Posts Tagged ‘human rights’

March of the Human Rights Jukebox – 2007

Sunday, June 16th, 2024

March of the Human Rights Jukebox: On Saturday 16th June I went to South London to photograph this event and put many pictures and a fairly long text on-line on My London Diary.

March of the Human Rights Jukebox

Here I’ll share the text (with some corrections and links added) and just a few of the pictures – you can see many more of these on My London Diary. You can read about the Human Rights Juke Box on the South London Gallery site, and on Isa Suarez’s web site.

March of the Human Rights Jukebox

So this is what I wrote in 2007:

I joined the ‘Human Rights Jukebox’ in its progress from the Camberwell Magistrates Court to Peckham on Saturday 16th June. An event in the Camberwell Arts Week, the ‘March Of The Human Rights Jukebox’ was organised by Isa Suarez, who had a one-year artists residency in Southwark in 2006.

March of the Human Rights Jukebox

The juke box included thoughts on people’s rights from many residents and diverse groups in Southwark, some of whom marched with banners along with it.

March of the Human Rights Jukebox

At the start of the event, the Dulwich Choral Society performed a specially composed piece by Suarez, using words from the ‘jukebox’. On Clerkenwell Green we stopped for a impassioned recital (in French) by a Black African poet, and in front of the old baths in Artichoke Place (now the Leisure Centre) there was a long performance by Deadbeat International as well as a short song by three musicians that left us wanting more.

Deadbeat International also performed at various other points on route, including another energetic set at Peckham Library. The march was led into Peckham by a rapper, with some forthright views on human rights.

Accompanying the jukebox were the live art group ‘mmmmm‘, Adrian Fisher & Luna Montengro, covered from head to foot in sheets of paper containing the complete text of the UN Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, in both English and Spanish as well as the pages of a world atlas.

In front of the library at Peckham, mmmmm completed the event by unpinning the sheets from each other one by one, reading the clauses and feeding the sheets into a shredder (and when this gave up, tearing them up.)

Each then poured cold water over the other and threw the shredded papers, so that they stuck to the wet clothes and skin. Finally we were all invited (in what we were informed was an Argentine custom) to jump once into the air for each of the 30 clauses of the declaration.

On the way to the event, I’d jumped off the bus at the Oval, where ‘Stop The War’ and other demonstrators were protesting. Gordon Brown was apparently expected to arrive at 12.00 to watch some kind of game there. It was a very different kind of action to the ‘jukebox’ though both were political and art in their different ways, although only one gets Arts Council funding.

Also dropping in at Peckham Library were a group of young cyclists from the go-kart track in nearby Burgess Park. They were a lively crew and everyone seemed to want to be photographed.

More pictures:
Stop The War Demo
March of the Human Rights Jukebox

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Extinction Rebellion Tries to Persuade Insurers

Sunday, March 3rd, 2024

Extinction Rebellion Tries to Persuade Insurers – From 26th February to 3rd March 2024, Extinction Rebellion have been holding an ‘Insurance Week of Action’ with large peaceful protests and some non-violent direct actions directed at the insurance industry, particularly in the City of London,

London, UK. 28 Feb 2024. Only Fools Insure Fossil Fuels.

As the XR website put it:

“At the same time as Coal Action Network, Mothers Rise Up, Quakers UK, StopEACOP and Tipping Point, we will be targeting the global insurance industry – the people who could stop the fossil fuel crooks in their tracks overnight if they wanted to. 

Because no insurance = no more drilling for oil and gas.”

London, UK. 28 Feb 2024. Front of the march at Lloyds.

The City of London is still the world capital for the global insurance industry, with one company, Lloyds of London insuring 40% of the world’s fossil fuel production and it is also home to many other major global insurers.

London, UK. 28 Feb 2024. Insure Our Future – Not Fossil Fuels.

