Posts Tagged ‘Free Palestine’

Hands Off Iraq, George Galloway & Tony Benn

Saturday, March 2nd, 2024

Hands Off Iraq, George Galloway & Tony Benn – Saturday 2nd March 2002 saw a huge protest against Britain becoming involved in the US plans to invade Iraq and depose Sadam Hussein.

Hands Off Iraq, George Galloway & Tony Benn

It’s hard to know how many marched that day, though I think there may have been around half a million of us on the streets of London,but it was certainly a very large march though not quite on the scale of that on 16th February 2003. Unfortunately I had to miss that one as I had only come out of hospital the previous day and could only walk a few yards.

Hands Off Iraq, George Galloway & Tony Benn

George Galloway, then Labour MP for Glasgow Kelvin, has come back into the news recently by winning the Rochdale by-election. He along with Tony Benn and others was one of the founders of Stop The War following the US invasion of Afghanisatan and the coalition organised this and other protests against the invasions of Iraq then being prepared by the US Miitary. Galloway was and still is a flamboyant figure and a powerful speaker, though I was rather more attracted to others in the movement such as Tony Benn, who appears in more of my pictures.

Hands Off Iraq, George Galloway & Tony Benn

But then as now, I wasn’t at the protest to photograph celebrities, but to tell the story of the event, mainly through photographs of the ordinary people taking part. Of course my pictures concentrate on those who caught my attention, sometimes by their expressions and actions, but more often through their banners and placards which link them to the cause they were marching for.

Hands Off Iraq, George Galloway & Tony Benn

Although I’d been photographing protests for some years – occasionally since the 1970s and more intensively since the 1990s, my pictures had simply gone into picture libraries and a few exhibitions and few had been used in the mass media.

Hands Off Iraq, George Galloway & Tony Benn

Shortly after Indymedia, a global network of independent news media was set up in 1999 I began publishing work on the UK site – and some of it may be still be available on the now archived site. This was of course entirely non-commercial, and had a very limited readership on the left, among anarchists and the security services.

But I also set up a new web site of my own, My London Diary, which is still available online, though its now several years since I have added new work. Although I have unlimited web space there is a limit to the number of files my web server can handle, and I was very close to this. Covid also played its part in various ways.

In the early years of My London Diary I was still working with film and only had a black and white flatbed scanner. So the pictures for Hands Off Iraq online were all in black and white, though I will also have taken some in colour, but so far I’ve digitised few colour images from these years. The 24 black and white images on My London Diary will have been made from 8×10″ black and white press prints submitted to a picture library and scanned on a flatbed scanner. In 2002 although many magazines were printed in colour the main sales for news images were still black and white, though things were rapidly changing, and I was soon to begin moving to working mainly in digital colour.

Here, with a few corrections is the text I put on line back in 2022 with these pictures:

The Stop the War, Hands off Iraq demonstration on 2 march was a large sign of public opinion. people were still leaving Hyde Park at the start of the march when Trafalgar Square was full to overflowing two and a half hours later.

Police estimates of the number were risible as usual – and can only reflect an attempt to marginalise the significant body of opinion opposed to the war or a complete mathematical inability on behalf of the police.

Tony Benn told me and other photographers it wasn’t worth taking his picture – “it won’t get in the papers unless I go and kick a policeman” but he didn’t and he was quite right.

More pictures on My London Diary


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BBC Bans Gaza Appeal – 2009

Wednesday, January 24th, 2024

BBC Bans Gaza Appeal: On Saturday 24th January 2009 marchers gathered outside the BBC in Portland Place to draw attention to the biased reporting of the Israeli attack which had begun on 27 December 2008 and had ended with a ceasefire by Israel on 18th January.

BBC Bans Gaza Appeal

The attack, known by Israel as Operation Cast Lead but in Arabic as the Gaza Massacre had killed around 1300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis and had destroyed over 46,000 homes in Israel. It had begun with air attacks but was followed on January 3rd by a ground attack.

BBC Bans Gaza Appeal

The protest called for for an end to the Israeli blockade of Gaze and for the UK to stop its arms sales to Israel, and for a free Palestine and demanded Israli war criminals to be brought to justice. It also castigated the BBC which although claiming to be impartial had accepted and broadcast much Israeli propaganda during the war while not giving a proper hearing to the views and aspirations of the Palestinians.

BBC Bans Gaza Appeal

After the war, the United Nations Fact Finding Mission and human rights organisations criticised Israel for the large number of civilian casualties and having a deliberate policy of disproportionate force aimed at the civilian population. Among the war crimes that they found evidence for was the use of children and other civilians as ‘human shields’ forcing them “blindfolded, handcuffed and at gunpoint to enter houses ahead of Israeli soldiers during military operations.”

