Posts Tagged ‘murder’

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

Bread & Roses, Morales & Russian anti-fascists – 2019

Friday, January 19th, 2024

Bread & Roses, Morales & Russian anti-fascists: Three events I photographed on Saturday 19th January 2019.

Bread & Roses is again relevant now in January 2024, with the release of a new version of the song a few days ago by the ‘Orchestra of Cardboard‘, part of the amazing ‘Every street a POWER STATION campaign‘, a project of Walthamstow’s community interest company Optimistic Foundation CIC set up by artist and filmmaker Hilary Powell and filmmaker and musician Dan Edelstyn. The recording is a part of their fundraising campaign and your can read, see and hear more about it and their other campaigns which are already having an effect in the area on their crowdfunder page.

But back to January 2019, five years ago today.


Women’s Bread & Roses protest

Bread & Roses, Morales & Russian anti-fascists - 2019

Inspired by the Bread & Roses protests which revolutionised workers’ rights for women in 1912, Women’s March London marched from the BBC to a rally in Trafalgar Square against economic oppression, violence against women, gender pay gap, racism, fascism, institutional sexual harassment and hostile environment in the UK, and called for a government dedicated to equality and working for all of us rather than the few.

Bread & Roses, Morales & Russian anti-fascists - 2019

The London march was part of an international day with women marching in many countries around the world, particularly in cities across the USA.

Bread & Roses, Morales & Russian anti-fascists - 2019

At the start of the march was opposite the BBC on the steps of Langham Place a few of the women organising the event were being directed and filmed by a BBC film crew. Supposedly this was a documentary but it seemed to be more a scripted drama closely controlled by the director and with the women involved holding orange folders from which they read.

Bread & Roses, Morales & Russian anti-fascists - 2019

But there were a rather larger group of women (and just a few men with them) standing around outside the BBC building and largely ignoring the filming that was taking place. Many had made placards especially for the event, with some using words from the poem ‘Bread and Roses‘ written by James Oppenheim and published at the end of 1911. The phrase ‘Bread and Roses’ came from a speech the previous year by Helen Todd, speaking about the need for laws to regulate wages, working hours and conditions.

A few days later a strike was started by textile workers, largely immigrants, in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The strike was organised by the IWW, the Industrial Workers of the World, led largely by women and they took up Oppenheims poem and sang it at their meetings and marches, as well as apparently marching with a banner ‘We want Bread, and Roses too!’ during their three-month strike.

Eventually, when the BBC had finished making their movie the women gathered for a march and I walked with them to Trafalgar Square.

Many more pictures on My London Diary at Women’s Bread & Roses protest.


Bolivians protest against Morales – Trafalgar Square

A small group of Bolivians had come to protest following a decision in December by the Electoral Commission that President Evo Morales could stand for a fourth term in office in the October 2019 elections which were starting with primaries at the end of January 2019. But I was not convinced that this was truly a protest about democracy rather than simply against his socialist policies.

Morales, Bolivia’s first president to come from the indigenous population was first elected in 2005. He supported the 2009 constitution which allowed only two consecutive terms in office but was able to stand for a third term as his first term had been before the limit was imposed. In 2016 tried to increase the limit to three terms by a referendum which was narrowly defeated. But after this the courts ruled that the limitation infringed the human rights of citizens, allowing him to stand for a further term.

Morales won the October 2019 but their were widespread protests alleging electoral fraud, although later investigations suggested he had indeed gained the 10% lead required for a first-round victory. But the protests grew and he was endangered by armed groups; eventually he resigned on 10th November 2019, fleeing to Mexico where he was granted political asylum. Allegations made against him of sedition and terrorism were later found to be politically motivated and in 2020 a Bolivian court found his rights had been violated and judicial procedures breached.

His successful policies which reduced poverty and illiteracy and combated the influence of the USA and multinational companies made him very unpopular among the middle class and particularly the groups accustomed to running the country. Many in the USA encouraged and financed the opposition to him as he was widely seen to have shown a successful alternative to the growth of international capitalism.

Bolivians protest against Morales


Solidarity with Russian anti-fascists – Whitechapel

Finally I went east to the Cable Street Mural where anarchists and anti-fascists were meeting l to oppose racism, xenophobia, fascism and the upsurge of far-right populism and to show solidarity with Russian anti-fascists who have been arrested, framed and tortured in a brutal wave of repression.

Russian and Ukranian comrades spoke at the rally. telling us of the persecution taking place. The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) arrested six in Penza in 2017, charging them with belonging to a non-existent organisation, ‘The Network’. Beatings and torture before their trial were used to make them give false confessions.

Two others were arrested in 2018 in St Petersburg and charged with belonging to the same fictional network and again tortured into making confessions and further similar arrests have followed. A total of 11 where then in prison for belonging to’The Network’, facing 5 to 25 years in jail.

The date for the protest was chosen as the anniversary of the brutal murder of two Russian anti-fascists, journalist Anastasia Baburova and lawyer Stanislav Markelov, by fascists in broad daylight on the streets of Moscow on January 19th 2009. Russian anarchists and anti-fascists hold events to remember them on this day every year.

There was then a march to a further rally in Altab Ali Park, named for the 24-year-old clothing worker murdered in a nearby street on 4 May 1978.

More pictures at Solidarity with Russian anti-fascists.


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Goodbye & Good Riddance 2023 – November

Sunday, January 7th, 2024

Goodbye & Good Riddance 2023: My work in November was largely on protests over the continued genocide in Gaza where Israeli attacks were killing thousands of civilians including large numbers of children as they attempted to exterminate Hamas.