Monday was a training day for XR, with lectures about the lessons which could be learnt from the West Cumbria coal mine campaign and the importance of the insurance industry in maintaining the fossil fuel industry and why it was important to try to convert them away from this and towards supporting a future for human life on our planet. There were also a workshop on non-violent direct action, examining the theories behind it and how to create support systems and keep safe.

London, UK. 28 Feb 2024.

Nothing could be further from the comments made by the Prime Minister and other cabinet members about ‘mobs’. The protests are well organised and take considerable trouble to remain within the increasinly restrictive laws on freedom to protest. In contrast they make our government speakers seem a rabid mob, making hate speeches about hate protests and disruption. XR are trying to save our planet for future human life.

London, UK. 28 Feb 2024. A Faceless Financier.

I was unable to go to the events on Monday or Tuesday when as well as some highly targeted actions including small groups of protesters protesting peacfully inside the foyers of some city offices there was a large rally on Tuesday followed by a Community Assembly on the subject “How do we Insure our Future?

London, UK. 28 Feb 2024. The march begins.

But last Wednesday I joined the XR supporters in Trinity Square Gardens at 10.30 for the start of the advertised “Insurance Mayhem – Wednesday Showstopper“. Some of them had followed the suggested dress code for the event, “business attire. Black suits with white shirts, preferably!” A group carried special and rather glossy small briefcases and there were banners and a few placards. Some in city dress had come with grey masks and labels as ‘Faceless Financiers’

London, UK. 28 Feb 2024. Extinction Rebellion supporters march

Little happened for the first hour or so, though there was a strong police presence in the area, and some officers came to talk with and warn protesters who told them they were not intending to break any laws.Finally at 12.15 the march moved off for a short march through city streets to the streets around the main Lloyds Building on Leadenhall Street and Lime Street. One man was arrested on the march, I think for setting off a smoke flare, which police left smoking on the ground.

London, UK. 28 Feb 2024. Extinction Rebellion

Protesters joined hands to surround the Lloyds Building on three sides, some holding banners and flags. They let people in and out of the building and tried to engage them in conversation about the urgent need to end fossil fuels. A few stopped to say they agreed but most simply walked past and there were a few angry remarks. It was lunchtime and quite a few city workers were out on the streets and stopped to watch what was happening and were clearly entertained, taking pictures on their phones of the speakers and the various events.

London, UK. 28 Feb 2024. EACOP – the East African Crude Oil Pipeline is an environmental and human rights disaster.

These included protests by ‘workers’ in red boiler suits against the East African Crude Oil Pipeline, a 900 mile long heated pipeline from Ugandan oil fields to the Indian Ocean in Tanzania which would cause “large scale displacement of communities and wildlife“, threaten water resources and contribution massively to global warming. 24 banks have already distanced themselves from financing the project, with only two remaining involved, and it will certainly not go ahead if insurers can be persuaded not to insure it.

London, UK. 28 Feb 2024. City dressed dancers outside Lloyds.

The ‘Faceless Financiers’ now all had their dull grey masks on and were standing together in a row in front of the building on Lime Street where most of the event was taking place, its closure causing little or no disruption to traffic. In front of them came a large troupe of dancers for their spirited performance and on the other side of the road was a washing line hung with items of children’s clothing letters on the garments spelling out the message ‘THEIR FUTURE’.

The “Insurance Mayhem – Wednesday Showstopper” was still continuing as I left for home. I was back for the next day’s very wet protest which I’ll perhaps write about in a later post.

More pictures of Insurance Mayhem – Wednesday Showstopper.

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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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Blizzard, Education and Hunger Strike – 2018

Wednesday, February 28th, 2024

Blizzard, Education and Hunger Strike – London hasn’t had a great deal of snow for some years, but when I got off the bus on Wednesday 28th February 2018 close to London University I found myself walking into a blizzard. There was a couple of inches of snow underfoot and the biting wind was driving dense snowflakes into my face making it both difficult to walk and hard to see where I was going.

