Posts Tagged ‘Class War’

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.


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.


Baltimore to Brixton – Black Lives Matter! 2015

Friday, May 3rd, 2024

Baltimore to Brixton – Black Lives Matter! The hashtag #BlackLivesMatter was first used on Twitter on 12th July 2013 but only became common in 2014 after the killings of Eric Garner, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice in 2014, reaching a peak when it was announced nobody wold be prosecuted over the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson. According to a list published by Twitter on the tenth anniversary of the platform in 2016 #BlackLivesMatter was the third most used hashtag in those ten years, beaten by #Ferguson at number one and #LoveWins, celebrating the US Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage.

Baltimore to Brixton - Black Lives Matter!

Of course the UK has its own cases of people, especially but not only black who have been killed by police and otherwise in custody and an annual march takes place in Whitehall on the last Saturday of October by the United Families and Friends Campaign to remembers them, with a list of over 2000 names being carried to a rally at Downing Street.

Baltimore to Brixton - Black Lives Matter!

The United Families and Friends Campaign (UFFC) describes itself as “a coalition of families and friends of those that have died in the custody of police and prison officers as well as those who are killed in immigration detention and secure psychiatric hospitals. It includes the families of Roger Sylvester, Leon Patterson, Rocky Bennett, Alton Manning, Christopher Alder, Brian Douglas, Joy Gardner, Aseta Simms, Ricky Bishop, Paul Jemmott, Harry Stanley, Glenn Howard, Mikey Powell, Jason McPherson, Lloyd Butler, Azelle Rodney, Sean Rigg, Habib Ullah, Olaseni Lewis, David Emmanuel (aka Smiley Culture), Kingsley Burrell, Demetre Fraser, Mark Duggan and Anthony Grainger to name but a few. Together we have built a network for collective action to end deaths in custody.”

Baltimore to Brixton - Black Lives Matter!

And we have a long history of racist prosecutions, most notably perhaps the trial of the Mangrove Nine in 1970. The defendants, most of whom defended themselves, were finally all acquitted on the main charge of incitement to riot with four receiving suspended sentences for less serious offences. But the judge made clear in his comments that the authorities and in particular the Metropolitan Police had been racist in their actions and in bringing the prosecution.

Baltimore to Brixton - Black Lives Matter!

Since then there have been other high profile cases which have demonstrated the institutional racism of the police force – notably over their investigation of the murder of Stephen Lawrence and the police murder of Jean Charles de Menezes. In 2023 the report by Baroness Casey was only the latest to castigate them as racist, sexist and homophobic.

Activists in the UK have also responded to the police murders in USA, and on Sunday 3rd May 2015 following the killing of Freddie Gray in Baltimore and police attacks on his funeral which led to massive protest in the USA, they protested in Brixton in solidarity and pointed out similar problems in Brixton and the UK.

It wasn’t a huge protest but was supported by a wide range of groups from Brixton and across London, including London Black Revs, Class War, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement, Reclaim Brixton, Women of Colour and the All-African Women’s Group from the Global Women’s Strike, Brixton Latin American Community, Mexica Movement London Chapter, Our Brixton, Latin Brixton, Justice for Christopher Alder, BirminghamStrong, Justice 4 ALL, The Brick Lane Debates, Occupy UAL, RCG, Revolutionary Communist Group, Occupy London, Rojava Solidarity Working Group, Algeria Solidarity Campaign, Environmental Justice North Africa and Justice4Paps.

On My London Diary I give some brief facts about the killing of 25-year-old African American Freddie Gray and the attack on his funeral by police which provoked riots. You can read a much more detailed account on Wikipedia.

The march began by going through the large barrier bloc of Southwyck House, built in the 1970s as a shield for the urban motorway, plans for which were dropped after the devastation it would cause became obvious after the Westway section was built in North Kensington, stopping for a brief protest there before it continued to a housing occupation against Guinness Trust opposite the Loughborough Park Estate. It then through the centre of Brixton to a rally in Windrush Square.

People then marched along Brixton Road past the Underground Station to Brixton Police Station and on to the Loughborough Estate to a community centre on Somerleyton Road.

I’d walked far enough and left the march there, walking back along Atlantic Road where I photographed some of the murals against the eviction of local shopkeepers from the railway arches before taking the tube to Westminster to go to visit the Occupy ‘Festival of Democracy‘ in Parliament Square, then in Day 3.

More pictures at Baltimore to Brixton – Black Lives Matter!


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.


