Massive US interference in the 1990 Nicaraguan general election led to his surprise defeat and he also stood and lost in 2001, but was returned to power following the 2006 elections, though on a much lower vote than in 1985 against a very split opposition.

Nicaragua, Votes for Women & Al Quds

Since coming to power in 2007, Ortega has abandoned most of his leftist principles, becoming increasingly dictatorial and alienating many of his earlier supporters. Popular protests which began in 2018 against his social security reforms which increased taxes and reduced benefits were violently repressed and further measures have included closing down newspapers, universities and NGOs. Leaders of the political opposition including some former colleagues were jailed for the 2021 election.

This repression has led to many fleeing the country, particularly to neighbouring Costa Rica where over 30,000 Nicaraguans have claimed asylum. Ortega remains in power, with his wife Rosario Murillo as Vice President since 2017.

End government killings in Nicaragua


100 years of Votes for Women

Women marched through London in three strands wearing head scarves in one of the purple, white and green suffragette colours to celebrate a hundred years since the 1918 act gave wealthier older women the vote.

The 1918 Act brought the vote to all men over 21, as well as those like my father over18 serving in the armed forces, but women had to be both over 30 and meet a property requirement. It was another ten years before my mother and other women could vote on the same terms as men with the Representation of the People Act 1928.

Under the 1918 Act, “Women over 30 years old received the vote, but only if they were registered property occupiers (or married to a registered property occupier) of land or premises with a rateable value greater than £5 or of a dwelling-house and not subject to any legal incapacity, or were graduates voting in a university constituency.”

Around 8.4 million women in the UK got the vote in 1918, but there were still around 5 million of women over 21 without a vote – and there were still around 7% of the population, mainly male middle-class university graduates who had an extra vote either in university constituencies or in the constituency where they owned business premises.

Sadly when my mother did get the vote she used it to support the Conservative Party, displaying their poster in our front window at every election. My father, who kept quiet about his politics to avoid conflict at home, went into the polling station every time to cancel out her vote with one for Labour.

Many more pictures at 100 years of Votes for Women.


Al Quds Day Protests – Saudi embassy, Mayfair

A large crowd squashed into barriers on the street in front of the Saudi Arabian embassy for a rally in support of the oppressed people of Palestine and others around the world.

The event, organised by the Justice for Palestine Committee, was supported by the Islamic Human Rights Commission and a wide range of pro-Palestinian organisations, and opposed by the Zionist Federation and some right wing hooligans, who were stopped from attacking the peaceful event by a large police presence in the area.

The official Zionist Federation protest which was perhaps a little smaller than in some previous years kept behind the barriers provided for them a short distance from the Palestinian protest, and the two groups shouted insults at each other.

There were also a number of well-known Zionist protesters along with some right-wing football supporters active in the EDL and other racist organisations wandering the streets of Mayfair. Police made an effort to keep them away from the Palestine protest, and at one point this involved some fairly forceful policing as the thugs were taken away. Not all of the right-wing are thugs, and later when I went home I was pleased to meet a man who knew me and walked with me to make sure I didn’t get troubled by any of the others still around.

As a colleague remarked to me, there may well have been more Jews taking part in the pro-Palestine rally than opposing it, as the Al Quds day event was supported by several groups and numerous individuals from the Jewish left as well as the ultra-orthodox Neturei Karta, who as always attracted a great deal of venomous anti-Semitic shouting from the Zionists.

Celebrated in many countries, Al Quds Day, established by the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, has been marked in London for over 30 years.

This year’s event was a gesture of defiance to the demonisation campaign and the ongoing murders by Israeli troops of innocent Palestinian protestors in the Gaza Strip commemorating 70 years since Israel was formed on expropriated Palestinian land.