Blizzard, Education and Hunger Strike

I slipped a few times and almost fell as I walked through Byng Place, only just managing to stop myself and my camera bag falling into the snow, and for the first 15 or 20 minutes after I reached the meeting point for the march it was difficult to take pictures, with snowflakes landing on the lens surface as soon as I took away the cloth I had stuffed against it inside the lens hood and raised the camera to my eye.

Blizzard, Education and Hunger Strike

Most of the pictures from the start of the protest were ruined by snow on the lens making some areas soft and diffuse. It might sometimes have been an arty effect but wasn’t what I wanted. Fortunately after a while the snow died down and I was able to work more normally, though the occasional flake kept coming and there were a few thick flurries later on the march.

Blizzard, Education and Hunger Strike

HE and FE march for pensions and jobs

Blizzard, Education and Hunger Strike

The UCU was on the fifth day of a strike to try and get the universities to talk with them about pay and pensions. On this march to a rally in Methodist Central Hall in Westminster, close to the Houses of Parliament, they were joined by staff from London FE colleges on the first day of a two-day strike over pay and conditions. And plenty of their students had come along to show their support.

Although students are now paying high fees for their university courses, the pay of university teachers has not benefited from this, and has not kept up with inflation. Much more teaching at universities is also being done by graduate students and others on part-time or often zero hours contracts.

What particularly inflamed the situation was the intention of the universities to end the long-established pension scheme, replacing it with one that would greatly reduce pensions, and their refusal to discuss this with their union, the UCU.

The 5 day strike was supported overwhelmingly by UCU members and had shut down 61 UK universities, despite draconian threats by the management at some of them such as Royal Holloway (RHUL). Pickets had stood in the freezing weather and few people had crossed the picket line.

The move away from the pension scheme was largely driven by a small number of universities, particularly the Oxbridge colleges. Many of these are extremely wealthy, some owning huge areas of land including large parts of London and having vast reserves, not least in their wine cellars. A number of college principals had given their support to the union.

The dispute between the employers and the UCU continued for five years and was only ended in October 2023 when the employer body UUK made an offer of full restoration. This came after 69 days of strikes by the UCU and was a historic victory for UCU members and reversed further cuts made in 2022.

University teachers continue to fight for better pay, more appropriate workloads and job security. FE teachers, marching because of the loss of 15,000 jobs in the sector particularly as adult education has been savaged by austerity, and whose wages had been cut by 21% since 2009, continue to be treated unfairly.

I went into the rally in Central Hall largely to try to get warm after the freezing march, and was fortunate to arrive early enough to get inside – many of the marchers were left outside the the cold where the speakers went outside to speak after making their contributions in the hall.

The event was running late because of the larger than expected number of people on the march, and by the time the main speakers, John McDonnell and Frances O’Grady had performed I’d missed the time for another event I’d planned to cover, the handing in of some NHS petitions at the Department of Health. I But I was pleased to be able to stay longer in the warm.

HE & FE rally for pensions and jobs
HE and FE march for pensions and jobs

Solidarity with Yarl’s Wood hunger strikers – Home Office

I left the Methodist Central Hall and walked down to the Home Office where an emergency protest was taking place to support the hunger strike and refusal to work by the 120 women and a few men in immigration detention at Yarl’s Wood.

They had begun their action a week earlier to demand the Home Office respect the European Convention of Human Rights and end the separation of families, end indefinite detention with a 28 day maximum detention period, end charter flights which deport people without notice, and end the re-detention of those released from detention.

Their statement also called for an amnesty for those who have been in the UK for more than ten years and for the Home Office to stop deporting people before cases and appeals have been completed, as well as making full disclosure of all evidence to immigration tribunals.

They called for those in detention centres to be treated with dignity and respect and be given proper health care and an end to the detention of highly vulnerable people. They also want an end to employment in detention centres at ‘prison wages’ of £1 an hour.

