Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

Palestine, Pancakes, Post, Olympics & Zombies 2009

Saturday, February 24th, 2024

Palestine, Pancakes, Post, Olympics & Zombies – Tuesday 24th February 2009 was a long and varied day for me and included some serious issues that are still at the forefront of current news as well as some lighter moments – and I ended the day enjoying a little unusual corporate hospitality with some free drinks for London bloggers.


Al-Haq Sue UK Government – Royal Courts of Justice

Palestine, Pancakes, Post, Olympics & Zombies

First came Palestine, with Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq filing a claim for judicial review before the High Court of England and Wales challenging the government’s failure to fulfil its obligations with respect to Israel’s illegal activities in Palestine.

They were calling on our government – then New Labour under Gordon Brown – to publicly denounce Israel’s actions in Gaza and the continuing construction of the separation wall, to suspend arms related exports and all government, military, financial and ministerial assistance to Israel and to end UK companies exporting arms and military technology.

They also asked them to insist the EU suspends preferential trading with Israel until that country complies with its human rights obligations, and for the government to give the police any evidence of war crimes committed by any Israelis who intend to come to the UK.

Palestine, Pancakes, Post, Olympics & Zombies

Of course the court refused Al-Haq’s case, declining to deal with the UK government’s compliance with its international legal obligations and stating that their claim would risk the UK’s diplomatic “engagement with peace efforts in the Middle East“, something which seemed at the time to be absolutely zero if not negative. They also refused Al-Haq any right to bring the claim because it was not a UK-based organisation and “no one in the United Kingdom has sought judicial review of United Kingdom foreign policy regarding Israel’s actions in Gaza“.

Al-Haq Sue UK Government


Worshipful Company of Poulters Pancake Race – Guildhall Yard

Palestine, Pancakes, Post, Olympics & Zombies

It was Shrove Tuesday and I couldn’t resist the Pancake Race organised by the Worshipful Company of Poulters, and held – with the permission of the Chief Commoner, in the Guildhall Yard.

Palestine, Pancakes, Post, Olympics & Zombies

As I said, “It’s a shame that the Pancake Race is unlikely to feature in the London 2012 Olympics, because it’s perhaps the one sport in which Britain still leads the world, and we seem to have plenty of talent in training.

Poulters Pancake Race


Keep the Post Public – Parliament Square

Postal workers came out from a rally in Methodist Central Hall against government plans to privatise Royal Mail. The government argued they needed to do this to protect pensions and modernise the service.

Postal deliveries had been deliberately made uneconomic by earlier measures which have allowed private companies to cream off the easily delivered profitable parts of the service, while leaving the Royal Mail to continue the expensive universal delivery service – including the delivery of its competitors post at low regulated prices to more difficult destinations.

The government picked up the responsibility for the pensions when the post was privatised and the privatised post office has been allowed to fail on its delivery obligations. We now get deliveries on perhaps 3 or 4 days a week rather than 6, few first class letters arrive on time, and the collection times for most pillar boxes are now much earlier in the day – now 9am rather than 4pm at our local box. While privatisation was supposed to result in more investment it largely seems to have resulted in large dividends and higher pay to managers and the Post Office is in a worse state than ever.

Keep the Post Public


London 2012 Olympic Site – Stratford

I had time for a brief visit to the publicly accessible areas in and around the Olympic site where a great deal of work was now taking place with the main stadium beginning to emerge.

There were some reports at the time that the landmark building Warton House, once owned by the Yardley company with its lavender mosaic on Stratford High Street was to be demolished, but fortunately these turned out to be exaggerated, with only a small part at the rear of the building being lost. But all the buildings on the main part of the site had gone. Some others south of the mainline railway were also being demolished for Crossrail.

Olympic Site Report
London Olympic site pans


March of the Corporate Undead – Oxford St

I made my way back to Oxford Circus for the ‘March of the Corporate Undead’, a Zombie Shopping Spree complete with coffins, a dead ‘banker’, posters, various members of the undead and a rather good band.

Police watched in a suitably deadpan manner (I did see one or two occasionally smile) as the group assembled and applied large amounts of white makeup before making its way along the pavement of Oxford Street, to the astonishment (and often delight) of late shoppers and workers rushing home.

We stopped off at Stratford Place, opposite Bond Street Station to toss some fried bankers brains in the frying pans and then there was a pancake race, holding up a Rolls Royce that was prevented by the police from driving through while we were there.

The parade continued, stopping for a minute or two under the bright lights of Selfridges before continuing to Tyburn, or at least Marble Arch, with more zombies joining all the time.

Hanging the already dead banker seemed a great idea, but getting a rope up over the arch was tricky. Eventually a severed hand gave sufficient weight to enable a rope to be thrown over the ornamental iron-work and the banker was soon hoisted up to dangle over the continuing revels below.