More about the protest and many more pictures on My London Diary:
Al Quds (Jerusalem) Day
Zionists protest against AlQuds Day


Algeria, BDS and Kenya – 2014

Wednesday, April 12th, 2023

Algeria, BDS and Kenya: The three protests I covered on Saturday 12th April 2014 were all about activities in other countries, though the first was calling on UK consumers to take action by boycotting goods produced in illegally occupied Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.


Don’t Buy Sodastream at John Lewis – Oxford St

Algeria, BDS and Kenya

Supporters of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign were handing out flyers in a regular fortnightly protest outside John Lewis, urging people not to buy SodaStream products which were then being made in illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.

The protests are a part of the BDS campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israeli products called for by Palestinian civil society, particularly aimed at products which are made in the illegally occupied settlements.

Algeria, BDS and Kenya

The Financial Times had recently commented that the “status of the settlements is clear in international law even if Israel chooses to ignore this and expand its colonisation of Palestinian land, while ostensibly negotiating on the creation of a Palestinian state.” Sodastream makes some of its dispensers in Ma’ale Adumim, a large Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank. Trade with these illegal settlements is illegal under international law.

Algeria, BDS and Kenya

Sodastream claim that they promote peaceful coexistence between Arabs and Jews by employing around 500 Palestinians, but the FT pointed out “The way to create Palestinian jobs is to end the occupation and let Palestinians build those foundations – not to build “bridges to peace” on other people’s land without their permission.”

A former Sodastreamn worker there claims that most Palestinians working for Sodastream support the boycott “because they are against [Israel’s] occupation. But they cannot afford to personally boycott work opportunities.” The company was reported to be trying to set up a new factory inside Israel rather than the occupied territories which would mainly employ Israeli Arabs. In 2015 as a result of protests such as this one, Sodastream moved production from Ma’ale Adumim in the occupied West Bank to Lehavim in Israel proper. The company, which had been founded in the UK in 1903 but relaunched in 1998 was bought by PepsiCo in 2018.

Algeria, BDS and Kenya

Before the establishment of the state of Israel, Palestinians (including Druze & Bedouins) owned 92% of the land, while Jews owned about 8%. The UN awarded Israel 54% of the land, though a fairly large part of this was empty desert. In the 1948 war, Israel took another 24%. In 1967 Israel occupied all of Palestine and with further settlements and the building of the separation wall since then only the Gaza strip and around 40% of the occupied West Bank remains under Palestinian control.

Don’t Buy Sodastream at John Lewis


Against the Electoral Masquerade in Algeria – Algerian Embassy, Riding House St

This protest in London came as presidential elections were about to begin in Algeria, electing President Bouteflika for his fourth term since 1999.

The Algeria Solidarity Campaign say these elections are a huge scam and they are “more convinced than ever that the upcoming elections will be neither free and fair, nor transparent. They will certainly not result in the election of a legitimate President, representative of the wishes of the people.”

Their campaign called “for a massive boycott and/or abstention from voting and its full rejection of the ‘Presidential poll’, as it deems it to be a mere spectacle meant to maintain and cloak its authoritarian and corrupt rule in electoral legitimacy.”

The turnout in the election was low at 51.7%, and as low as 20% in some regions, and around 10% of votes were blank or invalid. But of those who voted, 81.5% were for Bouteflika. Ill health meant he made few public appearances in his fourth term and he resigned in April 2019 after months of mass protests, dying two years later.

Against the Electoral Masquerade in Algeria


Somali Refugees mistreated in Kenya – Kenya High Commission, Portland Place

Members of the Somali community protested outside the Kenyan Embassy against the mistreatment of Somali refugees at the Kasarani Concentration Camp in Kenya. They called for the ICC to investigate the crimes being committed there.

According to Reuters, the Kenyan authorities arrested more than 1,000 Somalis in mass arrests in a Somali dominated suburb of Nairobi following terrorist attacks by the Somali militant Islamic group al Shabaab. Almost 4000 were arrested and more than a thousand were held in the Kasarani sports stadium. Human Rights Watch reported many were held in packed and filthy police station cells and they saw “police whipping, beating, and verbally abusing detainees. There have been numerous credible accounts of Kenyan security forces extorting money and beating people during the arrests and in detention.”

