Posts Tagged ‘democracy’

UK Uncut Great British Street Party – 2012

Sunday, May 26th, 2024

UK Uncut Great British Street Party: Waterloo, Barnes & Putney

UK Uncut Great British Street Party

In 2012 public services were being destroyed by cuts made by the coalition government with the Liberal Democrats having gone into the coalition government with the Tories after the indecisive 2010 election. UK Uncut decided to hold street parties in protest on 26th May 2012 and to call for a better and different future..

UK Uncut Great British Street Party

In the 2010 election the Tories had won 306 seats and Labour 258, but with 57 seats the Liberal Democrats could have formed a coalition with either party to form a government. Although a coalition with Labour would only have included 315 MPs, less than half the total of 650, the differing positions of the 28 MPs outside of the main parties would have made this a working majority.

UK Uncut Great British Street Party

Perhaps because they lied to him more effectively, Nick Clegg chose to form a coalition with the Tories. Probably the most important thing he hoped to gain from this was electoral reform – and the United Kingdom Alternative Vote referendum resulted in a resounding defeat for the alternative vote system – a modified form of ‘First Past The Post’. What Clegg didn’t get was what he wanted, a referendum on proportional representation.

UK Uncut Great British Street Party

With an general election coming up on July 4th again under FPTP we can again see the urgent need for electoral reform. With FPTP we are more than likely simply to see Tweedledee replaced by Tweedledum rather than the more vital changes we need to deal with the urgent changes we need, particularly to deal effectively with the climate challenge, but also to move towards a more equal and united society.

UK Uncut Great British Street Party

But for now at least we are stuck with FPTP. Possibly the rise of the Reform Party will present a real challenge to our current two party monopoly, and though I’m very much not a supporter of their policies this fragmentation would certainly improve matters. Just a shame that no similarly positive split on fundamental issues has occurred within the Labour Party which has managed to successfully marginalise its right wing – or expel them – without a similarly important alternative party emerging. Perhaps because of a much deeper loyalty on the left to the Labour movement.

Wherever we live I think the best response to the continuing use of FPTP is to vote anti-Tory – that is for the candidate with the greatest chance of defeating the Tory candidate rather than for any particular party. The best result I think we can hope for in July is one that requires a coalition of several parties to govern. Politics would then have to move into an area of cooperation and consultation rather than the adversarial nonsense which now dominates our politics.

Clegg sold the country down the river for false gold, and joined the Tories in implementing a vicious series of cuts to public benefits from central government in almost every aspect of our lives.

UK Uncut stated:

"The government is slashing our public services and making the most marginalised people in our society pay for an economic crisis they did nothing to cause. It doesn’t have to be this way. In 1948 the UK’s national debt was far larger than it is today, but instead of cutting services and hitting the poorest hardest the NHS and the Welfare State were born.

So forget the Queen’s Jubilee and join the only London street party worth going to this summer – UK Uncut’s Great London Street Party. Let’s celebrate the services that are being destroyed, take the fight to the streets and party for our future, a different future, a better future, that we can build together."
 

The London event was one of several street parties organised in towns and cities across the UK. In London 4 blocks, one highlighting the welfare cuts, another the NHS, a third the disproportionate effects the cuts were having on women and the last mourning the effects they are having on democracy itself, met and finally entrained at Waterloo Station, travelling either to Putney or Barnes.

The destination was kept secret, and after we left the trains we followed bloc leaders with coloured umbrellas, only finding when we were almost there that the party was to take place in the short Putney street where Nick Clegg has his London home. They were on holiday elsewhere.

Police tried to stop the protesters at various points, including on the final street, but eventually had to let the party go ahead. People taking part seemed to be careful not to cause any damage, though some were pushed into hedges by police. But the protesters kept up the party atmosphere despite considerable provocation.

Later I heard that when the party ended at 6pm and people were making their way peacefully to Putney station they were attacked by a group of police, who were perhaps frustrated by not being allowed to attack the party earlier in the day when the press was present in large numbers reporting on the event.

You can read more about the party and see many more pictures on My London Diary at UK Uncut Great British Street Party


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Saturday 10th February 2024 – Gaza & Iran

Thursday, February 15th, 2024

Saturday 10th February 2024 – Gaza & Iran – Saturday 10th February was another day of local actions around the country calling for and end to the horrific genocide now taking place in Gaza. I went to two of the local events in London as well as photographing an annual event on the anniversary of the 1979 revolution in Iran, calling for democracy there.


Ceasefire Now – Stop The Genocide In Gaza, Southwark

Saturday 10th February 2024 - Gaza & Iran
London, UK. 10 Feb 2024. Camberwell Green

Southwark and Lambeth 4 Palestine had organised another march from Camberwell Green to BAE Systems offices on Southwark Street against the terrible genocide now being carried out by Israeli forces in Gaza. It turned out to be rather smaller than previous local marches, perhaps because many people in the area had demonstrated in workplace-based protests earlier in the week.

Saturday 10th February 2024 - Gaza & Iran
London, UK. 10 Feb 2024.

The event started with a few short speeches on Camberwell Green, including one from a student activist from the UAL at the Elephant where they had had a large protest. She talked about how she had been inspired by the example of Brian Haw’s protest over many years in Parliament Square who had carried on calling for peace and an ending to the killing of children until shortly before his death in June 2011, almost ten years after his protest there had begun.

Saturday 10th February 2024 - Gaza & Iran
Brian Haw: Find Your Courage; Share Your Vision; Change Your World.
(T-shirt from Dan Wilkins, The Nth Degree.)March 2007, Peter Marsh
all

I got to know Brian well, going to speak with him every time I went to photograph in Westminster and often photographing him, as you can see on-line at My London Diary. He suffered regular harassment from police, council officials and thugs encouraged by the authorities, some of whom were I think plain clothes officers or military. An Act of Parliament was passed largely to try to end his peace camp there, though it also severely restricted other protests within a kilometre of Parliament.

Saturday 10th February 2024 - Gaza & Iran
London, UK. 10 Feb 2024

Later, after his ill-health took him to hospital, his protest there was continued by Barbara Tucker who had joined his campaign there in 2005. She was subjected to even more severe police harassment, was arrested at least 47 times and served two periods in prison, of two weeks and nine weeks. In January 2012 police removed her protection against the elements – tent, blankets and sleeping bag and later they came back for her chair. She continued to protest there despite needing hospital treatment for exposure until May 2013.

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024.

