Posts Tagged ‘custody deaths’

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!


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Ripper Selfies, Custody Deaths, Halloween Skate & Poor Yorick

Monday, October 31st, 2022

A varied set of events from seven years ago on Saturday 31st October 2015


Ripper ‘Selfies with Dead Women’ – Cable St, Sat 31 Oct 2015

The Fourth Wave: London Feminist Activists (LFA) protested at the Jack the Ripper ‘museum’ against Halloween event publicity inviting visitors to take ‘selfies’ with the body of one of his dead victims. They were joined by comedian Kate Smurthwaite, Class War and the Sisters of Perpetual Resistance.

LFA came in cat masks and the Sisters of Perpetual Resistance came in their curious triangular black hoods with a banner ‘What a Bloody Ripp-Off’ and a bucket ‘Dead Women Can’t Protest‘. Comedian Kate Smurthwaite was there holding a poster ‘Corpses ain’t Tourism‘ and a little late Class War arrived with their ‘Women’s Death Brigade‘ banner.

The LFA also brought a decidely unsexy blowup doll with a mask of Ripper shop owner Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe with a Fawcett Society t-shirt ‘This is what a feminist looks like’, the word feminist crossed out and replaced in red by the word ‘CAPITALIST’.

Among those who spoke as well as the event organiser were Kate Smurthwaite and Becky Warnock whose petition against the s-called museum had got over 12,000 signatures.

Ripper ‘Selfies with Dead Women’


UFFC Annual Remembrance Procession – Whitehall, Sat 31 Oct 2015

Families and friends of people killed by police or in prisons made their annual march at a funereal pace from Trafalgar Square to Downing St, to a rally with speakers including those from the families of Mark Duggan, Sean Rigg, Sheku Bayoh and others.

This procession has taken place each year since1999 and you can see my pictures from this year when it took place on 29th October 2022.

In 2015 the march, led by family members holding banners, made its way in silence down Whitehall before erupting into a noisy protest at Downing St.

Here there were speeches from family members including including Cephus “Uncle Bobby” Johnson the uncle of Oscar Grant who was killed by a police officer in Los Angeles, Stephanie Lightfoot-Bennet whose twin brother Leon Patterson was killed by Manchester police in 1992, Kadisha Brown-Burrell, whose brother Kingsley Burrell died in police custody in 2011. Shaun Hall, the brother of Mark Duggan, shot by police in 2011 in Tottenham and Marcia Rigg whose brother Sean was killed in Brixton police station in 2008.

A small group of family members took a letter into Downing St while the rally continued. Although as t-shirts worn by many stated there have been ‘1518 deaths in police custody since 1990′ including many with clear evidence of beating and murder, not a single case has yet resulted in any justice. Police and authorities have prevented proper investigation of cases, committed perjury and obstructed the course of justice to protect the officers concerned.

More at UFFC Annual Remembrance Procession 2015.


Halloween Skate 2015 London – Hyde Park Corner, Sat 31 Oct 2015

On a very much lighter level I met with London Friday Night Skate at Hyde Park where they were to begin their annual Halloween skate in varied Halloween costumes.

I didn’t try to follow them after they left to skate their lengthy route through Mayfair, Soho, Covent Garden to an after-party at a pub near Kings Cross.

Halloween Skate 2015 London


UVW Hamlet-themed Barbican Flash-mob – Barbican Centre, Sat 31 Oct 2015

Alas Poor Yorick Got No Sick Pay‘ was the message on the skull held up by the Cleaners union United Voices of the World as they staged a protest on the last night of a season there of Hamlet.

The were protesting for full payment of the living wage and sick pay for the cleaners there and and an end to the use of workfare in the centre. The cleaners are not directly employed by the Barbican and get far worse conditions of service and treatment than directly employed workers from the outsourcing company which the Barbican has a contract with.

The Shakespearian theme was continued in posters such as ‘To Be or Not to Be… Paid a Living Wage‘ and ‘To Be or Not to Be… Paid Sick Pay‘ while those theatre-goers seeing the protest were urged to tweet photos and videos with hashtag #Hamlet.