March of the Corporate Undead

This was an anticapitalist event and in particular aimed against bankers and the huge amounts of cash given to them to in the aftermath of the 2007-8 financial crisis which was seen as rewarding the very people who had caused the mess the system was in. The mass of the population was having to suffer cuts in services under a severe austerity programme while bankers were still pigs in clover. The UK has become a very unequal society over the years since 1979 when Thatcher became Prime Minister. The the top 10% got 21% of the UK income, by 2010 it was around 32%.

I left to go to a meeting of London bloggers – and enjoy a few free drinks thanks to Bacardi. The blue and green Breezers seem to me just right for zombies, though I’m afraid after tasting one I went for the beer instead. But I think the zombies on Oxford Street were more alive than those in the corporate world.


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Saturday 10th February 2024 – Gaza & Iran

Thursday, February 15th, 2024

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


Ceasefire Now – Stop The Genocide In Gaza, Southwark

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024.

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

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024

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

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024.

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

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024

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

More pictures online and available for use on Alamy.


Iranians Call For Freedom and Democracy in Iran

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024.

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

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

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024.

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

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

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024

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

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

More pictures online and available from Alamy.


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

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024

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

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024

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

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

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

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024.

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

More pictures online and available from Alamy.


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Gaza March in London 3rd Feb 2024

Friday, February 9th, 2024

Gaza March in London – Another huge march through central London called for an immediate ceasefire and for an end to the Israeli genocide against Palestinians.

Gaza March in London
London, UK. 3 Feb 2024

I didn’t hear any news reports of the march, and over the past few days other events have largely pushed reporting over the continuing genocide to the edges of coverage.

Gaza March in London
London, UK. 3 Feb 2024.

If anything the deliberate targeting of civilians in Gaza appears to have increased since the ICJ ruling calling on Israel to do all it can to prevent genocide in the area.

Gaza March in London
London, UK. 3 Feb 2024.

Israel is still keeping international journalists out of Gaza and feeding the world’s press with misleading information. The BBC have some good reporters but they cannot work in Gaza. They have had interviews with some families and doctors in Gaza – some now killed. Papers such as The Guardian also carry reports from people in Gaza – such as Mondays Gaza diary part 44: ‘The angel of death is roaming the skies, nonstop’. But to get real information about what is actually happening on the ground you need to also go to alternative news sources.

Gaza March in London
London, UK. 3 Feb 2024.

One of those is Double Down News, who say “Far too many Journalists sit comfortably trapped in their own bubble of privilege and power, talking to each other and the so-called political class, rather than serving the people they’re meant to inform.” They aim to “prioritise people, ideas, evidence and community above all.” DDN carries no advertising but is supported by over fourteen thousand of subscribers who give what they can afford rather than being owned by governments or billionaires. And you can be one and become a part of the community equally with the others.

London, UK. 3 Feb 2024.

One of their latest videos is ‘Israel’s AI Killing Machine‘ by Palestinian-American lawyer and activist Lara Elborno which exposes by how Israel is using modern technology to target civilians across Gaza. Like other videos on the platform it provides a chilling insight missing in the mass media.

London, UK. 3 Feb 2024.

Before writing this a few days ago I read Al Jazeera’s Israel War on Gaza coverage, with its list of key events on day 123 published on Tuesday 6th February. Under the Humanitarian crisis in Gaza it begins its report with “At least 27,478 people have been killed and 66,835 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7.

London, UK. 3 Feb 2024.

It goes on to give other significant news on the humanitarian crisis, before news on Regional tensions and diplomacy and on what is happening in the Occupied West Bank. Al Jazeera was the first independent news channel in the Arab world and is funded by the Qatari state.

London, UK. 3 Feb 2024.

All pictures here are from the march in London on Saturday 3rd February 2024 which was I think uneventful. It was certainly large and several streets around the BBC were densely crowded before the start. I photographed the start and then slowly went down Regent Street with the marchers, stopping a number of times to photograph them as they walked past me.

London, UK. 3 Feb 2024. ‘Sunak’ and dead babies.

At Piccadilly Circus I decide to wait until the end of the march arrived there, and it was a long wait. It was almost two hours after the start of the march before the end arrived, and most of that time the streets were crowded across both carriageways with slowly moving people.

London, UK. 3 Feb 2024. London Mothers and Children Say Stop Killing Babies.

It was too late to be worth trying to get to the rally on Whitehall and so I began my journey home. I uploaded 35 images to Alamy but later put these and around 35 more into an online album Ceasefire Now – Stop The Genocide In Gaza.


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More Support to Gaza – 27th January 2024

Saturday, February 3rd, 2024

More Support to Gaza: Local actions took place across the country last weekend calling for an end to the genocide in Gaza and for an immediate ceasefire and freedom and a just peace in Palestine.

