Posts Tagged ‘catholic’

11 October 2008

Monday, October 11th, 2021

It was the start of the final 100 days of the Bush adminstration and the ‘Hands off Iraqi Oil’ coalition whose members included Corporate Watch, Iraq Occupation Focus, Jubilee Iraq, PLATFORM, Voices UK, and War on Want and was supported by the Stop the War Coalition and others had come to Shell’s UK headquarters at Waterloo to protest against plans by Britain and the USA for Iraq to hand over most of the country’s oil reserves to foreign companies, particularly Shell and BP.

Iraq had nationalised its oil by 1972, and it provided 95% of its government income. Many had seen the invasion of Iraq by the US and UK (along with Australia and Poland) as largely driven by the desire to gain control of Iraq’s huge oil reserves and the US had engaged consultants to help it write a new oil law which it got the Iraqi cabinet to approive in 2007 which would give foreign oil companies – including Shell and BP, long-term contracts within a safe legal framework. But large-scale popular opposition meant the Iraqi parliament failed to approve the new law. But in June 2008, the Iraqi Oil Ministry went ahead with short-term no-bid contracts to the major foreign oil companies – including Exxon Mobil, BP, Shell, Total and Chevron and later these and other contracts were made more favourable to the oil companies.

After the protest at Shell’s offices the protesters marched to protest outside the BP HQ in St James’s Square and then to the US Embassy, and I left to cover the London Freedom not fear 2008 event outside New Scotland Yard. Similar protests were taking place in over 20 countries to demonstrate against excessive surveillance by governments and businesses, organised by a broad movement of campaigners and organizations.

The London event highlighted the restrictions of the right to demonstrate under the Labour government’s The Serious Organized Crime and Police Act 2005, (SOCPA),, the intimidatory use of photography by police Forward Intelligence squads (FIT), the proposed introduction of ID cards, the increasing centralisation of personal data held by government, including the DNA database held by police, the incredible growth in surveillance cameras, ‘terrorist’ legislation and other measures which have affected our individual freedom and human rights.

For something completely different I walked a quarter of a mile down Victoria Street to Westminster Cathedral where people were assembling for the Rosary Crusade of Reparation, one of the larger walks of public witness by Catholics in London.

This tradition began in Austria in 1947 with the roasary campaign begun by a priest praying for his country to be freed from the communist occupiers. The first annual parade with the statue of Our Lady of Fatima took place in 1948 in Vienna on the feast of the Name of Mary, Sept 12, which had been established by Pope Innocent XI in 1683 when Turkish invaders surrounding Vienna were defeated by Christian armies who had prayed to the Blessed Virgin.

As the procession to a service at Brompton Oratory began I walked back up Victoria St to Parliament Square, where a number of other small protests were in evidence. All over the centre of London there were people giving out leaflets about the growing problems faced by Tamils in Sri Lanka, where they allege a program of ethnic cleansing is being carried out by the government. International media are banned from the Tamil areas of the country and NGOs have been ordered out of some areas, so there are few reports of the war. Worse was to come and in 2009 in the final stages of the war conservative estimates are that 70,000 civilians were killed in the the Mullivaikkal massacre.

Others in the square were protesting against the UK’s scandalous treatment of asylum seekers and calling for the asylum detention centres to be closed down.

Brian Haw was still there, and I wrote:

Facing Parliament, Brian Haw‘s peace protest continues – he has been there for almost 2700 days – over 7 years – and it will soon be his 60th birthday. Brian says that now the police seem to have largely abandoned attempts to get rid of him legally there have been a number of odd attacks against him and others in the square – which the police have ignored. I took some time talking to a man who smelt of alcohol, was talking nonsense and acting unpredictably – and who then went and started to insult Brian. One of the other demonstrators stood between him and Brian who was filming him. I put down my bag as I took photographs in case I needed to step in and help, but fortunately he eventually moved away.

There were others protesting in Parliament Square, including one man who asked me to take his picture. He told me his name was Danny and that he had been there on hunger strike for two weeks, protesting over his failure to get his case investigated. He claimed to have been abused by police and social services following an incident in which as a seven year old child in Llanelli he was implicated in the death of a baby brother. I was unable to find any more information about his case.

Finally I saw a group of people walking past holding leafelts with the the word CHANGE on them and rushed after them to find they were Obama supporters hoping to persuade Americans they met to register and vote in the election. It was time for me to go home.

Parliament Square
Rosary Crusade of Reparation
Freedom not Fear 2008
Bush & Cheney’s Iraq Oil Grab


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis

London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

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



Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Wednesday, July 21st, 2021

Most years around this time I would be enjoying an afternoon in Clerkenwell, with the area thronged with Italians and people of Italian descent enjoying their major London festival, the procession of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, in the area around St Peter’s Italian Church. These pictures are from Sunday 21 July 2013, eight years ago.