Fighting Brixton Gentrification – 2015

Thursday, April 25th, 2024

Fighting Brixton Gentrification – On Saturday 25th April 2015 the local community in Brixton held a day of activities to reclaim its social & cultural diversity, threatened by increasing rents and property development that are forcing out local businesses and residents.

Fighting Brixton Gentrification

I’d arrived early for main ‘Reclaim Brixton’ event in Windrush Square and first made my way to Atlantic Road where long-established local businesses were being forced out from the railway arches which line one side of the road. They were under threat from Network Rail who with support from Lambeth Council were carrying out a refurbishment programme which would result in their shops being closed and the rents for the shops after being three times as high, pricing the low cost local businesses out of the area.

Fighting Brixton Gentrification

All the stores were closed for two hours across lunchtime in protest, and mural artists had been invited to work on their metal shutters. In 2015 I wrote: ‘On Stella’s Exclusive Hair & Beauty Salon an artist was working on a mural for the United Families and Friends campaign, celebrating Cherry Groce, Sean Rigg and Ricky Bishop, all killed by Brixton police. All the shops on both sides of the arches were closed, and most had white sheets with the name of the business and a punning message about the evictions. Some of them have traded here for many years – Denmay Fabrics since 1948, and L S Mash and Sons have been fishmongers here since 1932. Their message to Network Rail – ‘Don’t rip the soul outta my place

Fighting Brixton Gentrification

Fighting Brixton Gentrification

Street theatre groups walked past on their way to ‘Reclaim Brixton’ some in exotic dress carrying cardboard homes and others with posters against the threat to Communities, Homes, Businesses from Lambeth Council.

I walked along to the gentrified Brixton Village, an extensive arcade between Atlantic Road and Coldharbour Lane, to find that police and security were keeping out protesters who, led by London Black Revs, had planned to go through the market in a peaceful march.

I found Class War at Brixton Station and walked back with them to Brixton Village, where other campaigners including some from the Ayslesbury Estate where I had photographed the previous day making their banner and other South London housing campaigners were arriving for the march.

Rather to my surprise the march when it finally started was a short and fairly direct one to Windrush Square, turning off Coldharbour Lane to enter the square via Rushcroft Road.

Close to the mansion flats which had been squatted for 32 years before residents were violently evicted in July 2013 people accompanying the long black banner of B.A.G.A.G.E (Brixton Action Group Against Gentrification and Evictions) with its message ‘Refuse to Move – Resist the Evictions – Support your Neighbours’ and others let off several red flares.

Windrush Square in front of the Tate Library and opposite Lambeth Town Hall was a few years earlier re-landscaped by Lambeth Council, who deliberately turned what had been a popular place for locals into a bleak and unwelcoming windswept area to discourage the informal gatherings that took place there.

Perhaps it was partly due to this that the event taking place there seemed to lack any real cohesion with various groups doing their own thing in different parts of the large area and largely ignoring the speeches and performances at the Unite Community stage.

After an hour or so with not very much happening, activists decided it was time for a march and took to the road blocking traffic and walked up Brixton Road.

They stopped for a while outside Brixton Underground, drumming and dancing and shouting.

Then they marched along Atlantic Road and rather to my surprise returned directly to Windrush Square along Coldharbour Lane.

Marcia Rigg, Sean Rigg’s sister, still fighting for justice for her brother’s killing by Brixton police in August 2008 and friend

I hung around for a while in Windrush Square where nothing much was still happening slowly and things seemed peaceful. I decided I had done enough for the day and left.

This was a mistake. Shortly after (probably when Class War came out of the pub) sthings kicked off and some people stormed and briefly occupied Lambeth Town Hall, a large window at Foxton’s estate agents was broken, and a few activists went into Brixton Village with banners.

Many more pictures on My London Diary:
London Black Revs ‘Reclaim Brixton ‘march
Reclaim Brixton celebrates Brixton
Take Back Brixton against gentrification
Brixton Arches tenants protest eviction


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.


UVW Protest Topshop & John Lewis – 2016

Tuesday, April 16th, 2024

UVW Protest Topshop & John Lewis – Saturday 16th April 2016 was a busy day for me in London with a large march and rally by the Peoples Assembly Against Austerity demanding an end to privatisation of the NHS, secure homes for all, rent control and an end to attacks on social housing, an end to insecure jobs and the scrapping of the Trade Union Bill, tuition fees and the marketisation of education and smaller protests against repression in Iran and Palestine, all of which you can read about on My London Diary.