The march set off with around a hundred people marching behind the banner though more joined the later at the end. There was considerable support from people on the roadside, particularly when it went past the busy section of Walworth Road close to East Street Market, and many drivers going in the opposite direction beeped their horns in support. Although the UK government continues its support of the Israeli genocide clearly the majority of the British people do not.

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024

I found it a rather long march – well over two and a half miles – and was wishing I’ve brought my bicycle by the time we got to the Bluefin Building on Southwark Street. The march stopped for a few minutes in front of the building where BAE Systems have offices on an upper floor.

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024.

BAE Systems is the world’s seventh-largest military contractor, and the largest in Europe and supplies Israel with a wide range of weapons which for years have been used against Palestinian citizens and civilian infrastructure “including hospitals, schools, and water and electric systems.” There is much more about their activities in arming Israel on the American Friends Service Committee web site.

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024

When we arrived at Bluefin, we saw that others had been there before us, and a large area of the frontage had been sprayed with red paint. A team of contractors were busy cleaning it off. I took a few pictures of them as the marchers moved off down the side of the building for another rally, but I walked back to Southwark Station to catch the Elizabeth line to Westminster.

More pictures online and available for use on Alamy.


Iranians Call For Freedom and Democracy in Iran

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024.

45 years after the Shah of Iran was forced into exile by a popular revolution following repression under the Pahvlavi regime, the Anglo-Iranian community and the National Council of Resistance of Iran call for a new revolution to end the oppressive theocratic regime with democracy and for the UK to declare the Islamic Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group.

They say Khomeini who had been invited back by the acting government after the revolution stole the leadership of the country revolution in a rigged vote, imposing the current oppressive theocratic regime.

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) has put forward a ten point plan for a future democratic republic in Iran, with secular government, democratic elections, freedom of expression, equal rights for women and human rights and an independent judiciary and legal system.

The NCRI is a coalition with representation from five bodies, the major of which is the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), which currently has its headquarters in Albania. It was largely disarmed after the US/UK invasion of Iraq and its camp in Iraq was attacked after US forces withdrew.

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024

On Feb 1st this year, the House of Commons agreed to a motion in support of freedom and democracy in Iran. The motion condemns the violent state crackdown on the protests and urgest the government to proscribe Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

As I left the protest, two men came to try and disrupt the protest and there were brief scuffles as security and others tried to move them away. After a few minutes police came and held one of them, talking to him and suggesting he leave – the other was already a few yard down the road.

More pictures online and available from Alamy.


Ceasefire Now – Stop The Genocide In Gaza, Ealing, London, UK

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024

I was on my way to Ealing, fortunately a much faster journey now the Elizabeth Line goes to Ealing Broadway, although I still arrived well after the rally outside the town hall there had started. There was a large crowd around the steps on the main road in front of Ealing Town Hall, another of the many local protests around the country calling for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the genocide in Gaza which has now killed 28,000 mainly women and children and severely injured around 68,000.

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024

The entire population of Gaza is now living in desperate conditions with constant threat of bombing, shelling, famine and disease. Speakers condemned the failure to respond to the ICJ ruling to prevent acts of genocide and for the continued killing taking place there with precision targeted attacks on ambulances, aid workers, schools, hospitals, refugee camps, medical staff, journalists and others.

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024. Grenfell campaigner Moyra Samuels.

I think most of the speakers were from Ealing and Southall, but Grenfell campaigner Moyra Samuels had also come to speak both about the shameful attack on Gaza and also share some experiences of campaigning over the Grenfell fire, where continued protests had helped to keep the fight for justice alive – though there is little sign of justice so far.

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024.

I left as the rally was coming to a close, taking my final pictures of it from the top deck of the bus which was taking me to Brentford and a train home from there.

More pictures online and available from Alamy.


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Tar Sands, Iran & Valentine Party – 2010

Tuesday, February 13th, 2024

Tar Sands, Iran & Valentine Party – Three very different events on Saturday February 13th 2013 on the streets of London. First an Olympic-themed protest against one of the dirtiest fossil fuel projects, then a protest by Iranians 31 years after the revolution that brought the Islamic regime to power and finally a Valentine’s Day street party against the commercialisation of the annual event and celebrating the power of love.


Canadian Tar Sands Oily-Olympics – Trafalgar Square

Tar Sands, Iran & Valentine Party

February 13th 2010 was the opening day of the Winter Olympics in Canada, and protesters took advantage of this to stage their own ‘Oily Olympics’, with teams representing BP, Shell and RBS, competing in a ‘Race For the Tar Sands’, complete with a medal ceremony next to Canada House in Trafalgar Square.

Tar Sands, Iran & Valentine Party

The square was in use for an event celebrating the official Olympics complete with giant screens showing ski jumping and an ice sculpture of the Olympic rings. But the protesters set up on the side closest to Canada House for their tug-of-war, a curling event and a relay race for oil.

Tar Sands, Iran & Valentine Party

Getting oil from the tar sands in what is oddly called ‘The Sunrise Project’ uses a process called Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage which produces from 3-5 times the carbon dioxide of traditional oil extraction. Until recently BP considered it to be too economically and environmentally unpleasant, but high oil prices and new management had changed their mind.

Tar Sands, Iran & Valentine Party

As well as their huge carbon impact the UK Tar Sands Network say that extracting oil from the tar sands involves “mass deforestation, water pollution, risks to human health, a major threat to wildlife and the trampling of indigenous rights.”

The heritage wardens who patrol the square for the Mayor of London told the protesters they were not allowed to protest in the square, and called the police when they continued. Police came and talked to them but did not stop the event as it was obviously not causing any obstruction or public order problem. Some of the officers were clearly amused.

It was a fun event with a serious purpose, and most of those taking part were surprisingly competitive. I wrote: “It wasn’t at all clear on what basis the medals were awarded. For those that care about such things, BP got bronze, RBS the silver and Shell struck gold. And none of us were quite sure why there were two penguins present.”

More pictures on My London Diary: Canadian Tar Sands Oily-Olympics.


Iran Opposition Rally in London – Parliament Square

The previous Thursday had been the 31st anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran and had been marked there by both a large pro-government rally and also a ferocious clampdown on opposition groups by riot police, undercover security agents and hard-line militiamen.

The protest in London was by supporters of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI). The NCRI is a coalition of Iranian dissident groups but is dominated by the PMOI, which was proscribed in the UK at the request of the Iranian Mullahs in 2001; the ban was lifted against the UK government’s wishes after they lost an EU court appeal in 2009.