BBC Bans Gaza Appeal

International media were denied access to the war zone by Israel in defiance of a ruling by the Israeli Supreme Court and many details only emerged later and the media in Gaza itself came under military attack. The Israeli foreign minister “instructed senior ministry officials to open an aggressive and diplomatic international public relations campaign to gain support for Israel Defense Forces operations in the Gaza Strip” and the BBC was among those news organisations who lapped up their offerings.

As the ceasefire was announced, humanitarian organisations around the world launched campaigns to bring much-needed humanitarian aid to Gaza. In the UK, the the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) which includes Oxfam, Save the Children and the Red Cross launched a nation-wide appeal, but the BBC (and Sky) refused to broadcast it although it went out on ITV, Channel 4 and Channel Five.

It was a decision which clearly made the BBC management’s pro-Israel position crystal clear to the nation and was widely seen, including by many BBC journalists as a failure by the BBC to uphold its reputation for impartiality.

Which is perhaps why Tony Benn was invited onto the Today programme that morning to talk about the decision – and he came on and read the appeal for them. At the start of the protest I photographed him before and after he went in with a deputation to deliver a letter of protest to the BBC – police stopped me going in with him. Among those who also spoke outside the BBC was Jeremy Corbyn.

Pro-Israel press bias continued with the Press Association, who reported this press conference as the protest, giving the number present as 400. Even the police gave a figure of 5,000 – as usual roughly half of the actual number.

The protest was largely peaceful, though some had brought shoes to throw at Broadcasting House, but policing outside there was rather heavy-handed. When police made a few arrests when the march approached Piccadilly Circus the march halted and threatened to stay blocking traffic until the arrests stopped. They did and the march moved on to its final rally in Trafalgar Square.

More on My London Diary at Gaza: Protest March from the BBC.


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Goodbye & Good Riddance 2023 – October

Saturday, January 6th, 2024

Goodbye & Good Riddance 2023 – October began as just another month, but the world changed with the Hamas attack across the Gaza border with Israel on October 7th. I missed the first emergency protests against the Israeli response but the rest of my year was dominated by protests against the killing of civilians and children in Gaza by Israeli forces.

Goodbye & Good Riddance 2023
‘Stop Starmer’ Meeting Warns Us All. Camden London, 7 Oct 2023.
A day before the Labour conference people meet in Keir Starmer’s constituency to warn everyone how dangerous a Starmer-led government would be. Those present included many former Labour Party members who say he has no principles and list almost 30 pledges he has so far reneged on, including green jobs, NHS outsourcing, Lords reform, free school meals, workers rights, oil contracts, PR, childcare. Paula Peters of DPAC speaking.
Peter Marshall
Goodbye & Good Riddance 2023
Cancel the Debt of the Global South. Bank, London, 12 Oct 2023.
65 bags for Climate Debt against 1 for debt repayments. While the World Bank/IMF meet in Marrakesh campaigners at the Bank of England from Debt for Climate, War on Want and others join in worldwide protests for the cancellation of debts of the Global South. They are owed Climate debt for damage caused by fossil fuels 65 times as much as their debt repayments.
Peter Marshall
Goodbye & Good Riddance 2023
Barclays Told Drop Polluter Drax. Canary Wharf, London. 19 Oct 2023.
Axe Drax. XR and other campaigners at Barclays Canary Wharf HQ demand they end support for Drax, the world’s biggest burner of trees which now gets around £2m a day of UK climate subsidies intended for renewable energy for its highly polluting power station, and is seeking extra subsidies for an unproven and unworkable carbon capture climate scam. Drax burns wood pellets mainly made by clear felling mature trees in the USA.
Peter Marshall
Goodbye & Good Riddance 2023
Stand with the Palestinian Resistance! Oxford St, London. 21 Oct 2023.
Members of Fight Racism Fight Imperialism and the Revolutionary Communist Group support Palestinians resisting the Zionist state of Israel which for many years has oppressed Palestinians. They protested on Oxford Street outside British businesses, banks and institutions including Marks & Spencer which have long supported the Israeli apartheid state.
Peter Marshall
Goodbye & Good Riddance 2023
National March for Palestine – Stop the War on Gaza. London. 21 Oct 2023.
Well over 100,000 march calling for a ceasefire and an end to the violence, for a lifting of Israel’s siege and for full humanitarian aid to be sent into Gaza immediately. They called for a just peace in the Middle East and freedom for Palestine. I was too tired after standing watching the march go past for around two and a half hours that I went home rather than photograph the rally.
Peter Marshall
UFFC Annual Rally & Procession 2023. London, 28th October 2023.
The annual remembrance procession by the United Families and Friends Campaign (UFFC) marching from Trafalgar Square to Downing St for a rally with speakers from the families whose relatives were killed by police and in penal, mental health and immigration detention. They call for justice and proper investigations of the officers involved suspected of crimes.
Peter Marshall
National March for Gaza – Ceasefire Now, London, UK. 28 Oct 2023.
Many thousands march through London called for an immediate ceasefire as Israeli forces bombarded the country and cut off all communications. Thousands of children and other civilians including 110 medical staff have already been killed and supplies of water, food, medicines and fuel are running out with a with Israel denying access to all but a tiny trickle of humanitarian aid and ignoring the UN General Assembly vote.
Peter Marshall
More Pictures – Gaza Ceasefire Now! London, UK. 28 Oct 2023.
Peter Marshall
Gaza Ceasefire Now! Protest At Waterloo Station, London. 28 Oct 2023.
Several hundred protesters sat down in Waterloo Station concourse in a protest calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza as Israeli forces bombarded the country and cut off all communications. Thousands of children and other civilians including 110 medical staff have already been killed and supplies of water, food, medicines and fuel are running out with a with Israel denying access to all but a tiny trickle of humanitarian aid and ignoring the UN General Assembly vote.
Peter Marshall