Among the protesters were Green Party leader Natalie Bennett and Sandy Nicoll, currently suspended SOAS Branch Secretary, and there were banners ‘Boycott Workfare’ and from ‘Unite the Resistance’ as well the UVW banner. Several from Class War had also come to support the cleaners.

There had been a couple of police officers present when I arrived on time for the protest, but they had disappeared well before the UVW turned up around 20 minutes late. Barbican security staff made some attempts to move the protesters on, but I imagine they are also outsources on lousy terms and conditions and that their hearts were not really in it.

Eventually after a number of speeches and some noisy chanting the police returned and talked with the UVW General Secretary Petros Elia who was leading the protest. He told them that the protesters were about to leave before tonight’s Hamlet was due to start and continue the protest outside the main entrance, and they then did so.

Outside the Barbican we joined some of the cleaners who work in the Barbican who had stayed outside and the protest continued with a rally in the street.

UVW Hamlet-themed Barbican Flash-mob


Saturday 27th October 2007

Thursday, October 27th, 2022

One of my busier days in London was Saturday 27th October 2007, when I began with a trip to Hoxton to collect and take home some pictures from a group exhibition, then travelled back into the centre of London for a number of events. The main protest I covered was the annual UFFC march against deaths in custody, but there were also Kurds protesting against Turkish army attacks on them in Northern Iraq, campaigners calling for a Brexit referendum, an anti-abortion rally and peace protesters around Parliament where I also photographed a new statue in Parliament Square. I ended my working day with a Halloween Zombie Crawl.

Here’s what I wrote back in 2007, with minor corrections including normal capitalisation and some changes of tense – and I’ve included some headings and pictures. As usual there are many more pictures if you follow the links to My London Diary.


On saturday, everything was happening. I had to run around to start with to collect my unsold pictures from the City People show at the Juggler in Hoxton. Fortunately I’d sold one of my four pictures, so that made them easier to carry, but it was a rush to be back in the centre of London and I had to more or less miss the demonstrators who wanted a referendum on leaving the European Union.

Protest Against Custody Deaths – Trafalgar Square & Whitehall, Saturday 27 Oct, 2007

Instead I started at Trafalgar Square, where the annual event remembering those who have died in custody was taking place, organised by the UFFC, families and friends of those killed.

It’s an occasion that always shocks me by the sheer number of people who have died in such disgraceful or suspicious circumstances, in police cells, in prisons and elsewhere. It’s an event I sometimes find it hard to photograph, both emotionally and physically – thankfully autofocus works even when your eyes are filling with tears.
more pictures

Kurds Demand – Stop Turkey – Trafalgar Square, London. 27 October 2007

While that demo was getting ready to march, a large crowd of Kurds swarmed into Trafalgar Square and held a short rally, protesting against the Turkish government’s approval of incursions into Northern Iraq to attack the PKK there. Both the Kurds and the Armenians have suffered greatly at the hands of the Turks (who in turn have been rather screwed by the EU over Cyprus.)

It was a typically exuberant performance, and one that I enjoyed photographing, but rather a distraction from the family and friends event.
more pictures

Pro-referendum on Europe Rally – Old Palace Yard, Westminster. 27 October 2007

There seems to be hiatus in the UFFC demonstration, so I caught a bus down Whitehall. Walking along to Old Palace Yard I passed a few of the pro-referendum demonstrators, though some others had stayed to join in the anti-abortion protest.
a couple of pictures

Anti-Abortion (Pro-Life) Rally – Old Palace Yard, Westminster. Saturday 27 October, 2007

This was rather smaller than I’d expected, perhaps around 500 people, although it was the only event that made the BBC news bulletins I heard when I got home later in the day.
more pictures

Lloyd George – Parliament Square, London. Saturday October 27, 2007

I listened a little to the speeches, but then went to Parliament Square to take a look at the new statue of Lloyd George – which failed to impress me. Of course he was long before my time – although I did have a landlady as a student in Manchester who had worked as a secretary for him – but somehow I feel the statue trivialises him, looking rather like an enlarged version of a plastic figure you might find in a box of cornflakes rather than a statue of a Prime Minister.
another picture

Peace Train – Parliament Square, Westminster. Saturday October 27, 2007

The Peace Train is beginning to form a protest in Parliament Square and I go along to talk to them and take a few pictures.