March for Homes, Health, Jobs, Education
Homes, Health, Jobs, Education Rally
Dancing for Homes, Health, Jobs, Education
Ahwazi protest against Iranian repression
Palestine Prisoners Parade

UVW Protest Topshop & John Lewis

After all that I went with the grass roots trade union United Voices of the World on their protest against Topshop, demanding the reinstatement of 2 workers there suspended by cleaning contractor Britannia for calling for the London Living Wage of £9.40 for Topshop cleaners. All of the pictures in this post come from the UVW protests at first outside Topshop on the Strand, and then at the Topshop at Oxford Circus.

UVW Protest Topshop & John Lewis

On Strand the shop was protected by security but soon a large group of police arrived and tried to move the protesters away from the store. The protesters refused to move and police began pushing them around roughly, but soon stopped, perhaps because they were being photographed and filmed by a large group of press who like me had been at the Peoples Assembly rally.

UVW Protest Topshop & John Lewis

Police pulled one protester to the side and started to ask questions and a large crowd formed around him; the man refused to answer police questions and eventually the officer concerned gave up.

UVW Protest Topshop & John Lewis

There was a short rally on the pavement outside and Susanna, one of the two cleaners victimised by Britannia and Topshop spoke briefly but soon broke down in tears. After a couple of minutes she started again and was loudly applauded.

The protesters then marched off and I met them again on Oxford Street outside the flagship Topshop store close to Oxford Circus.

A squad of police rushed to stand in line to guard the main door on Oxford Street and pushed the protesters away. After a short while the UVW protesters marched around the block to other entrances, where police moved inside the store to meet them.

The UVW moved back to Oxford Street to continue the protest outside the main entrance, again blocked by police. Class War who were supporting the UVW moved their banner up to the police line and there was a standoff as the two groups eyed each other from a couple of feet away.

Class War then produced some yellow ‘Crime Scene’ tape and stretched it across in front of the police line, which left some officers looking rather perplexed.

The protesters then marched off towards John Lewis, where the UVW has long been The protesters then marched off towards John Lewis, where the UVW has long been holding protests calling for the cleaners to be treated equally with other workers in the store.

They walked towards the doors, but police pushed them back forcefully knocking one woman flying. Others rushed to help her, and UVW General Secretary Petros Elia protested angrily at the officer who had pushed her.

Eventually a senior officer came to see what had happened and listened to the complaint. To my surprise he then asked the officer to apologise for using excessive force – something I’ve never known to happen at a protest before.

There were a few speeches to explain to the shoppers walking by why the protest was taking place. Clearly many who listened felt that the cleaners were being shabbily treated by companies like Topshop and John Lewis who use outsourcing to get work done on the cheap with conditions that are greatly inferior to their directly employed workers.

The UVW left to return to continue their protest at Topshop, but I left them at Oxford Circus to take the tube – I was already late for dinner.

More on My London Diary:
UVW Topshop & John Lewis Protest
UVW Topshop 2 protest – Strand


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.


Sudan and Brunei Gay Sex – 2019

Saturday, April 6th, 2024

Sudan and Brunei Gay Sex: I began work on Saturday 6th April 2019 at the Sudanese Embassy and then left for the Dorchester Hotel in Mayfair where protesters had come after the Sultan of Brunei had announced death by stoning as a punishment for gay sex, adultery and blasphemy.


Sudanese for Freedom, Peace and Justice – Sudan Embassy

Sudan and Brunei Gay Sex

War is raging again now in Sudan between between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

Sudan and Brunei Gay Sex

Back in 2019 people were protesting against the extreme violence in Sudan against peaceful protests calling for for an end to the violent and corrupt Sudanese regime and for president Omar al-Bashir to ‘Just Fall’ and stand trial by the ICC for genocide in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains and South Blue Nile.

Sudan and Brunei Gay Sex

People in Sudan had been protesting for 17 weeks and over 70 protesters had been killed and thousands injured.

Sudan and Brunei Gay Sex

Five days later, Omar al-Bashir was deposed by the Sudanese Armed Forces and in May 2019 was charged al-Bashir with “inciting and participating in” the killing of protesters. Later other charges were brought, including of corruption and money laundering. Other trials followed and he has been accused of genocide. The prison in which he was being held has been overrun by the current fighting between forces led by the generals who deposed him and he is currently held in a military hospital in Khartoum.

I left the protesters still in and around the protest pen outside the embassy opposite St James Palace in Cleveland Row and rushed the three quarters of a mile or so to the Dorchester Hotel in Park Lane, where I knew the protest had already begun.