The killing continues and currently in January 2024 Wikipedia states “Over 22,000 Palestinians have been killed, a majority of them civilians, and thousands more are considered missing under the rubble of destroyed buildings.” Nearly all of Gaza’s 2.3 million population have been displaced and there is a severe humanitarian crisis with a shortage of food, medicines and safe water, with most of Gaza’s hospitals no longer able to operate. It now seems certain that many Gazans will die from famine and disease. The Israeli attack has quite unequivocally become a deliberate genocide.

Protests around the world have called for a ceasefire, and this is supported by the majority of countries in the world at the UN, but the killing continues with support for the Israeli offensive from the USA and UK and a few other countries.

While both Israel and the Palestinian resistance have committed war crimes, Israel is doing so on a huge industrial scale. Refugee camps and Hospitals have been deliberately targeted and many hospital staff are among the thousands of Palestinians detained in Israel. More journalists have already been killed in Gaza than the total number killed in six years of the Second World War and Israel has prevented the world’s press from reporting from Gaza and the parts of Israel which came under attack by Hamas and the other Palestinian groups.

Goodbye & Good Riddance 2023 - November
Lewisham March – National Day of Action For Palestine, London. 4 Nov 23.
Several thousands march from a rally at Lewisham Council Offices in Catford to a rally in the centre of Lewisham in one of many local protests around the UK in solidarity with Palestine calling for an immediate ceasefire and against the government support for Israel’s assault on Gaza. Later many went on to the central rally for a Gaza ceasefire in Trafalgar Square.
Peter Marshall
Goodbye & Good Riddance 2023 - November
Huge Trafalgar Square Rally for Gaza Ceasefire. London, 4 Nov 23.
Many thousands packed Trafalgar Square and the surrounding streets for the largest rally there in living memory in solidarity with Palestine and against our government’s disgraceful support for Israel’s assault. The rally came after local protests around London and across the country observing a silence for those in Palestine and Israel already killed and calling for an immediate ceasefire with negations to free the hostages and towards a peace settlement in the area.
Peter Marshall
Goodbye & Good Riddance 2023 - November
Armistice Day March Calls for Ceasefire In Palestine. London. 11 Nov 2023.
Hundreds of thousands march peacefully from Hyde Park to the US Embassy at Nine Elms on Armistice Day calling for an immediate ceasefire in the Middle East, where thousands of innocent civilians including many children have died both in the Hamas-led attack on Israel and in hugely punitive air attacks which have devastated large areas of Gaza.
Peter Marshall
Goodbye & Good Riddance 2023 - November
Ceasefire Now in Gaza March Against Starmer. Camden, London. 18 Nov 23.
Around two thousand fill the pavements at Chalk Farm station and march in solidarity to Camden Town and on to a rally outside the office of MPs Keir Starmer and Tulip Siddiq. Marchers expressed shock at killings of innocent civilians including children, doctors and patients, called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and were angry that Starmer had whipped Labour into voting against this.
Peter Marshall
People vs Oil PROTEST March, Just Stop Oil. London. 18 Nov 23. An officer puts handcuffs on one of a group who held up traffic to allow the march to pass safely. A crowd of supporters of Just Stop Oil of all ages marched from beside the London Eye through Southwark in protest against the failures of the government who are imprisoning peaceful protesters, licensing 100 new oil projects and ripping up any prospect of reaching net zero and endangering the future of human life on our planet.
Peter Marshall
Gaza Ceasefire Now March in Lewisham. London. 18 Nov 23. Several thousands march from Lewisham Islamic Centre to a rally outside Glass Mills Leisure Centre in one of many local protests around the UK in solidarity with Palestine calling for an immediate ceasefire and condemning MPs including local MP Vicky Foxcroft who voted this week against a ceasefire. There was angry disbelief when police arrested a young woman for a placard she was carrying.
Peter Marshall
Make Amazon Pay Black Friday Protest. London. 24 Nov 2023.
A protest at Amazon’s HQ in London joined groups across the world in the Make Amazon Pay coalition striking, protesting, picketing, boycotting, and fighting for the rights of Amazon workers around the world against abuse and exploitation. Amazon dodge taxes, deny union recognition, refuses to pay fair wages and fails to ensure safe working conditions and their activities are wrecking the climate, threatening the future of human life on earth.
Peter Marshall
Ceasefire for Gaza Now – National Protest. London. 25 Nov 2023.
Two police officers walk in the protest. Hundreds of thousands marched again through London to call for ceasefire in the war on Gaza where millions of civilians still face attacks by Israeli forces. The current pause and hostage exchanges are welcome but do little to address the urgent humanitarian crisis and the killing is set to resume. The marchers call for a permanent ceasefire and for a political solution to bring peace and justice to Palestine under international law.
Peter Marshall
Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain Call for Muslim Armies. London, 25 Nov 2023.
A large crowd of followers of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, men and women in separate groups, listened to speakers in front of the Egyptian Embassy calling for Muslims to rescue of Palestine from 75 years of occupation, brutal oppression, sieges, kidnapping and murder. They call on Muslims in armies in the region to join together to restore a just caliphate where people from all faiths can live together across the Middle East.
Peter Marshall

It was getting dark as I took pictures of the Egyptian Embassy and I was tired and feeling chilled by the speeches. I think I first photographed Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain around 20 years ago and have never felt welcome as I took pictures. But I also remember that I didn’t take them seriously when years ago they talked about ‘Muslim Armies’ – and then we saw the rise of ISIS and I realised how wrong I had been.

The final part of my looking back on 2023 will be online tomorrow.