Access to the Kasarani camp by invesigators and reporters was severely restricted, and the few people allowed access “were not able to freely interview detainees in the stadium.”

The arrests followed a number of earlier incidents reported by Human Rights Watch when “Kenyan police in Nairobi tortured, raped, and otherwise abused and arbitrarily detained at least 1,000 refugees, including women and children, between mid-November 2012 and late January 2013, following grenade and other attacks.”

Kenya still hosts large numbers of refugees from other African countries, including around 287,000 Somalis in a total of 520,000 refugees and asylum seekers.

Somali Refugees mistreated in Kenya


Remember Gaza – 2012

Tuesday, December 27th, 2022

Remember Gaza - 2012

On 27th December 2008 the Israeli military began ‘Operation Cast Lead’ after 6 months of planning, striking 100 targets in Gaza in less than four minutes. This initial attack was followed by other air attacks and on January 3rd by an invasion on the ground. Israeli Defense Forces ended their attacks on 18th January 2009 by which time around 1400 Palestinians had been killed, with only 13 Israeli deaths, four killed by their own forces. You can read more on Wikipedia.

Remember Gaza - 2012

Every year for the next four years there were large protests close to the Israeli Embassy in London on December 27th against calling for an end to attacks on Gaza and an end to the siege of Gaza which prevents the imports of building materials and other vital goods needed for health and reconstruction. But the 2008-9 attacks on Gaza have been followed by others in 2014 and 2018 and more air strikes in 2021 and 2022.

Remember Gaza - 2012

Things now seem likely to get even worse with a new Israeli government under Benjamin Netanyahu including anti-Arab ultra-nationalists in key posts including the finance minister, a defence ministry post and national security minister as well as in the education ministry.

Among promises made to form the coalition are the legalisation of illegal Israeli settlements in the Palestinian West Bank, lifting of restrictions on Jewish prayer at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and a loosening of the restrictions on using live fire against Palestinian protesters. The new government also intends to end any independence of the judicial system in Israel, making the Supreme Court subservient to government.

So far as I am aware there will be no particular protest in London today, and the last I attended on December 27th was in 2012, four years after the start of the 2008 massacres – and the pictures here come from that day. The Israeli embassy is on a private road where a ban on protest is rigorously enforced, with police and barriers preventing access, and protests take place on Kensington High Street, opposite the private street.

There are still large protests in London calling for an end to Israeli Apartheid and for freedom for Palestine – such as that on 14th May 2022 marking 74 years after the Nakba as well as many smaller actions calling for a boycott of Israeli goods and services and divestment from Israel, with the BDS movement gaining strength world-wide. Attempts by Israel to categorise any support for Palestine as anti-Semitism have largely failed because of increasing repression and increased reporting of repression by the Israeli government, Israeli forces and attacks on Palestinians by some Jewish settlers. Many of those taking part in the protests supporting Palestine are Jewish, standing alongside others from Palestine.

This year I’m pleased to feel able to have another day of relative rest after Christmas, particularly as train services are disrupted as the UK government tries to prop up our dysfunctional rail system at the expense of rail workers – while continuing the handouts to the private companies – including several European state railway companies. As in gas, electricity, water and more privatisation has proved an entirely predictable economic disaster, selling off the family silver for short-term gain.

More at Gaza – End the Siege.


Heat, Democracy & Gaza – 2014

Tuesday, December 20th, 2022

Some issues stay with us – and it seems they will never go away. But things can change and do change, and I remember the long years of protest against apartheid in South Africa. But apartheid is now going strong in Israel, and things are even worse so far as democracy and fuel poverty are concerned in this country. There seems little hope now that even if Labour were to get into power things would become any better.