More pictures at Sudanese for Freedom, Peace and Justice.


Brunei Sultan gay sex stoning protest – Dorchester Hotel

A large crowd had gathered on the streets in front of the Dorchester Hotel behind barriers that kept them out of the area directly in front of the entrance.

There were a number of speeches including those by Labour Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Emily Thornberry MP and activist Peter Tatchell condemining the announcement by the Sultan of Brunei of death by stoning as a punishment for gay sex, adultery and blasphemy.

It was a colourful protest with many from the gay community with some interesting posters and placards. Police continually harassed protesters to keep the roads open, although there were really too many people to make this sensible.

After an hour or so, Class War decided to move from behind the barriers and pushed some aside to protest directly in front of the hotel doors. They were followed by many of the other protesters and a noisy protest continued there.

Many more pictures at Brunei Sultan gay sex stoning protest.


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.


Dolce & Gabbana, Sanctions & Poor Doors 2015

Tuesday, March 19th, 2024

Dolce & Gabbana, Sanctions & Poor Doors Thursday 19th March 2015 -protests at a Mayfair fashion store, the Department of Work and Pensions and another of Class War’s long series of protests at One Commercial St, Aldgate.


Dolce & Gabbana Boycott – Old Bond St

Dolce & Gabbana, Sanctions & Poor Doors

Domenico Dolce and his business partner Stefano Gabbana are apparently well known fashion designers and have a range of over 200 shops in plush areas of cities in 41 countries dedicated exclusively to selling their overpriced clothing. In London I think they have one in Sloane Square as well as the Mayfair store this protest took place outside.

Dolce & Gabbana, Sanctions & Poor Doors

For some reason our media treats anything to do with fashion as important news, and there were more photographers and TV crews packing the narrow pavement than protesters when I arrived making covering the protest difficult, particularly for those of us who prefer to work at close range.

Dolce & Gabbana, Sanctions & Poor Doors

The Peter Tatchell Foundation and the Out and Proud Diamond Group had called the protest in support of the international boycott over homophobic statements by the two designers. Almost certainly a much higher proportion of the shop’s customers are gay than in the general population and Dolce & Gabbana have profited massively from sales to the gay community over the years.

More about the protest at Dolce & Gabbana Boycott.


Unite protest against Benefit Sanctions – Caxton House, Westminster

Dolce & Gabbana, Sanctions & Poor Doors
Gill Thompson, whose brother died after being sanctioned holds her 211,822 signature petition

Unite here and at Job Centres around the country were having a day of action against punitive benefit sanctions on over 2m people which had led to increased poverty, misery and even death. They say the are a ‘grotesque cruelty’ and are often imposed for trivial reasons.

People have been sanctioned because postal delays meant they never got notification of an appointment they missed, or because they were 5 minutes late as a bus was cancelled. Often job centre staff are under pressure to issue sanctions and may be penalised if they do not sanction enough of their clients.

At the protest was Gill Thompson, whose brother, David Clapson, a diabetic ex-soldier, died after being sanctioned. She had brought her 211,822 signature petition calling for an inquiry into benefit sanctions to the protest to present to the DWP.

Among others who spoke was Rev Paul Nicholson of Taxpayers Against Poverty.

More pictures Unite protest against Benefit Sanctions.


Poor Doors Protest Blocks Rich Door – One Commercial St, Aldgate

When Class War read a newspaper article about the separate entrances for rich residents and those in social housing in a new block at One Commercial Street in July 2014 they were disgusted and decided to launch a series of weekly protests outside the block every Thursday evening.

I missed the first of these but you can find reports of almost all of the rest of them, at least 29 in all, on My London Diary. For an overview you can read John Bigger’s article on Freedom in which he gives an insider’s view and assesses the impact of these protests, and the ‘zine’ I published Class War: Rich Door, Poor Door with over 200 photographs from 29 protests is still available. But though this is reasonably priced, postage costs roughly double this – so you really need to buy half a dozen copies or more and give or sell some to your friends. Be warned the print quality in what Blurb calls a MAGAZINE is pretty low.

The protest on 19th March was a lively one and the management at One Commercial Street had locked the rich door and were I think telling the rich residents of that section to enter and leave instead through the hotel at the Commercial Street side of the building. Class War held up banners and posters and some stuck stickers onto the glass of door and large windows. Someone lit a red smoke flare and threw it onto the pavement. There was a lot of loud chanting and some short speeches.