I rejoin the ‘Famiilies and Friends’ march now making a considerable protest opposite Downing Street, where a delegation has permission to deliver a letter to the prime minister’s residence at No 10. It takes a lot of argument before the police let them in despite this.

For some reason the police decide not to allow those with press cards into the street in the normal way. I don’t like going in – the security checks are a nuisance and being restricted to a pen on the other side of the street is normally hopeless, but I think its a matter of principle that access should not be unreasonably prevented – as it was for this event, even if personally I don’t particularly want to take advantage of it.

By the time the deputation emerge, the mood on the street is getting rather angry. One young policeman is getting surrounded and insulted and is trying hard to ignore it. A few minutes later a motor-cyclist foolishly stays in the route of the march, and is soon surrounded by angry people. He has to be rescued by his colleagues.

There are police who are racist, who are thugs, who are bullies. Too many who have got away with murder, often thanks to covering up or a lack of diligence in investigation by their colleagues. If it were not so, there would be no demonstration. But there are also officers who do their best to carry out a difficult and necessary job in a decent, reasonable and even-handed way – even though they may sometimes get disciplined for doing so. Those who bear the brunt of considerable and understandable hate directed against the police at a demo like this are not necessarily the guilty.
more pictures


Crawl of the Dead IV – City and Southwark, London. Saturday October 27, 2007

It’s time for me to leave and make my way to the City of London, where this year the zombies are starting their walk at a pub on Ludgate Hill. I go into the pub and talk to some of them and take photographs, and am gratified to find that quite a few have seen my pictures from around Oxford Street last year.

By the time they emerge from the pub it is getting dark, and my flash by now is refusing to work at all. I have to make do either with available light (and there isn’t a lot) or the pretty useless camera built in flash, but I still manage to get a few decent pictures, even though some are rather noisier than I’d like.

There are quite a few people around as we go over the Millennium bridge, and more in front of Tate Modern, where zombies decide to play dead for a while. Then we visit the famous crack in the turbine hall, coming out towards the Founder’s arms, where I made my goodbyes and turned for home.


More pictures on all these on My London Diary:

against deaths in custody
kurds demand – stop turkey
for a euro-referendum
anti-abortion (pro-life) rally
lloyd george statue
peace train
crawl of the dead iv


Custody Deaths, Acid Attacks & Democracy

Tuesday, October 25th, 2022

United Families & Friends March & Rally – Trafalgar Square to Downing St, Sat 25 Oct 2014

Marcis Rigg holds a list of those known to have died in custody between 1969 and 2011

Every year on the last Saturday of October since 1999 families and friends of people killed by police or in prisons made their annual march at a funereal pace from Trafalgar Square to Downing St where they hold a rally where members of the family of those killed speak.

Mrs Doreen Bishop, mother of Ricky Bishop, killed in Brixton Police Station in 2001

This year’s march is on 29th October 2022 and people gather in Trafalgar Square from noon for the march which is timed to start at 1.30pm. The march usually begins quietly, sometimes in silence but gets very noisy at Downing St. Everyone is invited come and support the families.

Some families carry banners with images of their loved ones who have died, and some wear t-shirts with images of them. The great majority of those who die in suspicious circumstances are young black men, and the United Family & Friends Campaign was started as a network of black families but has widened to support families of all races that die in custody.