The PMOI were shabbily treated by the US after they signed a ceasefire agreement with them in 2003 for which they gave up most of their weapons and were confined to their camp in Iraq, leaving them at the doubtful mercy of the Iraq government when the US troops left.

In 1995 the NCRI announced their Charter of Fundamental Freedoms for Iran, which would uphold all international agreements on human rights such as “freedom of association, freedom of thought and expression, media, political parties, trade unions, councils, religions and denominations, freedom of profession, and prevention of any violation of individual and social rights and freedoms.”

They call for a republic based on popular vote, the abolition of the death penalty, gender equality, a modern legal system without cruel and degrading punishments, the recognition of private property, private investment and the market economy and a foreign policy of peaceful coexistence without nuclear weapons.

As well as many speeches the rally had a display of photograph of some of the 120,000 Iranians killed by the Iranian regime and pictures of people being attacked at demonstrations in Iraq, with a street theatre piece in which protesters were attacked by a bearded cleric and a militia man and dragged to a waiting hangman’s nooses.

More on My London Dairy at Iran Opposition Rally in London.


Reclaim Love Valentine Party – Piccadilly Circus

Reclaim Love’s free Valentine Party around the statue of Eros in Piccadilly Circus was started by Irish poet and love activist Venus CuMara to reclaim St Valentine’s day from commercialism and to try to harness the power of love to save the world.

The event in 2010 was one of the largest, with people coming together not just around Eros where the event had begun six years earlier but there were events on this day at a total of 40 locations around the world – elsewhere in England, in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Pakistan, India, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Iceland, France, Brazil, Argentina, New Zealand, the USA, Canada and Australia – including surfers who were celebrating in the ocean off Perth, Australia.

The party began with the powerful drumming of Rhythms of Resistance which attracted a great deal of attention, including many tourists in the area who stopped to watch and some danced and took part.

A large supply of free ‘Reclaim Love’ t-shirts were handed out by Venus as an expression of the “more fearless-generous-sharing-Love-centred way of thinking” behind the event and others handed out free cakes and sweets and offered free hugs.

The climax of the event, celebrated around the world at 15.30 GMT was when people joined hands in a large circle around the area in an ‘Earth Healing Circle‘ and together repeated an ancient Indian prayer for peace in their own language. The English version “MAY ALL THE BEINGS IN ALL THE WORLDS BE HAPPY AND AT PEACE” people repeated here was also on the free t-shirts.

This year there were so many people at the event that in places around Piccadilly Circus the circle was two or three deep.

Venus hoped to keep building the ‘Reclaim Love’ movement and felt it would really have a tangible effect if there were 1.5 million or more people taking part, a number she hoped it would reach worldwide by 2015. Unfortunately for various reasons it never managed to reach that critical mass. The 16th ‘Reclaim Love’ free Valentine’s Day street party which took place in 2019 was I think the last, though I could be wrong. There is still a Facebook group, but this year there is only a single post on it, “Hi lovers are we doing anything this year on the 17th is it?” which has got no reply so far.

Many more pictures at Reclaim Love Valentine Party.


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Education Cuts & Egyptian Revolution – 2011

Monday, January 29th, 2024

Education Cuts & Egyptian Revolution: People were protesting on the streets of London on Saturday 29th January 2011 in solidarity with demonstrations in Egypt at the Egyptian Embassy. Elsewhere students, teachers, parents and others took part in a large peaceful march against increases in student fees and cuts in education and public services.


Solidarity with the Egyptian Revolution – Egyptian Embassy, South St. Mayfair

Education Cuts & Egyptian Revolution

Around 200 people, mainly Egyptians living in the UK had come to the street outside the embassy for peaceful but noisy protest “to show our solidarity & support of our fellow Egyptians in our beloved country, who decided on making Tuesday 25/01/2011 a day of protests & demonstrations in Egypt against the unfair, tyrant, oppressive & corrupt Egyptian regime that has been ruling our country for decades.

Education Cuts & Egyptian Revolution

The protest had brought together Egyptians from differing political & ideological backgrounds, inviting “inviting all supporters of human rights & civic democracy to come & support us in delivering our message to the Egyptian regime.”

Education Cuts & Egyptian Revolution

Their stated goal was to achieve “a democratic, free & civil nation capable of ensuring a dignified, honourable & non-discriminatory life for all Egyptians.

Education Cuts & Egyptian Revolution

Although the Arab uprising in Egypt in 2011 achieved some of its aims, including the end of the 30 year dictatorship of President Hosni Mubarak, it was followed by a struggle with the Muslim Brotherhood gaining power and Mohamed Morsi being elected as president in June 2012 only to be overthrown a few months later and the countrycpoming under the military regime led by Abdel Fattah el-Sissi since 2014.

In an interview with German news organisation DW ten years after the upraising an Egyptian activist commented “The counterrevolution has pushed the country into a state that is even more oppressive than before the 2011 revolution. The uprising has taken a terrible turn and has led to a tremendous regression.”

The protesters aimed to bring together people from across a wide range of political viewpoints, they refused to allow Hizb Ut-Tahrir protesters to join them, as they are opposed to human rights and democracy.

More pictures Solidarity with the Egyptian Revolution


Hizb ut-Tahrir Turned Away – South Audley St

Hizb Ut-Tahrir Britain, an Islamist group calling for the establishment of a Muslim caliphate, marched to the Egyptian Embassy to take part in the protest there but were turned away.

When they arrived they were met by Egyptians taking part in the protest and told very firmly that the embassy protest – like the Egyptian revolution – was to be entirely non-sectarian and that they were not welcome there.

Instead they had to hold their own separate demonstration around a hundred yards away around the corner along South Audley St, where they were spread out along the pavement between South Street and Hill Street.

As always at their events, everyone was dressed in black and the men and women were segregated. The men filled most of the pavement along South Audley St, with just a few women at one end, with most of them around the corner eastwards on South Street, away from the loundspeakers and the embassy.

As I commented it seemed a clear demonstration of the lack of equality they would like to impose. None of the speeches while I was there was in English, but I was able to gather that they were calling for Egypt to come under the rule of an Islamic Khalifah (caliphate), the “real change” which they see as the answer to everything.

It was a call diametrically opposed to the aims of the Egyptian revolution, which aimed to get rid of the oppressive regime and make Egypt a free and democratic nation, a secular state where there is no discrimination based on gender, religion or political views. The last thing they wanted was to replace one repressive regime by another, though depressingly that was what the future held for their country.