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All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall.
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Democracy, Mansion Tax & Justice – 2014

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2023

Democracy, Mansion Tax & Justice – on Saturday 22nd November 2014 I photographed protests about democracy and justice in the UK, the brutal persecution of Christians in Pakistan and Class War protesting outside the homes of millionaire objectors to a proposed mansion tax. My day’s work ended in Brixton with an annual march remembering young men killed in Brixton Police Station.


Occupy Democracy at Supreme Court – Parliament Square

Democracy, Mansion Tax & Justice - 2014

Activists from Occupy Democracy had spent the night on the wide pavement in front of the Supreme Court on the west side of Parliament Square and were getting ready to hold two days of workshops there.

Democracy, Mansion Tax & Justice - 2014

The Supreme Court is housed in the ornamented former Middlesex Guildhall facing the Houses of Parliament across the square and does not sit at weekends, perhaps why the police had not tried hard to remove the protesters.

Democracy, Mansion Tax & Justice - 2014

Parliament Square itself was still fenced off and guarded, with police fearing that Occupy protesters might come and set up up a tented camp there. One of the banners the protesters had brought read ‘WE ARE THE GHOST OF BRIAN HAW’, the peace protester who had defied legal and illegal attempts to remove him from his camp facing Parliament for many years.

Democracy, Mansion Tax & Justice - 2014

A small group of protesters was sheltering from the rain in the doorway of the Supreme Court and I went to say ‘Hello’ and take a few pictures.

Others were holding posters and banners and waiting for others to come an join them for the workshops. I couldn’t stay but hoped to come back later, but ran out of time to do so.

Occupy Democracy at Supreme Court


Justice for Shahzad & Shama – Downing St

Shahzad Masih and Shama Bibi were Pakistani Christians who had been trapped into bond labour at a brick kiln in a Muslim village 35 miles south-west of Lahore. Shahad was involved in a dispute with the kiln owner and landlord as he wanted to pay off his debts and leave and the landlord’s accountant is alleged to have raped Shama.

Shama had cleared out and burnt some items belonging to her father after his death on 30th October 2014. These included some black magic amulets and written charms. The ashes were seen by a Muslim worker and he accused her of burning the Koran.

A large mob came from surrounding villages and attacked the couple, stripped them and tied them to a tractor, beating them as they were taken to the kiln, where petrol was poured over their bodies; accounts differ as to whether both were still alive when they were then thrown into the furnace while there six year old child watched. Armed police stood by but refused to interfere in their murders.

The police and authorities appear to have tried to cover up the case and buried the remains of the bodies in secret to avoid their families arranging a funeral. But the news leaked out and the federal government had appointed a minister to co-ordinate the case. At Downing Street there were prayers and speeches calling for justice including from an Elim Pentecostal minister and singer Si Genaro.

Justice for Shahzad & Shama


Class War Griff Rhys Jones Mansion Tax – Fitzroy Square

Earlier in the month, Class War had announced they would stand a number of candidates in the forthcoming 2015 General Election and had put together a manifesto largely as they walked the short distance from the pub to a Poor Doors protest.

Marina Pepper rang the bell at Griff Rhys Jones’ house

Class War did not expect to win any seats – or even save their deposits, but “to launch a furious and coordinated political offensive against the ruling class with the opportunity an election gives us to talk politics to our class.” And they intended to “make ourselves central to the campaign in a funny, rumbustious combative and imaginative way.”

One of the key pledges in their manifesto was for a 50% mansion tax, and it was also a policy on a rather less punitive scale for the then Labour party (no longer in existence.) And several well-known and filthy rich people had voiced their objections including Griff Rhys Jones who said he would leave the country if Labour levied a mansion tax.

On Saturday 22nd November a small group from Class War, including two of their election candidates Marina Pepper went to protest at the £7 million home of Griff Rhys Jones in Fitzroy Square, telling him to “f**k off now“, offering to pay the fare.

Class War rang on the bell though nobody came to answer it, although there were signs of movement inside. They put hazard tape around the area outside the house before going for a walk around the square, pausing for another brief protest outside the home of Guy Ritchie, another millionaire objector to a mansion tax.

Continuing around the square, next to the house where both George Bernard Shaw and later Virginia Woolf both lived, they came across the Magistrates Association – who got another sticker, as did the locked gates into the private garden in the centre of the square.

Having gone around the square they arrived back outside Griff Rhys Jones’s house where they stopped for a group photograph and a few more minutes of protest before leaving for a nearby pub. I would have liked to join them but had to rush to another event.

Class War Griff Rhys Jones Mansion Tax


Still No Justice for Ricky Bishop – Brixton

Ricky Bishop, a fit young black man, died from unexplained injuries hours after being taken to Brixton Police Station on 22 Nov 2001. Family and supporters call it a modern day lynching and march annually to remember him and call for justice.

Ricky Bishop was a fit young black man when taken into Brixton Police Station on 22 Nov 2001, but hours later he died from unexplained injuries. His family and supporters call his death a modern day lynching and march annually to remember him and call for justice.

People met in Windrush Square and marched slowly to the police station, calling out the names of the officers they accuse of murdering him, to hold a memorial event around the tree outside which has been adopted as a remembrance tree for Ricky Bishop and the others killed there by police.

Among the speakers was Marcia Rigg who spoke forcefully of the long battle to get any proper investigation into the death in he police station of her brother Sean Rigg in August 2008. While she was speaking there were shouts from officers inside the police station accusing her and the family of lying about the police.

I felt shocked and disgusted that police still feel the killing people as they did Sean Rigg is defensible and go to great lengths to prevent proper investigation, giving police almost total immunity from the consequences of their actions.