More Support to Gaza - 27th January 2024
Barclay’s Peckham branch

Most of the protests last Saturday were directed against local branches of Barclays Bank, demanding they stop bankrolling Israel’s attacks on Palestinians and calling customers to boycott the bank. Barclays has investments in weapons companies BAE Systems, Boeing, Elbit Systems, Raytheon all producing weapons and systems used in Gaza and Caterpiller whose bulldozers are used to demolish Palestinian homes, schools and civilian infrastructure.

More Support to Gaza - 27th January 2024
Barclay’s Peckham branch

The protests came the day after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague, the UN’s top court, had ruled that there was a plausible case against Israel under the 1948 Genocide Convention, and that the Palestinian population in Gaza was at real risk of irreparable damage.

More Support to Gaza - 27th January 2024
Barclay’s Peckham branch

The ICJ stopped short of ordering an Israeli ceasefire and instead directed Israel to take every measure possible to avoid genocide while also ensuring humanitarian aid. The six provisional measures the court voted on to protect Palestinians from “irreparable” damage were all passed by overwhelming votes by the 17 judges, with even an Israeli judge supporting two of them, while a Ugandan judge voted against them all (although the Ugandan government issued a statement backing the ICJ).

More Support to Gaza - 27th January 2024
Barclay’s Whitechapel branch

Media reports here in the UK have generally been rather lacking in detail and have underplayed the ICJ judgement. You can read it on the ICJ web site in full or as their lengthy unofficial summary. The court demanded that Israel must:

  • take all measures in its power to prevent all acts against Palestinians in Gaza violating the Genocide Convention;
  • ensure its military does not commit any acts of genocide;
  • punish all incitements to commit genocide;
  • take immediate and effective steps to provide basic services and humanitarian assistance in Gaza;
  • take effective measures to preserve evidence related to allegations of genocide;
  • report to the ICJ within one month on actions it has taken over these orders.

The ICJ has no powers to enforce its decisions and statements from Israeli government and military have been defiant, while the UK and USA governments seem determined to continue their support for genocide and to continue giving support to Israel, including supplying weapons

Edmonton Green march to a rally at Silver St

The ICJ decision came after South Africa brought the case, but protesters around the world have been clear that this is genocide. And in December the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention, continuing the work of Raphael Lemkin, the Polish lawyer of Jewish descent who coined the term genocide and campaigned to establish the Genocide Convention, issued a statement explaining “the reasons why we believe the Israel-Palestine situation constitutes an instance of genocide.”

Edmonton Green march to a rally at Silver St

The killing in Gaza continues, with over 26,000 Palestinians now known to be killed including over 10,000 children. More than 8,000 are missing, probably most of them buried under the rubble, and over 65,000 are severely injured.

Edmonton Green march to a rally at Silver St

A BBC report states that more than half of all buildings in Gaza have been destroyed or damaged by the Israeli assault. There are also said to be almost 20,000 children in Gaza who have been orphaned or separated from their families. Other reports suggest that around three-quarters of Hamas fighters are men who became orphans, and so the current attacks are likely to be a powerful recruiting ground for future militants against Israel.

Edmonton Green march to a rally at Silver St

The whole Israeli policy over the years has been counter-productive. Peace in the region requires a thriving Palestine, not an area subjected to military occupation, under an apartheid system and subjected to destructive attacks – and certainly will not be achieved by genocide.

Edmonton Green march to a rally at Silver St

It’s very hard to see how any positive outcome can emerge now for Israel and Palestine, but perhaps the ICJ ruling is a small glimmer of hope – as years ago was Oslo. But hope then was soon defeated by Israel’s determination not to accept peace.

Edmonton Green march to a rally at Silver St

Last Saturday made my way around London on National Rail, Overground, Underground and Elizabeth Line to visit several pickets outside Barclays branches and then to Edmonton Green.

Edmonton Green march to a rally at Silver St

I arrived at Edmonton Green just in time for the march organised by the Enfield branch of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to a rally at Silver Street. They demanded Israel ends its genocidal attack on Gaza, calling for an immediate ceasefire and an urgent programme of humanitarian aid to end famine and provide shelter, medicine and water. They praised South Africa for taking Israel to court for genocide and called for a just peace with freedom for Palestine.

At the start of the rally at Silver St

The pictures here come from protests outside Barclays branches on Rye Lane, Peckham and Whitechapel High Street and from the Edmonton march. You can see more pictures online at Barclays Told Stop Banking On Genocide and Enfield for Gaza Ceasefire, End to Occupation.