Hizb ut-Tahrir Turned Away


No Fees, No Cuts! Student March

The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts had organised two large national protests in London and Manchester to defend education and the public sector. They took place a little over two months after another large student march had ended with a small group walking into the Tory HQ at Millbank and occupying it.

On that occasion the police had tried to carry out a brutal eviction and were met with an angry response, with the protesters smashing large plate glass windows to allow others to enter, though few did. A number of protesters and press were injured by police (and a few police injured too), though most of those at the scene simply watched from outside in the courtyard and were appalled when a stupid idiot threw an empty fire extinguisher from the roof and began to chant against him. Fortunately no-one was killed. But the event made the headlines of those media organisations which generally turn their blind eye to protests, though the reports didn’t much engage with the reasons for the protest or report fairly on all that had happened.

Police seemed to have learnt some lessons from their mistakes on that occasion and made much greater efforts to communicate sensibly with the protesters and not to kettle them or push them around. As I wrote “Despite the number of protesters in anarchist dress with facemasks, most students are not out to cause trouble.”

The march had begun with a short rally in Malet Street and I met it as the front was making its way out of Russell Square walking with it and taking pictures of the marchers and of short protests at Topshop and Vodaphone shops in Strand against their tax avoidance. Police lined the front of the shops and soon persuaded the protesters to move on.

Things livened up a little outside Downing Street were the march paused for some angry shouting and several people let of smoke flares before moving on. Many stopped for a while in Parliament Square, with some dancing to a samba band, but after a while everyone moved off to where the march was to end outside Tate Britain on Millbank.

Unlike in the previous November there was a large group of police lined across the entire frontage of the Millbank tower complex – bolting the stable door as I think it unlikely that there would have been any trouble.

The only sign of any conflict between police and protesters I saw did come outside here, when there was a brief sit-down after police tried to drive two vans full of reinforcements through the crowd. Sensibly the police simply brought in a line of officers to allow the vans to drive along the pavement rather than try to force people to move.

By the time I arrived outside Tate Britain with the tail of the march they rally there had ended and I decided it was time to leave, though some of those on the protest were planning to continue elsewhere – including going to the Egyptian Embassy where I had been earlier. Later at home I read reports on-line that half a dozen people had been arrested in minor incidents.


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Bread & Roses, Morales & Russian anti-fascists – 2019

Friday, January 19th, 2024

Bread & Roses, Morales & Russian anti-fascists: Three events I photographed on Saturday 19th January 2019.

Bread & Roses is again relevant now in January 2024, with the release of a new version of the song a few days ago by the ‘Orchestra of Cardboard‘, part of the amazing ‘Every street a POWER STATION campaign‘, a project of Walthamstow’s community interest company Optimistic Foundation CIC set up by artist and filmmaker Hilary Powell and filmmaker and musician Dan Edelstyn. The recording is a part of their fundraising campaign and your can read, see and hear more about it and their other campaigns which are already having an effect in the area on their crowdfunder page.

But back to January 2019, five years ago today.


Women’s Bread & Roses protest

Bread & Roses, Morales & Russian anti-fascists - 2019

Inspired by the Bread & Roses protests which revolutionised workers’ rights for women in 1912, Women’s March London marched from the BBC to a rally in Trafalgar Square against economic oppression, violence against women, gender pay gap, racism, fascism, institutional sexual harassment and hostile environment in the UK, and called for a government dedicated to equality and working for all of us rather than the few.

Bread & Roses, Morales & Russian anti-fascists - 2019

The London march was part of an international day with women marching in many countries around the world, particularly in cities across the USA.

Bread & Roses, Morales & Russian anti-fascists - 2019

At the start of the march was opposite the BBC on the steps of Langham Place a few of the women organising the event were being directed and filmed by a BBC film crew. Supposedly this was a documentary but it seemed to be more a scripted drama closely controlled by the director and with the women involved holding orange folders from which they read.

Bread & Roses, Morales & Russian anti-fascists - 2019

But there were a rather larger group of women (and just a few men with them) standing around outside the BBC building and largely ignoring the filming that was taking place. Many had made placards especially for the event, with some using words from the poem ‘Bread and Roses‘ written by James Oppenheim and published at the end of 1911. The phrase ‘Bread and Roses’ came from a speech the previous year by Helen Todd, speaking about the need for laws to regulate wages, working hours and conditions.

A few days later a strike was started by textile workers, largely immigrants, in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The strike was organised by the IWW, the Industrial Workers of the World, led largely by women and they took up Oppenheims poem and sang it at their meetings and marches, as well as apparently marching with a banner ‘We want Bread, and Roses too!’ during their three-month strike.

Eventually, when the BBC had finished making their movie the women gathered for a march and I walked with them to Trafalgar Square.

Many more pictures on My London Diary at Women’s Bread & Roses protest.


Bolivians protest against Morales – Trafalgar Square

A small group of Bolivians had come to protest following a decision in December by the Electoral Commission that President Evo Morales could stand for a fourth term in office in the October 2019 elections which were starting with primaries at the end of January 2019. But I was not convinced that this was truly a protest about democracy rather than simply against his socialist policies.

Morales, Bolivia’s first president to come from the indigenous population was first elected in 2005. He supported the 2009 constitution which allowed only two consecutive terms in office but was able to stand for a third term as his first term had been before the limit was imposed. In 2016 tried to increase the limit to three terms by a referendum which was narrowly defeated. But after this the courts ruled that the limitation infringed the human rights of citizens, allowing him to stand for a further term.

Morales won the October 2019 but their were widespread protests alleging electoral fraud, although later investigations suggested he had indeed gained the 10% lead required for a first-round victory. But the protests grew and he was endangered by armed groups; eventually he resigned on 10th November 2019, fleeing to Mexico where he was granted political asylum. Allegations made against him of sedition and terrorism were later found to be politically motivated and in 2020 a Bolivian court found his rights had been violated and judicial procedures breached.

His successful policies which reduced poverty and illiteracy and combated the influence of the USA and multinational companies made him very unpopular among the middle class and particularly the groups accustomed to running the country. Many in the USA encouraged and financed the opposition to him as he was widely seen to have shown a successful alternative to the growth of international capitalism.

Bolivians protest against Morales


Solidarity with Russian anti-fascists – Whitechapel

Finally I went east to the Cable Street Mural where anarchists and anti-fascists were meeting l to oppose racism, xenophobia, fascism and the upsurge of far-right populism and to show solidarity with Russian anti-fascists who have been arrested, framed and tortured in a brutal wave of repression.