Among the groups supporting the protest were the Movement for Justice, All African Women’s Group, Queer Strike and No Borders. Some of those taking part in the protest had previously served time in detention centres and knew first hand about the shameful way the UK treats them and some spoke at the event and several of those taking part in the hunger strike were able to speak to the protest from inside Yarls Wood by mobile phone.

Solidarity with Yarl’s Wood hunger strikers

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Shaker, Job Centres, Firefighters, Tube, Lambeth

Sunday, February 25th, 2024

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

Free Shaker Aamer – Parliament Square

Shaker, Job Centres, Firefighters, Tube, Lambeth

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

Shaker, Job Centres, Firefighters, Tube, Lambeth

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

Shaker, Job Centres, Firefighters, Tube, Lambeth

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

More pictures: Free Shaker Aamer at Parliament

Striking Firefighters block traffic – Westminster

Shaker, Job Centres, Firefighters, Tube, Lambeth

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

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

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

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

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

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

More at Striking Firefighters block traffic.

Welfare Advocacy not a Crime – DWP, Westminster

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

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

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

Welfare Advocacy not a Crime.

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

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

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

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

RMT protest Underground Job Cuts

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lambeth against £90m cuts

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Ashura Day & Italian Gardens – 2007

Tuesday, January 30th, 2024

Ashura Day & Italian Gardens: On Tuesday January 30, 2007 I came to Hyde Park close to Marble Arch where Shi’ite Muslims were gathering for their annual Ashura Day Procession from there to the Notting Hill Mosque.

Ashura Day & Italian Gardens

The procession celebrates the life and ideals of Imam Husain, the grandson of the Prophet, and mourns his martyrdom at Karbala in Iraq in 61 AH (AD680.) His example in dying for human dignity, human rights and the aims of his faith inspire them in trying to live a good and moral life and they seek Husain’s blessing on their daily lives.

Ashura Day & Italian Gardens

Here is part of the post I wrote in 2007 of the event (with slight corrections):

Several thousand people joined in the annual procession in London, making their way slowly from Hyde Park to the mosque in Notting Hill. Many wore black, and all joined in the chanting of “Ya Husain” accompanied by the beating of drums clashing of sanj (cymbals) and the blowing of trumpets, along with calls to prayer. Those taking part beat their breasts, largely in a symbolic fashion, although there were groups of young men who from time to time swung their arms vigorously.

Ashura Day & Italian Gardens

The Ashura Procession is impressive to see, and everyone taking part seemed to welcome my interest in what was taking place and were happy to be photographed.

Ashura Day & Italian Gardens

The weather was dull and it soon began to get dark; it didn’t help that I had one of my fiddle-fingers technical disaster days, where I kept finding I’d altered the camera settings without being aware of doing so. But it was the kind of occasion where it would be hard not to get some interesting images.

The procession was slow-moving – I wrote “it was moving at a speed that would not have embarrassed a snail” and by the time it reached Lancaster Gate I had taken many pictures and also needed a rest. Dusk was approaching rapidly – and there had been little enough light all day. I went into the Italian Gardens and took a few pictures there in the falling gloom, experimenting a little with flash for some of them.

The Grade II listed Italian Gardens were Prince Albert’s idea, and built for Queen Victoria in 1862 as a part of the gardens of Kensington Palace which had been opened to the public in 1841. Albert had previously created an Italian garden at their Isle of Wight Osborne House.

The gardens were designed by some of the big names of the day. Sir Charles Barry and Robert Richardson Banks designed the Pump House (now a shelter), Sir James Pennethorne the overall layout, and the reliefs and sculptures were by the unfortunately named John Thomas. The first monument in the garden erected in 1862 by public subscription was a statue by William Calder Marshall of Charles Jenner, the pioneer of vaccination against smallpox. The gardens were renovated a few years ago.