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No To Arms Fair At Twickenham

Saturday, January 27th, 2024

No To Arms Fair At Twickenham: This Monday, 22nd January 2024, Richmond & Kingston Palestine Solidarity Campaign organised their third annual protest at Twickenham Rugby Stadium which was hosting the International Armoured Vehicles Fair for the third year in a row from 22-25th January. The arms fair claims to be the largest of its type in the world, attracting around a thousand delegates from over 40 nations,

I came to the bus stop outside Twickenham Station to find several people clearly on their way to the stadium, and found more on the bus when it arrived – the bus more or less emptied when we arrived at the stop in front of the stadium. We walked across the road and joined a hundred or so who had already come to protest.

I had to leave after around an hour for a meeting, and people were still arriving to the protest which had another couple of hours to run. This was a considerably larger protest than in the two previous years having become more important because many of the companies selling weapons inside are suppliers of weapons which are being used now to kill Palestinians in Gaza.

Richmond & Kingston Palestine Solidarity Campaign is an active local group campaigning for the rights of Palestinians, justice and freedom against Israeli occupation and apartheid. Their numbers at this protest were swelled by others who had come from other areas of London to tell the Rugby Football Union to stop hosting arms fairs. As well as the International Armoured Vehicles Fair this week they are also hosting the International Military Helicopter conference from 27th to 29th February 2024.

Many of the posters and placards at the protest called for an end to the Israeli genocide taking place in Gaza now, and there were others more specific to Twickenham, calling for fair play and an end to the promotion of killing by the Rugby authorities.

At the centre of the protest was a large poster with the heading ‘MERCHANTS OF DEATH’ naming companies taking part in the arms fair, including BAE Systems, Elbit Systems and Thales, with cartoons of arms dealers making vast profits from war. Most of the companies involved supply Israel with armoured vehicles and other weapons used in its devastating assault on Gaza and used to repress, terrorise, abduct and kill civilians and children in Palestine as well as in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen and elsewhere around the world. And as some posters and speakers reminded us, Israeli arms manufacturers proudly boast ‘OUR WEAPONS ARE FIELD-TESTED’ – on Palestinians in the killing fields of Gaza and the West Bank.

Standing around the poster were members of Richmond & Kingston PSC, holding up their hands in white gloves stained with fake blood, with one holding a Palestinian flag. Others held posters and banners, ‘CEASEFIRE NOW’, ‘WAR KILLS PEOPLE & PLANET’, ‘STOP BOMBING CHLDREN’

Shortly before I had to leave a group arrived carrying cloth bundles stained with red dye, representing the children killed by the Israeli attacks. A report by Save The Children from Ramallah on 11th January began with the following:

More than 10,000 children have been killed by Israeli airstrikes and ground operations in Gaza in nearly 100 days of violence, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, with thousands more missing, presumed buried under rubble, Save the Children said.

Save The Children

By now the number will be many more. As one poster stated: ‘TWICKENHAM DON’T SIDE WITH GENOCIDE’.

More pictures

London Gaza Marches & End Guantanamo – 20 Jan 2024

Thursday, January 25th, 2024

London Gaza Marches and End Guantanamo: Last Saturday, 20th January 2024 the main protest against the ongoing genocide by Israel against Gaza was taking place in Birmingham, but there were half a dozen local events around London, and I decided to photographed some of these, as well as a protest calling for the closure of Guantanamo, 22 years after the first prisoners were taken there to be tortured.

Rail engineering works made it much slower than normal for me to get up to London and back and I abandoned plans to go to some of the events and I was only able to pay a fleeting visit to the Camden march because this was meeting at Kentish Town tube station which has been closed since last Summer for extensive refurbishment.


Gaza Ceasefire March, Camden, London, UK

London Gaza Marches and End Guantanamo
London, UK. 20 Dec 2024. A woman holds a blood-stained bundle representing a dead child. Protesters met at Kentish Town to march to a rally outside Camden Council offices on a day of local actions for Palestine as rage grows over the ever-increasing death toll. Genocidal Israeli attacks have killed over 22,000, mainly women and children, with many bodies still hidden over the rubble. Almost the entire medical capacity has been destroyed with many medical staff killed or arrested and hospitals bombed and almost the entire population of Gaza displaced and in danger of famine and disease. Peter Marshall

I took the tube to Camden Town and just missed a bus going up to Kentish Town. The stop had an electronic display that told me I would have to wait 6 minutes for the next and I decided to walk. It turned out to be a little further than I had remembered – almost a mile and the bus would have been rather quicker. People at Kentish Town were waiting for others to arrive before they started and also expected some to join them on the over two mile route to the rally.

London Gaza Marches and End Guantanamo

I had expected the march to have left, and to meet it coming down the road, but it had not yet moved off. After a few minutes of taking pictures I realised I would be too late back in central London unless I left, and caught a bus to Mornington Crescent and the tube to Charing Cross. Camden Town tube is always crowded with tourists and it takes a long time to get down to the platforms.