Russian and Ukranian comrades spoke at the rally. telling us of the persecution taking place. The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) arrested six in Penza in 2017, charging them with belonging to a non-existent organisation, ‘The Network’. Beatings and torture before their trial were used to make them give false confessions.

Two others were arrested in 2018 in St Petersburg and charged with belonging to the same fictional network and again tortured into making confessions and further similar arrests have followed. A total of 11 where then in prison for belonging to’The Network’, facing 5 to 25 years in jail.

The date for the protest was chosen as the anniversary of the brutal murder of two Russian anti-fascists, journalist Anastasia Baburova and lawyer Stanislav Markelov, by fascists in broad daylight on the streets of Moscow on January 19th 2009. Russian anarchists and anti-fascists hold events to remember them on this day every year.

There was then a march to a further rally in Altab Ali Park, named for the 24-year-old clothing worker murdered in a nearby street on 4 May 1978.

More pictures at Solidarity with Russian anti-fascists.


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Goodbye and Good Riddance 2023

Sunday, December 31st, 2023

Goodbye and Good Riddance 2023 – The past year has certainly been an “annus horribilis” that puts 1992 into shame in that respect and it ends with an ongoing genocide on a scale that would have been unimaginable before the development of recent weapons as well as unthinkable.

Today’s post is a baker’s dozen of images I took in the first two months of the year, January and February 2023 at some of the twenty-seven events I photographed then. It isn’t a collection of my “best photographs”, though I’ve tried to pick some of the more succesful I’ve taken. All these (and many others) are still online in my Facebook albums and most if not all available for editorial use from Alamy. They are displayed in date order.

Goodbye and Good Riddance 2023
London, UK. 18 Jan 2022. Nurses and other medical staff and supporters marched from a rally at University College Hospital on the first day of a two day nurses strike. Shocked by news of 500 avoidable deaths each day due to delays in emergency care they demand the government drop actions aimed at destroying and privatising the NHS and take urgent action to end staff shortages, including increasing pay and ending underfunding. Peter Marshall/Alamy Live News
Goodbye and Good Riddance 2023
London, UK. 21 Jan 2023. Iranians and supporters march through London with the slogan ‘Women Life Freedom’ in support of continuing protests in Iran following the death of Kurdish woman Jina Mahsa Amini at the hands of the morality police and demanding regime change. They condemned the continuing repression and arrest and hanging of protesters and called for the release of prisoners. Peter Marshall/Alamy Live News
Goodbye and Good Riddance 2023
London, UK. 30 Jan 2023. Enough is Enough UK and the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom protest at Downing Street as the Tories push their anti-strike bill through Parliament. The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill has enraged trade unions and opposition MPs and is being debated by a ‘Committee of the whole house’ to rush it through without proper scrutiny and detailed debate. Peter Marshall/Alamy Live News
Goodbye and Good Riddance 2023
London, UK. Feb 4 2023. A crowd protested loudly by the private street leading to the Israeli Embassy as a part of a worldwide fight by Israelis to preserve democracy in Israel and oppose the inclusion in the government of criminals and religious bigots which they say is unacceptable. Many brought their children with them to show their love for Israel. Peter Marshall/Alamy Live News
Goodbye and Good Riddance 2023
London, UK. 11 Feb 2023. A police officer grabs a protester as Stand Up to Racism oppose the fascist Patriotic Alternative (PA) who came to try to end Drag Queen Story Hour UK events at Tate Britain with drag queen Aida H Dee. They rejected the PA claims that these story-telling sessions for parents and young children are “child grooming”, “paedophilia”, or in any way sexual. PA at the protest included several well-known former BNP members. Peter Marshall/Alamy Live News
Goodbye and Good Riddance 2023
Kashimiris protest at India House calling for an end to the military occupation by India by 800,000 troops. The called for freedom for Kashmir, for the release of political prisoners, and for the return of the body of Maqbool Butt, secretly hanged by India in Tihar Jail in 1984, to enable a dignified burial. Peter Marshall
Goodbye and Good Riddance 2023
11 Feb 2023. Iranians protest in London in support of continuing protests in Iran following the death of Kurdish woman Jina Mahsa Amini at the hands of the morality police and demanding regime change. They condemned the continuing repression and arrest and hanging of protesters and called for the release of prisoners and for a revolution to free the country from religious dictatorship. Many of those present were calling for the return of the Pahlavi monarchy.
Peter Marshall
London, UK. 11 Feb 2923. The Don’t Extradite Assange Campaign met in Lincoln’s Inn Fields for a Night Carnival procession though London calling for the refusal of extradition for Julian Assange to the USA where he would face life imprisonment in harsh conditions that would threaten his life and for his immediate release. Assange is a journalist who released details of crimes by others, not a criminal. Peter Marshall/Alamy Live New
London, UK. 25 Feb 2023. Stop the War Coalition and CND march in Lodon calling for an end to the war in Ukraine. Though opposed to the Russian invasion they call for peace talks to end the huge suffering and deaths of civilians and soldiers which is being fed by the supply of arms to Ukraine and point to the dangers of escalation, possibly nuclear. Peter Marshall/Alamy Live News
London, UK. 11 Feb 2023. Iranians protest in London in support of continuing protests in Iran following the death of Kurdish woman Jina Mahsa Amini at the hands of the morality police demanding regime change. They condemn the continuing repression, arrest and hanging of protesters and call for the release of imprisoned protesters, but also for a revolution to free the country from religious dictatorship. Many of those present were calling for the return of the Pahlavi monarchy, others want neither monarchy
London, UK. 18 Feb 2023. Somalis rally opposite Downing Street against the violations of human rights against the people of Sool, Sanag and Cayn. People are being slaughtered, hospitals burnt, schools destroyed and water, food and medical supplies cut off. They call on the UK government to end funding and training the Somali government forces carrying out the atrocities and hold President Muse Bihi to account. Peter Marshall/Alamy Live News
London, UK. 25 Feb 2023. Protesters crowded the roadside at Trafalgar Aquare with placards against Mayor Khan’s planned extension of the ultra low emission Zone (ULEZ) which will make drivers of extra polluting vehicles pay a daily charge for driving in the whole of Greater London. The ULEZ will help cut London’s lethal air pollution which kills thousands each year and ruins the health of many others. Peter Marshall/Alamy Live News
London, UK. 25 Feb 2023. We Own It organised a protest in Parliament Square after an Oxford University study linked the treatable deaths of 557 people to NHS privatisation. They filled the square with 557 people each holding a numbered placard and a small bunch of flowers for each of those who has died because of privatisation and demand that this end and our NHS be fully returned to being a public service. Peter Marshall/Alamy Live News

If you want to find out more about any of the events you can find the albums with more of my pictures on Facebook. More from later in 2023 in another post.

