Posts Tagged ‘Muslims’

Hospitals, Muslims and Housing

Friday, October 6th, 2023

Hospitals, Muslims and Housing: On Saturday 6th of October 2012 I went to Shepherds Bush for a march against hospital closure, then on to Westminster for a protest against Muslim gangs and a much larger protest by Muslims against an anti-Muslim film, finally to Kilburn for a rally calling for Brent council to rehouse a homeless family.


Save Our Hospitals – Shepherds Bush

Hospitals, Muslims and Housing

Residents of West London who were furious at proposals to close Accident and Emergency services at four of the nine hospitals in their area met at Shepherds Bush to march though Hammersmith and past Charing Cross Hospital on the Fulham Palace Road to a rally at Lillie Road recreation ground.

Hospitals, Muslims and Housing

Under the proposals, Charing Cross Hospital in Hammersmith would lose nine of the 11 major types of service currently provided on-site, including the A&E, becoming a ‘local hospital’, while Hammersmith Hospital would be only a specialist unit.

Hospitals, Muslims and Housing

A&E would only remain at Chelsea and Westminster, St Mary’s Paddington, Northwick Park, West Middlesex and Hillingdon, all five involving slow journeys over congested roads from much of the area.

Hospitals, Muslims and Housing

As well as this march there had also been earlier marches against the plans in Harlesden and in Southall and Action. As a result of the huge public campaign then Health Minister Jeremy Hunt reprieved the A&E services at Charing Cross and Ealing, but closures went ahead at Hammersmith and Central Middlesex.

Save Our Hospitals – Shepherds Bush.


Britain First – Muslim Grooming – Westminster

A small group met at Downing St to protest against grooming and abuse of young girls by Muslim gangs, and the failure of police to properly investigate them; it was led by the extreme-right racist group Britain First.

The protest has been backed by other extreme-right groups including the English Defence League and among those taking part was Paul Pitt (Paul Prodromou) then the chairman of the South East Alliance after having been thrown out of the EDL for his association with openly racist organisations including the National Front and BNP.

In 2012 there had been high-profile cases in areas such as Rochdale which have high Parkistani populations, and the media coverage of these had produced a distorted impression that grooming gangs were largely Muslim men.

A Home Office investigation on grooming hangs published in 2020 concluded there was not enough evidence to conclude that child sexual abuse gangs were disproportionately made up of Asian offenders, stating “Research has found that group-based child sexual exploitation offenders are most commonly white“.

The small group of protesters marched to Parliament Square where they tried with little success to burn an Islamic flag, ending up by hitting it with a shoe instead.

I left them as they returned to Downing Street and went to join a much larger Muslim protest in Old Palace Yard.

More pictures at Britain First – Muslim Grooming.


Muslims against Anti-Muslim Film – Old Palace Yard, Westminster

Thousands of Muslims packed Old Palace Yard opposite the Houses of Parliament in a peaceful protest against an made in the USA. They called for laws to protect religious figures.

The film was a short video by Egyptian-born Mark Basseley Youssef (aka Nakoula Basseley Nakoula) which has prompted violent anti-American protests in various Muslim countries. Youssef was then in jail in Los Angeles as he made the film in breach of a probation order banning him from using aliases following a conviction for a bank fraud in 2010. He was later sentenced to one year in prison and four years of supervised release. He had falsely claimed the video had been funded by $5 million collected from 100 Jewish donors, and that he himself was an Israeli Jew.

In the hour I was there only one of the speeches was in English, but many of the placards were, and ‘Stop Hurting Muslims’, ‘Freedom of Speech is Not Freedom to Abuse’, ‘The Prophet is Dearer to us than our lives’, ‘Stop Islamophobia’ were clear.

As with many Muslim events this was segregated, with women being relegated to a small area in the background where they could see little of what was happening, although they could hear the speeches. All the speakers while I was there were men.

Muslims against Anti-Muslim Film.


Rehouse the Counihans – Kilburn

I took the Underground from Westminster to Kilburn where people were meeting for a march and rally demanding that Brent council rehouse the Counihan family.

Anthony Counihan with a young son.

Back in 2007 the family had moved from council property in Kilburn to Galway to look after Anthony Counihan’s sick father. Council officials had failed to advise him he could sublet the tenancy and instead he signed away the lease.

They returned to Brent so Anthony could take up his job as a London bus driver again when his father died. Anthony inherited 9.5 acres of land in Galway with a shack on it which brings in £18 a week in rent and when he reported this to the council they responded with an eviction order and a demand for repayment of £70,000 of housing benefit.

