Posts Tagged ‘health’

Homes, Health, Jobs, Education, Iran, Palestine & Topshop

Saturday, April 16th, 2022

Homes, Health, Jobs, Education, Iran, Palestine & Topshop – Saturday 16th April 2016 was another busy day for me in London.


March for Homes, Health, Jobs, Education – Gower St

The Peoples Assembly Against Austerity march demanding an end to privatisation of the NHS, secure homes for all, rent control and an end to attacks on social housing, an end to insecure jobs and the scrapping of the Trade Union Bill, tuition fees and the marketisation of education.

The march was a large one, with the crowd filling across the street for around a quarter of a mile well before the start and at times it was slow to move through the crowd to get to a stage where there were a number of speeches, including from Ian Hodson, Baker’s union (BWAFU) General Secretary and Kate Hudson of CND before the march set off.

Eventually the march did set off, and I went with it taking pictures for some distance, working my way towards the back of the march before leaving to take the tube to Charing Cross to be in Whitehall before the start of the rally.

March for Homes, Health, Jobs, Education


Ahwazi protest against Iranian repression – Parliament Square

I’d expected to find the next protest at Downing St, but there was no sign of it when I arrived, but I saw them marching a short distance away and ran and after and caught up with them shortly before they reached Parliament Square Ahwazi Arabs in London were demonstrating as they have done every April since 2005 in solidarity with anti-government protests in Iran on the anniversary of the peaceful Ahwazi intifada in 2005 in which many were killed and hundreds arrested by the Iranian regime.

Ahwaz is a mainly ethnically Arab province that was invaded by Iran in 1925 and ten years later incorporated into the state, given the name Khuzestan in 1936. Since then the state has persecuted the Ahwazi attempting to eliminate their culture and have brought in many Persian settlers. The motive for the conquest was undoubtedly the rich oil reserves which were for many years exploited by the British Anglo-Iranian Oil Company which became BP in 1954.

There have been many anti-Iran protests and insurgency since 1925, and in April 2005 there were four days of widespread peaceful unrest put down by the Iranian military with at least 12-15 deaths and many injuries and arrests. A similar uprising at the time of the 2011 Arab spring was also brutally suppressed, and the repression of the entire community continues, with arbitrary arrests and executions.

Ahwazi protest against Iranian repression


Homes, Health, Jobs, Education Rally – Trafalgar Square

I walked back up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square which was now packed with marchers from the Peoples Assembly Against Austerity march demanding an end to privatisation of the NHS, secure homes for all, rent control and an end to attacks on social housing, an end to insecure jobs and the scrapping of the Trade Union Bill, tuition fees and the marketisation of education.

Many of the marchers had placards and posters calling for Prime Minister David Cameron, ‘Dodgy Dave’ to resign, and there were a number of pigs heads referring to his initiation in a bizarre ritual at the notorious Oxford dining society, the Piers Gaveston, where, according his unauthorized biography by Michael Ashcroft, as the Daily Mail put it “the future PM inserted a private part of his anatomy into the animal’s mouth.”

At the rally there was a long succession of speeches, including by then Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett, Len McCluskey General Secretary of Unite and others, some of whom I photographed. But more interesting is perhaps my picture of Danielle Tiplady, a leader of the Bursary or Bust campaign looking rather like one of the lions as she talks with Natalie Bennett.

Homes, Health, Jobs, Education Rally


Dancing for Homes, Health, Jobs, Education – Trafalgar Square

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I drifted away from the rally as the speeches continued, it seemed forever, to the North Terrace from where I could hear music. There were some of the marchers preferred to dance to the ‘dig it sound system‘, which carried a message from Tom Paine: “The World is my country – All people are my brethren – To do good is my religion“.

Not that the speeches that I heard were not interesting, but there were just too many different things covered by the People’s Assembly March, and while their causes were all legitimate and demonstrated the terrible suffering this immoral government for the wealthly was inflicting on the majority population, it had just gone on (like the government) far too long.

Dancing for Homes, Health, Jobs, Education


Palestine Prisoners Parade – Trafalgar Square

Also on the North Terrace were a group of people who had taken part in the People’s Assembly March dressed in clown outfits as the Palestine Prisoners Parade. They attracted attention with juggling, hula hoops and speeches to the often arbitrary detention without proper trial suffered by many Palestinians held in Israeli jails. Many are on rolling detention orders, released and immediately re-arrested and put back in prison.