More from my Facebook albums for 2023 tomorrow.


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Free Palestine, Free Ahad Tamimi – 2017

Saturday, December 23rd, 2023

Free Palestine, Free Ahad Tamimi – Six years ago Palestine was also in the news and on Saturday 23rd December 2017 I photographed three protests in London related to the country and its occupation by Israel. These were protests called at short notice and there were larger protests in the New Year.


Jerusalem, Capital of Palestine – US Embassy

Free Palestine, Free Ahad Tamimi

Outside the US Embassy – still then in Grosvenor Square – a rally by Palestinians and their supporters condemned the decision by US President Trump’s announcement that the US Embassy in Israel will move to Jerusalem.

Free Palestine, Free Ahad Tamimi

Jerusalem is one of the oldest of world cities and is of great significance to three major world religions. It was where Soloman built the first temple after the city had been captured by his father, King David around three thousand years ago. Here Jesus was tried and crucified around 30AD, and here that the prophet Mohammed died and ascended into heaven in 632AD, and the Temple Mount is the third holiest site in Islam with the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosque.

Free Palestine, Free Ahad Tamimi

Jerusalem was from 1923 until 1948 the capital of Palestine, and in 1948 was declared by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 to be an international city. After the 1967 Six Day War Israel gained control of the whole of the city and in 1980 Israel passed its Jerusalem Law declaring it the “complete and united” capital of Israel. The United Nations Security Council responded with ‘Resolution 478 on 20 August 1980, which declared that the Jerusalem Law is “a violation of international law“, is “null and void and must be rescinded forthwith“. Member states were called upon to withdraw their diplomatic representation from Jerusalem.’

Free Palestine, Free Ahad Tamimi

Trump’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem was a clear dismissal of this UN resolution and was condemned by those who spoke at the rally. They called for peace and freedom for Palestine and also condemned the increase in hate crimes following Trump’s announcements and the brutal repression of protests against it in Palestine, including the shooting of peaceful protesters, one in a wheelchair by Israeli forces, and the beating up and detention of 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi and members of her family.

Jerusalem, Capital of Palestine


Free Palestine, Free Ahad Tamimi – M&S, Oxford St,

The protest invited people to “discover more” about M&S and to boycott the Israeli goods they sell

The Revolutionary Communist Group held a weekly protest outside Marks & Spencer’s flagship store on Oxford Street for 13 years as a part of their ‘Victory to the Intifada‘ campaign in support of freedom for Palestine and an end to the Israeli military occupation of Palestine.

They point out that M&S support Israel by selling goods produced their including the illegal sale of some items produced in the occupied territories and urge shoppers to boycott M&S and support the growing BDS campaign – Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions.

They say many British companies including Marks and Spencer are collaborators with the apartheid regime in Israel and call for the release of all Palestinian political prisoners, many of whom are being held effectively indefinitely without trial or have been sentenced in unfair trials. Israel has reacted to the BDS campaign with a number of schemes including campaigns in both the Tory and Labour parties. Many of the controversies about anti-Semitism in the Labour party and elsewhere are a part of this orchestrated anti-BDS campaign, particularly directed against Jeremy Corbyn for his very public support for freedom for Palestine.

Today’s protest was a special one called to demand the immediate release of 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi, beaten up and arrested by Israeli soldiers at her home in the village of Nabi Saleh in the occupied West Bank at 4am on Tuesday 19 December.

Free Palestine, Free Ahad Tamimi


Free Ahed Tamimi – Trafalgar Square,

Another group of protesters calling for the release of Ahed Tamimi were in Trafalgar Square to condemn the kidnap, beating up and arrest of 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi by Israeli soldiers at 4am on Tuesday 19 December, and the later arrest of her mother Nariman Tamimi and cousin Nour Tamimi, and called for their immediate release.

The two younger women had earlier slapped Israeli soldiers in their occupied village of Nabi Saleh when their 14 year old male cousin was shot in the face by Israeli soldiers. Among those taking part in the protest were some who knew Ahed and her family personally and had visited them in their village of Nabi Saleh where regular protests are brutally repressed by the Israeli army.

