Posts Tagged ‘cuts’

Nakba, NHS, Guantánamo, Sri Lanka – 2013

Saturday, May 18th, 2024

Nakba, NHS, Guantánamo, Sri Lanka: On Saturday 18th May 2013 I began work outside Parliament at a protest against Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, then went across the Thames to the Festival Hall for the start of a march to defend the NHS before going the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square for a ‘murder scene’ in solidarity with hunger strikers at Guantánamo. There I also photographed a woman protesting for the release of her husband arrested 9 years ago by US forces in Iraq. Finally I met a march by several thousands of Tamils calling for and end to the continuing genocide in Sri Lanka. You will find much more detail (and many more pictures) on each of these protests at links below to My London Diary.


End Israeli Ethnic Cleansing – Old Palace Yard, Westminster

Nakba, NHS, Guantánamo, Sri Lanka

65 years after 700,000 Palestinians were driven out of their homes as refugees in the ‘Nakba’ (catastrophe) when Israel was created, Palestinians call for an end to the continuing ethnic cleansing and a boycott and sanctions until Israel complies with international law.

Nakba, NHS, Guantánamo, Sri Lanka

Several hundred people came to the protest, including a group of extreme orthodox Neturei Karta Jews who see themselves as guardians of the true Jewish faith, and reject Zionism, as well as many of Jewish or Palestinian origin. As well as the Palestine Solidarity Campaign the protest was also supported by many other groups – a long list on My London Diary – and speeches were continuing when I left for another event.

Nakba, NHS, Guantánamo, Sri Lanka

More about the Nakba and the protest at End Israeli Ethnic Cleansing.


London Marches to Defend NHS – South Bank to Whitehall

Nakba, NHS, Guantánamo, Sri Lanka

Thousands had gathered by the Festival Hall to march against cuts, closures and privatisation of the NHS, including many groups opposed to hospital closures around London, trade unionists and others concerned the the government is ending the NHS.

An unprecedented coalition of Londoners, including medical staff, trade unions, health campaigners, patients and others have been alarmed at what they see as an attack by the government on the principles that underlie our National Health Service and the threats of closure of Accident and Emergency facilities, maternity units and hospital wards which seem certain to lead to our health system being unable to cope with demand – and many lives put at risk.

You can read more about the crisis in the NHS in 2013 in the post on My London Diary, but of course this has continued and is still making the news. Despite their protestations it seems clear that the Tories are trying hard to run down the NHS so that the population lose its trust and love for our universal free public – and would allow them to eventually replace it with US-style insurance based healthcare which would greatly increase costs and generate huge profits for private health companies.

I went with the march across Waterloo Bridge and down Strand to Charing Cross, leaving it as it was waiting to enter Whitehall for a rally there.

More information and pictures at London Marches to Defend NHS.


Guantánamo Murder Scene – US Embassy, Grosvenor Square

London Guantánamo Campaign staged a ‘murder scene’ at the US Embassy on the 101st day of the Guantánamo Hunger Strike in which over 100 of the 166 still held there are taking part, with many including Shaker Aamer now being forcibly fed.

As I arrived there were 8 black-hooded ‘prisoners’ in orange suits lying on the pavement, the number of prisoners who have died there in suspicious circumstances who had previously taken part in sustained hunger strikes. At least seven of them had the cause of death reported as ‘suicide’.

Other protesters drew lines around the bodies on the ground and surrounded the area with ‘Crime Scene – Do Not Enter‘ incident tape. The bodies then stood up and there was a short enactment of forced feeding by a man wearing an Obama mask.

Others held placards and posters, some including quotations from Thomas Jefferson and other historic and prominent Americans, and there were speeches about the events in Guantanamo, where British resident Shaker Aamer was still held despite having been cleared for release. You can read more, including a statement by one of the organisers, on My London Diary.

As I left some of the poems written in Guantánamo by Shaker Aamer were being read.

More at Guantánamo Murder Scene.


More US Embassy Protests – US Embassy, Grosvenor Square

Also protesting outside the embassy as she has for a number of weekends was Narmeen Saleh Al Rubaye, born in the US and currently living in Birmingham, whose husband Shawki Ahmed Omar, an American citizen, was arrested in Iraq by American forces in 2004 and turned over to Iraqi custody in 2011. He was tortured by the Americans when held by them, and his now being tortured by the Iraqis. He is also on hunger strike. His young daughter Zeinab came and spoke briefly to the Guantanamo protesters, telling them that she wanted her daddy to be released.

Later she was joined by a small group of Muslim men and boys who stood with her.

It was a busy day for protests at at the US Embassy were a small group of supporters of Syrian President Assad, including some from the minor Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) who had come to protest against western intervention in Syria.

More about these protests at More US Embassy Protests.


Tamils protest Sri Lankan Genocide – Hyde Park to Waterloo Place

Finally I rushed away to join thousands of British Tamils and dignitaries and politicians from India, Sri Lanka and the UK who were marching through London on the 4th anniversary of the Mullivaikkal Massacre. Many were dressed in black in memory of the continuing genocide in Sri Lanka and some wore the tiger emblem and called for a Tamil homeland – Tamil Eelam.