More pictures: Gaza Ceasefire March, Camden


Close Guantanamo – 22 Years of Injustice Must End

London Gaza Marches and End Guantanamo
London, UK. 20 Jan 2024. Members of the UK Guantanamo Network walked from Parlament past Downing Street in single file wearing orange jumpsuits 22 years after the arrival of the first prisoners at the illegal US camp to a rally in Trafalgar Square. They highlight the abuse, torture, lack of human rights, force-feeding and indefinite detention there and call for its closure. 30 Prisoners are still held there. Peter Marshall

I came out of Charing Cross Station and met the group of marchers wearing orange Guantanamo-style jumpsuits just coming up to the traffic crossing at the top of Whitehall. The protest was organised by the UK Guantanamo Network which includes Amnesty International, Freedom From Torture, Guantanamo Justice Campaign, Close Guantanamo and the London Guantanamo Campaign. They had met in Old Palace Yard opposite the House of Lords and changed into the jump suits there before proceeding in single file around Parliament Square and up Parliament Street and Whitehall to Downing Street and were now coming up Whitehall for a long rally in Trafalgar Square.

London Gaza Marches and End Guantanamo

They demand US President Biden should act rapidly to close Guantanamo, where a total of over 800 prisoners were illegally tortured over they years, the great majority of them having no connection at all with terrorism. Most have since been allowed to return home or to safe countries, but 30 remain held there, although half of them have been cleared for release. “The Guantanamo network calls for Guantanamo to be closed and for an end to depriving people of their legal and human rights, and an end to indefinite detention and torture.”

I left after taking pictures before the rally began as I was already late for the start of the final event I wanted to photograph in Tower Hamlets.

More pictures at Close Guantanamo – 22 Years of Injustice Must End


Gaza Ceasefire March, Tower Hamlets, London, UK

London, UK. 20 Dec 2024. Front of the march. Over a thousand marched from Whitechapel to a rally at Mile End on a day of local actions for Palestine as rage grows over the ever-increasing death toll. Genocidal Israeli attacks have killed over 22,000, mainly women and children, with many bodies still hidden over the rubble. Almost the entire medical capacity has been destroyed with many medical staff killed or arrested and hospitals bombed and almost the entire population of Gaza displaced and in danger of famine and disease. Peter Marshall

I sat on the District Line going east trying to guess where the Tower Hamlets march might have got to as I was too late for the start. Marchers had met in Altab Ali Park in Whitechapel, close to Aldgate East Station but was marching through Whitehchapel and Stepney to Mile End. I looked at the time and took a guess about when they would have started to march and how far they would have got, and decided to leave the train at Stepney Green station.

Fortunately my guess had proved correct and as I looked down the Mile End Road towards Whitechapel I could see the front of the march in the distance and walked down to meet and photograph it. I walked with the marchers going back and forth and taking pictures over the last mile or so. When we got close to the Green Bridge which takes Mile End Park across the busy road. I left it a little late and had to run up the steps to be able to photograph the front of the march and its long tail behind as it came up to the bridge.

Then I came down and walked with them the final short stretch to the large area of Mile End Park where the rally was being held. I’d photographed the ultra-Orthodox, Neturei Karta anti-Zionist Jews earlier as they were taking part in the march and took some more pictures when a group of them stood on the wall at the entrance to the park.

I took some photographs as the rally started and heard the first of the speakers. The rally was interrupted by a speaker from Movement for Justice using their own megaphones. He complained that they had been refused permission to speak at the event. Stewards argued that he was disrupting the meeting. As I left there were some discussions taking place over whether he might be allowed to make an announcement to the rally. But I was tired and had a long journey home, so I left.

More pictures: Gaza Ceasefire March & Rally


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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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Massive London Protest Over Gaza Genocide – 13 Jan 2023

Thursday, January 18th, 2024

Massive London Protest Over Gaza Genocide: Last Saturday I photographed the march in London when over 200,000 marched from Bank calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Among those on the march, Little Amal, a 12ft giant puppet of a Syrian child refugee stood out. As usual there was a strong Jewish representation both on the main march and on a separate feeder march for families and children I photographed as they set off from outside Kings College on Strand.

Massive London Protest Over Gaza Genocide

This was the seventh large protest in London and reflects the feelings of a large majority of the British public but unfortunately this and other huge protests around the world, including in the USA, seem unlikely to have any effect on our or the US governments polices. They will continue to give support to Israel while making weak statements about the need to reduce the killing which Israel will continue to ignore while denying the effects of its actions and blaming Hamas for the death and destruction they are causing.

Massive London Protest Over Gaza Genocide
The front of the march waiting to start.