Ahed’s father Bassem Tamini was also in some of the photographs the protesters held and he has been detained by the military many times in the past.

This was a fairly small protest in front of the National Gallery and had been going for some time when two men turned up to shout at the protesters and disrupt it.

They tell the protesters that Palestine will never be free and that Israel has offered peace, but the protesters reply that Israel has never been prepared to make a serious offer of peace with justice. When a two state solution seemed possible following the Oslo accords, Israel prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated for having signed them and Benjamin Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon, both opposed to the peace, took power in Israel, and the building of settlements on occupied land tripled.

The two men told the protesters they should “go home” which seemed a peculiarly stupid and insensitive comment as some of those present had lost their homes in Palestine when they were forced out of them by Israel.

Both of the men were well-known Zionists who have attempted to disrupt other protests calling for boycotts of Israel and supporting Palestine. Their shouting and disruption had the effect of calling more attention to the protest calling for the release of Ahed Tamini. After some minutes they were joined by a third Zionist, and angry woman who joined them to scream a message of hate and then left.

Eventually police arrived and told two men that they should behave themselves and suggested they leave. They didn’t go but quietened down considerably. The following year after even more aggressively disruptive behaviour at a pro-Palestine protest one of the two was fined and issued with a restraining order under the Public Order Act.

One of the protesters complained to the officers about the racist comments the two had made to him, but the police showed no interest. The protest continued but it was soon time for me to catch my train home.

Free Ahed Tamimi



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Armistice Day Protests 2006

Saturday, November 11th, 2023

Armistice Day Protests – Today I hope to be photographing a huge protest calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and peace in the Middle East as it makes its way from Hyde Park to the US Embassy. It’s an event some Tory politicians have tried to arouse controversy around, aided by some of the media in their lies. Armistice Day has always been an occasion for protests for peace and making it out as some huge national celebration we all share in is untrue as this post shows.

Armistice Day Protests

Both the BBC and the Tories seized on the fact that some people at a protest in London shouted ‘Jihad!’ but lie in saying it was an offshoot from the huge march taking place in London calling for peace and justice for Palestine.

It’s a lie that the BBC continues to let them promulgate without question, although their journalists must surely know that this was at an entirely separate protest organised by Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, an Islamic fundamentalist political organisation dedicated to the establishment of an Islamic caliphate, whose lead banner at their protest read “Muslim Armies! Rescue the People of Palestine!”.

Armistice Day Protests

I’ve photographed many protests by Hizb ut-Tahrir in London since I first came across them in 2004 and they are very different and entirley separate from those organised by mainstream Muslim organisations, Stop The War, CND and the others now leading the protests by hundreds of thousands across the country calling for an end to the killing of civilians – whether Palestinian or Israelis – in Palestine and Israel. Most are particularly enraged by the killing of so many children in Gaza by air strikes which Israel claims are targeted, but are targeted on places where many people live and so die in them.

I think most of us who march – and the many more who support the marches but are unable to attend – want peace and the justice that can only come if there is a thriving country where Palestinians can live normal lives in peace and not under military rule and an apartheid regime.

Armistice Day Protests

Probably that can only come about with a two-state solution and a massive world aid programme to restore the incredible damage in Gaza as well as establishing rational borders for Palestine with the removal of many of the illegal settlements.

I grew up in a largely working class area on the outskirts of London in the 1950s, and then I think it was true that virtually the whole of the country paused to celebrate and commemorate the armistice, joining in with the minute’s silence in schools, shops, works and offices and traffic on the roads coming to a halt.

Armistice Day Protests

But even then relatively few joined in the military style parades on Remembrance Sunday, with most of my friend’s parents who had fought in WW2 having had more than enough of that kind of thing. My attendance was compulsory as a Wolf Cub and Boy Scout but I resented it and my freezing legs as cold November winds blew up my shorts – and the derision from friends who weren’t members. And by the time I was a Senior Scout we collectively refused to take part.

The idea that Armistice Day is not a suitable day for a peaceful protest calling for an end to the fighting and peace in the Middle East seems to me to be beyond absurd – yet again is taken seriously and promoted by the BBC. Armistice Day has I think always seen protests for peace – and November 11th 2006 was no exception.

On that day I began on Park Lane, where there was a brief ceremony in front of the sculpture commemorating animals who died in war in the central area there at 11 am. There were only a small group there, wearing poppies they described as purple, though to me they seemed more lilac or mauve. In 2018, the Peace Pledge Union sold 122,385 white poppies: more than any year since white poppies were first worn in 1933, and many keep their white poppies to wear in following years, as unlike the red poppies their sale is not intended to raise funds but they are simply worn as a symbol of remembrance and peace.

I moved on to Grosvenor Square and the US Embassy where School Students Against The War had scheduled a ‘die-in’. Unfortunately only around 20 had turned up for it – probably now many work on Saturdays or prefer to enjoy a lie-in at home.