The gardens are at the point where the River Westbourne (known by a dozen different names at various times and places) once flowed into Hyde Park. The river comes from various sources in West Hampstead and Brondesbury, flowing through Kilburn and through Hyde Park (where it was dammed in 1730 to produce the Serpentine) and then on through culverts and a large pipe across Sloane Square Station and on into Bazalgette’s Northern Low Level Sewer – with only storm discharges reaching the Thames at Pimlico. These should end with the completion of London’s Super Sewer.

By 1834 the growth of London and widespread adoption of water closets had largely turned the river into a foul sewer and it could no longer be used to supply the Serpentine, The water for this lake and the gardens now comes from three artesian wells bored in Hyde Park.

More pictures from both the Ashura Procession and the Italian Gardens on My London Diary:

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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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Guantanamo Day – 11th January

Thursday, January 11th, 2024

Guantanamo Day – 11th January. It was on January 11, 2002 that George W Bush set up the detention camp on the disputed US Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, after he had been advised by lawyers that the US courts would be unable to offer detainees held there the normal legal protection that detention in the US would have enabled.

Guantanamo Day - 11th January

Camp X-Ray, a temporary facility, began with 22 detainees on that day, and others were soon filling this and the other camps which make up Guantanamo the largest of which was Camp Delta. At first the details of those sent there were kept secret, but eventually the US Department of Defense was forced to respond to a Freedom of Information from the Associated Press and to say that 779 prisoners were being held there.

Guantanamo Day - 11th January

The world got to know considerably more about what had been going on inside the torture camp in 2011 with the publication of documents by Wikileaks including 779 secret files on the prisoners. Among other revelations was “that more than 150 innocent Afghans and Pakistanis, including farmers, chefs, and drivers, were held for years without charges.”

Guantanamo Day - 11th January

The US government asserted that those held there were not entitled to any of the protections of the Geneva Conventions, though later they lost the case in the US courts which found that they were entitled to protection under Common Article 3 which applies to armed conflicts “not of an international character”.

Guantanamo Day - 11th January

From the start the US had claimed to be treating “all detainees consistently with the principles of the Geneva Convention.” This was of course a complete lie. Guantanamo was set up as a torture camp and detainees were routinely abused and tortured, humiliated and kept under inhumane conditions in what an Amnesty International report ‘called the “Gulag of our times.“‘ As various reports by them and others including the Red Cross state it was a human rights scandal. There is much more about this in the Wikipedia article.

When President Obama came to power he had promised to close the camp, but his efforts to do so in 2009 were opposed by the military at Guantanamo and funds to transfer or release the prisoners were blocked by the US Senate. Further opposition from the US Congress against moving prisoners to the US for detention or trial prevented Obama from clearing the camp, but by the end of his administration only 41 men remained detained there.

By the end of 2023, 30 men were still being held at Guantanamo, with over half having been cleared for release. 11 of them have been charged with war crimes and are awaiting a military trial and 1 has been convicted. Some are still there because if sent to their home country they are likely to be subject to further imprisonment or death despite their innocence.

British interest in Gunatanamo decreased sharply after the release in October 2015 of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident there. A Saudi national who had permission to stay in the UK he was able at last to return to his wife and children in Battersea after having been held and tortured since 2002. He had never been charged or faced trial.

The Guardian reported following the publication of the book ‘The Secret History of the Five Eyes‘ by Richard Kerbaj in 2022, that in 2004 “Tony Blair’s government was given special access to US intelligence files on Guantánamo Bay which revealed there was no credible evidence against the British detainees“. Yet Aamer was held for another 11 years.

Since Aamer’s release protests on the anniversary of the setting up of Guantanamo have continued, but on a rather smaller scale as you can see from Vigil marks 17 years of Guantanamo torture in 2019. The pictures on this post are from 2008 when I photographed four different events in London on January 11th.