The march took place on the 99th day of the Israeli attack on Gaza which has so far killed over 23,000 people, mainly civilians including more than 10,000 children, with many bodies still under the rubble. The bombing and shelling has made humanitarian aid and medical treatment impossible and widespread deaths from disease and starvation now seem inevitable.

Massive London Protest Over Gaza Genocide
Doctors Against Genocide.

Israeli forces have attacked hospitals, schools, refugee camps and have killed many doctors and arrested others. Only one hospital remains operating in the whole of Gaza and there are desperate shortages of medicines with many amputations having to be carried out without anaesthetics. Few of the 60,000 severely injured so far by the Israeli attacks have been able to get proper treatment.

Massive London Protest Over Gaza Genocide
A few of the Palestinian press who have been killed by Israel

Gaza’s journalists appear to have been especially targeted and more have now been killed by the IDF than journalists were killed in the whole six years of the Second World War.

A man holds a bloodstained bundle representing a dead child

As well as calling for a ceasefire, protesters also demand a just solution with freedom for Palestine, an end to the military occupation of the country and an end to Israeli apartheid.

Free Palestine Hands Off Yemen

Two events in the previous week added to the demands of protesters. Some had placards praising the Houthi forces in Yemen for their attacks on ships in the Red Sea and their were chants such as “Yemen, Yemen, make us proud, turn another ship around” following the US and UK air attacks. The Houthi are now in control of much of Yemen following the October 2022 ceasefire and peace talks led by the UN began it December 2023, but they continue to be referred to in UK media as rebels or terrorists.

Last week South Africa stated the case at the International Court of Justice accusing Israel of genocide. It got rather less attention in the UK media than the response the following day by Israel, which appeared largely a continued recital of the widely condemned attacks of October 7th and the long-discredited assertion that their actions in Gaza are self-defence. Israel also denied having bombed any hospitals and claimed they were facilitating humanitarian aid, lying in the face of mountains of evidence the world has read.

A woman holds a placard ‘Well Done South Africa’.

Many on the protest praised South Africa for taking Israel to court. The moral case seems clearly proven, but I suspect the case may be lost on some legal technicality. ICJ verdicts are in any case not binding and I think the majority of the world has already reached their conclusion.

People hold up posters showing Nazi Germany and Palestine with a poster saying ‘Signs Like These Have Been Criinalised by the Met Police

There were apparently 1,700 police on duty for the protests and a handful of people were arrested for carrying placards or handing out leaflets which the police decided were possibly “showing support for a proscribed organisation which is an offence under the Terrorism Act.” The flyer, published by the Met, stated their “unconditional and wholehearted support and solidarity for the Palestinian struggle, which is once more breaking out into armed resistance” but made no explicit mention of Hamas. Other groups in the Palestinian struggle are not proscribed in the UK.

With so many taking part, the march ended with rallies in both of London’s major central squares, Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square, though I only got to the first of these. I was quite tired having walked from London Bridge station to Bank and then along with the march going back and forth taking pictures and decided to get a train from Charing Cross rather than go on to Parliament Square.

There are around 50 more of my pictures from the march at Massive London Protest Over Gaza Genocide.


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Protest Under Threat – 2008 and 2024

Friday, January 12th, 2024

Protest Under Threat – On Saturday 12th January 2008 I photographed six protests in London, and two of them were against the increased restrictions on public protest introduced by SOCPA, the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 which considerably increased the powers of arrest of police, criminalised trespass at designated ‘Protected Sites’ which included nuclear sites and a long list of royal, parliamentary, and government sites.

Protest Under Threat - 2008 and 2024

But most controversially it seriously restricted our right to demonstrate within a “designated area” of up to one kilometre from any point in Parliament Square. Although Trafalgar Square was excluded from this, it was a wide area which included areas on the south bank of the river including County Hall, the Jubilee Gardens, St Thomas’ Hospital and the London Eye and extended west on the north bank as far as Tate Britain.

Protest Under Threat - 2008 and 2024

These sections of the act were repealed or rather replaced in 2011 by the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 which narrowed its scope to prohibiting some activities in Parliament Square, more specifically aimed at protests such as that by Brian Haw.


Hizb ut-Tahrir protest Bush’s Middle East tour – Marble Arch – Saudi Embassy

Protest Under Threat - 2008 and 2024

Other protests on the day included a march by supporters of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain from Marble Arch to the Saudi Embassy in Mayfair to show their opposition to George Bush’s Middle East tour and American policies in the region as well as against the current corrupt ruling elites in the area.

Protest Under Threat - 2008 and 2024

Although I don’t support the ideology of Hizb ut-Tahrir and was certainly worried by their global intentions which we later saw put into practice by Islamic extremists in ISIS in Syria and others elsewhere as well as uneasy about their treatment of the women who were at their protests clearly as second-class citizens (and who I was often requested by stewards not to photograph), this like their other protests was extremely tightly managed by the organisation.