Tamils are disgusted at the lack of response by the UK, the Commonwealth and the world to the organised genocide that took place and is still continuing in Sri Lanka, of which the massacre at Mullivaikkal four years ago was a climax. I noted on My London Diary that I could see no other non-Tamil photographers covering the event.

On My London Diary you can read a statement by the British Tamil Forum who had organised the march. I left as the rally in Waterloo Place was about to start, partly because I was tired but also because I thought few of the speeches would be in English.

Tamils protest Sri Lankan Genocide.


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.


Police, Public Sector & Peace Campaign – 2012

Friday, May 10th, 2024

Police, Public Sector & Peace Campaign – Thursday 10th May 2012 saw two rather different marches by workers taking place in London, with a large protest by police and a day of public sector strikes with trade unionists marching to a rally. I also visited the Parliament Square Peace Campaign.


Police March Against Cuts and Winsor

Police, Public Sector & Peace Campaign

An estimated 20,000 police from all 43 forces in England & Wales marched through central London in protest at 20% cuts in police budget and proposed restructuring following the Winsor review. Other groups including Occupy and Right To Protest and others joined in call for justice in the policing of protest.

Police, Public Sector & Peace Campaign

Police are not allowed to strike or belong to a proper trade union but can join the Police Federation, a staff association that can represent and support their interests. Although it cannot call for strike action it can organise demonstrations such as this one, attended by off-duty police and some family members.

Police, Public Sector & Peace Campaign

It was an impressively large march, but rather dull as it marched past the Home Office, the Houses of Parliament and Downing St, most wearing black caps. The Police Federation had provided 16,000 black caps to represent the number of warranted officers expected to be lost over the next four years due to the cut in the police budget of 20-30%.

Police, Public Sector & Peace Campaign

My pictures concentrate too much on the relatively few officers from some areas who had come with placards. Most simply marched and mainly in silence. A few carried carried small posters with the names of officers who had been unable to attend due to being at work – and there were some police who were policing the police protest, on rather better behaviour than at some other protests.

Some people also came to protest against the police, with the Space Hijackers setting up a ‘professional protest stall‘ at the side of the march offering advice on making placards and chanting. Most of the police marchers were amused by their chants such as ‘One Solution – Institution’ and some of the mock placards, although there were a few jeers.

Those Police policing the protest were less amused, and threatened the Space Hijackers with arrest unless they removed one of their placards with the well-known acronym ACAB. They also stood in front to try and hide them and other protesters including those with a ‘Defend the Right to Protest’ who were shouting slogans against police violence and over deaths in custody for which there is seldom if any justice.

Some from Occupy London had come with plastic police helmets to join in the march, saying they were not against the police but called for a force that worked for the 99% rather than the 1%, or as one long-winded placard put it, “A fully, Publicly funded, democratically accountable Police force who’s aims and objectives enshrine the right to peaceful Protest in some sort of People’s Charter!”

Others taking part on the march included Ian Puddick who got intimidated, attacked and prosecuted by City of London Terrorism Police and Counter Terrorism Directorate in an operation costing millions carried out on behalf of a giant US security corporation after he discovered his wife had been having an affair with one of her bosses. He marched with a sign ‘Police Corruption‘ and unfortunately there is still a great deal of that as well as racism in forces around the country.

More on My London Diary at Police March Against Cuts and Winsor.


Public Sector Pensions Strike and March

Unite, PCS and UCU were holding a one day strike against public sector cuts in pensions, jobs and services. Many had been up in the early hours picketing at their workplaces long before I arrived in London, but there were still pickets in place when I visited Tate Britain and walked past the House of Commons on my way to a rally outside St Thomas’ Hospital on the opposite bank of the Thames.

I arrived late for the rally there and people were just getting ready to march to a larger rally at Methodist Central Hall.

Workers are incensed by increases in their pension contributions and plans to increase them further. They are also worried by the increasing state retirement age which also applies to their pensions. Now in 2024 it is 66 and will increase to 67 between 2026 and 2028. A further rise to 68 is planned and the date for that is likely to be brought forward – as the rise to 67 was.

As they marched, people were chanting “Sixty-eight – is TOO Late“. Pensioners also feel they are being cheated by the government’s decision to index them to the CPI inflation rather than the higher RPI inflation figures, which will mean them receiving some 15-20% less. Over 94% of Unite’s NHS members voted to reject the government’s proposals and take strike action today along with members from the Ministry of Defence and government departments as well as others from the PCS and UCU.

I left the marchers as they went into the rally at Central Hall and returned to photograph the police march and visit the peace camp in Parliament Square.

More pictures at Public Sector Pensions Strike and March.


4000 Days in Parliament Square

I went to talk with Barbara Tucker who was continuing the Parliament Square Peace Campaign begun by Brian Haw on the 2nd June 2001. The protest, continued by her and other supporters was about to reach a total of 4000 days of 24 hour protest in the square, with others in the group maintaining the presence on those various occasions when Brian or Barbara was arrested and held overnight.

They had then continued for almost 11 years despite constant harassment years by police, who have been pressured by politicians – as well as passing two Acts of Parliament intended to end the protest.

As I wrote in 2012:

A few hours before I arrived, police had come and spent 90 minutes “searching” the few square meters of their display in the early morning, and three days later, at 2.30am on Sunday 13 May, police and Westminster Council came and took away the two blankets that Barbara Tucker, no longer allowed to have any “structure designed solely or mainly to sleep in” by law was using to survive in the open. This was apparently one of two visits over the weekend by police and council in which they illegally removed property from the site.