Turkey & Free Assange

Friday, June 16th, 2023

Turkey & Free Assange: Ten years ago today on Sunday 16th June 2013 I covered two protests in London around countries and issues still in the news now. The first was demanding an end to human rights abuses in Turkey and for Erdogan to go – and he has recently won another term in office and his authoritarian regime continues. It was also the first anniversary of Julian Assange taking refuge in the Eduadorian Embassy and Assange is still confined, now in Belmarsh prison, still likely to be extradited to spend the rest of his life in US prisons for publishing details of US war crimes.


Turks continue fight – Turkish Embassy to Downing St

Turkey & Free Assange

Around a thousand British Turks met opposite the London Embassy and marched to a rally opposite Downing St. Their march was in solidarity with mass rallies in Turkey a day before a general strike there called by the country’s largest union representing public sector workers as a response to the brutality used in clearing Gezi Park.

Turkey & Free Assange

President Erdogan and his ironically named Justice and Development Party AKP had brutally repressed earlier peaceful protests in Turkey in Gezi Park, Taksim Square and elsewhere in the country. Some of the protesters wore badges of protesters shot by police in demonstrations.

Turkey & Free Assange

This was a very patriotic protest, many carrying Turkish flags and singing Turkish songs. The modern Turkish state was established by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in the 1920s as a secular and democratic state and many Turks feet the AKP governments under Erdogan sine 2002 have seriously eroded these principles.

Turkey & Free Assange

Since 2002 they have imposed their conservative Islamic views on the country and have built an extra 17,000 mosques. Authoritarian measure have restricted the sale of alohol and shows of public affection.

Turkey & Free Assange

The government had enacted strict control over Turkish media and imprisoned more journalists than any other country in the world. Opponents of the government are accused of treason and imprisoned without evidence, while court hearings can take years. Many had been held without charge for 5 years or more.

It remains impossible to have fair elections in Turkey as the government exercises almost complete control of the media. In May 2023 Erdogan was re-elected president with 52% of the vote against 48% for his opponent although there had been hopes he might lose.

More at Turks continue fight.


Waiting for Assange – Ecuadorian embassy, Knightsbridge

Sunday 16th June 2013 marked exactly a year since Julian Assange had been given asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy and I joined a crowd of supporters waiting for him to appear on the balcony and calling from release of all whistle-blowers.

The UK government had refused to allow him passage to Ecuador and instead had spent over £3m of taxpayers cash over a constant police presence outside the embassy, which occupies only a few rooms in the building.

The event was organised by Veterans for Peace UK, and they linked Assange with others ‘facing persecution for exposing the true nature of war and the state‘, Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning. Supporters view Assange, Manning and Snowden as heroes who should be released rather than prosecuted.

The decision of Sweden to pursue the extradition of Assange on charges related to his sexual activities appears to have been politically motivated to make it easier for him to be transferred to the USA.

Among those at the protest were women from Women Against Rape who made clear they were against his extradition, accusing politicians of using “once again women’s fury & frustration at the prevalence of rape & other violences” to advance their own purposes.

The protest continued with a protest on the pavement outside the embassy holding up signs with the message ‘F R E E A S S A N G E’. They went back acrooss to the pavement opposite after a few minutes when politely asked to do so by police. A number of South Americans entertained with songs, but there was no sign of Assange.

It had been suggested when I arrived that he would come out at around 5pm, but at that time the embassy told press he was sleeping and they hoped he would come out at 6pm. I decided there was little point in my waiting and left.

Following a change in government in Ecuador police were invited inside to arrest Assange in April 2019. Since then he has been kept, much of the time in isolation, in the high security Belmarsh prison in Thamesmead. After a number of legal cases and appeals, ten days ago on 6th June 2023 he lost his appeal against extradition.

More at Waiting for Assange.


Turkish Spring, Badgers and BNP – 2013

Thursday, June 1st, 2023

Turkish Spring, Badgers and BNP: Ten Years ago on Saturday 1st June 2013 Turks in London were celebrating the start of the Turkish Spring, but now they are mourning last Sundays’ election results with the Islamist dictator winning another term in office. Badger culling was just beginning and there is still no sign it will actually end and over 210,000 badgers have now been killed to little effect – and Defra is still failing to introduce more effective methods to control bovine TB. Anti-fascists managed to prevent the BNP laying a wreath to exploit the killing of Lee Rigby – but despite the family’s clearly stated wishes and MoD condemnation – racists including a leading Tory MP are still using the murder to whip up hatred.


London Supports Turkish Spring – Marble Arch

Saturday 1st June 2013

A large crowd, mainly Turks and Kurds from North London, met in Hyde Park close to Marble Arch for a march in support of the popular protests that had erupted over the previous few days over Gezi Park.

Saturday 1st June 2013

At first there had been small protests against the loss of one of Istanbul’s few remaining green spaces for a shopping mall. But brutal police repression, with tear gas and water cannon used indiscriminately on people in the area angered many and the protests grew, becoming protests calling for an end of the authoritarian Erdogan regime.

Saturday 1st June 2013

Many Turks were then disturbed at Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP), abandoning the secular state established as the basis for modern Turkey in the 1920s by Kemal Atatürk towards a conservative authoritarian Islamic dictatorship.

Saturday 1st June 2013

This process has continued, and Turkey has also been involved in the supporting of wider Islamic movements in the Middle East, particularly ISIS, as well as supporting Russia in its intervention in crushing the anti-Assad revolt in Syria. Last week’s election came as a huge blow to democracy in Turkey.

The 2013 protest was high-spirited and noisy, with many young men including Turkish football supporters. Many of London’s Turkish and Kurdish community are people who had to flee Turkey for political reasons and their sons and daughters. Kurds in particular have long been subjected to huge discrimination and oppression with the Turkish government attempting to eliminate their culture.

I had to leave before the march to the Turkish Embassy were around four thousand protested in support of the ‘Turkish Spring’.

London Supports Turkish Spring


Cull Politicians, Not Badgers – Westminster

I joined a large crowd at a rally in front of Tate Modern for the National March Against the Badger Cull, where the speakers included Queen Guitarist Brian May.