Clearly the protest presented no real threat to public order and it was hard to see why there was such a large police presence, when all that was needed was some traffic control and perhaps a few officers to monitor the speeches for any illegal content – though I don’t think there were any present who could understand those not in English.
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Young Rich Protest Siena Airport Expansion

There were two protests taking place around Trafalgar Square, and one of them I found it a little hard to take seriously. This was what I described as a “small but very select” protest against the expansion of Sienna airport “led by the young grandson of a Lord” by “models and young people from some of the richest families around (the kind of people who own Guinness rather than drink it)” who enjoy their times at nice big villas there and don’t “want all sorts of riff-raff coming in on cheap flights“. Of course we should all be against airport expansion.
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 CSG Freedom to Protest Border Post – Trafalgar Square/Whitehall

On the traffic island at the south of Trafalgar Square and the top of Whitehall a group calling themselves the CSG (Citizens Supporting Government – rather than the Met’s TSG, sometimes said to stand for Thugs Supporting Government rather than its official Territorial Support Group) set up a ‘Freedom to Protest Border Point’ again on Saturday on the edge of the SOCPA zone to advise the public about the danger of passing into the an area where freedom is severely restricted.
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Freedom to Protest – outside Downing Street

But the main Freedom To Protest demonstration was taking place at the gates of Downing Street with a couple of hundred protesters. Although police usually try to move protesters away from the gates, things as I arrived seemed fairly relaxed.

But when a number of protesters decided to sit or lie down in the middle of the road this prompted the police to take action. “They grabbed the first couple of guys who went down on the tarmac and handcuffed them as well as seeming to try out a few strange holds.”

And when a dozen or so laid down in a neat line along the carriageway a squad of around 20 officers who had been waiting 50 yards down the road rushed in and began by clearing photographers and others standing on the road back onto the pavement. “Any who showed a reluctance to move were given a hand, sometimes with what seemed like unnecessary force. I was almost knocked flying when they threw one man bodily backwards – and I was in his way, probably rather luckily for him, as otherwise he could well have cracked his head open on the pavement.”

They then carried those sitting or laid on the ground back to the pavement, warning them they would be arrested if they returned to the road. Some who had linked arms were separated with some of the police clearly seeming to be enjoying themselves using pain compliance holds and inflicting unnecessary pain as they twisted arms behind backs and generally pushed the guys around.

Brian Haw – whose continuing peace protest in Parliament Square had been one of the main targets of SOCPA – was there using a small video camera to record the police violence and I photographed him with a nasty trickle of blood running down his left cheek after an officer had forcefully pushed the camera into his face. When he tried to complain to the officers in charge he was ignored and finally told to go to a police station if he wished to complain. Some of the police were rather obviously amused at both his injury and his complaints.
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Kenyans Demand Justice after Election Fraud

Across Whitehall in the designated protest area there were two protests taking place. Kenyans were protesting against election fraud in their country, where the man who had almost certainly lost the vote set up an electoral commission that was certain to declare him as the winner, and he remains President. SOCPA was having an effect on their protest as my picture shows, with a man using a megaphone hidden under brown paper!
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End the Siege on Gaza

Also across Whitehall from Downing Street were a group of protesters calling for an end to the Israeli siege of Gaza which severely limits the supply of essential goods including medicines and for an end to the military occupation of Palestine.

Among the protesters still present when I arrived rather late to photograph it were Jewish activists supporting Palestine and a boycott of Israeli goods, part of the growing campaign for BDS – Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. In 2024 the UK government is putting through a Bill to stop “businesses and organisations–including those affiliated with Israel-being targeted through ongoing boycotts by public bodies” because of the increasing success of this campaign. If passed it will stop public bodies, “including universities, local authorities, and government departments, from making investment decisions that align with their human rights responsibilities and obligation.” They will be unable “to avoid causing or contributing to human rights abuses and international crimes” such as “the Chinese government’s systematic repression of Uyghurs, Israel’s crimes of apartheid or war crimes in Israeli settlements, Saudi Arabia and UAE’s war crimes in Yemen, or the Myanmar junta’s crimes against humanity.
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Free Palestine Coalition Demand A Ceasefire Now

Tuesday, January 9th, 2024

Free Palestine Coalition Demand A Ceasefire Now: Last Saturday, 6th January 2024, like many others I was watching on Twitter/X for the announcement by the Free Palestine Coalition of the starting point for their Gaza protest at 10am.

Free Palestine Coalition Demand A Ceasefire Now

It was with some surprise that I read it was to be at the drinking fountain in St James’ Park, one of London’s Royal Parks, a feudal remnant with bylaws against almost everything, but at least it was easy to get to, and I had plenty of time to make it by the starting time of noon, and arrived around a quarter of an hour early.