4000 Days in Parliament Square.

Despite an increase in harassment as a great attempt was made to clean up the capital for the Olympics, the peace protest continued in the square for another year, with Barbara Tucker starting a hunger strike in January 2013. Eventually she became too ill to continue and the protest came to an end in May 2013.


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.


Brighton MayDay Protest & Party – 2011

Tuesday, April 30th, 2024

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

Brighton MayDay Protest & Party

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

Brighton MayDay Protest & Party

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

Brighton MayDay Protest & Party

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

Brighton MayDay Protest & Party

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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.


Against Worldwide Government Corruption – Free Asange – 2014

Friday, March 1st, 2024

Against Worldwide Government Corruption – Saturday 1st March 2014, ten years ago, saw a small but lively protest “organised, attended and led by people who are appalled at the present state of the UK and the world, and who are convinced that a better world is possible if we got rid of the greedy and corrupt who currently are in change – the party politicians and their governments, the bankers and the corporations, the warmongers and the spies.

Against Worldwide Government Corruption

Of course the world is dominated by the rich and powerful and the organisations they have set up and the laws they have established to maintain there domination, though these at least in some places also offer some protection for the poor and powerless. But I don’t really believe that protests like this offer any real hope of changing the situation.

Against Worldwide Government Corruption

But they perhaps do show us that another world is possible one with “justice and a fairer society, one that doesn’t oppress the poor and disabled, that doesn’t spy on everyone and doesn’t use the media and the whole cultural apparatus as a way of keeping blind to what is really happening.

Against Worldwide Government Corruption

It’s the kind of spirit that led to the emergence of the Labour Party and inspired many of its leaders even into my youth – and was in part rekindled by the rise of Jeremy Corbyn, propelled into the leadership of the Labour Party in 2015 by huge support from the ordinary membership. But Labour had long lost its way, its organisation and many MPs sponsored and supported by companies and wealthy individuals inherently opposed to its ideals and dedicated to the maintenance of the status quo.

Against Worldwide Government Corruption

The protest was a wide-ranging one, and on My London Diary I quoted at some length from the speech before the march by one of the organisers, Mitch Antony of Aspire Worldwide (Accountable System Project for International Redevelopment and Evolution.)
At the end of it he gave a long list of things the march was against:

We march against Global Government Corruption
We march against ideological austerity
We march against privatisation for profit
We march against the bedroom tax
We march against bankers bonuses
We march against the corrupt MPs
We march against state spying on the people
We march against state controlled media
We march against government misrepresentation
We march against warmongering
We march against global tyranny
We march against state sponsored terrorism
We march against the military industrial complex
We march against the militarisation of the police
We march against the suppression of alternative energies

Against Worldwide Government Corruption

The march got off to a poor start, as the advertised meeting point in Trafalgar Square was closed to the public that day, being got ready for a commercial event the following day. Not everybody who came found the new location – and there were aggrieved posts on Facebook from some who failed, though I think they cannot have tried very hard.

Police often find reasons to delay the start of marches, but these protesters were definitely not taking advice from them and set off on the dot at 2pm to march west to the Ecuadorian Embassy where Julian Assange was still confined despite being given political asylum.

On the way the several hundred marchers caused no problems and aroused some interest among those on the streets, mainly tourists. A misguided attempt by officers to stop the march on Piccadilly led to a sit down and was soon abandoned.

When they came to Harvey Nicholls in Knightsbridge some joined in the protest against the store by the Campaign Against the Fur Trade for a few minutes, and a crowd gathered around the main door shouting at this company that still deals in fur and fur-trimmed garments.

But soon people moved on to the Ecuadorian Embassy where Assange was still trapped. Police filled the steps to the building, guarding the door and stopping anyone from entering.

There were far too many people to fit inside the small penned area for protesters on the pavement opposite the Embassy. The protest here in support of of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden and other whistle blowers and over the continued refusal to grant Assange safe passage to Ecuador, continued for around an hour. Many of the protesters then saw the refusal as a personal vendetta against him by then home secretary Theresa May, but it is driven by a continual British failure to stand up to the USA.

Since then we have seen the continued persecution of Assange by successive Tory governments and his arrest and incarceration in the maximum security Belmarsh prison after a changed Ecuadorian government withdrew its protection. Attempts to extradite him to the US where he could be executed or given a 170 year prison sentence are continuing, and it seems likely he will die in prison either here or in the US for publishing material that made clear to the world the war crimes being committed by the US.

At the end of their protest in front of the Ecuadorian Embassy (it occupies only a few rooms on an upper floor of the building) marchers were leaving to go back to Westminster for another rally in Parliament Square, but I’d had enough and took the tube to make my way home.

More about the protest and many more pictures on My London Diary: Against Worldwide Government Corruption.


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.


Shaker, Job Centres, Firefighters, Tube, Lambeth

Sunday, February 25th, 2024

Shaker, Job Centres, Firefighters, Tube, Lambeth – On Wednesday 25th February I photographed a number of protests in London, starting in Westminster with the Free Shaker Aamer campaign, striking firefighters and welfare rights activists, then with tube workers at Edgware Road and finally outside Lambeth Town Hall in Brixton.