Although many of the over 3,000 custody deaths between 1969 and 2011 may not have been the result of deliberate actions or failures, there has not been a single officer successfully prosecuted, despite considerable evidence of wrongdoing. Instead we have seen repeated instances of failures to properly investigate and interview officers, collusion to give false statements, unnecessary holding up of cases, disallowing of evidence, misleading of juries and other means, including failures of both the Crown Prosecution Service and the so-called Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Many more pictures of the march and memorial on My London Diary at Still No Justice for Ricky Bishop.


Roma, Olympic Park and Mind – 2016

Tuesday, October 31st, 2023

Roma, Olympic Park and Mind: After a morning protest by Roma at the Czech Embassy in Kensington I took a walk around the Olympic Park in Stratford before joining the Mental Health Resistance Network (MHRN) and Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) who were holding a Halloween Demo at the national office of Mind.


Roma protest Czech Murder – Czech embassy, Kensington

Roma, Olympic Park and Mind

Ladislav Balaz, Chair of the Roma Labour Group and Europe Roma Network and others had come to hand in a letter calling for the murder of a young Romani man by neo-Nazi skinheads in Žatec to be properly investigated.

Roma, Olympic Park and Mind

The man who had lived in the UK until a year ago was a second cousin of Balaz. He was set upon as he went to buy cigarettes at a pizzeria.

Roma, Olympic Park and Mind

Most cases of murders of Roma in the Czech Republic are dismissed by police as accidents and they have already issued false stories about the victim, claiming he was mentally ill and attacked people. The Roma demand justice and equality for everyone in Czech Republic and the elimination of any double standards of justice. Several of the protesters made speeches in Czech as the letter was presented.

Roma protest Czech Murder


A Walk in the Olympic Park – Stratford

Roma, Olympic Park and Mind

I had several hours between the protest outside the Czech Embassy and a protest in Stratford High Street and decided it was a good occasion to take another walk in the park at Stratford which had been the site of the 2012 London olympic games and to make some more panoramic images.

It was a year since I had been there, and four years since the Olympics and I had hoped to see the park in much better condition than I found it. Considerable progress had been made in the buildings which are shooting up around it and many of the ways into the park are still closed.

I walked around much of the southern area of the park and found it still “largely an arid and alienating space composed mainly of wide empty walkways rather than a park.”

I took rather a lot of pictures, both panoramic and more normal views before it was time to make my way back through the Westfield shopping centre into the centre of Stratford.

Many more pictures at A Walk in the Olympic Park.


Against Mind’s collusion with the DWP – Stratford

Paul Farmer, Mind’s chief executive came out and spoke to the protesters

The Mental Health Resistance Network (MHRN) and Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) came for a Halloween Demo at the national office of mental health charity Mind in Stratford.

They complain that Mind failed to mention the effects of welfare reform, sanctions, or benefit-related deaths in its latest five-year strategy and has dropped its support for the long-running court case aimed at forcing the government to make WCA safer for people with mental health conditions.

Mind’s policy and campaigns manager Tom Pollard had been seconded to work as a senior policy adviser to the DWP and was to start the following day and they demanded the resignation of Mind’s chief executive, Paul Farmer.

Farmer came out to meet the protesters on the pavement and told them that Mind was still working for people with mental health problems and not for the DWP, and that Pollard’s decision had been entirely a personal one in order to gain more insight into the workings of government rather than to assist them in the any discrimination against the disabled.

The protesters were unconvinced and after he had finished speaking several spoke about how local Mind groups were working against the interests of those with mental health problems. They claimed the local managers were often more interested in empire building than in the welfare of benefit claimants.

More pictures at Mind’s collusion with the DWP.


Gun & Knife Crime, Equiano & St John’s – 2007

Saturday, October 14th, 2023

Gun & Knife Crime, Equiano & St John’s: I went to two events in North London on Sunday 14th October 2007, a local march against gun and knife crime and then a Black History Month event in Abney Park Cemetery. And on my way home I stopped to take a few pictures of the church opposite Waterloo Station.


Communities Against Gun and Knife Crime, Hackney

In the 2000’s a stretch of road between Upper Clapton and Lower Clapton attracted the title ‘Murder Mile’ in the press after eight people were shot dead on the street or in the streets just off the main road over a period of two years. Of course there are some other cities around the world – including in the USA – where that number of deaths in a week or even a day would not be unusual. But London is generally a very safe city and Clapton is one of a number of areas which has more than its share of gun and knife crime.

Gun & Knife Crime, Equiano & St John's:

This is an area with a number of night clubs and where drug dealing is common and a large proportion of the shootings and deaths are related to these, often involving people from outside the area.

Gun & Knife Crime, Equiano & St John's:

But young people who live in and around the area are also caught up in gun and knife crime and one death is one too many, particularly when it involves your friends or family. Like many areas of London it houses a wide social mix, and these crimes particularly involve the poorer members of the community, many of whom are black.

Gun & Knife Crime, Equiano & St John's:

The march organised by Communities Against Gun And Knife Crime appeared to have no support from either of the two London Boroughs concerned – Hackney and Haringey – or from the Met police, who did escort it. The only other organisation which I could see was supporting it was Hackney Respect, a local group of the left-wing Respect party.

Gun & Knife Crime, Equiano & St John's:

The march began at Clapton Pond with a prayer by a Black Church Sister, and then moved slowly north up the Lower Clapton Road and across the Lea Bridge Roundabout and up the Upper Clapton Road. I had to leave before the end for my second event.

The march was smaller than I had expected with fewer than a hundred people taking part, and although it atrracted waves and shouts of support from people as it passed, few if any of them came to join it. As I commented, “marches like this are surely useful in raising community awareness, and it is hard to see why there was so little support from either the public, local authorities or other local groups – including the other political parties, churches and other community groups.” Apart from myself there was a photographer from a local paper reporting on the event, but no other media interest. I don’t think any of the pictures or my report which I filed to an agency were ever used.

