Posts Tagged ‘Brighton’

Brighton MayDay Protest & Party – 2011

Tuesday, April 30th, 2024

Brighton MayDay Protest & Party – On Saturday 30 April 2011 I had a day out in Brighton, not with my bucket and spade on the beach but photographing an early May Day Protest against the cuts, bankers, tax dodgers and those damaging the environment and the local community.

Brighton MayDay Protest & Party

It was a protest organised deliberately without consultation with the police, essentially a succession of static protests at a number of locations around the city in random order, selected by the throwing of a large dice.

Brighton MayDay Protest & Party

Even the meeting point for the day was a closely kept secret and only revealed as I arrived in Brighton half an hour before the event was due to start, posted on Twitter, Facebook and a mobile number.

Brighton MayDay Protest & Party

I arrived to join around a dozen other photographers and a couple of plain clothes police watching around the same number of protesters, but had passed several police vans and a couple of officers on police horses just a short distance away.

Brighton MayDay Protest & Party

The protesters handed out a map of Brighton marked with 27 possible targets including arms manufacturers EDO MBM/ITT some way out in Moulscomb and Thales, several branches of Barclays, the UK’s largest investor in the arms trade, an armed forces recruitment centre and Marks & Spencer’s who support Israel by buying goods from illegal Israeli settlements. Other shops on the list included notable tax dodgers Vodaphone, Boots and the various Arcadia group brands – Topshop, BHS, Burton, Dorothy Perkins. Accused of damaging the environment were RBS who invest hugely in the area, Shell, particularly for their Rossport pipeline in Ireland, BP for their exploitation of tar sands, E.ON for coal fired power stations and Veolia. Other targets named included Brighton Town Hall, Tescos, Sainsburys and Starbucks, Fox & Sons involved in illegal evictions, Beyond Retro who sell fur and also two properties owned by the notorious Nicholas Van Hoogstraten.

At 12.30, by which time rather more protesters had arrived, a giant dice was thrown and came down on 4 which meant we were heading to Brighton Town Hall and the protesters set off, accompanied by the police and the two horses.

But although the protesters were clearly in carnival mode, the police were not and soon were stopping and harassing them.

They grabbed a few protesters apparently more or less at random and there were some minor scuffles as police kettled the protest in Duke Street for around 40 minutes.

The protesters danced while some tried to negotiate with the police and finally they were allowed to move off to hold a rally outside two banks with speeches about the cuts and handouts to bankers.

The protesters then tried to walk into the Pavillion Gardens, a few managing to do so before police decided to block the gates. There were a few more incidents and a couple of arrests, but after around 20 minutes the officer in charge decided there was really no reason why they should not walk through the gardens – and they did, to the cheers of those sitting on the grass and enjoying a picnic.

Police continued to chase the protesters around Brighton for the next couple of hours, though they seemed to be going around in circles and making occasional sudden changes in direction to leave the police – some of whom were noticeably less fit than the protesters or even the photographers – behind.

Police made at least one more arrest and the protesters eventually returned to the promenade where some sat down on the road. For the first time there was a clear message from the police that they would be kettled unless they got up, and they did, running up the hill again (with another arrest for no clear reason) before returning to party on the beach.

I rather doubt if any of those – at least 8 – arrested on the day ended up being charged, let alone convicted. The police were clearly totally confused by the event, and their response, particularly the use of police horses in some very restricted areas, put both protesters and public at risk. But I think also that the protesters rather failed to convey clearly to the people of Brighton their concerns. Perhaps and more organised series of rallies outside a more selected group of targets would have been more effective.

More detail about the protest and many more pictures on My London Diary at Brighton MayDay Protest.

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Smash EDO Protest Moulsecoomb Arms Factory – 2010

Wednesday, January 18th, 2023

Protests had begun against a small EDO-MBM factory at Moulsecoomb on the outskirts of Brighton in 2003 after the press had revealed that it was making parts for a guided bomb that was being used in the invasion of Iraq.

Smash EDO Protest Moulsecoomb Arms Factory
Police push Smash EDO protesters, 2010

In April 2005, EDO attempted to get a wide-ranging injunction to prevent protests at the site, including stepping onto the road outside the factory, playing music and taking photographs. This was the start of a lengthy legal action in which the UK Attorney-General became involved, as the defendants had submitted a detailed dossier on war crimes involving air strikes on civilian areas and infrastructure and were arguing that the invasion was an illegal war of aggression in breach of the UN Charter.

