Posts Tagged ‘Khartoum massacre’

15th June 2019

Tuesday, June 15th, 2021

Grenfell protest at Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

Saturday 15th July was one of those days when my local station has no trains. I don’t think it used to happen, or at least only very rarely, before we privatised the railways, but it seems to be happening on quite a few weekends every year now. At first when these weekends began there was complete chaos, with unmarked rail replacement buses where the only way to find out if they were going the right way for you was to ask the driver, who usually knew, though often didn’t know how to get there and had to send a call out to passengers asking if anyone knew where the station was.

Closed Fire Station in Ashford

One one memorable occasion a passenger directed a double-decker down a road that, although it was the route I might have walked, narrows halfway down to rather less than bus width. After a very tricky and lengthy reverse we got back to the main road and drove on, past the correct turning. I and other passengers jumped out of our seats to tell the driver. He drove on, looking desperately for somewhere to turn the bus in busy narrow streets, finally doing a 3 or 4 point turn where the main road widened a little almost a mile on. This time as we cam back we made sure he turned left at the correct point.

Grenfell – 72 Dead and still no arrests How Come?

After a few such incidents, things did get sorted out more, but still too often the rail replacement bus arrived a couple of minutes late and missed its supposed connection – apparently no one had the authority to hold it for the bus. A journey that usually took 35 minutes often ended up close to two hours (and I’d face similar chaos on the way home.) So unless there was something really important to photograph I often stayed home.

Yvette Williams demanding the Truth and Justice For Grenfell

My alternative was to take a bus to Heathrow or Hatton Cross where I could join the Underground, and this became more viable once I could simply swipe a credit card to pay for the ride. It was still a slow journey, but more reliable than the rail replacement lottery. And on Saturday 15 June I took the bus and made a few pictures on the way from the upper deck.

It was the day after the second anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire in which 72 people died, and Justice For Grenfell had organised a solidarity march, starting and finishing at Downing St. After some speeches at Downing St, we marched to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government offices in the Home Office building to protest there, with a few more speeches before leaving to march back to Downing St for a final rally.

The event was supported by housing and building safety campaigners including Defend Council Housing and by branches of the Fire Brigades Union from around the UK.

As I walked through Parliament Square on my way to take the tube to another protest, I stopped briefly to photograph two events there. One was ‘We are the Love’ for Idlib inspired by the Black Eyed Peas song Where’s the love? to raise awareness about the massacre currently unfolding in the province of Idlib in Syria. Just along from this line of people holding large cards each with a letter of their message, and a drummer and a piper, was a small and quieter protest about the wrongful conviction of Brendan Dassey and his uncle, Steven Avery for the murder of Teresa Halbach in Wisconsin in 2005. The long and convoluted case which reflects badly on both the local police and the US legal system was the subject of a lenghty TV series.

By now I thought I would be too late to join the Hands Off Sudan march at its start at the UAE Embassy and guessed they might have got as far as the Egyptian Embassy, but when I arrived found just a few there waiting for the march. So I began to walk back on what I thought might be their route. I heard them before I could see them as I walked across Hyde Park corner, and the large and noisy crowd emerged from Grosvenor Cresecent as I turned down Grosvenor Place.

They were protesting after 124 peaceful protesters were massacred by Janjaweed militias (Rapid Support Forces) in Khartoum. Protests had begun in December and appeared to be causing a peaceful transition to democracy, removing corrupt president al-Bashir, until the heads of the ruling military council visited Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt, all countries opposed to a democratic Sudan – and today’s march was going to each of their embassies.

The marchers seemed to be stopping every few yards around Hyde Park Corner and singing and dancing and shouting slogans. Half an hour after I met them they had only moved on a few hundred yards are were slowly making their way up Park Lane. I felt I had taken enough photographs and went back to Hyde Park Corner for the slow journey home via Hatton Cross.

Hands off Sudan march
‘We are the Love’ for Idlib
Grenfell Solidarity March
Staines, Heathrow, Bedfont


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Hands off Sudan

Sunday, November 3rd, 2019

The protest in London on 15th June was a response to the massacre of 124 peaceful protesters by Janjaweed militias (Rapid Support Forces) in Khartoum on 3rd June and the 3-day general strike prompted by this the following week. Protests began in Sudan in December 2018, calling for an end to the military regime headed by President Omar al-Bashir and calling for a return to civilian rule.

The protests continued and military coup in April removed al-Bashir from power and the country was under control of a Transitional Military Council, which the protesters demanded transfer power to a civilian-led government. Negotiations continued between the two sides until interrupted by the Khartoum massacre, and were resumed following the three-day general strike.

The massacre was thought to have been prompted by demands from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that the miltary and police take a tougher line against the protests, and so the London demonstration began at the UAE embassy in Belgrave Square before marching to Mayfair and the Egyptian embassy in South Street and finally the Saudi embassy nearby.

My only real problem in photographing the protest was in finding it, as although I knew the starting time I hadn’t been able to find any timings for the other two embassies. It wasn’t clear how long they would be in Belgrave Square or when they might arrive elsewhere.

Because of covering other events I was unable to get to the start in Belgrave Square and thought by the time I could get to the protest it might be at the Egyptian Embassy. I took the tube to Green Park and walked there – passing the back of the Saudi Embassy on route. There were only a handful of protesters at the Egyptian Embassy and it was clear the protest had not yet arrived, so I continued on the likely route towards the starting point.

As I crossed Hyde Park Corner I saw and heard the protest emerging from Grosvenor Crescent and hurried to meet it. They stopped for some time on Grosvenor Place where I took the first few pictures on a fairly narrow and very crowded pavement; heavy traffic there made it unsafe to photograph from the road.

After a while the protesters moved across to the wider pavement in front of the monumental gateway to Hyde Park, where again it halted for some loud singing, chanting and dancing before moving off around into Park Lane. By the time I’d photographed the end of the procession crossing South Carriage Drive at the Queen Elizabeth Gate I decided I’d probably taken enough pictures and could make my way home. One of the noticeable aspects of the protest was the large proportion of women among those most active in it.

In Sudan negotiations continued with an agreement being reached between the TXC and the Forces of Freedom and Change representing the protesters agreeing there would be a judicial investigation into the Khartoum massacre and other events and that they would share power for a transitional period until elections in mid-2022 led to a civilian government. Street protests have also continued, but it looks as if they have acheived their goal.

More at: Hands off Sudan march


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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