Many at the protest had come up to London from country areas, particularly from the pilot areas in west Gloucestershire and west Somerset where culling was to start later in the year. Many more licences were issued in later years and culling is continuing. Detailed statistical analysis suggests in some areas culling has led to a slight decease in bovine TB but overall it has had no real effect as badgers are only responsible for a small amount of the transmission, with 94% of infection being passed from cow to cow.

Defra’s support for culling and their reluctance to bring in more accurate cattle testing, controls on the movement of cattle, vaccination, proper slurry management and other effective measures seems largely to be driven by lobbying from farmers who want to avoid more controls on their activities.

After the rally there was a short march to Parliament where some of those taking part danced on the street, with many then going on to join the protest taking place opposing the racist British National Party.

Cull Politicians, Not Badgers


Anti-Fascists Prevent BNP Exploiting Brutal Killing

Anonymous were there along with Antifa, trade unionists and the UAF to oppose the BNP hate

On May 22nd 2013, off-duty Fusilier Lee Rigby was brutally murdered on a Woolwich street, run over then stabbed by two Muslim men who tried to decapitate him. The killing was universally condemned, including by Britain’s Muslim community, and I had two days ago photographed a march and rally in East London by Muslims to show solidarity and sympathy with the family of Lee Rigby and to denounce his brutal killing, describing it as against all the tenets of Islam.

Nick Griffin answers questions under a placard ‘Hate Preachers Out’ and fails to appreciate the irony

The BNP had wanted to organise a mass protest in Woolwich to exploit the killing, making use of his senseless slaughter there to gain support for their anti-Muslim rhetoric, but police had banned their plans for a march as it would have endangered public safety, enraging many in the local area. Lee Rigby’s father had made clear that he and his family did not want his son’s death to be used to stir up hatred.

Instead, BNP leader Nick Griffin had planned to march to the Cenotaph and lay a wreath there, and had come with a small group of supporters to Old Palace Yard to start the march. It was only a very small group, even for the BNP, with perhaps as I wrote suggesting “it was something that even the ultra-right membership of the BNP could not stomach”.

Griffin himself blamed the low turnout on the police turning many of his followers away, stating that the whole area around Westminster was “a virtual exclusion zone“. I’d just walked there seeing no unusual police activity, and certainly large numbers who had come to oppose his wreath laying found no problems in getting in to do so.

Police arrest an anti-fascist

It would have been possible for anyone – BNP member or not – to go to the Cenotaph on any of the days following the brutal murder and even on this morning to lay a wreath, though not today a well-known racist face like Griffin himself. But Grffin’s intentions were not about expressing sympathy. He wanted a triumphal march with flags flying to gain support for his Islamophobic hate, and given the opposition this never seemed likely to happen.

Police tried hard to clear a way for the BNP to march, but anti-fascists held their ground and refused to move. Police told them they were acting illegally and would be arrested if they did not move – and I saw a couple of double-decker buses being filled with arrested protesters and driven away, but there were simply too many for police to arrest them all.

The protest brought back memories of Cable Street, though few if any there were old enough to have actually been there back in 1936, though rather more had been at the http://mylondondiary.co.uk/2006/10/oct.htm 70th anniversary. But as then the slogan was ‘They shall not pass’, and on this occasion there were not enough police to force a way through. After the two buses of arrested protesters had been driven away police tactics changed and they simply maintained a standoff keeping the opposing groups apart.

Police told the BNP that they expected the anti-fascists to go home and they expected be able to clear the route by half past four, but they stayed on. It was the BNP who gave up, turning around and walking back to waiting coaches and leaving. When the anti-fascists were told the BNP had gone, they marched to Old Palace Yard for a brief rally to celebrate the victory.

Much more about the BNP and the protest which stopped them on My London Diary:
Anti-Fascists Stop BNP Wreath Laying
BNP Exploiting Woolwich Killing Stopped


Venezuelan Gold, Democracy for Sudan and more

Thursday, February 23rd, 2023

Saturday 23rd February 2019 seems now a long time ago. Although it’s only four years ago it was in the pre-Covid era. It was a busy day for me.


Stop Trump’s Venezuela gold & oil grab – Bank of England.

Venezuelan Gold, Democracy for Sudan
Ken Livingstone

A protest outside the Bank of England calls for the bank to return the $1.3 billion of Venezuelan gold (31 tonnes) to the Venezuelan government and for an end to the US-backed attempted coup.

Venezuelan Gold, Democracy for Sudan
Trump and May hold up gold bars

Right-wing opposition leader Juan Guaido, illegitimately recognised by our government as President, has written to Theresa May calling for the funds to be sent to him. Among the speakers were former London Mayor Ken Livingstone and Kate Hudson of CND.

Venezuelan Gold, Democracy for Sudan

Venezuela’s 32 tons of gold are still held in the Bank of England, with the High Court’s latest decision in July 2022 based on the UK foreign secretary’s ambiguous statement about Maduro’s legitimacy as president refused to hand the gold back to its owners.

Venezualan Gold, Democracy for Sudan

More pictures at Stop Trump’s Venezuela gold & oil grab.


Sudanese support non-violent uprising – Trafalgar Square

Sudanese in Trafalgar Square support the peaceful protests in Sudan which began in December calling for democracy and for President Omar Al-Bashir to step down.

Eventually in April 2019 Al-Bashir was forced out of office, and later many of his supporters were sacked. But protests continued in Sudan against the military regime and following another coup in Octorber 2021 the country remains in conflict.

More pictures Sudanese support non-violent uprising.


Yellow Jackets continue protests – Westminster

Every weekend around this time a small group of Right-wing pro-Brexit extremists wearing yellow jackets were out protesting in Westminster for several hours, walking along the street and disrupting traffic, accompanied by a number of police.

They were angry at the slow pace at which Brexit was taking place and the failure of the EU to accede to every UK demand and play dead with its legs in the air. The Leave campaign had made great promises, none of which were achievable but which had conned the public into voting for it, and had stirred up a wave of xenophobia and racism – and this was one of its results.

Another was of course the election victory at the end of the year which led to Boris Johnson becoming Prime Minister – thanks to the help of Keir Starmer who effectively sabotaged the Labour Party’s vote. Johnson pushed through an agreement which apparently he hadn’t even read and which we are still seeing the problems from in Northern Ireland.

Although I voted to remain in Europe, I can see there were some valid complaints about our membership – but these were not what the Leave campaign was fought on. Instead they pursued a course based on lies and self-interest..