Smash EDO Protest Moulsecoomb Arms Factory

The Wikipedia article states “The court found that if there was an imminent war crime that the protesters believed on reasonable grounds, was about to take place, in which EDO were complicit, then preventative direct action could lawfully be taken against the company without waiting for the authorities of the state to intervene. This ruling effectively allowed proportionate direct action against companies by protesters, if the threat of the crime was imminent and specific.”

Smash EDO Protest Moulsecoomb Arms Factory
Coffins to remember the 1417 Palestinians killed – some by Brighton-made bombs

Some of the defendants signed an out of court settlement with EDO in April 2005 after it was put forward by Keir Starmer and they were then told legal aid would be withdrawn unless they agreed. They then intervened with a suggestion which was them he would withdraw their legal aid and they signed “undertakings not to do certain things that they had never done and had no intention of doing” with EDO agreeing to pay their costs, as well as their own, and the injunction against those not in court was lifted.

The case against three defendants who were conducting their own defence continued as they refused to sign these undertakings. In March 2006 a judge agreed with them that EDO had failed to make the preparations for a speedy trial as ordered by the court, and the company dropped the case rather than face further proceedings for abuse of process, paying the full costs of all those involved. The whole legal business is thought to have cost EDO between £1-1.5m, more than a years annual profit for the Brighton factory.

Police block the road to the factory

In 2009 weapons supplied by EDO were being used in the Israeli attacks on Gaza and a small group of activists decommissioned’ the factory to prevent exports to Israel. Again EDO went to court and they were again unsuccessful with the court finding all of those charged not guilty.

On Monday 18th January 2010, the first anniversary of the end of the Israeli war against Gaza, I went to photography Smash EDO activists in Brighton who were protesting against arms manufacturer EDO MBM/ITT who made some of the weapons that killed 1417 Palestinians, mainly the elderly, women and children, during the three-week assault.

Despite earlier rulings that such protests were legal, the police had come determined to stop this one taking place, responding to the protesters who they probably outnumbered with an impressive display of force and violence as they attempted to make their way to protest at the factory.

I went with the protesters as they tried to go around the police lines through the woods and along a footpath and was able to photograph some of the confrontations. You can see more of what happened on that day in the pictures and the captions in my post on My London Diary.

What I don’t mention there is that like many of the protesters I was also assaulted several times by some of the officers while taking pictures, and at one point only just managed to stop myself going over a roughly 50ft drop when pushed violently by one of them. Other officers helped me up and to move away from the edge, but it was at times a scary event to cover. I was bruised and shaken as well as tired and left Brighton while the police were still harassing the protesters who had marched back towards the centre of the town.

Protests continue at EDO’s factory, now led by Brighton Against the Arms Trade, after the Moulsecoomb factory was found in 2019 to have produced arms used in a Saudi ‘attack that violated international law’ against a civilian target in Yemen and to be involved in helping Turkey to get around US attempts to prevent the proliferation of drone warfare.

Windows and Doors 1987

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020
Westbourne Grove, Bayswater, Westminster, 1987 87-7g-21-positive_2400

A man studies the menu of a Chinese restuarant on Westbourne Grove while his partner stands uncomfortably a discrete distance to the side. This corner with Hereford Road is still recognisable, but the New Good World is long gone. It was for a while a Rodizio Rico, a Brazilian grill, then another Brazilian bar and grill and, most recently and possibly still Franco Marco Sourdough Pizza, while Vinyl Solution is now a Moroccan restaurant; opened around 1978 by Yves Guillemot after he sold his record shop in Le Havre it was during the 1980s stuffed with obscure records from around the world attracting collectors, as well as DJs including John Peel. It began its own record label and thrived, so much so that this shop became too small and the business moved to Portobello Rd.

Chepstow Rd, Westbourne Green, Westminster, 1987 87-7g-34-positive_2400

This house is part of a long terrace of mid-19th century houses at 22-68 Chepstow Road in Westbourne Green that was Grade II listed in 1981, and was clearly in rather poor condition and recently sold and about to be renovated. These are large houses and now sell for over £2.5m; they are part of the Westbourne Conservation Area and were probably developed in 1850-55. I took an almost identical image on colour film which was a part of a show around 1990 and which now hangs on my stairs.