Another short walk took me to Marks & Spencer on Oxford Street, where a protest was taking place as a part of the fourth International Week of Action against the Apartheid Wall in Palestine.

Fight Racism, Fight Imperialism who had organised this event also hold regular vigils outside M&S every Thursday evening, calling for a boycott of the company as part of a wider Boycott Israel campaign. M&S sell goods including those coming illegally from the occupied territories of Palestine and give financial and moral support to Israel.

School Students Against The War came from the US Embassy to join them and staged their die-in on the wide pavement in front of M&S. This certainly generated a great deal of attention and they made some short speeches to the the crowds milling past M&S before marching off down Oxford Street with their megaphones and banner. They staged a second ‘die-in’ further down the street, again attracting the attention of shoppers, although perhaps surprisingly, not the police none of whom seemed to be around.

I went on to Trafalgar Square where I hoped to photograph the fountains filled with red poppies, but I arrived a little late to find a man in waders fishing them out with a shrimp net. It was bizarre if not surreal, although not quite what I’d been hoping for.

My main event of the day was taking place on Whitehall, at the Cenotaph. Not the military parade ‘at the eleventh hour‘ which I had refused to cover, but a commemoration by some of the families of servicemen killed in Iraq.

Led by a piper they marched solemnly to stand in front of it, while they came up to read out the names of the 121 dead British servicemen killed in the Iraq war. A small selection of names of Iraqi civilians killed was also read out. It’s difficult to estimate the exact number who have died, and more deaths have occured since 2006. The US Brown University Watson Institute now states “we know that between 280,771-315,190 have died from direct war related violence caused by the U.S., its allies, the Iraqi military and police, and opposition forces from the time of the invasion through March 2023.”

A deputation then took a letter in to Downing Street for Prime Minister Tony Blair who had misled parliament and ignored the largest protest ever seen in the UK to take the country into a misguided invasion together with the USA.

Among those taking part in what was an extremely moving ceremony were Rose Gentle of Military Families Against The War, and others who have lost sons or partners in Iraq, including Ann Lawrence, Roger Bacon, Natasha Mclellan, Maureen Bacon as well as Lance Corporal George Solomou, from the London Regiment of the Territorial Army who refused to go to fight in Iraq. Families of some serving soldiers also took part.

Also there and supporting the event among others were Kate Hudson of CND, Yvonne Ridley and Lindsey German of Respect and Stop The War, fashion designer Katherine Hamnett, and Jeremy Corbyn MP.

This was an event that attracted considerable media attention; there is a delicate balance between intruding on private grief, but those there had chosen to make their grief public, and we had to record it for them.

More Pictures on My London Dairy – Scroll down the page there for links.


End Killing In Palestine & Doctors Protest – 2015

Tuesday, October 17th, 2023

End killing in Palestine & Doctors Protest: Eight years aso on Saturday 17th October 2015 protesters came to the street close to the Israeli Embassy to call for peace in Palestine and an end to Israeli repression. Later I photographed Junior Doctors protesting against changes to their contracts being imposed by the government.


End the killing in Palestine – Israeli Embassy

End killing in Palestine & Doctors Protest

A large crowd were squashed into a protest pen set up by police on the far side of High Street Kensington opposite the private road where Israel has its embassy. Many had Palestinian flags and wore the Palestinian keffiyeh headscarf, and they included many Palestinians.

End killing in Palestine & Doctors Protest

There had been a number of events over the previous month, in particular over what appeared to be a change to the de facto arrangements since 1967 for access by Palestinians to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and an apparent end to the ban on Jewish religious ceremonies there, as well as growing frustration over the continuing suppression of human rights and the failure of any peace talks.

End Killing In Palestine & Doctors Protest - 2015

Tension was increased by a number of uncoordinated stabbings in what has been called the ‘Jerusalem intifada’, carried out by lone Palestinians against Israeli police, military personnel and civilians. This unrest lasted well into 2016.

End Killing In Palestine & Doctors Protest - 2015

In response Israeli forces killed over 200 Palestinians, many of whom were allegedly carrying out attacks on Israelis. But human rights organisations and Palestinian leaders say that many of these were unlawful ‘extrajudicial’ killings, with some of these being killed posing no threat.

Many of those who spoke at the protest – and many are listed and shown on My London Diary – complained about the one-sided coverage of the events in the UK media, particularly the BBC, saying that while the killing of Israelis makes the BBC news headlines, the deaths of Palestinians at the hand of Israeli security forces, illegal settlers and other Jewish extremists is seldom mentioned, although some BBC correspondents make a point of doing so despite the corporate pressure to downplay them.

More at End the killing in Palestine.


Junior Doctors protest to save the NHS – Waterloo Place & Whitehall

Junior Doctors and their supporters including many consultants and other medical staff gathered for a rally in Waterloo Place before marching down Whitehall to a rally in Parliament Square.