Here is my final comment from my 2007 article:

The real challenge in cutting youth crime – and gun and knife crime is mainly youth crime – is getting people, and especially young people – real jobs that offer training and possibilities for advancement. At the moment there are too few jobs for young people, and many pay below a living wage, especially a living wage for London. While crime offers the only way to money, prestige and apparent success, many will take that route.

Communities Against Gun and Knife Crime

Equiano Society – His Daughter’s Grave – Abney Park Cemetery, Stoke Newington

I joined a Black History Month walk led by Arthur Torrington OBE, the secretary of the Equiano Society which ended around the grave of Joanna Vassa, the daughter of Olaudah Equiano.

As the web site Olaudah Equiano, or, Gustavus Vassa, the African shows he was a truly remarkable man. Probably born around 1745 in what is now Nigeria he was kidnapped and sold into slavery as a child and taken to Barbados. In 1745 he became slave to a captain in the Royal Navy who renamed him Gustavus Vassa, and taught him to be a seaman and also sent him to school in London to learn to read and write. Later was bought by a Quaker merchant in Philadelphia who set him to work on one of his trading ships. Equiano was also able to engage in some trading for himself, and in four years made the £40 that his master had paid for him and was able to buy his freedom.

After various adventures in 1743 he came to London and became involved in the fight against slavery, although at first he was engaged in projects to set up black colonies in Central America and Sierra Leone, becoming for the latter the first black civil servant – but after he pointed out corruption among some officials he was quickly sacked.

He then wrote the book which made him famous, ‘The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or, Gustavus Vassa, the African‘ which was an autobiography, a description of the horrors of slavery and a polemic calling for its abolition. It was a success when published in 1789 and he earned a considerable income from it. In 1792 he married an English woman, Susanna Cullen, at Soham in Cambridgeshire and they had two daughters, one of whom after his death in 1797 inherited his estate of £950 (equivalent to around £100,000 now.)

Joanna Vassa later married the Congregational minister, Henry Bromley, and in 2005 their joint grave (also of Henry’s second wife) was discovered in Abney Park Cemetery, fallen down and covered by moss and undergrowth. Much of the inscription was worn away, but the names remained and the stone was restored and re-erected.

Equiano’s daughter


St John’s, Waterloo – A Waterloo Church

St John’s Church, now opposite Waterloo Station was one of a number of churches built in the years of national triumph following the defeat of Napoleon in 1815 with money granted by acts of Parliament to the Church Building Commission in 1818 and 1824 totalling £1.5 million. A total of 612 new churches were built by the Church Commissioners, mainly in the new and expanding industrial towns and cities, but initially “particularly in the Metropolis and its Vicinity“.

London south of the river was expanding rapidly, with new industries and a great deal of housing. The church was designed by Francis Octavius Bedford and built in 1822-1824 in a Greek Revival style – as were his other churches for the commissioners in Camberwell, West Norwood and Trinity Church Square, Southwark.

The site chosen, close to the foot of Waterloo Bridge was a difficult one, being a pond and a swamp, and John Rennie the Younger was consulted for advice about the foundations. This has proved sound as the building, despite being badly bombed in 1940 and standing in ruins until 1950 and the construction of the Jubilee Line underneath is still sound. It was restored and rededicated in 1951 as a part of the Festival of Britain, and again controversially in recent years which removed some of the later features.

I think I probably had just missed a train home from Waterloo Station opposite, a later development which opened as Waterloo Bridge Station in 1848, and had some time to wait for the next. Soon I was on a train home.

St John’s Waterloo


Turkish Spring, Badgers and BNP – 2013

Thursday, June 1st, 2023

Turkish Spring, Badgers and BNP: Ten Years ago on Saturday 1st June 2013 Turks in London were celebrating the start of the Turkish Spring, but now they are mourning last Sundays’ election results with the Islamist dictator winning another term in office. Badger culling was just beginning and there is still no sign it will actually end and over 210,000 badgers have now been killed to little effect – and Defra is still failing to introduce more effective methods to control bovine TB. Anti-fascists managed to prevent the BNP laying a wreath to exploit the killing of Lee Rigby – but despite the family’s clearly stated wishes and MoD condemnation – racists including a leading Tory MP are still using the murder to whip up hatred.


London Supports Turkish Spring – Marble Arch

Saturday 1st June 2013

A large crowd, mainly Turks and Kurds from North London, met in Hyde Park close to Marble Arch for a march in support of the popular protests that had erupted over the previous few days over Gezi Park.

Saturday 1st June 2013

At first there had been small protests against the loss of one of Istanbul’s few remaining green spaces for a shopping mall. But brutal police repression, with tear gas and water cannon used indiscriminately on people in the area angered many and the protests grew, becoming protests calling for an end of the authoritarian Erdogan regime.

Saturday 1st June 2013

Many Turks were then disturbed at Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP), abandoning the secular state established as the basis for modern Turkey in the 1920s by Kemal Atatürk towards a conservative authoritarian Islamic dictatorship.

Saturday 1st June 2013

This process has continued, and Turkey has also been involved in the supporting of wider Islamic movements in the Middle East, particularly ISIS, as well as supporting Russia in its intervention in crushing the anti-Assad revolt in Syria. Last week’s election came as a huge blow to democracy in Turkey.

The 2013 protest was high-spirited and noisy, with many young men including Turkish football supporters. Many of London’s Turkish and Kurdish community are people who had to flee Turkey for political reasons and their sons and daughters. Kurds in particular have long been subjected to huge discrimination and oppression with the Turkish government attempting to eliminate their culture.