Ajibola Lewis, the mother of Olaseni Lewis, 

The UFFC web site has a long list of families who the network supports: “Leon Patterson, Roger Sylvester, Rocky Bennett, Harry Stanley, Sean Rigg, Habib ‘Paps’ Ullah, Azelle Rodney, Christopher Alder, Brian Douglas, Joy Gardner, Paul Jemmott, Ricky Bishop, Mikey Powell, Jason McPherson, Sarah Campbell, Jimmy Mubenga, Paul Coker, Mark Duggan, Sheku Bayoh, Olaseni Lewis, James Herbert, Kingsley Burrell, Thomas Orchard, Amy El-Keria, Darren Neville, Jason McDonald, Philmore Mills, Mzee Mohammed, Adrian McDonald, Rashan Charles, Edson da Costa, Mark Cole” ending with “and many others.”

On My London Diary I mention a few of the speakers at the 2014 event: “Myrna Simpson, the mother of Joy Gardner, killed by police restraining her with a body belt around her head at her home in 1987… Marcia Rigg, whose brother Sean Rigg was killed by Brixton police in 2008, Doreen Bishop, whose son Ricky Bishop was also killed in Brixton Police Station in 2001, Ajibola Lewis, the mother of Olaseni Lewis who died when restrained by police called to a Croydon hospital, Jo Orchard, whose brother Thomas Orchard was killed by police illegally restraining him in Exeter, Stephanie Lightfoot-Bennet, whose twin brother Leon Paterson was killed by police in Manchester in 1992, and Carole Duggan whose nephew Mark Duggan was shot by police in Tottenham in 2011.”

I think all of these speakers are shown in the pages of my post where you can read more about this extremely moving annual protest at United Friends & Families March.


Acid Attacks on Women in Iran – Downing St, Sat 25 Oct 2014

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) called for the UK to condemn the attacks by regime-organised acid attacks on women who are not veiled in Iran. This followed similar protests in Isfahan and Tehran.

They also condemned Iran’s hanging at dawn of Rayhaneh Jabbari. She had stabbed a former Iranian intelligence official who tried to rape her; she was the 967th person to be executed since Hassan Rouhani became Iran’s president.

More at Acid Attacks on Women in Iran.


Democracy Camp Saturday – Parliament Square, Sat 25 Oct 2014

Despite continued harassment by GLA private security ‘Heritage Wardens’, Occupy Democracy has continued its presence in Parliament Square for over a week.

Michael Meacher MP speaking – and two extra hands

It was the final Saturday of their intended camp in the square and as well as a visit from the EDL – who were stopped by police and never quite made it – there were a number of workshops, including by energy boss Jeremy Leggett, Donnachadh McCarthy and MP Michael Meacher.

Democracy Camp Saturday


EDL Visit Democracy Camp – Parliament Square, London. Sat 25 Oct 2014

A small group of extreme-right EDL supporters came to shout insults and make gestures towards the Democracy Camp, but police stopped them going into the camp area.

George Barda came out from the camp to try to talk sensibly with the EDL members but was met by racist abuse.

One man objected to being photographed by a press photographer and was told firmly by a police officer that photographers are free to photograph him if they wish on the public street – as I had been doing. Shortly after this police surrounded the group and led them away towards Victoria station.

More at EDL Visit Democracy Camp.


Ten Years Ago – Chariots & Custody Deaths

Friday, June 17th, 2022

Ten Years Ago – Chariots & Custody Deaths – On Sunday 17th June 2012 I photographed two very different events in London


Hare Krishna Chariot Festival – Hyde Park

Effigy of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977) the founder of ISKCON (Hare Krishna)

More than a thousand Hare Krishna devotees turned up in Hyde Park on Sunday morning to pull three giant chariots through the streets of London to Trafalgar Square.

People pull the chariots with ropes and others sweep the path for it

The Rathayatra Chariots Festival first took place at the Jagannatha temple at Puri, Orissa on the east coast of India probably at least a thousand years ago. It celebrates the attempt by Krishna’s childhood friends who were cowherds to try and kidnap him after he became a great lord and take him back to their village on a cart.