Those imprisoned in Israel include young children, often held for long stretches in solitary confinement, accused of throwing stones, as well as people who have objected when Israeli settlers have stolen fruit or land. Human rights organisations have protested about the imprisonment and treatment of many of them, and some have taken part in hunger strikes against their continued incarceration.

Palestine Prisoners Parade


UVW Topshop 2 protest – Strand

As the rally was coming to a close the United Voices of the World hold a further protest against Topshop, demanding the reinstatement of 2 workers suspended by cleaning contractor Britannia for calling for the London Living Wage of £9.40 an hour for all those working at Topshop.

UVW General Secretary Petros Elia

Class War had come to support the UVW, and when a large crowd of police came to try and move the protesters away there were arguments and quite a bit of pushing by police when people tried to prevent them filming protesters by holding up banners and placards. One man was pulled to one side by police who appeared to be about to arrest him; a crowd formed around him as he refused to answer police questions and eventually the officer concerned gave up.

There were a few short speeches including one by Susanna, one of the two cleaners victimised by Britannia and Topshop, who broke down in tears before continuing and ending her speech to loud applause. The protesters then decided it was time to march to another location.

UVW Topshop 2 protest – Strand


UVW Topshop & John Lewis Protest – Oxford St

The UVW marched to Oxford Street and tried to enter the Topshop close to Oxford Circus but were stopped by a large squad of police.

After a brief confrontation outside the shop they marched on to another site where the UVW are in dispute, John Lewis, where they are also demanding a living wage for the cleaners.

The banners slowed the protesters down a little and the police were able to rush past them, and pushed them back with considerable force as they tried to move towards the store doors. Susanna, one of the Topshop 2, was violently thrown to the ground and was helped up by both other police and protesters, who demanded an apology – and rather to my surprise the officer in charge after some arguments got the officer concerned to come and make one.

After some minutes of protest blocking the road in front of Jown Lewis and the store entrnace the protesters decided to return to Topshop. As they did so the police seized and questioned a woman who was wearing a mask and a man in a hood and goggles which they made him removed, threatening him with arrest; reluctantly he did so. After they had released him I decided to leave the protest for home.

UVW Topshop & John Lewis Protest


More pictures and text about all the protests on My London Diary:
UVW Topshop & John Lewis Protest
UVW Topshop 2 protest – Strand
Palestine Prisoners Parade
Dancing for Homes, Health, Jobs, Education
Homes, Health, Jobs, Education Rally
Ahwazi protest against Iranian repression
March for Homes, Health, Jobs, Education


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Remember, Remember

Friday, November 5th, 2021

Despite some rumours I wasn’t around to photograph Guy Fawkes as he made his way into Parliament, but I was there in 2012 when ‘Anonymous’ wearing Guy Fawkes masks popularised in the graphic novel and film ‘V for Vendetta’ chose November 5th 2012, Bonfire Night, for their “worldwide Anonymous operation of global strength and solidarity, a warning to all governments worldwide that if they keep trying to censor, cut, imprison, or silence the free world or the free internet they will not be our governments for much longer.”

I wrote a fairly long account of the night, or at least those parts I witnessed, on My London Diary at Anonymous March to Parliament where you can also see many more pictures, and I won’t repeat the details here, but it is worth restating the aims of the protest:

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

My account also mentions that:

Anonymous also asks for Internet activists who are held as political prisoners to be released, including Julian Assange currently still unable to leave a London embassy, Richard O’Dwyer, the “PayPal 14, Jeremy Hammond, Topiary and the 4 anons of the UK that will stand trial on November 7th.

Everyone will be aware of some of what is still now taking place over Assange, including a CIA plot to kidnap him from the Ecuadorian embassy, then the Ecuadorian government withdrawal of his immunity, calling in the police to remove him, since when he has been kept largely in isolation in the high-secuirty Belmarsh prison as the US authorites continue to press for his extradition. The US appeal last week against a previous court decision that he could not be extradited because of this mental health and the likelihood that he would commit suicide has been largely the subject of a news blackout by the British media.