They were protesting against new contracts which Health Minister Jeremy Hunt was imposing on them. These will mean more working unsocial hours at standard rates and remove the safeguards that prevent hospitals from more serious overwork. They also penalised those who volunteer for charities, have families or carry out research.

Many doctors see the new contracts as a part of the increasing attempts to privatise the NHS for the profits of private medical firms, which many Tory MPs have interests in. Overwhelmingly doctors who work in the NHS want to see it kept as a service dedicated to the public good rather than working for private profit.

Hunt says the changes are essential to make the NHS a 24 hour 7 day service, but it is already that, and there were many placards naming doctors who would have come to the protest but could not do so as they were at work.

Some of the placards against NHS privatisation for the march were designed by Street graffiti artist Stik who is standing under two of them in this picture. The marchers crowded into Parliament Square but there was not enough room for them all at the rally.

More at Junior Doctors protest to save the NHS


Israel, Palestine & Syrian Refugees – 2015

Friday, October 13th, 2023

Israel, Palestine & Syrian Refugees: On Tuesday 13th October 2015 supporters of Israel and Palestine faced each other on the street in Hammersmith. From there I went to a candlelit vigil at Parliament calling for the UK to resettle Syrian Refugees.


Zionists and Palestinian protests over killings

Israel, Palestine & Syrian Refugees

The Zionist Federation had come to protest outside the Palestinian Authority UK Mission following a number of stabbings of Jews in Israel. Jewish and other groups supporting Palestinian resistance to the occupation and Israeli terror against Palestinians came to oppose them, calling for an end to Israeli occupation and all violence against both Jews and Palestinians in Israel.

Israel, Palestine & Syrian Refugees

Police kept the two groups well apart though both had powerful sound systems so they could each hear what the others were saying. But while the Palestinian ambassador to the UK Professor Manuel Hassassian quite clearly spoke condemning violence on both sides, a speaker at the Zionist Federation protest continued to insist as the main point of his speech that Palestinians refused to condemn violence against Jews.

Israel, Palestine & Syrian Refugees

I commented then:

“There is of course a great assymetry between violence against Israel and Palestine, with much smaller numbers of Israelis being killed, largely in suicide bomb attacks and knifings. Palestinians have been killed in much larger numbers, by the attacks of the Israeli army, by Israeli police shootings and by the Jewish settlers occupying parts of Palestine; Israeli army and police turn a blind eye to their raids on Palestinian villages in which people are sometimes killed as well as the olive trees on which they depend being uprooted.”

My London Diary
Israel, Palestine & Syrian Refugees

Many of those in both groups were Jewish, with the pro-Palestine counter-demonstration being organised by Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods and supported by The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and the British Committee for Universities of Palestine, as well as other Jewish protesters. There were also some Palestinians and others from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the British left which also includes many Jews.

Supporting the Zionist Federation were some right-wing British Groups including some extremist Christian groups. The shouting match was continuing when I left to go to Westminster.

More at Zionists and Palestinian protests over killings.


Citizens UK Vigil for more Refugees – Old Palace Yard, Westminster

Although the British public has been greatly moved by stories of refugees fleeing Syria drowning as they cross the Mediterranean and struggling as they cross Europe the UK government has so far made only a trivial commitment and limited this to admitting a small number from those still in refugee camps in the countries around Syria. Overwhelmingly when people see the actual numbers they think this is nothing like enough, with many individuals, organisations and local authorities making offers to take in refugees.

People fear that many more will freeze to death in the bitter European winter and Citizens UK were calling on the government to take urgent action. Their demand for the UK to take a thousand more Syrian refugees by Christmas and then 10,000 a year for the next five years seemed rather low given the huge numbers now in the refugee camps – where six children froze to death last winter and so many trying to make their way across Europe.

Among the speakers calling for the government to take urgent action to save refugee lives were SNP MP Angus Robertson, Labour MP Yvette Cooper, a leading East London Imam, The Right Reverend Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, Bosnian refugee Zrinka Bralo of Citizens UK and Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron.

Labour MP Yvette Cooper

Protests like this fall largely on deaf ears in the government, who are scared of doing anything that might anger the right-wing press and the racist bigots in their own party. But Cameron did later agree to resettle 1000 by Christmas and considerably large numbers were admitted from 2015 to 2019.

Tim Farron

The Tories keep making pledges to cut immigration and keep harassing migrants and imprisoning in detention centres sometimes for several years those who have come to the UK to claim asylum rather than attempting to process their claims in a timely manner. According to a House of Commons Research Briefing there are currently around 140,000 people awaiting an initial decision, a small number appealing there refusal and over 40,000 “Subject to Removal” having had their claims rejected.

Now they complain about the huge costs of housing asylum seekers and resort to extreme plans such as sending them to Rwanda or housing them in crowded barges. Many of those who are currently prevented from working have skills which we need and could be making a contribution to our country – and paying taxes.