Free Palestine Coalition Demand A Ceasefire Now

The protest was organised and backed by Black Lives Matter UK, NMEE, Sisters Uncut, East and South East Asian Sisters, Copwatch Network, Health Workers For a Free Palestine, Queers For Palestine, London Campaign Against Police & State Violence, Palestinian Youth Movement and London Palestine Action.

Free Palestine Coalition Demand A Ceasefire Now

It made three clear demands; a full unconditional ceasefire NOW, the UK to stop arming Israel and an end to the Israeli Occupation of Gaza and Palestine. It had clearly been planned as a peaceful protest, although one that would cause some disruption to traffic in central London as many other events including other protests do.

Free Palestine Coalition Demand A Ceasefire Now

There was only a small group there when I arrived, but numbers grew rapidly by the time the rally began and continued to grow for some time, perhaps increasing to a couple of thousand by the end of the event. Shortly after the rally began police approached the speaker and told her that she could not use a megaphone as it was against the Park bylaws. After a short delay she continued without it, though now the crowd was so large many could not hear. A few minutes later a public address system arrived and the speakers began to use this. After another warning by police they wheeled this out onto the pavement of Birdcage Walk.

A doctor speaks about the terrible conditions in Gaza’s hospitals, most bombed out of existence.

Here the speakers continued, with a particularly moving account by a doctor from Health Workers For a Free Palestine about the horrific conditions faced by her colleagues working in Gaza, where almost all hospitals have been bombed by Israeli forces and only three remain able to continue, facing terrible shortages which have meant amputations with no anaesthetics available and a total lack of medicines, clean dressings and antiseptics taking medical conditions back into the dark ages.

Officers come to seize the PA system

After the rally had continued for some minutes, a squad of police rushed in and seized the PA system from the pavement, forcefully pushing all those close out of their way. I was thrown aside and kicked in the shin hard enough to cause some bleeding and although not seriously injured certainly suffering from shock. I’m unsure about what happened for the next few minutes and it was almost ten minutes before I’d recovered enough to photograph seriously again.

The police appeared to have been deliberately trying to provoke the protesters and had a very large presence for what was expected to be a relatively small protest. Eventually the organisers called on the protesters who had been shouting angrily at the police for some minutes to move off and the march slowly made its way towards Westminster Bridge.

As the front of the march came to Bridge Street at the side of the Houses of Parliament there was a halt for photographs and when the march moved off a line of police across the road tried to stop them. But there were far too few officers to form a proper cordon, and I and around a couple of hundred protesters moved past and onto the start of Westminster Bridge before reinforcements arrived.

There were more police on the bridge and a line of police vans behind them, as well as more on the Embankment. Had the protesters been allowed to march onto the bridge and protest there the bridge would have been closed until the protest ended, but traffic could have continued to flow on both the Embankment and Bridge Street, which were still blocked when I left later. Protests continued on Westminster Bridge, though most of the protesters were still held on Bridge Street behind a police line. Around half an hour later police did decide to allow them to join the others, probably to make it easier for them to kettle the protest in one block rather than two.

On the bridge there were some noisy protests which forced police liaison officers to withdraw from the crowd. Some of them complained to the event stewards about the leaflets which were being distributed to the many tourist also being blocked by the police from leaving towards Parliament Square, suggesting that those distributing them might be committing an offence. I read one carefully and could find nothing anti-Semitic, nothing which I had not heard or read in the mainstream press despite their failures in reporting.

At one point people let off smoke flares in the red, green and white of the Palestinian flag. Later there was a period of silence for the victims in Palestine and those in Israel, and many sat or lay down on the roadway. A group in front of the police cordon wore masks showing Rishi Sunak, wearing tops with the messages ‘STOP ARMING ISRAEL’ ‘CEASEFIRE NOW!’holding up their hands red with fake blood which dripped down their arms.

I left as the police allowed the protesters to all join together, kettling both groups. I was tired and still a little shaken from the earlier assault by police and needed to sit down and rest on a seat on the Embankment. Eating my sandwiches for a late lunch and drinking some water helped too.

As I walked back to Waterloo the blue lights were still flashing on Westminster Bridge, and an hour later at 3.32 the Met posted “All protesters have now left the area around Westminster Bridge. Officers remain on-duty in central London and are ready to respond to any further demonstrations.” I felt their response to this one had been negative in the extreme and had made the situation worse than if they had stayed away completely. Their presence was a huge waste of public money and London really does not need police who behave as they did at this event.

The police had arrested a number of people on Westminster Bridge but later Black Lives Matter UK, one of the organisers, made the following post: “All arrestees have been released with no further action. Thanks to all who have supported the protests and taken time out to care for all those made vulnerable by the police.

More pictures in my Facebook album Free Palestine Coalition Demand A Ceasefire Now!


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