Free Shaker Aamer – Parliament Square

Shaker, Job Centres, Firefighters, Tube, Lambeth

A protest opposite Parliament called for the urgent release of London resident Shaker Aamer from Guantanamo, where he has been held and regularly abused for 13 years without charge or trial.

Shaker, Job Centres, Firefighters, Tube, Lambeth

The Free Shaker Aamer Campaign had been holding weekly protests opposite Parliament whenever it was in session to remind government of the need for act over his release. He had long been cleared for release but was still held in the illegal prison camp with both US and UK governments dragging their feet as his testimony would be embarrassing to their security agencies, making clear their involvement in torture.

Shaker, Job Centres, Firefighters, Tube, Lambeth

The protest was longer than usual as an international event was taking place at the nearby QEII centre and they wanted to remind delegates there of Shaker’s torture and imprisonment. Eventually the long campaign of protests by this and other groups led the UK government they needed to back his release in practice and he was finally released on 30th October 2015.

More pictures: Free Shaker Aamer at Parliament


Striking Firefighters block traffic – Westminster

Shaker, Job Centres, Firefighters, Tube, Lambeth

Firefighters in England held a 24 hour strike on 25th Feb 2015 against the unworkable pension scheme the government intended to implement. They say that the devolved governments had recognised the problems in the scheme and made improvements but in England government ministers were refusing to talk with the union, simply ignoring requests for meetings. They accused the government of lies about the union, saying they were being labelled as militants despite them being ready and willing to enter into negotiations at any time.

After a rally in Westminster Central Hall, several thousand striking firefighters protested on the street outside Parliament before marching to Downing St. Their protest brought all traffic in the area to a standstill until they marched away.

They stopped outside Downing Street and refused to move, saying they would wait there until someone came out to talk to them. A senior police officer come to talk with Matt Wrack and the other FBU leaders there and was extrememly politie, taking Wrack’s mobile number before going away to see if anyone could be persuaded to come out from Downing St to meet the protesters.

I left them leaning on the barriers and looking into Downing Street waiting for someone to come and see them, though I doubted if anyone would ever emerge.

The Fire Service has also suffered like other public services from government cuts; in London these led to Mayor Boris Johnson making dangerous reductions, closing some fire stations and reducing equipment and staffing, which left the London Fire Brigade ill-equipped to deal with major disasters such as the Grenfell fire.

The FBU union later won a number of legal cases against the government over the changes that were made to the pensions scheme, leading to significant compensation for some members.

More at Striking Firefighters block traffic.


Welfare Advocacy not a Crime – DWP, Westminster

Welfare activists protested outside the Dept of Work & Pensions in Caxton Street as a part of the national day of action over the arrest of welfare rights activist Tony Cox. He had been arrested when he tried to accompany a vulnerable claimant to her job centre interview to argue for a fairer claimant agreement.

As well as several banners, one man was gagged in protest. By law claimants are allowed to have and adviser present with them at the interview, but when a claimant turned up with Cox, his interview was cancelled.

Cox and the claimant then left the job centre, but later in the day police arrived at his him and arrested him, charging him with threatening behaviour.

Welfare Advocacy not a Crime.


RMT protest Underground Job Cuts – Edgware Road Station (Bakerloo)

Around 20 RMT members handed out fliers at the busy Edgware Road Bakerloo Line station against the proposed 50% cut in station staffing and the closure of the ticket offices which they say will endanger the safety of both passengers and staff.

They got a very positive reception from many of the public going in and out of the station or walking past, although a PCSO came to harass and try to stop their picketing. Most of the public seemed to realise that staff do far more than sell tickets and offer service and protection to the travelling public.

Many promises were made to Underground staff and the public about how they would be protected when cuts were made, but most were later broken.

RMT protest Underground Job Cuts


Lambeth against £90m cuts – Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton

After taking some photographs of the protesting RMT staff I got on the Underground there, changing at Oxford Circus to take me to the end of the Victoria Line at Brixton.

There I walked down to Lambeth Town Hall on the corner of Acre Land to join around a hundred trade unionists, pensioners, library and other council staff, social housing tenants and other residents who were gathering for a lively rally outside Lambeth Town Hall.

A lively rally took place urging councillors who were arriving for the council meeting to reject library closures and other £90 millon cuts which were being passed there by the large Labour majority on the council. Labour then held 59 of the 63 council seats. Among the speakers at the rally was the only Green Party councillor, Scott Ainslie, who was to vote against the cuts. The Green Party gained four more seats in the 2018 council elections but lost three of these in 2022. Right-wing Labour councillors still have an overwheming majority and the council continues its policies which fail the community.

Lambeth’s finances were stretched by the development of a new Town Hall or Civic Centre the cost of which roughly doubled from the original contract of £55 million ot £104 million. Policies such as the closure of libraries and the demolition and sale of popular and well-built council estates like Cressingham Gardens had already produced a great deal of protest in the borough.

The £90 million cuts passed at the council meeting later that evening have had a disproportionate impact on children, old people and the disabled who always rely on local services more than the average person. Council employees at the rally opposed the cuts not only because they feared for their own jobs, but because they knew those that remain in post will not be able to offer the public the same quality of service that they do at present.