Yellow Jackets continue protests


Bolivians protests against President Morales – Parliament Square

Bolivians were in Parliament Square to protest against President Evo Morales, saying he is a dictator and accuse him of corruption and interfering with the court system to remain in power.

Morales was a labour leader and activist who became the first from the indigenous population to become president in 2006. Under his leadership there were huge gains in legal rights and social and economic position for the indigenous poor in the country.

Some of those gains were at the expense of the middle classes who had been used to ruling the country, and much of the opposition to him came from them and from their international friends, particularly in the US his opposition to neoliberalism as a dangerous example to other south American countries. Almost all press reports on Bolivia (and other countries) reflect the views of the urban middle classes rather than the people as a whole.

The constitutional question to some extent cut across communities in the country and although his standing for a fourth term as approved by the Electoral Tribunal it went against a 2016 referendum which had narrowly rejected by 51.3 to 48.7% of the votes. Like Brexit a slim majority.

Violent protests continued after Morales was forced into resigning in what his supporters called a coup d’état in November 2019, though others describe it as an uprising against his unconstitutional attempt to be president for a fourth term. Protests continued to get him reinstated and were met by violence from the security forces who were exempted from any criminal responsibility by interim president Jeanine Áñez.

A new election took place after two delays in October 2020, and resulted in a landslide victory for Morales’s Movement for Socialism (MAS) party now led by Luis Arce who was sworn in as President of Bolivia the following month. One of the new government’s first actions was to return a huge loan to the IMF taken out by Áñez in order to protect Bolivia’s economy from its unacceptable conditions.

In 2021 Áñez was arrested and in 2021 she and others were sentenced to 10 years for making “decisions contrary to the constitution”” and “dereliction of duty” for her role in the coup. Other cases are still being brought against some of those involved and protests against this continue.

Bolivians protests against President Morales


Leake Street graffiti

As I was approaching Waterloo Station I realised I had just missed a train home and would have to wait over 20 minutes for the next one so I decided to take a longer route through the tunnel under t he tracks coming out of the station to take another look at the graffiti there.

This is one of the few places in London where graffiti is allowed and encouraged, with space for some large and sometimes very intricate designs. Few last for long before they get painted over with new work, though those on the ceiling usually last a little longer.

More at Leake Street graffiti.


Heat, Democracy & Gaza – 2014

Tuesday, December 20th, 2022

Some issues stay with us – and it seems they will never go away. But things can change and do change, and I remember the long years of protest against apartheid in South Africa. But apartheid is now going strong in Israel, and things are even worse so far as democracy and fuel poverty are concerned in this country. There seems little hope now that even if Labour were to get into power things would become any better.

More and more people are getting expelled from the Labour party including many for expressing support for Palestine, including some leading Jewish members and prominent anti-racists as the party lurches towards a right-wing dictatorial stance. I’m not a party member – and would soon be expelled for what I’ve written over the years here and elsewhere were I to join, including this post. But I did vote for Labour for over 50 years though at the moment I can’t see myself ever doing so again.


Dying For Heat – Downing St, Saturday 20th Dececember

Heat, Democracy & Gaza - 2014

It makes me feel frozen just to look at this picture. It wasn’t quite as cold as it has been here over the past week but was still pretty chilly back in 2014. I would have been wearing an extra layer of thermals under a heavy jacket, scarf hat and long johns. Photography usually involves a lot of standing around and keeping warm in winter is often hard.

Heat, Democracy & Gaza - 2014

This small group of protesters had been there since 8am, around three hours by the time I arrived determined and they were determined to complete a 24hr vigil to draw attention to the impact of fuel poverty which killed more than 10,000 in the UK in 2012/3.

Heat, Democracy & Gaza - 2014

Others came for shorter periods over the day to support them and Fuel Poverty Action’s ‘Energy Bill of Rights‘ to protect the poor and end these deaths. None of the eight points in this have been taken up by the government and energy costs have risen sky high in the past year. The government blames this on Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, but this fails to explain why people in the UK are paying far more than those in other countries across Europe – and their blatant lies over this don’t fool many.
More at Dying For Heat.


Occupy Democracy Return To Parliament Square – Sat 20 Dec 2014

Heat, Democracy & Gaza - 2014

Police and private security ‘heritage wardens’ watched from the fenced off grass as protesters held a rally on the paved area at the edge of the square facing the Houses of Parliament. This is not covered by the bylaws that prohibit protests on the square without official permission.

The grass had been ‘temporarily closed’ and fenced by the Greater London Authority, officially for ‘important works‘ but actually simply to deny access to people who wanted to engage in this peaceful discussion about democracy – and of course to everyone else who might want to be on what is normally a public square. There was no sign of activities of any kind being carried out on the grass or pavements under GLA control in the square.

A series of speeches and other activities was planned calling for real democracy in a Britain where 3.5 million are living in poverty. The first speaker was the then Green Party Deputy Leader Shahrar Ali, and after speaking he responded to a lengthy and wide-ranging question and answer session about Green Party policies.

Following this was to be another performance of the Fossil-Free Nativity which I had photographed two weeks earlier, so I left to go elsewhere, returning briefly later in the day when activities were still proceeding.

More at Occupy Democracy Return To Parliament Square.


Don’t Buy Israeli ‘Blood Diamonds’ – Bond St , Sat 20 Dec 2014

Campaigners came to Bond Street to protest outside shops there which sell diamonds cut and polished in Israel, which are the main source of funding for Israeli military attacks on Gaza. Many diamonds cut there come illegally from conflict zones. Palestinians have called for a boycott of all Israeli diamonds.

Israeli attacks on Gaza had led a decline in tourism and other exports of goods and services but increased diamond sales have helped Israel fill the gap, and are said to provide $1 billion a year to the Israeli military.

My post on My London Diary includes details of some of the Israeli diamond companies and their activities which include the sponsorship of the notorious Givati Brigade of the Israeli army, accused of war crimes in Gaza by the UN Human Rights Council and responsible for the Samouni family massacre.

I photographed the protest outside De Beers, the worlds largest company involved in rough diamond sales and Leviev, whose company is reported by the New York Times to be “the world’s largest cutter and polisher of diamonds” and which is also involved in the construction of illegal Jews-only settlements on the West Bank.

There were speeches about the involvement of the diamond companies in Israeli military attacks on Gaza and many people passing the protest took fliers calling for a boycott of Israeli diamonds and expressed their support. There were also a few who clearly disapproved of the protest, including just one man who stopped briefly to hurl a few insults while I was there.

More at Don’t Buy Israeli ‘Blood Diamonds’