Six years of Guantanamo: Amnesty
London Guantanamo Campaign / Cageprisoners
Guantanamo – London Catholic Worker
Guantanamo – Parliament Square Rally

Goodbye & Good Riddance – September 2003

Friday, January 5th, 2024

Goodbye & Good Riddance – September 2003: Of course there were times in 2023 that I remember warmly, and the first week of September when I was with a group of friends in a holiday let in Barmouth was full of them, though getting there and back was harder going with a rail strike and several long rail replacement bus journeys. But even those long bus journeys had their compensations, with some splendid views and clean windows through which I photographed some of them.

Goodbye & Good Riddance - September 2003
Barmouth September 2023
The rail and footbridge across the estuary at Barmouth closed for major engineering work the day before we arrived so we came and left on a rail replacement buses. The footpath across was also closed, which was a dissapointment as it would have allowed more great walks.

The holiday had been a very welcome break, and we were very fortunate with the weather, but too soon we had to return home – starting with two bus journeys to Machynlleth and then on to Shrewsbury and I returned to photographing protests the following day.

Goodbye & Good Riddance - September 2003
Justice For Chris Kaba – One Year On. London, 9 Sept 2023.
Chris Kaba, a 24-year-old unarmed black man, was driving a friend’s car in Camberwell when police stopped the car and fired a single shot through the windscreen killing him. The CPS received a report on the case in March but have yet to decide if the officer should be charged. Hundreds came a year after his killing to support the family and demand justice at a march from New Scotland Yard and rally in Parliament Square.
Peter Marshall
Goodbye & Good Riddance - September 2003
March to End Fossil Fuels, London. 16 Sept 2023.
People march in London as a part of actions by millions around the world to demand the world leaders gathering in New York for the United Nations Secretary General’s Climate Ambition Summit take the urgent action needed for a rapid, just and equitable end to the use of all fossil fuels.
Peter Marshall
Goodbye & Good Riddance - September 2003
Mahsa Amini Day – Woman Life Freedom, Iranian Embassy, Kensington. 16 Sept 2023.
Protests took place in London and around the world in support of the Woman Life Freedom revolution in Iran on the first anniversary of the killing of Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini by the IGRC. People in Iran are suffering immense oppression and injustice. There were protests at the Iranian Embassy and a march to Trafalgar Square where a rally and other protests were taking place.
Peter Marshall
Goodbye & Good Riddance - September 2003
Mahsa Amini Day – Woman Life Freedom, Trafalgar Square. 16 Sept 2023.
Protests took place in London and around the world in support of the Woman Life Freedom revolution in Iran on the first anniversary of the killing of Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini by the IGRC. People in Iran are suffering immense oppression and injustice. There were protests at the Iranian Embassy and a march to Trafalgar Square where a rally and other protests were taking place. Pictures are in the same album as those from the Iranian Embassy above.
Peter Marshall
March To Rejoin The EU, London. 23 Sep 2023.
Thousands march in National Rejoin March from Hyde Park calling for an end to Brexit and to restore freedom of movement and reverse the attacks on living standards, public services and workers rights Brexit has caused. The march was followed by a rally in Parliament Square.
Peter Marshall
World Wide Rally for Freedom. London, 23 Sept 2023.
More than a thousand people marched from Hyde Park in the World Wide Rally For Freedom of speech, movement, assembly, health and choice.The march included many anti-vaxxers, climate change deniers and others but was dominated by those condemning London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ expansion to include all of London. They called for mass non-compliance with this and other tyrannical government control.
Peter Marshall

The Rally For Freedom was in opposition to the various government bills and acts which have seriously restricted our freedom – such as those aimed at preventing protests and severely restricting the right to strike. But we urgently need to take action against climate change “FOR THE SAKE OF ALL OUR CHILDREN” and the vaccinations have certainly saved many, many more lives than few deaths they have caused. Any responsible mayor of London would be taking similar action to improve London’s air quality, and while there may be details in Khan’s approach which could have been better, he has proved a considerably better mayor for London than his predecessor, and deserves to beat the Tory candidate in the 2024 election.

More on the 2023 protests I photographed in later posts.

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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.