There are three chariots to carry the three deities worshipped at Puri, e Krishna in the form of Jagannatha, his half-sister Subhadra, and Balarama her brother. Jagannath means ‘Master of the Universe’ and his name and the chariots in the festival give us the word “juggernaut”.

Subhadra’s representation on her chariot

Hare Krishna disciples celebrated the festival in San Francisco in 1967 and it was first celebrated by a small group here in 1969, but only became a large event in London much more recently. It is one of the more colourful annual events in the city. I left as the procession left Hyde Park.

More pictures: Hare Krishna Chariot Festival


Fathers Day Vigil for Custody Deaths – Brixton Police Station

Family members call for Justice for Ricky Bishop, Justice for Sean Rigg

It was Father’s Day and the families of men killed by by police held vigils on outside police stations across the country. At Brixton, the family of Ricky Bishop was joined by the sisters of Sean Rigg and friends.

The inquest into Sean Rigg’s death in Brixton Police Station in August 2008 had begun the previous week. Following his killing police issued an incredible number of false statements, lying to protect the officers involved and the IPCC backed them with further deliberately misleading statements.

Although the police failure to make investigations and properly question officers involved, along with the destruction of evidence made prosecutions of the officers involved impossible the inquest jury delivered a damning and substantial narrative verdict which included a majority view that the improper and unnecessary restraint of Sean Rigg ” more than minimally contributed” to his death.

Although later three officers were arrested for having committed perjury at the inquest the IPCC cleared one of them and the CPS decided to drop the two other cases. The family appealed and one officer was charged with perjury but was acquitted by a jury despite having admitted giving false evidence.

You can read a fuller account of the efforts by the family to get justice on Wikipedia. Although two inquiries have found a long list of failings by the police there have been no successful prosecutions of the officers involved.

Ricky Bishop was arrested by police in Brixton in November 2001 and taken to Brixton Police station. A healthy 25 year old he suffered a heart attack and was restrained by police who only later called for a paramedic. It took several hours for police to take him to hospital where he died.

None of the eight officers involved in this death have been suspended or prosecuted and they remained on active duty.

These were not the first or the last suspicious deaths involving Brixton Police station – and a woman came up during the event to tell us of her relative Colin Bardley who she said was beaten to death there around 30 years ago. And there are similar cases elsewhere. My post on My London Diary quoted from a report published by the Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody in 2011 which states ‘in total, there were 5,998 deaths recorded for the 11 years from 2000 to 2010. This is an average of 545 deaths per year. Despite the fact there have been 11 unlawful killing verdicts since 1990 there has never been a successful prosecution.

More about the event, on deaths in custody and more pictures at Fathers Day Vigil.


UN Anti-Racism Day – London

Saturday, March 19th, 2022

March 21st was established by the United Nations as a World Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on the sixth anniversary of police opening fire and killing 69 peaceful protesters at Sharpeville, South Africa on March 21, 1960. Protests in the UK for UN Anti Racism Day take place close to the date and there will be large national marches today, 19th March in London and Glasgow and tomorrow in Cardiff. Today’s post is about events in London on March 19th 2016.

UN Anti Racism Day - London

Stand Up to Racism – Refugees Welcome march

UN Anti Racism Day - London

Thousands met at the BBC to march through London to a rally in Trafalgar Square in an event organised by Stand Up to Racism against racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and fascism and to make it clear that refugees are welcome here.

UN Anti Racism Day - London
Lee Jasper and Zita Holbourne at the front of the Black Lives Matter bloc on the march

Prominent on the march were Black Lives Matter protesters, wearing red in support of the ‘Justice for Sarah Reed’ campaign, chanting loudly “Say Her Name, Sarah Reed” and “Black Lives Matter”. She had died aged 31 in Holloway prison where she was held waiting for psychiatric reports following an attack on her, possibly an attempted rape, by fellow patient in a psychiatric hospital for which she was arrested and charged with grievious bodily harm with intent.