Between 2014 and 2020, 20,000 Syrians were resettled in the UK – compared to around 180,000 Ukrainians in 2022-3. The total number of asylum applications in the UK in 2022 was only a little over half the average based on population for the 27 EU countries.

More pictures at Citizens UK Vigil for more Refugees.


Al Quds Day march for Jerusalem 2014

Tuesday, July 25th, 2023

Al Quds Day march for Jerusalem: In 2014 the annual Al Quds Day march was held on Friday 25th July and came the day before a major protest close to the Israeli Embassy over attacks by Israeli forces on Gaza which had killed over a thousand Palestinians, mainly civilians.

Al Quds Day march for Jerusalem

I’ve written many times before about these marches which began in Iran in 1979 and is a anti-Zionist protest in solidarity with the Palestinian people and in support of their rights and specifically concerned with the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem (Al Quds) and the West Bank which followed the 1967 Six-Day War. Israel celebrates this with a national holiday on Jerusalem Day.

Al Quds Day march for Jerusalem

Public events take place across the Arab world, particularly in countries with large Shia Muslim communities and also in London and some cities in Europe and America. Many of these events are organised by groups funded by Iran.

Al Quds Day march for Jerusalem

Critics have often accused the event of being anti-Semitic, but on the various occasions I’ve photographed them there has been little evidence of this. I have seenboyco a few people who have turned up with anti-Semitic slogans on placards being forced to discard them or leave the march by the stewards.

Al Quds Day march for Jerusalem

Although the vast majority of marchers are Muslims there is also a significant number of Jews on the march, most obviously with the ultra-orthodox Neturei Karta Jews carried their usual placards and banners against the Zionist state and condemning the atrocities carried out in its name. They say that Judaism is not a nationalist religion and reject any idea of a Jewish State. But many of the the non-Muslims from various left groups that support the march are also Jewish.

The march in London was fairly large with perhaps 5-10,000 people, including many who had come in coaches from mosques around the country. Many had come with families and some marched together, but mostly men and women marched in separate groups as you can see from my pictures. The women were considerably more colourfully dressed and along with the Neturei Karta – all male – are over-represented in my coverage of the event.

The march calls for Freedom for Palestine and for all oppressed people across the world, and it also calls for a boycott of Israel and an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and Israeli apartheid. And clearly this is an anti-Zionist event, but not anti-Jewish, as one of the chants used by the marchers made clear: ‘Judaism Yes, Zionism No!’.

I left the march as it turned off of Regent Street to make its way to a rally at the US Embassy. By that point there had been no sign of the opposition to the march I had seen in some previous years from Zionist, Iranian freedom, communist and royalist movements and UK right wing fringe groups, but I think there many have been some Zionists waiting to protest against it at the US Embassy.

Many more pictures at Al Quds Day march for Jerusalem.


Royal College of Music, Al Quds 2015

Monday, July 10th, 2023

Royal College of Music, Al Quds: I photographed two unrelated protests on Friday 10th July 2015. The first was calling for decent pay and conditions for outsourced workers and the second was the annual Al Quds day march.


IWGB protest at Royal College of Music – Kensington

Royal College of Music, Al Quds

Outsourced cleaners and other low paid workers at the Royal College of Music immediately south of the Albert Hall in South Kensington belonging to the IWGB were protesting to get similar conditions of sick pay, holidays and pension to workers employed directly by the RCM.

Royal College of Music, Al Quds

The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain is a registered trade union which organises cleaners, porters, hospitality workers, domestic workers and other precarious workers in a number of sectors. It is a grass-roots union run by and representing mainly low paid migrant workers in London and has proved effective in getting better pay and conditions for these groups of workers who have largely been neglected by the larger traditional unions, who have often seemed more concerned with preserving differentials in pay than in improving the lot of the lowest paid.

Royal College of Music, Al Quds

The IWGB had called for talks with the RCM management and their employers to discuss their claims, offering to call off the protests if they agreed to this. But the employers had refused to recognise the IWGB or to hold talks with them.

Royal College of Music, Al Quds

So the IWGB and supporters came and held a noisy protest outside the College entrance, handing out leaflets about why they were protesting to those entering the College for a graduation ceremony. RCM security tried to move them further away where the protest would probably not have been heard inside, but they refused to move, while taking care not to impede those entering or leaving the college.

One woman came out to argue with the protesters, telling them to go away and eventually lost her temper and kicked one of them. The RCM’s head of security quickly led her away. The protest was continuing when I left for my next event.

IWGB protest at Royal College of Music


Al Quds Day march – Portland Place to US Embassy

The annual Al Quds Day march on the last Friday of Ramadan, organised by the Islamic Human Rights Commission gathered close to BBC Broadcasting House, marching from there to a rally at the US Embassy, calling for justice and freedom for Palestine.