Some younger anarchists present took plastic barriers from the works taking place on the pavement and piled them in front of the locked door. Others took them onto the busy Whitechapel High Street and blocked the traffic.

A man and a woman who had been watching suddenly grabbed one of those present, threw him to the floor and handcuffed him, holding up their warrant cards to show they were plain clothes police. I didn’t recognise the man they arrested who was not one of the regular Class War protesters, and as usual they refused to answer questions about why he was being arrested. But their arrest effectively blocked the only lane of the road which the protesters had not already blocked.

More uniformed police arrived and dragged the arrested man away to a police van, removed the barriers and protesters from the road and the protest continued with Class War holding up flaming torches in front of the rich door.

There were a few more short speeches and then the protesters left as usual after about an hour, leaving their posters attached to the glass on the front of the building by Class War stickers.

More at Poor Doors blocks Rich Door.


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.


Class War’s Notting Hill Pub Stroll

Tuesday, March 5th, 2024

Class War’s Notting Hill Pub Stroll – Class War’s peaceful pub crawl on Saturday 5th March 2016 had been widely advertised arousing considerable paranoia and a fairly large police presence with several businesses deciding to close for all or part of the day. Foxton’s even went so far as to get their offices boarded up, though it was unlikely they would have otherwise had suffered more than a few stickers on their windows.

Class War's Notting Hill Pub Stroll

Notting Hill has played an important part in Class War’s history. It was here, actually in Grenfell Tower, that some early issues of the Class War magazine were put together, and here on 27 August 1983 where the first Class War conference was held, here where Ian Bone in 1988 met Joe Strummer and his enthusiasm led to the ‘Rock Against the Rich’ tour.

Class War's Notting Hill Pub Stroll

You can view a short RoughlerTV video of Class War’s ‘Bash The Rich‘ protest on 3 November 2007 in Notting Hill and see my pictures of the event on My London Diary. Policing on that occasion was large and heavy-handed while in 2016 they largely remained in the background, at least until the group reached Foxtons.

Class War's Notting Hill Pub Stroll

I wrote at some length about the pub crawl in 2016, when some from Class War took a walk around some of the key sites in the area, led by Ian Bone, and you can still read Class War’s Notting Hill Pub Stroll on My London Diary, as well as a shorter version with fewer pictures posted here on >Re:PHOTO a couple of years ago. I’ll use different pictures in this post and only give a brief outline of the event.

Class War's Notting Hill Pub Stroll

Some of us met at the start of the walk outside the Ground Floor Bar on the corner of Talbot Road and Portobello Road, where the first Class War conference took place in an upper room in what was then the Colville Hotel. Unfortunately this bar had closed down for good a few days after it had been advertised as the meeting point for the pub stroll, so we had to stand outside to listen to Ian Bone speaking about the event. It reopened some months later as a gin bar.

We crossed the Portobello Road to the next stop, formerly the Warwick Castle pub where ‘Rock Against The Rich‘ was conceived, no longer a proper pub in 2016 but a rather ghastly gastro-bistro, The Castle. It had decided to close for a few hours for “maintenance” and staff inside cast us apprehensive glances as we heard another speech and some adorned the windows with ‘blue plaques’ (blue paper plates) and Class War stickers.

H H Finch’s bar on the Portobello Rd had long closed but had been replaced by Young’s with a tourist pub in 1991. In 2016 it still also had the name Finch’s Dining Rooms on its frontage along with their new name. This venue had stayed open despite the Class War event though I think with some extra bouncers on the door, but we all walked in and enjoyed a few rather pricey beers, with a few others coming to join the group. I think all Class War had done here in the past was drink and talk and drink…

We walked down Portobello to the only remaining real pub on the street, the Earl of Lonsdale, formerly Henekeys. Its Victorian interior had been gutted in the 1960s but was restored after Sam Smiths took the pub over and changed its name.

The beer here was cheaper and better and it was hard to drag ourselves out and rejoin our route, but most of us managed to continue the stroll down to the house where George Orwell lived from 1927 to 1929. Ouside here Lisa McKenzie praised him for his recognition of the war by the elites against the working classes.

Next came Foxton’s boarded up for the occasion, where Simon Elmer of Architects for Social Housing spoke about the housing crisis and the role of estate agents in gentrification. After he had been speaking for a few minutes a large group of police vans and motorbikes arrived and Class War quickly disappeared into a local pub and the stroll finished.

You can read more about the history of Class War in Ian Bone’s highly entertaining book, Bash the Rich, still widely available.

And there is much more about the 2016 event at Class War’s Notting Hill Pub Stroll.