An inquest decided she had killed herself when her mind was unsound, and that unacceptable delays in medical care contributed to her death. Clearly too the prison staff had failed in their duty of care. Four years earlier she had been falsely arrested for shoplifting and seriously assaulted by the arresting officer who was later convicted and dismissed from the Metropolitan police for the offence.

There were also a number of groups on the march working with refugees trapped in the camps in Calais and Dunkirk, and some of those had lines drawn across their lips to remember some of the refugees on hunger strike there who have sewn up their lips.

Although the deaths of many refugees drowned in crossing the Mediterranean have led to widespread sympathy among the British people, there has been no compassion shown by our government, who have increasingly been driven by racists and bigots who oppose Britain taking in any refugees and want to abandon the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the UK helped to draw up in 1947-8.

There were a small number of these bigots, members of the far-right group ‘Britain First’ in their para-military uniforms, who came to shout insults and make offensive gestures at the marchers as they went through Piccadilly Circus. A large ring of police kept them away from the marchers and protected them from any attack by anti-fascists.

Stand Up to Racism – Refugees Welcome march


Refugees Welcome Rally

Marcia Rigg, whose brother Sean was killed by police in Brixton in 2008

At the end of the march there was a rally in Trafalgar Square, with a long list of speakers. They included Vanessa Redgrave and Jeremy Hardy, MP Diane Abbott, MEPs Claude Moraes and Jean Lambert, journalist Journalist, writer Michael Rosen, leading trade unionists Dave Ward CWU, Christine Blower NUT, and Sally Hunt UCU, Marilyn Reed the mother of Sarah Reed, Stephanie Lightfoot-Bennett and Marcia Rigg, Maz Saleem daughter of the Mohammed Saleem who was killed in a racist attack, Talha Ahmad of the Muslim Council of Britain and a young refugee from Iraq.

Refugees Welcome Rally


Australians protest on UN Anti-Racism day

Australian human rights protesters were holding protests at embassies around the world, including the Australian High Commission in London to condemn the Australian government’s racist immigration policy and treatment of refugees.

Refugees who try to claim asylum in Australia are locked up and detained indefinitely in contradiction to international law on remote Pacific Islands including Manus and Nauru in detention camps run by Serco and will never be allowed to resettle in Australia. The Australian protesters were joined by some of those from Movement for Justice which has led protests against the UK immigration detention centres, including that at Yarl’s Wood, run like the Australian camps by Serco, where detainees, also held indefinitely, have been sexually abused and denied proper health treatment. At least one prisoner in the Australian camps has been beaten to death by the prison guards.

Australians protest on UN Anti-Racism day


DPAC’s ‘IDS Resignation Party’

Finally on 19th March I went to Parliament Square for another human rights related event, where Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) were celebrating the resignation of Iain Duncan Smith, one of the chief architects of the brutal Tory welfare policy that has caused them so much suffering, harm and deaths to disabled people.

Though they were pleased that IDS has gone, his policies remained, and his successor, Stephen Crabb, proved top be equally be bigoted and lacking compassion and any understanding of the needs of the poor and disabled.

DPAC’s ‘IDS Resignation Party’


More on all these events on My London Diary:
DPAC’s ‘IDS Resignation Party’
Australians protest on UN Anti-Racism day
Refugees Welcome Rally
Stand Up to Racism – Refugees Welcome march

31st October 2009

Saturday, October 31st, 2020
“My Son (Paul Calvert) went to prison to lose his liberty not his life!”

In 2009 the 31st October was also a Saturday, and a busy day for me in London, though today I’ll be staying home and only going to the UFFC annual memorial on-line event which starts at 1pm. In 2009, the UFFC had also decided not to march, but groups from some of the families of those killed by police had come with their banners to protest opposite Downing St.

Earlier I’d photographed a mass protest ride by motorcyclists, angry at Westminster Council’s imposition just over a year earlier of parking charges for motorbikes as an ‘experimental measure’ which has become permanent as a good money-earner for the council. It did seem ridiculous that bikers were being charged more for an annual permit than owners of small cars when 8 motorbikes can be parked in one car space. Although still contributing to pollution in the city, motorbikes take up considerably less road space too, their use reducting congestion which is a major factor in producing the lethal levels of air pollution that result in almost 10,000 premature deaths in London as a whole.