When Queen Victoria gave the procession special permission to take place in 1883, it was the first Roman Catholic event on English streets for 349 years and was doubtless rather a contentious event. The Popery Act of 1698 had made discrimination against Catholics official, and when the Papists Act of 1778 relaxed some of these restrictions it led to a week of intense riots in London, with the Catholic Chapels at foreign embassies being burnt down and attacks on Newgate Prison and the Bank of England before the army was sent in to stop the destruction. After that things got rather quieter, though we still celebrate with what was very much an anti-Catholic bonfire on November 5th each year.

The celebrations now are very much both a religious and cultural event, and along with the procession from the church there is also an Italian festival or Sagra in the street below the church, with traditional Italian food, music, dancing and wine.

I’m not sure if the wine improves my photography, but it’s hard to resist and I usually meet up with a few of my photographer friends and it is as much a social as a photographic occasion. But I always try to photograph the religious procession, and in particular the release of doves which has become the highlight of the event. In 2013 six doves were released by six of the first communicants in a slightly uncoordinated manner, and – as the top picture shows – didn’t really fly in a way that made a good picture, at least not for me. It’s always a rather unpredictable event.

The rest of the procession follows in a more predictable fashion, though it has changed a little over the 20 or so years I’ve photographed it. But as often with processions most of the more interesting photographs come before the actual event, and while I stay taking photographs until the end of the procession has moved off down the road, my photographer friends are probably back down in the Sagra, while most of the crowd is up on the street applauding the walking groups and floats.

The route has changed since I first began to photograph the event, perhaps to make things a little easier for those carrying the heavy statues, though I think some of the floats had problems in the narrow streets to the south of the church in Hatton Garden. It now sticks to the main roads, in a triangle down Clerkenwell Road, up Rosebery Ave and back down Farringdon Rd. At its rear are the clergy and a large group of parishoners, but most of those watching are long back down drinking and eating before the procession finished.

I didn’t feel my photographs from 2013 were as good as on some other years, but they do tell the story of the event. You can see more of them at Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Links to the festival in some other recent years on My London Diary: 2008, 2009, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019


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.


Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Friday, December 20th, 2019

London’s big Italian festival which takes place every July in the streets around St Peter’s Italian Church in Clerkenwell is alway an interesting event, and one that although it has changed over the years since I first photographed it in the 1990s, still retains much of the same atmosphere and feel.

I always enjoy both the procession and the festival that accompanies it, which is apparently a much more recent addition to the event. When the festival first began in the 19th century – and special permission was needed for this Catholic procession – the area around the church had a large Italian population.

Now that population has moved away, with many in the suburbs or outside London and Italian communities come to the event from places like Watford, Luton and Woking, and the Sagra provides them with something to eat and drink and to meet people they may only see once a year at the event. And to dance.

It also provides something of a day out for myself and a few photographer friends, who take advantage of the cheap and reasonably priced Italian wine and sometimes the food too. THough rather more the wine!

I was a little disappointed this year by the release of the doves, which for the last few years has been done by three clergy who were each given a dove to hold in their hands before releasing them more or less together. It was something they so obviously enjoyed. This year there were again three of the clergy, but all they did was stand behind the basket and watch as the lid was opened and the birds made their own way out.

It is always something of a challenge to capture the moment the doves fly, though I’ve usually managed to do so. It is of course made much easier with digital cameras, where you can use rapid sequences of exposures. Back in the days of film, few of us had motordrives, and we needed to wind on after each exposure. This meant you only had a single chance to get the picture, as by the time you had wound on the film the doves would usually have been high in the sky.

This year I took the picture with the Olympus E-M5MarkII using the 14-150mm lens at its widest setting, equivalent to 28mm. It was a bright sunny summer day and I set the camera to ISO 640 to get both a fast shutter speed to stop motion (1/400s) and a small aperture (f10) to get plenty of depth of field so that the background float with its statue of Our Lady would also be sharp. I say I set them, but in fact the camera was on ‘P’ setting and I simply checked it had suitable settings. As the moment approached I changed the camera into sequential shooting mode. I used the high setting which gives around ten frames a second.

One bird came out first and was several feet in the air before the other two emerged. The frame at the top of the post was my sixth and the last to show all three doves. There were I think 5 further frames with the last two doves, and the Exif data shows that I had taken 11 frames in just over a second. Using film I could have got at most two, though I would have hoped to get one that showed the peak of the action, I could well have missed it. Once the doves get going they can move extremely fast.

More pictures and text:
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Sagra


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.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.