Lambeth against £90m cuts


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.


Peckham & Stockwell Protests – 2017

Sunday, January 21st, 2024

Peckham & Stockwell Protests – on Saturday 21st January 2017 I spent the day in South London, photographing protests in Peckham and Stockwell.


Peckham welcomes march against deportations

Peckham & Stockwell Protests - 2017

Immigration raids in south London had target long-established African, Asian and Caribbean communities, dividing families, deporting people who have built lives in the UK with parents, partners and children here. Protesters compared the deportation flights which followed with slave ships, with deportees shackled with a guard on each side in a cruel and divisive act of racist discrimination.

Peckham & Stockwell Protests - 2017

The Home Office had carried out many of these forced deportations unlawfully, and the High Court had decided that their use of the ‘detained fast track’ procedure from 2005-2014 was unlawful and went beyond their legal powers. Had we as individuals had acted illegally for so long and so persistently there would be little doubt that we would now be in prison.

Peckham & Stockwell Protests - 2017

But the government gets away scot-free. The 10,000 or so asylum seekers deported under the old system could in theory ask for the decision made on their cases to be set aside and lodge a new appeal, although very few are likely to be in a position to do so.

Peckham & Stockwell Protests - 2017

The protest was organised by Movement for Justice, but supported by many other groups including including SOAS Detainee Support (SDS), Anti Raids Network, Zimbabwe Human Rights Organization Mazimbabweans, Jewdas, BLMUK, London Mexico Solidarity, Fight Racism – Fight Imperialism (FRFI), Sisters Uncut – South East London and Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants.

After a short rally the protests marched down Rye Lane, the main shopping street in Peckham, attracting a great deal of support from shoppers on the crowded street.

Some went into shops and handed out leaflets there and on the street. They held a short rally at the south end of the street before returning for another in the square by Peckham Library.

Peckham march against deportations


Oh! Mother march against knife crime – Peckham

Another protest march was taking place in Peckham during the afternoon. Oh! Mother, A Christian organisation based in South London which campaigns for change in communities was protesting to put an end to gun and knife crime.

Their march followed the stabbing to death in Peckham on 30th December 2016 of 24 year old Ernest Kalawa. Among the marchers were members of the dead man’s family, some of whom wore t-shirts commemorating him.

Oh! Mother march against knife crime


March against closing community centres – Stockwell

Members of Lambeth Labour were meeting in Stockwell to march to Stockwell Community Centre, one of two local community centres in Stockwell and Kennington Park which are run by Hyde Housing Association which were threatened with closure.

Lambeth Council is spending £50 million on a new town hall and had pledged £20 million to support the vanity Garden Bridge project, but the Labour-run council had made drastic cuts in community services, including library closures and selling off council estates to developers but has refused to support these community centres.

Lambeth Labour Council is one of a number of London Labour councils dominated by right-wing members who appear to have lost any sense that councils exist for the benefit of their residents rather than of the councillors.

Lambeth appear to follow in the footsteps of neighbouring Southwark, here journalist Anna Minton found that “20 per cent of Southwark’s 63 councillors work as lobbyists” for developers in the planning industry and that a significant number of Councillors and Council officers are making use of a ‘well-oiled revolving door’ to the industry.

March against closing community centres



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.


Students Against Cuts And Fees – 2010

Saturday, December 9th, 2023

Students Against Cuts And Fees – Thursday 9th December was a day of confusion on the streets of London with confusing and inconsistent policing and thousands of angry students.

Students Against Cuts And Fees

Parliament was debating a three-fold increase in university tuition fees and students filled the main streets of Whitehall in a noisy and at times indisciplined protest. Police actions stirred up antagonism, and there were a number of charges in which protesters and press suffered minor injuries as riot police used their batons and police horses also made a short charge into the crowd.

Students Against Cuts And Fees

Some of the other press photographers covering the event were clearly targeted by individual ‘rogue’ police officers who deliberately smashed their equipment, apparently fearing their pictures might show them engaging in brutal attacks on some of the protesters. Fortunately I was a few hundred yards away covering the official rally on the Embankment when the worst violence flared up around Parliament.

Students Against Cuts And Fees

Although the students were rightly angry at the increase in fees, the removal of the education maintenance allowance and swingeing cuts in some courses, particularly in the arts and humanities which are to lose 80% of their funding, the overall mood of the protest was good-natured if exuberant.

Students Against Cuts And Fees

Later in the day when a few fireworks were thrown into the police lines in front of the Houses of Parliament the crowd dancing in front of the police turned towards those who had thrown them and chanted against them, using the sound system to tell them that the police were only doing their job and that police too were suffering from the government cuts.

On My London Diary you can read my fairly lengthy account of the march as I saw it, including my impression that “that both police and some of the protesters were clearly guilty of over-reacting“. I won’t repeat most of that here, but one paragraph of my own experiences close to Parliament stands out:

I spent a few minutes trying to take pictures and getting very squashed before deciding I needed to push my way out for my own safety, both from the police and from being crushed in the crowd. A few minutes earlier I had been in the front line and being crushed by the crowd against the barriers in front of the riot police, and I and the others around me were repeatedly threatened by riot police shaking batons at us and telling us they would attack us if we didn’t move back – which was simply not possible – we were totally unable to move due to the pressure of the crowd.