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.


Class War Victory Over Qatari Royals

Thursday, February 8th, 2024

Class War Victory Over Qatari Royals – Thursday 8th February 2018 saw a remarkable victory for Class War against the one of the richest families in the world, the Qatari Royal Family with a $335 billion sovereign wealth fund who are now one of the biggest landowners in the United Kingdom.

Class War Victory Over Qatari Royals

In the morning I had gone to the Royal Courts of Justice on Strand where lawyers acting for the Qatari royal family were trying to prevent a Class War protest against the ten empty £50 million pound apartments in The Shard, the tallest building in the United Kingdom. The Qataris own 95% of the property with the remaining 5% retained by its original developers Sellar Property.

Class War Victory Over Qatari Royals

I hadn’t gone into the court but had waited outside, arriving in plenty of time to greet Ian Bone and his barrister Ian Brownhill as they emerged triumphant from the court.

Class War Victory Over Qatari Royals

Lawyers for the Qatari royals had tried to get an injunction against protests by Bone and “persons unknown” and to claim over £500 in legal costs from the 70 year-old south London pensioner for them doing so.

Class War Victory Over Qatari Royals

Brownhill had contacted Bone and offered to take up his case pro bono, and as soon as he contacted the Qataris’ lawyers they offered to drop the case if Class War ‘would stop attacking the Shard’. Class War would of course not agree to giving up their protest. The Qatari attempt to stifle protest led to articles in the national and international press and radio and TV coverage.

In the High Court the Qataris’ lawyers were forced to drop the attempt to ban protests and their demand for fees but Bone accepted a legal restriction on him going inside the Shard and its immediate vicinity.

Among documents supplied to the court for the Qataris were some clearly defamatory statments about another person connected with Class War but not named in the injunction and other information which had clearly been obtained from police sources. The Head of Security at the Shard got his job after retiring as a police commander.

Police have over the years carried out a number of clearly malicious arrests of people from Class War during protests, aimed at harassing people engaged in peaceful protest. The cases have either been dropped before coming to court or have been thrown out by the courts.

Class War’s protest went ahead as planned, pointing out that the ten £50 million pound apartments in the Shard have remained empty since the building was completed.

There appeared to be several times as many police as the protesters outside the Shard, as well as a large number of security men and plain clothes police, along with two men with search dogs when the protesters arrived. It seemed a huge overkill for what was always intended – and was – an entirely peaceful but noisy small protest.

Ian Bone’s health problems meant he would not in any case have attended the protest, and the other protesters were careful to remain outside the boundary of the Shard which is marked by a metal line in the pavement.

Despite this police still tried to move them away to the other side of the road, making the patently spurious claim that they were causing an obstruction to commuters attempting to enter London Bridge station. it was very clear that it was the police were obviously causing a rather larger obstruction than Class War.

The protesters pointed out that there are now a huge number of empty properties in London at the same time as a huge housing crisis – at the time including over 100 families from Grenfell who were in temporary accommodation.

There are large developments of high-prices flats taking place, totally unaffordable for those in housing need, many of which are bought simply as investments to take advantage of rising house prices and remain empty all or most of the year.

In 2018 there were plans to build 26,000 more flats costing over a million pounds each, including many on former council estates being redeveloped and replacing social housing – when thousands are sleeping on the streets and councils have huge housing lists. Currently in 2023 both Lambeth and Newham have over 35,000 waiting for housing and nine other boroughs have lists with over 10,000 names, with a total of over 323,000 over the whole of Greater London.

George Monbiot last Saturday wrote an important article In a world built by plutocrats, the powerful are protected while vengeful laws silence their critics. Class War in February 2018 showed it is sometimes possible to take on the powerful and win. Though the Qataris are still laughing all the way to the bank which they own anyway.

More pictures on My London Diary:
Class War protest at Shard
Class War victory against Qatari Royals


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.


March For Homes – 2015

Wednesday, January 31st, 2024

March For Homes: St Leonard’s Church to City Hall

Defend Council Housing, South London People’s Assembly and Unite Housing Workers Branch had called for a march to draw attention to the crisis in housing, particularly in London where council housing lists are huge and many councils are failing to meet their legal requirements to rehouse homeless families.

March For Homes

These requirements generally do not extend to single homeless people and in London alone over 6,500 people had slept rough at some time in the previous year with around one in twelve of 16-24 year-olds having been homeless at some point. Government figures comprehensively and deliberately underestimate the numbers.