I had to leave before the march to the Turkish Embassy were around four thousand protested in support of the ‘Turkish Spring’.

London Supports Turkish Spring


Cull Politicians, Not Badgers – Westminster

I joined a large crowd at a rally in front of Tate Modern for the National March Against the Badger Cull, where the speakers included Queen Guitarist Brian May.

Many at the protest had come up to London from country areas, particularly from the pilot areas in west Gloucestershire and west Somerset where culling was to start later in the year. Many more licences were issued in later years and culling is continuing. Detailed statistical analysis suggests in some areas culling has led to a slight decease in bovine TB but overall it has had no real effect as badgers are only responsible for a small amount of the transmission, with 94% of infection being passed from cow to cow.

Defra’s support for culling and their reluctance to bring in more accurate cattle testing, controls on the movement of cattle, vaccination, proper slurry management and other effective measures seems largely to be driven by lobbying from farmers who want to avoid more controls on their activities.

After the rally there was a short march to Parliament where some of those taking part danced on the street, with many then going on to join the protest taking place opposing the racist British National Party.

Cull Politicians, Not Badgers


Anti-Fascists Prevent BNP Exploiting Brutal Killing

Anonymous were there along with Antifa, trade unionists and the UAF to oppose the BNP hate

On May 22nd 2013, off-duty Fusilier Lee Rigby was brutally murdered on a Woolwich street, run over then stabbed by two Muslim men who tried to decapitate him. The killing was universally condemned, including by Britain’s Muslim community, and I had two days ago photographed a march and rally in East London by Muslims to show solidarity and sympathy with the family of Lee Rigby and to denounce his brutal killing, describing it as against all the tenets of Islam.

Nick Griffin answers questions under a placard ‘Hate Preachers Out’ and fails to appreciate the irony

The BNP had wanted to organise a mass protest in Woolwich to exploit the killing, making use of his senseless slaughter there to gain support for their anti-Muslim rhetoric, but police had banned their plans for a march as it would have endangered public safety, enraging many in the local area. Lee Rigby’s father had made clear that he and his family did not want his son’s death to be used to stir up hatred.

Instead, BNP leader Nick Griffin had planned to march to the Cenotaph and lay a wreath there, and had come with a small group of supporters to Old Palace Yard to start the march. It was only a very small group, even for the BNP, with perhaps as I wrote suggesting “it was something that even the ultra-right membership of the BNP could not stomach”.

Griffin himself blamed the low turnout on the police turning many of his followers away, stating that the whole area around Westminster was “a virtual exclusion zone“. I’d just walked there seeing no unusual police activity, and certainly large numbers who had come to oppose his wreath laying found no problems in getting in to do so.

Police arrest an anti-fascist

It would have been possible for anyone – BNP member or not – to go to the Cenotaph on any of the days following the brutal murder and even on this morning to lay a wreath, though not today a well-known racist face like Griffin himself. But Grffin’s intentions were not about expressing sympathy. He wanted a triumphal march with flags flying to gain support for his Islamophobic hate, and given the opposition this never seemed likely to happen.

Police tried hard to clear a way for the BNP to march, but anti-fascists held their ground and refused to move. Police told them they were acting illegally and would be arrested if they did not move – and I saw a couple of double-decker buses being filled with arrested protesters and driven away, but there were simply too many for police to arrest them all.

The protest brought back memories of Cable Street, though few if any there were old enough to have actually been there back in 1936, though rather more had been at the http://mylondondiary.co.uk/2006/10/oct.htm 70th anniversary. But as then the slogan was ‘They shall not pass’, and on this occasion there were not enough police to force a way through. After the two buses of arrested protesters had been driven away police tactics changed and they simply maintained a standoff keeping the opposing groups apart.

Police told the BNP that they expected the anti-fascists to go home and they expected be able to clear the route by half past four, but they stayed on. It was the BNP who gave up, turning around and walking back to waiting coaches and leaving. When the anti-fascists were told the BNP had gone, they marched to Old Palace Yard for a brief rally to celebrate the victory.

Much more about the BNP and the protest which stopped them on My London Diary:
Anti-Fascists Stop BNP Wreath Laying
BNP Exploiting Woolwich Killing Stopped


Ten Years Ago – Chariots & Custody Deaths

Friday, June 17th, 2022

Ten Years Ago – Chariots & Custody Deaths – On Sunday 17th June 2012 I photographed two very different events in London


Hare Krishna Chariot Festival – Hyde Park

Effigy of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977) the founder of ISKCON (Hare Krishna)

More than a thousand Hare Krishna devotees turned up in Hyde Park on Sunday morning to pull three giant chariots through the streets of London to Trafalgar Square.

People pull the chariots with ropes and others sweep the path for it

The Rathayatra Chariots Festival first took place at the Jagannatha temple at Puri, Orissa on the east coast of India probably at least a thousand years ago. It celebrates the attempt by Krishna’s childhood friends who were cowherds to try and kidnap him after he became a great lord and take him back to their village on a cart.

There are three chariots to carry the three deities worshipped at Puri, e Krishna in the form of Jagannatha, his half-sister Subhadra, and Balarama her brother. Jagannath means ‘Master of the Universe’ and his name and the chariots in the festival give us the word “juggernaut”.

Subhadra’s representation on her chariot

Hare Krishna disciples celebrated the festival in San Francisco in 1967 and it was first celebrated by a small group here in 1969, but only became a large event in London much more recently. It is one of the more colourful annual events in the city. I left as the procession left Hyde Park.