Students Against Cuts – Day 3

I made my way down to the area of the Embankment were the end of march rally was supposed to take place, but few people had arrived there and it had not started. After much angry shouting at the organisers to stop playing music and start the speeches it did begin with speeches from union leaders – including Brendan Barber and Bob Crow, who got a big welcome – and politicians.

But the rally was then interrupted by someone shouting that police had attacked the demonstrators in Parliament Square, charging with police horses, and I joined a number of others in trying to make my way there. Most were stopped by police at Bridge Street, but some of us with press cards were allowed through, while the others formed another protest on Westminster Bridge.

Things were very confused in Parliament Square, but many protesters were still kettled there, keeping themselves warm by dancing, some around small fires of burning placards. And a plastic security hut was set on fire. Many by now were wanting to go home, but all the exits were blocked by police.

Police told some they could leave by going up Parliament Street and Whitehall, and I went with them, only to find the way blocked by a line of police with riot shields who were not at all interested in my press card (one TV camera crew did manage to push their way past.) Behind them were a line of police horses, and we were all pushed back towards Parliament Square.

I tried to go from Parliament Street back to Parliament Square, but a line of riot police refused to let me through, telling me to go to see their boss when I showed my press card. I did and listened to him arguing with a group of students that they were not being detained although they were not being allowed to leave. It make absolutely no sense, and is something the police often say which undermines the relationship between people and police that is essential for the cooperation that the police need to do their job. This event was clearly a huge own goal for policing.

I didn’t bother to stop and argue as I saw that a few yards to the right, in an area presumably under the control of another officer, people were walking freely through – so I joined them and made my way back to Parliament Square, turning into Bridge Street. Another police line was stopping the protesters exiting but let me through without problems when I showed my press card and told them I was on my way home.

The protesters, most of whom also wanted now only to go home peacefully were less fortunate and were detained for another four or more hours, and there were violent incidents and arrests. “Police at one point apparently pushed a large group into a very confined space on Westminster Bridge with a total disregard for their safety; some had to behave medical treatment for crushing, and there could easily have been more serious or fatal injuries and people pushed into the freezing river below.”

My conclusion to my article on the day was “It was a day of confusion, with protesters and police both failing to understand what was happening, and an official student leadership that fails to understand the mood and anger of the students and others – and although the RMT and Bill Crow had offered support, the TUC has curiously failed to take action, putting off its march against the cuts until March.

More on My London Diary at Students Against Cuts – Day 3.


TUC Pensions March & Corporate Greed – 2011

Thursday, November 30th, 2023

TUC Pensions March & Corporate Greed – On Wednesday 30th November 2011 public sector workers across the country held a one-day strike against government plans to cut public service pensions with pickets at thousands of workplaces and rallies and marches in towns and cities across the country as well as a South East TUC organised march in Central London which I photographed. Later in the afternoon I went with Occupy London protesters who occupied the offices of the highest paid CEO in the UK to protest against corporate greed.


TUC Nov 30 March – Lincolns Inn Fields to Westminster

TUC Pensions March & Corporate Greed

It’s always hard to estimate the numbers on very large marches such as this one but it was very large and when I arrived at Lincoln’s Inn Fields the large space already seemed pretty crowded an hour before the march was due to start. Many people gave up trying to get in waited to join the march on Kingsway.

TUC Pensions March & Corporate Greed

At the front of the march were Frances O’Grady, Deputy General Secretary of the TUC, NASUWT president John Rimmer (below) and other trade unionists. Many other groups had come with banners.

TUC Pensions March & Corporate Greed

There were many placards suggesting ways to avoid the cuts, including by taxing the mega-rich and cutting the pointless and wasteful expenditure on Trident rather than job’s health and education.

TUC Pensions March & Corporate Greed
Peter Tatchell

Some of the students on the march felt it was going to slow and began to march in front of the main banner.

Police stopped them and held up the whole of the march at Aldwych but then didn’t seem to know what to do. Eventually they just let things go ahead.

I took a lot of pictures of the Education Activist Network who were the liveliest part of the protest but there were plenty of others to photograph too with many interesting hand-made posters.

I stopped for quite a while to photograph marchers as they went past.

and they were still coming in large numbers an hour after the front of the march had passed me.

I was still on the Embankment with marchers when the rally had begun closer to Parliament and people were still rolling in. I think there were probably between 20 and 30,000 taking part, but it was hard to know and I think many who had been on picket lines early in the morning had left before the rally began. I left too to meet with people from Occupy London.

More pictures on My London Diary at TUC Nov 30 March.


Occupy London Expose Corporate Greed – Piccadilly Circus & Panton House

Occupy London had called people to meet at Piccadilly Circus at 3pm but had not indicated what would be happening next. I arrived to find around a hundred protesters there along with quite a few Greek football supporters and a large number of police standing around watching them.

We stood in the intermittent rain for around half an hour waiting for something to happen. At 3.30pm around 30 people rushed across the road to stand outside a branch of Boots with the ‘Precarious Workers Brigade’ banner, but made no attempt to enter the store which quickly lowered its metal shutters.

Police rushed across the street to surround them, but soon became clear that this had merely been a diversion, as others close to Eros unfolded their long main ‘All Power to the 99%’ banner and rushed down Haymarket with it catching the police by surprise and leaving them behind.