One council official advised the family to move back to Ireland, at the same time advising Anthony to hang on to his job as a bus driver out of the Cricklewood depot as jobs were hard to find, suggesting he should commute from Galway!

You can read more about this case in the post on My London Diary, where I comment that it “has revealed an astonishing level of both incompetence and lack of humanity among both officers and councillors in Brent Council, and some have made highly misleading or factually incorrect comments in public.

Isabel Counihan Sanchez

The campaigners accuse the council of “behaving vindictively, dishonestly, and punitively towards local residents” and around a hundred came to the rally in Kilburn before marching around South Kilburn to a rally in the South Kilburn Estate, which was addressed by Isabel Counihan-Sanchez with one of her daughters and speakers representing various groups supporting the family, including trade unionists, local residents and representatives of various groups including the Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group.

On the route the march stopped outside the flat which had been the home of Nygel Firminger. Harassed by Kilburn jobcentre after had various problems at work, including 3 months for which he did not get paid and a work head injury he was evicted from the flat without his medicines. Later in the day he got back into the where he was later found dead.

More on My London Diary at Rehouse the Counihans.


Waltham Forest Defeats the EDL – 2012

Friday, September 1st, 2023

Waltham Forest Defeats the EDL: On Saturday 1st September 2012 several thousand people from all Walthamstow’s communities came together as ‘We are Waltham Forest’ to oppose an English Defence League march in Walthamstow.

Waltham Forest Defeats the EDL

Wikipedia has an extensive entry on the EDL, describing it as “a far-right, Islamophobic and generally xenophobic organisation“. Founded in 2009 in Luton after a small group of Muslim extremists had protested at a regimental parade of troops returning from Afghanistan, the EDL attracted support from former members of other right wing groups including the BNP and various groups of football hooligans, with ‘Tommy Robinson’ soon emerging as its leader. The EDL was at its height in 2012, but defeats such as that in Walthamstow precipitated its decline, with new extreme right groups emerging.

Waltham Forest Defeats the EDL
One Fabric – Our Space is Love

The EDL had picked Walthamstow as a target for their rally because of the large Muslim population in the area which is in one of London’s most diverse multicultural boroughs. Only just over a third of the borough’s residents describe themselves as ‘White British’ and the borough “has the fifth largest Muslim population in England and the third largest in London… after ..neighbouring Newham and Tower Hamlets.”

Waltham Forest Defeats the EDL

That mix of communities was reflected in the rally opposing the EDL march, both in the speakers and in the audience, and the ‘We Are Waltham Forest’ campaign was supported by many of Walthamstow’s community and faith organisations, incluing 14 mosques in the borough, bringing together around 4,000 people onto the streets.

Waltham Forest Defeats the EDL

After the rally people marched to the main road where the EDL had planned to march to their rally, going past shops and buildings where people came out, many waving and cheering in support. There was some angry chanting and shouting against the EDL, but this was a very friendly rally and march with people from all backgrounds and all ages mixing.

When the reached the road on which the EDL had planned to march, hundreds sat down on the street, blocking it and refusing to move, while others stood back and watched. I left at the point to find the EDL who were marching from a station on the edge of the town centre.

I came upon what looked like a police march, with the EDL surrounded by more officers than there were marchers.

I reported “As I took pictures a number of the EDL shouted abuse; others put their hands over their faces, and one rushed towards me, putting his hand over my lens before police pushed him back. It was hard to get good pictures because there were so many police around the march, though as I continued to receive threats and insults I was pleased that the police were there.”

The were a few residents out on the street, and some had banners against the march. They were greeted with racist abuse, as were others on the pavements who were abused simply because they were Muslim or Black. As I followed the marchers there was only one elderly man who came out of his home to support them.

Clearly it was going to be impossible for the march to continue along its planned route. Police attempted to take them to their rally point through some back streets, where police managed to drag away protesters (and photographers) for the march to continue before it was finally stopped on a road close to the rally point.

I walked on to where a small group of EDL including leaders Tommy Robinson and Kevin Carroll were setting up for the rally on the pavement behind barriers. Police were keeping the road clear with a large group of counter-protesters on the opposite pavement. An EDL steward stopped me from taking pictures, calling “over a police officer who insisted despite my showing my press card to him that I left the area. I unhitched a barrier and went to the other side.”