As I’ve written in previous posts, he celebration of Al Quds Day on the last Friday of Ramadan was introduced by Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran 1979 and spread from there to other countries. The march in London is organised by the IHRC which has received some support from the Iranian regime.

As usual, most of the banners and placards and the chanting on the march were calling for freedom for Palestine, and there were many placards against Israeli violence in Gaza and the West Bank, and calling for a boycott of Israel, a movement which seems to be growing in strength.

This year I saw few celebrating Khomeini and fewer Hezbollah flags and badges than in some previous years. As usual the Neturei Karta were prominent with their anti-Zionist placards stating that ‘Authentic Jewry Always Opposed Zionism And the State of “Israel”‘, but I found no evidence for anti-Semitism, which opponents of the march always charge it with.

Perhaps because the march was on a Friday there were fewer Zionists protesting against the march, and I only saw one man who was protected by march stewards and then led away by police. I imagine there would have been more waiting to protest against the march when it reached the US Embassy, but I left before then.

Al Quds Day march


Votes, Love, Arms & Al Quds

Monday, July 3rd, 2023

Votes, Love, Arms & Al Quds: Sunday 3rd July 2016 was a busy day for me, photographing young people demanding the right to vote, a board remembering murdered MP Jo Cox, a picket against sponsorship of the London Transport Museum by one of the largest arms companies in the world and then the always controversial annual Al Quds Day march and its Zionist counter-demonstration.


16-17 Year olds demand the vote – Trafalgar Square to Parliament Sq

Votes, Love, Arms & Al Quds

Many young people who were not old enough to vote in the EU referendum were outraged at not being able to take part in the vote which will impact their future more than that of older generations.

Votes, Love, Arms & Al Quds

They point out that many of those who did vote will die before the worst effects of Brexit are felt, and that it was the vote of the eldest in the population to leave Europe than swung the vote. Young people, including those too young to have a vote were strongly in favour of staying in Europe.

Votes, Love, Arms & Al Quds

The march by several hundred people, mainly 16-17 year olds, called for a lowering of the voting age to 16. Most of the speakers at the rally in Parliament Square were teenagers.

More pictures at 16-17 Year olds demand the vote.


Jo Cox banner of love – Parliament Sq

Votes, Love, Arms & Al Quds

People were still coming to sign and write tributes on a giant board in Parliament Square to Labour MP Jo Cox, brutally murdered on 16th June on the street in Birstall where she had gone to hold a constituency surgery.

Cox, who had worked for some years at Oxfam GB as head of policy and advocacy had become an MP in 2015 and had founded and chaired the parliamentary group Friends of Syria, campaigning over the Syrian Civil War, and supported Palestinian rights and the BDS campaign. She was one of few MPs who stood up and campaigned for refugees and their rights.

Her murderer, a constituent with far-right white supremacist obsessions, shot her three times before multiple stabbings. He was sentenced to life with a whole-life tariff.

Jo Cox banner of love


Arms dealers out of LT Museum – London Transport Museum, Covent Garden

I stopped briefly outside the London Transport Museum to talk with and photograph campaigners from the London Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) who were holding a picket to demand the museum end its sponsorship by Thales, the worlds 12th largest arms company. Thales supplies missiles, drones and other military products, selling them to repressive regimes around the world including Saudi Arabia, Russia, Colombia, Kazakhstan and the UAE.

More pictures at Arms dealers out of LT Museum.


Al Quds Day March – BBC to US Embassy

Several thousands, mainly Palestinians and Muslims from around the country, as well as other supporters of Palestinian freedom marched from the BBC to a rally at the US Embassy.

The final Friday of every Ramadan was designated Quds (Jerusalem) Day by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979 as a day when Muslims around the world would demonstrate their solidarity in support of the Palestinians and call for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The London march takes place on the Sunday following.

A few supporters of Israel tried to protest against the march, holding Israeli flags and shouting at the marchers, but police kept them away.

Some of the marchers came with flags and t-shirts supporting the Lebanese Shia Islamist political party and militant group, Hizbullah (Hezbollah). Since 2019 this entire organisation has been proscribed in the UK, but in 2016 we still followed the EU in making a distinction between it as a political party with MPs in the Lebanese government and as a terrorist group.

Among the marchers were a group of Neturei Karta Orthodox Jews whose religious beliefs reject Zionism and the Israeli state. Their posters say Judaism is ‘G-dly & Compassionate’ while Zionism is ‘G-dless & Merciless’ and that ‘Jews True to their faith will Never recognise ZIONIST occupation’ and other similar statements.

At the US Embassy a large force of police separated their rally from a counter-protest by Sussex Friends of Israel, the Zionist Federation and the Israel Advocacy Movement. They displayed placards demanding ‘Peace Not Hate’ and Israeli flags.

This group reserved its loudest and most angry shouting for the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta Jews who came and stood facing them from a wall in front of the US Embassy.

Much more on My London Diary:

Al Quds Day March
Supporters Stand Up for Israel