More and more people are getting expelled from the Labour party including many for expressing support for Palestine, including some leading Jewish members and prominent anti-racists as the party lurches towards a right-wing dictatorial stance. I’m not a party member – and would soon be expelled for what I’ve written over the years here and elsewhere were I to join, including this post. But I did vote for Labour for over 50 years though at the moment I can’t see myself ever doing so again.


Dying For Heat – Downing St, Saturday 20th Dececember

Heat, Democracy & Gaza - 2014

It makes me feel frozen just to look at this picture. It wasn’t quite as cold as it has been here over the past week but was still pretty chilly back in 2014. I would have been wearing an extra layer of thermals under a heavy jacket, scarf hat and long johns. Photography usually involves a lot of standing around and keeping warm in winter is often hard.

Heat, Democracy & Gaza - 2014

This small group of protesters had been there since 8am, around three hours by the time I arrived determined and they were determined to complete a 24hr vigil to draw attention to the impact of fuel poverty which killed more than 10,000 in the UK in 2012/3.

Heat, Democracy & Gaza - 2014

Others came for shorter periods over the day to support them and Fuel Poverty Action’s ‘Energy Bill of Rights‘ to protect the poor and end these deaths. None of the eight points in this have been taken up by the government and energy costs have risen sky high in the past year. The government blames this on Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, but this fails to explain why people in the UK are paying far more than those in other countries across Europe – and their blatant lies over this don’t fool many.
More at Dying For Heat.


Occupy Democracy Return To Parliament Square – Sat 20 Dec 2014

Heat, Democracy & Gaza - 2014

Police and private security ‘heritage wardens’ watched from the fenced off grass as protesters held a rally on the paved area at the edge of the square facing the Houses of Parliament. This is not covered by the bylaws that prohibit protests on the square without official permission.

The grass had been ‘temporarily closed’ and fenced by the Greater London Authority, officially for ‘important works‘ but actually simply to deny access to people who wanted to engage in this peaceful discussion about democracy – and of course to everyone else who might want to be on what is normally a public square. There was no sign of activities of any kind being carried out on the grass or pavements under GLA control in the square.

A series of speeches and other activities was planned calling for real democracy in a Britain where 3.5 million are living in poverty. The first speaker was the then Green Party Deputy Leader Shahrar Ali, and after speaking he responded to a lengthy and wide-ranging question and answer session about Green Party policies.

Following this was to be another performance of the Fossil-Free Nativity which I had photographed two weeks earlier, so I left to go elsewhere, returning briefly later in the day when activities were still proceeding.

More at Occupy Democracy Return To Parliament Square.


Don’t Buy Israeli ‘Blood Diamonds’ – Bond St , Sat 20 Dec 2014

Campaigners came to Bond Street to protest outside shops there which sell diamonds cut and polished in Israel, which are the main source of funding for Israeli military attacks on Gaza. Many diamonds cut there come illegally from conflict zones. Palestinians have called for a boycott of all Israeli diamonds.

Israeli attacks on Gaza had led a decline in tourism and other exports of goods and services but increased diamond sales have helped Israel fill the gap, and are said to provide $1 billion a year to the Israeli military.

My post on My London Diary includes details of some of the Israeli diamond companies and their activities which include the sponsorship of the notorious Givati Brigade of the Israeli army, accused of war crimes in Gaza by the UN Human Rights Council and responsible for the Samouni family massacre.

I photographed the protest outside De Beers, the worlds largest company involved in rough diamond sales and Leviev, whose company is reported by the New York Times to be “the world’s largest cutter and polisher of diamonds” and which is also involved in the construction of illegal Jews-only settlements on the West Bank.

There were speeches about the involvement of the diamond companies in Israeli military attacks on Gaza and many people passing the protest took fliers calling for a boycott of Israeli diamonds and expressed their support. There were also a few who clearly disapproved of the protest, including just one man who stopped briefly to hurl a few insults while I was there.

More at Don’t Buy Israeli ‘Blood Diamonds’