More pictures: Hare Krishna Chariot Festival


Fathers Day Vigil for Custody Deaths – Brixton Police Station

Family members call for Justice for Ricky Bishop, Justice for Sean Rigg

It was Father’s Day and the families of men killed by by police held vigils on outside police stations across the country. At Brixton, the family of Ricky Bishop was joined by the sisters of Sean Rigg and friends.

The inquest into Sean Rigg’s death in Brixton Police Station in August 2008 had begun the previous week. Following his killing police issued an incredible number of false statements, lying to protect the officers involved and the IPCC backed them with further deliberately misleading statements.

Although the police failure to make investigations and properly question officers involved, along with the destruction of evidence made prosecutions of the officers involved impossible the inquest jury delivered a damning and substantial narrative verdict which included a majority view that the improper and unnecessary restraint of Sean Rigg ” more than minimally contributed” to his death.

Although later three officers were arrested for having committed perjury at the inquest the IPCC cleared one of them and the CPS decided to drop the two other cases. The family appealed and one officer was charged with perjury but was acquitted by a jury despite having admitted giving false evidence.

You can read a fuller account of the efforts by the family to get justice on Wikipedia. Although two inquiries have found a long list of failings by the police there have been no successful prosecutions of the officers involved.

Ricky Bishop was arrested by police in Brixton in November 2001 and taken to Brixton Police station. A healthy 25 year old he suffered a heart attack and was restrained by police who only later called for a paramedic. It took several hours for police to take him to hospital where he died.

None of the eight officers involved in this death have been suspended or prosecuted and they remained on active duty.

These were not the first or the last suspicious deaths involving Brixton Police station – and a woman came up during the event to tell us of her relative Colin Bardley who she said was beaten to death there around 30 years ago. And there are similar cases elsewhere. My post on My London Diary quoted from a report published by the Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody in 2011 which states ‘in total, there were 5,998 deaths recorded for the 11 years from 2000 to 2010. This is an average of 545 deaths per year. Despite the fact there have been 11 unlawful killing verdicts since 1990 there has never been a successful prosecution.

More about the event, on deaths in custody and more pictures at Fathers Day Vigil.


Knives, Afrin and Vedanta

Thursday, May 26th, 2022

Knives, Afrin and Vedanta: Two of the four events I photographed on 26th May 2018 were connected with knife and gun crime in London, the other two about international events – the invasion of Afrin by Turkey and the fatal shooting by Indian police of protesters against the polluting activites of the Sterlite copper plant owned by Vedenta in Tamil Nadu.


‘Be the Change’ Knife and Gun Crime – Windrush Square, Brixton

London’s murder rate has increased by over a third in the last three years, and last year saw a 22% increase in recorded knife crime and 11% in gun crime. Of the 39 children and teenagers killed in the UK by knives last year over half were in London. The victims of knife crime are disproportionately young black men. Many attribute the rise in these crimes to the cuts in youth clubs, community projects, counselling and other services for young people, cuts in police and PCSO numbers and changes in illegal drug dealing.

Lambeth is an area that has suffered greatly from the cuts, and with a Labour council that often seems particularly insensitive to local needs, particular over housing where it has been colluding with developers over profiting from the destruction of social housing. It has also been subjected to some of the most discriminatory policing which has led to several riots or uprisings in Brixton over the years.

Brixton Seventh Day Adventist Church is in the centre of Brixton, worshipping a short walk from Windrush Square, where they had come on Saturday morning when normally they would be in church to protest and witness their concerns over the deaths. I’d missed photographing their march to the Square as they had taken a different route to that I’d expected but was able to spend some time photographing them speaking and singing the gospel. But it did seem to me that despite being hugely concerned and convinced in their beliefs that they were preaching only to the converted, with few of those walking past stopping to listen.

More pictures at ‘Be the Change’ Knife and Gun Crime.


Youth Peace Walk by Korean-based cult – Langham Place

I left Brixton and was making my way to the BBC when I was surprised by the Korean-based IYPG (International Peace Youth Group) making their way down Langham Place and stopped to photograph them. I knew nothing about them but saw they were marching with a posted about knife crime in London.

Back home later in the day I did my research on the web, finding the IYPG had held annual peace walks in countries around the world on or around May 25th since 2013, commemorating the ‘Declaration of World Peace’. The group was founded in South Korea by Mr Man Hee Lee, a war veteran and peacemaker who claims to have had a personal revelation linked to the biblical Book of Revelations. He is the leader of a strange heretical Christian cult in Korea called ShinChonji and a linked organisation Mannam. Critics say that although the IPYG hosts events such as these peace walks, they do nothing to promote peace but are a part of a recruiting drive for ShinConji whose followers are obliged to give large donations to the cult.

More pictures at Youth Peace Walk by Korean-based cult.


March Against Turkish Occupation of Afrin – BBC to Westminster

Kurds and supporters held a short rally outside the BBC before marching to Downing St and Parliament Square to call for an end to the Turkish occupation of Afrin.

Among those speaking was the aunt of British volunteer Anna Campbell, killed defending Afrin. The invasion of Afrin began in January, and was carried out by Turkish forces together with former ISIS fighters. The Kurdish forces withdrew in March when they were in danger of being encircled and have vowed to continue the fight to regain Afrin through a guerilla war.

Erdogan would like to completely eliminate the Kurds who have been persecuted for many years in Turkey and to end the autonomous Kurdish led areas in both Syria and Iraq. Afrin was a part of Rojava, the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria which has a liberal socialist constitution based on direct democracy which enshrines ethnic and gender equality and other fundamental human rights including freedom of religion – a huge contrast with Turkey’s increasingly Islamic autocracy.