Pembridge Villas, Notting Hill,  Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-7g-43-positive_2400

A number of the grander houses in Kensington have elaborate extended porches like this over the steps leading from their front doors to the street to protect people walking to and from their carriages . They are sometimes called porte cochères, though more strictly this refers to porches into which a coach may be driven. This one in Pembridge Villas, Notting Hill, is more elaborate than most and comes with a front door and a lion on top which this picture rather distorts. You can just see two more lions by the house, here peeping over the wall.

Pembridge Square, Notting Hill,  Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-7g-51-positive_2400

Another extended porch at 27 Pembridge Square has some delightful wrought iron work.

Dawson Place, Notting Hill,  Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-7g-66-positive_2400

Some fine calligraphy in graffiti on a wall in Dawson Place, though not easy to read. I think I can make out the word ‘Saint’ but the rest escapes me – let me know if you can decipher more. Above the wall is some kind of creeping plant, which not long before had been trimmed back and you can still see the marks it left below.

Royal Pavillion, Brighton, Sussex, 1987 87-7h-31-positive_2400

Brighton has often been called “London by the sea”, and since the railway was built in 1841 has been a popular destination for days out as well as ‘dirty weekends’. So I felt I could include just a few pictures from one of my days out with family and friends to see the sights. I don’t think the girls were greatly impressed by the Royal Pavillion and we didn’t manage to drag them inside, but they did enjoy the Lanes and the Volk’s railway.

Kensington Garden Square, Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1987 87-7h-66-positive_2400

36 Letterboxes in one door must be something of a record, and it was hard to imagine how 36 flats could be fitted in to this pair of houses, though the one at bottom left is labelled ‘Other Mail’. Presumably the entrance leading to all the flats is the door at left, and as well as the 18 bells which can be seen there is presumably another block of similar size on the wall at the right of the door.

I think most or all of the flats are one bedroom flats, and in this area would probably be rented at around £500 per week, so all 36 would bring in a weekly income of £18,000 – not far off a million a year.

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.

Brighton 1983

Monday, March 16th, 2020

Here’s one I made earlier. I’d forgotten completely about this image, taken on a family trip to Brighton, but came across it in my archive on hard disk when I was looking for something else a few days ago, and thought it looked interesting.

But I was busy with other things and didn’t make a note of the file name, and when I decided I would share the picture I couldn’t find it. I spent an hour late last night looking through folder after folder of images. It didn’t fit any of the categories I have, and I went to bed annoyed with myself for not being able to find it.

I spent another half hour this morning. If only when I scanned images back in 2012 I had added some metadata. I’d thought a little more about when I’d taken the image, and thought it was almost certainly when we had two young German girls staying with us, some time in the early 1980s. I couldn’t exactly remember the year, but it was easy to track down some of the pictures I’d taken of them playing with my own children.

It still wasn’t easy to recognise this image from the small thumbnail in File Explorer’s ‘Large Icons’ mode, which was on its side and rather low in contrast, and I wasn’t sure I had found it until I double-clicked to load it into FastPictureViewer Pro and see it full-screen.

I wasn’t surprised to find that I hadn’t retouched the scan and there were as usual quite a few blemishes, particularly noticeable in the sky area. Usually I retouch images on a second computer which has a small Wacom Graphire pad and stylus, and is still on Windows 7 – I can’t get this old pad to work on Windows 10. I couldn’t be bothered to switch to that machine for a single image, so I did the retouching using a mouse. It made me realise why I normally use the Wacom pad.

Then I saved the image, resized it to post online (the original is roughly one hundred times the number of pixels), converted to 8 bit sRGB and made the mistake of saving it again over the original file. Fortunately on a drive connected to the other machine I had a backup. So I had to start that machine to restore the original file, and before I did so used the stylus and pad to do a slightly better and rather easier retouch.

Back in 1983 we were of course working with film, and when I took this picture I couldn’t be sure I had caught the moment. It surprises me now that this was the only frame I took, but of course I was on Brighton Palace Pier with a group of people most of whom were more interested in ice creams and silly hats than taking pictures, and some were probably pulling at my arms as I stopped to make this exposure with my Olympus OM1 on Ilford FP4.

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.