I was running ahead of them, taking pictures over my shoulder and managing to keep ahead, but the police were well behind as we reached Panton St.

Here the protesters set off a bright orange flare, turned down Panton Street and rushed into Panton House. I followed the group with the main banner inside, but stupidly stopped in the foyer to take pictures through the glass frontage of the flares outside.

I was a little behind as the protesters ran up the stairs and rather out of breath after running along the street. By the time I reached the third or fourth landing I had decided to give up and pressed the button for a lift. Police arrived just as the lift came and one officer grabbed me stopping me from getting in.

Police told us all to go downstairs, but around 20 of the protesters and a few press had reached the roof. I made my way down, though it was difficult as more police rushing up pushed those of us going down out of the way.

The police had now surrounded the entrance, preventing any more people entering, but were allowing us to go out. I was pleased to get out because the air inside had been thick with the orange smoke and I had been choking slightly, Smoke flares aren’t intended for indoor use.

A little back on Haymarket by the side of the building protesters outside were taking part in a mike chat group chant to inform passers-by what was going on. From this I learnt that Panton House contains the London offices of the mining company Xstrata, whose CEO Mick Davies they say is the highest paid CEO in the UK, and “is a prime example of the greedy 1% lining their own pockets while denying workers pensions.”

Police began to surround them and I quickly moved away as they kettled the protesters, and also to get a better view of what was happening on the roof. TI had missed seeing the ‘All Power to the 99%’ banner being let down over Haymarket earlier but saw them trying to do so again but being dragged away from the edge. More police vans were now arriving and I decided there would be little else I could see and left.

More at Occupy London Expose Corporate Greed.


Sparks And Students – 2011

Thursday, November 9th, 2023

Sparks And Students – On Wednesday 9th November there were protests by electricians in Southwark and police shut down most of central London to harass students as they marched to the Moorgate building of London Metropolitan University.


Sparks At The Shard – London Bridge

Sparks And Students

Around a thousand electricians – ‘sparks ‘ – marched to a protest rally at the building site for the Shard in a protest led by Unite against plans by 7 major employers to tear up national agreements and impose worse conditions and pay cuts of at least 26 %.

Sparks And Students

In 1968 major employers and the trade union had come together to set up the Electrotechnical Joint Industry Board (JIB) to set standards for the electrical industry and to provide a means of resolving the frequent disputes which were then taking place by bringing together both sides in committees with equal representation. JIB has also developed to set the standards for employment, welfare, grading and apprentice training in the electrical contracting industry.

Sparks And Students

In May 2011 seven major companies – Bailey Building Services, Balfour Beatty, Tommy Clarke, Crown House Technologies, Gratte Brothers, SES and SPIE Matthew Hall – announced that they would withdraw from the JIB pay and conditions deal and impose their own agreement known as BESNA (Building and Engineering Services National Agreement) which would enable them to replace skilled workers by those on lower grades.

Sparks And Students

Unite targeted Balfour Beatty for action as the largest company and ring-leader in the employers group and at the rally Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey announced that the union had given notice today of a strike ballot for its members employed by them. The Shard was one of Balfour Beatty’s major projects at the time, along with Crossrail.

Several hundred of the electricians had earlier held a protest in Bishopsgate and visited the Occupy London site at St Paul’s Cathedral before marching to the rally at the Shard. Police had tried to stop them at various points on their march and they arrived with a large police escort.

Before the official rally started there were speeches by rank and file trade unionist. They were followed by several Unite speakers with a final address by McClusky. Around 600 of the sparks then marched off to support the students who were protesting in London but police closed both London Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge and stopped them.

Following this and further actions by rank and file electricians Balfour Beatty, the largest of the firms in Febraury 2012 announced it was going into further talks with Unite on updating the JIB agreements and this was the end for BESNA.

More pictures on My London Diary at Sparks At The Shard.


Students March Against Cuts & Fees – Bloomsbury to Moorgate

Despite police attempts to provoke them, more than 5000 student protesters marched largely peacefully against fees increases and cuts in services. Most kept to the agreed route, from London University in Bloomsbury to London Metropolitan University in Moorgate, which was lined by thousands of police.

Students are angry about the high fees and the cuts in education – particularly the loss of the Educational Maintenace Allowances and various cuts in service, but in the early stages of the march the protesters were in a relaxed and positive mood, many talking to and joking with the police who were accompanying them.

After the police failure to stop some student fees protesters who had stormed the Tory HQ at Millbank in 2010, the police this year were determined to control events. To do so they closed all major roads in central London for hours before the march began, making it hard for many to get to the protest. There were no buses and I had to walk two miles from London Bridge and so arrived after the march started.

I could hardly see the marchers as they came down towards me on Shaftesbury Avenue, with a line of mounted police in front, followed by several lines of police on foot. Behind them were march stewards and then the main banner, behind which was a vast crowd of students and supporters carrying placards.

The march continued but with sporadic stoppages by the police for no apparent reason. But after it had come up Strand to Aldwych a snatch squad of police ran into the centre of the march, grabbed several of the many black-clad protesters, and dragged them across to the side of the road. Many around them, including me, were roughly pushed aside and I received a painful kick in my leg from one officer.