I left the march after a short distance at Oxford Circus to make my way to the Indian High Commission in Aldwych.

More at March Against Turkish Occupation of Afrin.


India complicit in Thoothukudi killings – India House, Aldwych

Hundreds had come to protest outside the Indian High Commission protest at the Indian government complicity in the brutal repression of protests against pollution from the Sterlite copper plant at Thoothukudi, in the Southern State of Tamil Nadu. The protest was organised by Foil Vedanta, Tamil People in UK and PARAI – Voice of Freedom and supported by South Asia Solidarity Group and others including the Socialist Party.

On May 22nd, four days earlier, Indian police had fired into a crowd of protesters, killing 12 and wounding more than 60. Protests had been continuing for 100 days demanding that the plant, owned by a subsidiary of British company Vedanta Resources be closed down. Vedanta is said to be the largest donor to the Indian BJP party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Vedanta, set up by British Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal with UK government help in 2003 is notorious for its polluting activities in India, Goa, Zambia and elsewhere as well as unsafe working practices and tax evasion. Sterlite, which has a long record of dumping toxic waste and operating without proper licences is expanding and opening a second plant in the town. The London Mining Network say the Vedanta operates “like a house without a toilet” and “consistently dump waste next to their smelters and captive thermal power plants.”

Protesters called for an end to Vedanta’s polluting activities around the world, and an end for support for the company by both UK and Indian governments. They called for the Stock Exchange to delist the company – and the company delisted itself a few months later probably to avoid facing more public interest litigation in the UK.

More pictures at India complicit in Thoothukudi killings.


Women March, Bolivians Protest, Antifa Solidarity

Wednesday, January 19th, 2022

Women March, Bolivians Protest, Antifa Solidarity
Saturday 19th January 2019 was another day of protests in London.

Women’s Bread & Roses protest

Inspired by the Bread & Roses protests which revolutionised workers’ rights for women in 1912, Women’s March London marched from the BBC to a rally in Trafalgar Square. The march was a part of an international day with women marching in many countries across the world and particularly in the USA.

Women were marching against economic oppression, violence against women, gender pay gap, racism, fascism, institutional sexual harassment and hostile environment in the UK, and they called for a government dedicated to equality and working for all of us rather than the few.

It began rather oddly outside the BBC with a carefully organised and scripted rally by a TV crew working for the BBC to produce what they called a documentary, though it seemed to have little real connection with the event that was taking place.

I walked with the women photographing them as they marched to another hopefully less scripted rally in Trafalgar Square where I left them to go to another event.

Bolivians protest against Morales

While in Trafalgar Square I photographed another protest taking place on the North Terrace, where Bolivians from the 21F movement had gathered against the ruling by Bolivia’s Electoral Tribunal that President Evo Morales could stand for a fourth term in office. Morales was first elected president in 2005, and supported the 2009 constitution which only allowed two consecutive terms in office. But later he tried to change this and the matter was put to a national referendum on 21st February 2016 which narrowly rejected the change.

Morales then went to the courts and they ruled that the limitation to two terms was an infringement on human rights and allowed him to stand again,, and he won a third term in office. The protesters were from the 21F movement, named from the referendum debate who accused him of corruption and interfering with the court system and say he is behaving as a dictator by trying to remain in power for a fourth term. He stood and won in October 2019, but a coup attempt in November 2019 forced him to flee the country, though he was able to return after MAS candidate Luis Arce won a clear victory in the 2020 general election and was sworn in as President.

Morales, the head of the Movement for Socialism party (MAS) while in office implemented leftist policies, reducing poverty and illiteracy and combating the influence of the United States and multinational corporations in Bolivia which has made him very unpopular with many of the middle class who were used to running the country – as well as the USA who have encouraged and financed opposition to him. Perhaps the 21F protest was really more about his policies than a concern for the integrity of the constitution.

Solidarity with Russian anti-fascists

From Trafalgar Square I made my way to the Cable Street Mural on the former Stepney Town Hall in St George’s Gardens Shadwell, where Anarchist and Anti-fascists were gathering to march to oppose racism, xenophobia, fascism and the upsurge of far-right populism and to show solidarity with Russian anti-fascists who have been arrested, framed and tortured in a brutal wave of repression.

There were speeches by Russian and Ukrainian comrades and a message from some of those under arrest in Russia. Six were arrested in 2017 by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and charged with belonging to a non-existent organisation, ‘The Network’. They have been and beaten and tortured in the pre-trial detention facility using electrical torture and hanging them upside down to get them to sign confessions, which they were forced to memorise.

Five more anti-fascists have been arrested since and also tortured to admit they were members of ‘The Network’, which the FSB claims were planning explosions during the Russian presidential elections and the World Cup. They could be jailed for up to 20 years for membership of the fictional group.

Stanislav Markelov, murdered by fascists in broad daylight on January 19th 2009.

January 19th was the 10th anniversary of the brutal murder on a Moscow street in broad daylight of two Russian anti-fascists, journalist Anastasia Baburova and lawyer Stanislav Markelov. Russian anarchists and anti-fascists hold events to remember them on this day every year.

From the fine mural celebrating the 1936 Battle of Cable Street, when the East End rose up to fight the police who tried to force a way for Mosley’s Blackshirts to march through the Jewish East End, the protesters marched to Altab Ali Park in Whitechapel, re-named after a young Bengali textile worker, 24 year old Altab Ali, who was murdered here on May 4th 1978 in a brutal unprovoked racist attack by three teenage boys as he walked home from work.

More on all three protests on My London Diary:
Solidarity with Russian anti-fascists
Bolivians protest against Morales
Women’s Bread & Roses protest