But the other cases have probably faded from most of our memories – if we were ever aware of them, so here are some brief reminders with information from Wikimedia.

Richard O’Dwyer created a web search engine which linked to copyright infringing sites and was charged in New York with conspiracy to commit copyright infringement and criminal infringement of copyright. He fought against extradition, but after Theresa May as Home Secretary ruled he could be sent to the US to face charges in November 2012 signed a deferred prosecution agreement, paying a £20,000 fine for charges to be dropped.

The PayPal 14 were charged under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in July 2011 for attempted denial of service attacks on Paypal in 2010 after it refused to make payments to a Wikileaks account, in what they say as a digital ‘sit-in’. Most later pleaded guilty to misdemeanours to avoid more serious charges and were sentenced to probation with 13 sharing a fine of $6,615 each.

American activist and computer hacker Jeremy Hammond was sentenced to two years in hail for hacking a US pro-Iraq war group in 2005. In December 2011 he was involved in a hack of private intelligence firm Stratfor, which compromised 60,000 credit cards and downloaded 5 million emails, some later published by Wikileaks. Identifying himself as anarchist-communist he defended his actions saying “I did what I believe is right” and was sentenced to the maximum penalty of 10 years in jail. He was released under supervision in November 2020, having been kept in jail longer for refusing to testify to a grand jury investigation into Wikileaks and Julian Assange.

Topiary, British hacktivist Jake Davis, was a member of Anonymous and LulzSec, involved in various online attacks including defacing the goverment websites of Zimbabwe, Syria, Tunisia, Ireland, and Egypt as well as the Westboro Baptist Church. Then aged 18, he was arrested in 2011 at his home in the Shetlands and charged with offences including a conspiracy to launce a denial-of-service attack against the Serious Organised Crime Unit. Tried with three fellow hackers (I think probably the 4 anons of the UK referred to by Anon) in 2013 he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 24 months in a young offenders institute, with the 21 months he had been electronically tagged before the sentence being counted against it.

Anonymous hackers were also responsible for a number of successful attacks on child pornography sites, and actions against Scientology, a cult they saw was causing harm to many followers. They say “Distributed Denial of Service must be recognised as a legitimate form of protest, as long as an aim and reason has been specified by the protestors.

Anonymous March to Parliament


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Trade Justice Parade 2001

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021

Twenty years ago today on 3rd November 2001 I wrote:

the trade justice parade was a serious event but also we were having some fun. the world trade organisation isn’t at all amusing, but i loved the t-shirt that said ‘wto – unsuitable for anyone with a conscience.

giant pound signs, balloons, a hug fat cat, the wto dragon, pirates and everyone made it an event to remember.

speakers included naomi klein (author of ‘no logo’) and sergio cobo from mexico.

My London Diary

And with the article I posted the two black and white images shown here. But I think most of the pictures I took of the parade were in colour, taken on colour negative film. But the only work I was putting in to a picture library back then was in black and white – and then still 8×10″ prints. There was still greater demand for black and white, and some of the pictures I took in colour I printed as black and white. The library would have taken colour, but mostly they worked with colour transparencies.

But I had recently bought a scanner with which I could scan colour negative film and it had software that could produce positive results with something like the correct colours. The results were not great and seemed to accentuate the faults in the negatives and exaggerate flare. The results were certainly not of professional quality as you can probably see – even after I have improved the pictures in Lightroom.

A year after I made these pictures I bought my first DSLR and things changed, though it took a while for the library and some other outlets to shift to accept digital files, and for a little while I was still taking black and white film for the prints they wanted as well as digital colour. But things changed quite rapidly to an all-digital world.

Going back to the negatives I’m sure I could now make much improved digital versions than these by ‘camera scanning’ – using a DSLR to photograph them and then Negative Lab Pro software to convert them to positives. It’s good news for those of us with archival material on colour negative film. But I can see no reason at all for wanting to take film again when digital produces so much better results with much less hassle.

The issues people were protesting about in the Trade Justice Parade are still very much with us – and in the UK the government last week passed yet another act hastening the privatisation of our NHS, while many of the same issues that were brought up by the protest are behind the failures to deal effectively with climate change. The huge greed for consumption and wealth of a small minority of the ultra-rich underlie both; they are not ‘high net worth’ but ‘high global liability.’


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All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall. Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.