March For Homes

It isn’t really a housing crisis, but a crisis of affordable housing. There are more than enough empty properties to house the homeless, but those who need housing are unable to afford the high rents or house prices being asked.

March For Homes

There has been a huge surge in building high-rise properties in London, with whole areas like Battersea and Nine Elms as well as elsewhere across inner and outer London being increasingly filled with them, but almost all are high-price properties, many sold overseas before the buildings are completed not as homes but as investments. Others are low specification student housing and also do nothing for the housing crisis.

March For Homes

What is needed is a crash programme of housing at social rents for family units of all sizes. Developers have become adept at evading what laws there are about providing social housing in new developments, fiddling the books to claim they cannot make sufficient profits which ridiculously lets them off the hook.

Much of the UK problems over housing go back to the Thatcher administration which both sold off council housing piecemeal under ‘right to buy’ but also stopped councils replacing what they had lost.

In earlier years both Tory and Labour councils had built generally high quality low cost housing though of course there were some examples of poor planning (often when councils were forced to cut costs) and shoddy work as well as unfortunate government encouragement of high-rise system building, which many of us were campaigning against in the 60’s and 70s.

But perhaps even more importantly under Tory administrations council housing became something just for what they regarded as ‘feckless’ and the ‘dregs of society’, those unable to fend for themselves. We got this ridiculous concept of the ‘housing ladder’ and very much it is a ladder that expresses “pull up the ladder, Jack. We’re alright“.

Municipal housing can provide housing for all at low cost and provided a rational approaching to providing decent housing for all, getting away from the poor conditions and high cost of private rented housing at much lower cost than owner occupation.

The March for Homes on Saturday 31st January was actually two marches, one from the Elephant in South London and the other from East London which I photographed at Shoreditch, calling for more social housing and an end to estate demolition and evictions. On My London Diary at March for Homes: Shoreditch Rally I published a very long list of some of the various groups which supported the march, as well as some of the speakers at the rally there. Eventually the march set off on its way towards City Hall, making its way towards Tower Bridge.

Class War left the march briefly to protest as it went past One Commercial St, where they had been holding a long series of weekly ‘Poor Doors’ protests against the separate door down a side alley for the social housing tenants in the block. They had briefly suspended the protests a few weeks early when new owner for the building had offered talks about the situation, but these had broken down.

Approaching the Tower of London the protest was joined by Russell Brand riding a bicycle. He had earlier lent support to a number of housing campaigns by residents in estates threatened by evictions.

By the time the march was going across Tower Bridge Class War had rejoined it, and their banners were in the lead.

The march was met on the other side of Tower Bridge by the South London March for Homes, a similar sized protest called by Defend Council Housing and South London People’s Assembly which had started at the Elephant, marching past the former Heygate Estate. The two marches merged to walk on to Potters Fields for the rally outside City Hall.

We had been marching most of the day in light rain, and this got rather heavier for the rally outside City Hall. Together with a large crowd being jammed into a fairly small space it made photography of the rally difficult.

While the rally was still continuing some of the protesters began to leave Potters Fields to protest more actively, led by Class War and other anarchit groups and accompanied by the samba band Rhythms of Revolution.

They moved onto Tooley Street and blocked it for a few minutes, then decided to move off, with police reinforcements who had arrived than taking over their role of blocking the road as the protesters moved off eastwards.

I watched them go, and later heard that after a brief protest at One Tower Bridge, a new development mainly for the over-rich next to Tower Bridge they had taken a long walk to join occupiers on Southwark’s Aylesbury Estate.

But I was cold, wet and tired, and my cameras too, having been exposed to the weather for several hours were becoming temperamental and I waited for a bus to start my journey home.

Much more on My London Diary:
March for Homes: After the Rally
March for Homes: City Hall Rally
March for Homes: Poor Doors
March for Homes: Shoreditch to City Hall
March for Homes: Shoreditch Rally


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.


Living Wage, New Era & John Lewis – 2014

Wednesday, December 13th, 2023

Living Wage, New Era & John Lewis – on Saturday 13th December 29014 a Santa led protests in Brixton for a living wage for shop workers, Class War protested against property developers wanted to evict tenants on a Hackney estate so they can refurbish and let them at high private rents, and a cleaners union protested inside John Lewis on Oxford street for a living wage and better treatment for cleaners working there.


‘Santa’s Naughty List’ Living Wage – Brixton

Living Wage, New Era & John Lewis

Lambeth Living Wage campaigners, led by an impressive Santa, protested in and outside shops in the centre of Brixton, handing out fliers calling for all workers to be paid a living wage. They urged shop workers to join a union and gave out forms.