The crowd were angered and gathered around the police for some time but were persuaded by stewards to move on. People were further angered when they heard that the group of 600 electricians had been prevented from coming to join them, and the crowd took up the chant “Free the sparks!” But most then continued along the agreed route up Fetter Lane.

Police then decided to try and stop the march in what I commented “seemed like an act of complete folly“. Slowly the marchers pushed the police back from the confines of the street to the open area of Holborn Circus. Here “proceedings reached a state of comic chaos, with senior officers shouting orders to small strings of police to stop the protesters; while they were grappling with the few within reach the rest of us simply walked through the huge gaps between these lines.” Holborn Circus was really a circus.

A large group of students then ran past the police horses on Holborn Viaduct where they had withdrawn from Holborn Circus after several riders had lost control of their horses and I ran with them. Police managed to stop the rest of the marchers on Holborn Viaduct and after a short wait people decided to continue along the agreed route to Morgate without them.

I went on to talk with the people at Occupy Finsbury Circus who were worried by the huge police presence and felt they might be evicted. I thought it unlikely as with 5000 student marchers around it would be likely to spark a riot. I left and walked across the City where major roads were still closed to traffic and remained so for some hours. Later I watched videos showing students being kettled at Moorgate and individuals being attacked by snatch squads of plain clothes police who had posed as protesters after I had left.

More at Students March Against Cuts & Fees.


Anonymous March to Parliament – 2013

Sunday, November 5th, 2023

Anonymous March to Parliament – On Monday 5th of November 2012 around two thousand Anonymous supporters met in Trafalgar Square and marched to Parliament Square against austerity, the cuts and the increasing gap between rich and poor, warning the government they need to change.

Anonymous March to Parliament - 2013

This was part of #Operation Vendetta, which they described as “a worldwide Anonymous operation of global strength and solidarity, a warning to all governments worldwide that if they keep trying to censor, cut, imprison, or silence the free world or the free internet they will not be our governments for much longer.”

Anonymous March to Parliament - 2013

Wikipedia describes Anonymous as “a decentralized international activist and hacktivist collective and movement primarily known for its various cyberattacks against several governments, government institutions and government agencies, corporations and the Church of Scientology.” The article also quotes their common tag-line “We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.

Anonymous March to Parliament - 2013

Anonymous supporters or ‘Anons’ remain anonymous by wearing masks styled on those in David Lloyd’s illustrations, based on those used in London in 1605 by Guy Fawkes, for Alan Moore’s graphic novel V for Vendetta which features ‘V’, an anarchist revolutionary and superhero who dresses in a mask and cloak. In 2005 the story was made into a film and masks based on Lloyd’s drawings were mass-produced as merchandise for this, copyrighted by Warner Brothers who collect royalties on them, though there have been many pirated versions.

Anonymous March to Parliament - 2013

The complex story, written when Thatcher was prime minister and set in the near future is set in a Britain after a nuclear war in which the UK suffered little direct damage as a Labour government had renounced nuclear weapons and closed US bases before it broke out. But in the post-war chaos corporations and fascists hadtaken power and established a totalitarian state. In the story which begins on Guy Fawkes Night in London in 1997, V engages in a number of attacks against the regime, including on 5th November 1998 blowing up the Post Office Tower and it ends following V’s death with a general insurrection in which Downing Street is blown up by an Underground train carrying V’s body.

Of course there is no Underground line below Downing Street although there are underground tunnels below much of Whitehall and elsewhere in London some of which are used by police and security services. They were built 100ft down for communications cables during World War 2 and the network was expanded during the Cold War Era.

Across the world Anonymous has carried out a number of sometimes successful cyber-operations as well as launching real-world protests, particularly against Scientology and child pornography sites.

This protest in London called for an end to cuts in education, health and welfare and the end of ‘austerity measures’ that target the poor and vulnerable, calling on the government to tackle the causes of the problems, including the banks and tax avoidance and evasion. They also want freedom for the Internet, with respect for the privacy of Internet users and the dropping of the Communications Data Bill.

They also demanded the release of Internet activists who they say are political prisoners, including Julian Assange then still holed up in a London embassy, Richard O’Dwyer wanted in the US for alleged copyright infringements, and the “PayPal 14, Jeremy Hammond, Topiary and the 4 anons of the UK that will stand trial on November 7th.”

Although the Anons had stressed this was to be an entirely peaceful event the police were taking few chances and were out in force, perhaps reacting more to the events in the novel than the actual event they were policing.

The event itself as might have been expected was chaotic, and the movement from Trafalgar Square to Parliament Square was more a drift than a march. Police reacted angrily after the protests simply walked around a line of police trying to stop them were simply walked around and one officer clearly lost his temper at the insistent taunting and photographing by the activists, but police and other protesters soon calmed things down.

Banners were raised along the fence outside the Houses of Parliament, and one young woman removed her shirt to pose in her bra. The ‘heritage wardens’ tried to stop people using fire poi in the square but soon had to give up as more and more began to perform. Police tried without much success to clear the roads to keep traffic moving around the square, and a ‘Transport for London’ lorry managed to effectively block a junction to hold up the bus I was on for over 10 minutes after I had decided to go home. The protest apparently continued for several hours after I’d left.

More on My London Diary at Anonymous March to Parliament.