 I’d gone on the photograph two groups protesting against the planned ‘March for Sharia’ by Anjem Choudary’s Islam4UK (a 2009 rebrand and relaunch of the radical Islamic group Al Muhajiroun, disbanded in 2004 to avoid proscription). Choudary, widely believed to have been cultivated by the UK security forces, probably never actually intended the group to march but announced as a provocation, always intended as a ‘no show’. He issued a statement around the time it was due to begin that the organisers had cancelled the march because of security concerns.

The two groups had gathered around the statue of Eros at Piccadilly Circus, although the information I’d heard from Islam4UK was that they would march from Parliament Square to Trafalgar Square via Downing St, around 600 yards away from the counter-protesters. There was certainly a lot of misinformation around before the event, and both Muslims4UK and The Islamic Society of Britain had called off plans for a counter-demo, possibly anticipating there was not to be a march. The larger group of protesters were supporters of British Muslims for Secular Democracy.

Also present were a number supporters of extreme right anti-Islamic groups including the English Democrats, March For England and a few from the EDL. Later I found that more of the EDL were wandering around the Parliament Square area where the March4Shariah had been planned to start.

As I walked down from Piccadilly Circus towards Downing St and went through Trafalgar Square I met several angels, and accepted the offer of a hug, something we are currently rather short of, from one of the Angels of Love, Compassion, Wisdom, Patience, Courage, Happines or Harmony who gave me a picture of an angel on the reverse of which was written “I purify my mind by affirming my worth and honouring my choices for love.” I thanked her but refused the offer of a rose as I needed my hands for my cameras.

After talking with the ‘United Friends and Families‘ of those who have died in suspicious circumstances in police custody, prison and ‘secure’ mental health facilities who were protesting at Downing St, I continued down to Parliament Square, where I met with other photographers and journalists who had been waiting for the March4Shariah to begin. None of those from Islam4UK had turned up and I went home.

United Families and Friends
Be With an Angel
Moderates gainst March4Sharia
Right Wing against March4Sharia
Protest Ride at Bike Parking Charge


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.


No More Police Killings

Tuesday, October 27th, 2020

Sadly since this march on Saturday 27 Oct 2012 there have been more deaths in custody in police stations, prison and secure mental health institutions – and there has been little or no progress in getting justice.

The march was the fourteenth annual protest march in Whitehall by the United Families & Friends Campaign (UFFC), a coalition of people whose family members and friends have died while in the care of police, prisons and in psychiatric detention, and I’ve supported and photographed most of them. This years event, as always on the last Saturday of October like so many others, is taking place on-line starting at at 1:00pm on Saturday 31st October 2020 – more details here.

The march was impressive, making its way in silence at a snails pace down Whitehall, with police standing well back. When it came opposite Downing St there was an explosion of noise before they blocked the road to hold a rally at which various people spoke about the killing of their family members and the denial of justice. Singly many of the stories were horrific, but together they told a terrible story of police killing by illegal restraints, of failures of care as well as deliberate beating up in cells, and of the complete immunity provided by police lies, failures to investigate, destruction of evidence and a complaints system that aims to cover up police crimes.

Marcia Rigg who has been fighting to find out about her brother’s murder in Brixton Police Station in 2008 holds a list of over 3000 people who have died in custody since 1969
Sarah Campbell’s mother gave her life to campaigning for the Howard League for Penal Reform before committing suicide five years later on her daughter’s grave.
Demetre Fraser’s mother tells the truly unbelievable story police made up about her son”s death
Samantha Paterson, sister of Jason McPherson who died after being detained by police
Janet Alder speaks about the death of her brother Christopher, killed by police in Hull in 1992

I took many more pictures of the event, and you can see more of them on My London Diary in No More Police Killings, Time For Justice.


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.