Living Wage, New Era & John Lewis

The protest was supported by Unite the Resistance, the Socialist Party and Unison (who provided the Santa costume) and also the Fast Food Rights Hungry for Justice campaign supported by the Bakers, Food & Allied Workers Union, BFWAWU, the National Shop Stewards Network and other groups.

Living Wage, New Era & John Lewis

The small group went into a number of shops and used a megaphone to tell shoppers and workers why they were protesting and handed on union membership forms to the workers there. At some stores they were stopped as they tried to enter and instead protested outside, and where they were able to walk in they left when requested.

I met them at the first shop they protested at, Morleys Stores and went along with them to Subway and Poundland before I had to leave for another protest. They continued visiting more shops for a couple of hours.

‘Santa’s Naughty List’ Living Wage


Class War: ‘Evict Westbrook, Not New Era’ – Berkeley Sq

Living Wage, New Era & John Lewis

Supporters of Class War protested at the Mayfair offices of US property developers Westbrook Partners in solidarity with the tenants of the Hackney New Era Estate. Westbrook see the estate simply as an opportunity to make large profits and intend to evict the existing tenants of these low rent social properties by Christmas so they can then refurbish them and then re-let them at market rents, around four times as much as the threatened tenants were paying.

This was a smaller protest than either the organisers or police had anticipated. It hadn’t been well publicised and illness and some disputes between supporters of Class War had reduced the numbers attending, though a few of the New Era residents had also come to protest.

Class War arrived with two banners and some placards and a Christmas Card for Westbrook Partners with some far from seasonal greetings. Rather to my surprise, a representative from Westbrook was present to meet the protesters and receive the card.

Protests by the New Era residents had earlier attracted considerable media attention, particularly after a video by Russell Brand went viral. A few days after this protest Westbook who were also under pressure from Hackney Council sold the estate to the Dolphin Square Foundation, a charity which provides secure social accommodation, and the threat of evictions was lifted.

Class War: ‘Evict Westbrook, Not New Era’


Cleaners Xmas Protest in John Lewis – Osford Street

The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) and customers protested inside John Lewis’s Oxford St store, calling for the London Living Wage for cleaners there and an end to their treatment as second-class citizens. Many of the Christmas shoppers inside the store applauded their noisy protest.

I met with the IWGB an hour before the protest and they told me they planned to protest inside the flagship John Lewis store on Oxford Street which would be full of Christmas shoppers and told me when I could meet them at the restaurant on the 5th floor.

I arrived to find them unpacking their banners and placards and a PA system, with John Lewis staff watching them and asking them not to get in the way of people taking their food to the tables, so they cleared the way.

The protest began with a speech by IWGB organiser Alberto Durango to let those in the restaurant know why they were protesting and then the group moved off, stopping at A suitable point to share the message that John Lewis does not employ the cleaners, but uses a cleaning contractor. This means the cleaners get low pay, poorer conditions; they want to be paid a living wage and to be treated like the others who work in the store.

Along with the cleaners were a group of John Lewis Customers who met and marched with them with placards ‘JOHN LEWIS YOUR CUSTOMERS SAY PAY YOUR CLEANERS THE LIVING WAGE’.

It was a noisy protest and attracted the attention of many shoppers at various levels of the store as they protesters slowly made their way down floor by floor, stopping on the balcony at each level.

By the time they reached the third floor, John Lewis managers were asking the protesters to stop and leave the store. The continued on their way down, protesting loudly as they did so. A few police arrived and began to go down with them.

When they reached the ground floor there was confusion with police and John Lewis security staff, some trying to stop the protesters leaving and others pushing them out and the protest continuing. I got pushed in all directions and my pictures here were largely blurred. Eventually together with most of the protesters I got outside and the protest continued there.

We get news that some people have been arrested inside the store. Outside one police officer tries to stop the protest by grabbing the amplifier, but people hold on to it and others shout and film
him. He manages to pull out the leads, but then steps back, and the protest continues. Police rush out carrying one protester who has been arrested but is still shouting for cleaners to get a living wage and put him into the back of a police van.

Police won’t give any details of the arrests. Some of the IWGB went to wait outside the police station where people were arrested, waiting there until they were released in the early morning. I don’t think any were actually charged perhaps because mobile phone footage from inside the store shared on the web showed them being assaulted by police while trying to leave.

Many more pictures at Cleaners Xmas Protest in John Lewis.