Kevin Carroll

The organisers of ‘We Are Waltham Forest’ had asked that the protest remain a peaceful one, but some of the counter-protesters clearly had other ideas and were starting to throw sticks and stones across the road towards those setting up the EDL rally. A small brick landed a few yards from Robinson, and was picked up by him and handed to a police officer as evidence. I moved to one side to avoid being hit if more objects were thrown.

Tommy Robinson

Most of the ‘We Are Waltham Forest’ marchers had now left the area, but there was still a fairly large and angry crowd opposing the EDL. It seemed clear to me that the rally could not go ahead, and after I left police reached the same opinion. The police kept the EDL marchers kettled on the side street for some hours after their leaders had packed up and left. When the Met found that the RMT were unwilling to let the EDL marchers onto trains they arrested most of them and took them in vans to various police stations where they were released in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The EDL had clearly suffered a major defeat and there were posts from many of them on social media of having been made a laughing stock after the event.

Many more pictures from the event on My London Diary at Waltham Forest Defeats the EDL.


Votes, Love, Arms & Al Quds

Monday, July 3rd, 2023

Votes, Love, Arms & Al Quds: Sunday 3rd July 2016 was a busy day for me, photographing young people demanding the right to vote, a board remembering murdered MP Jo Cox, a picket against sponsorship of the London Transport Museum by one of the largest arms companies in the world and then the always controversial annual Al Quds Day march and its Zionist counter-demonstration.


16-17 Year olds demand the vote – Trafalgar Square to Parliament Sq

Votes, Love, Arms & Al Quds

Many young people who were not old enough to vote in the EU referendum were outraged at not being able to take part in the vote which will impact their future more than that of older generations.

Votes, Love, Arms & Al Quds

They point out that many of those who did vote will die before the worst effects of Brexit are felt, and that it was the vote of the eldest in the population to leave Europe than swung the vote. Young people, including those too young to have a vote were strongly in favour of staying in Europe.

Votes, Love, Arms & Al Quds

The march by several hundred people, mainly 16-17 year olds, called for a lowering of the voting age to 16. Most of the speakers at the rally in Parliament Square were teenagers.

More pictures at 16-17 Year olds demand the vote.


Jo Cox banner of love – Parliament Sq

Votes, Love, Arms & Al Quds

People were still coming to sign and write tributes on a giant board in Parliament Square to Labour MP Jo Cox, brutally murdered on 16th June on the street in Birstall where she had gone to hold a constituency surgery.

Cox, who had worked for some years at Oxfam GB as head of policy and advocacy had become an MP in 2015 and had founded and chaired the parliamentary group Friends of Syria, campaigning over the Syrian Civil War, and supported Palestinian rights and the BDS campaign. She was one of few MPs who stood up and campaigned for refugees and their rights.

Her murderer, a constituent with far-right white supremacist obsessions, shot her three times before multiple stabbings. He was sentenced to life with a whole-life tariff.

Jo Cox banner of love


Arms dealers out of LT Museum – London Transport Museum, Covent Garden

I stopped briefly outside the London Transport Museum to talk with and photograph campaigners from the London Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) who were holding a picket to demand the museum end its sponsorship by Thales, the worlds 12th largest arms company. Thales supplies missiles, drones and other military products, selling them to repressive regimes around the world including Saudi Arabia, Russia, Colombia, Kazakhstan and the UAE.

More pictures at Arms dealers out of LT Museum.


Al Quds Day March – BBC to US Embassy

Several thousands, mainly Palestinians and Muslims from around the country, as well as other supporters of Palestinian freedom marched from the BBC to a rally at the US Embassy.

The final Friday of every Ramadan was designated Quds (Jerusalem) Day by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979 as a day when Muslims around the world would demonstrate their solidarity in support of the Palestinians and call for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The London march takes place on the Sunday following.

A few supporters of Israel tried to protest against the march, holding Israeli flags and shouting at the marchers, but police kept them away.

Some of the marchers came with flags and t-shirts supporting the Lebanese Shia Islamist political party and militant group, Hizbullah (Hezbollah). Since 2019 this entire organisation has been proscribed in the UK, but in 2016 we still followed the EU in making a distinction between it as a political party with MPs in the Lebanese government and as a terrorist group.

Among the marchers were a group of Neturei Karta Orthodox Jews whose religious beliefs reject Zionism and the Israeli state. Their posters say Judaism is ‘G-dly & Compassionate’ while Zionism is ‘G-dless & Merciless’ and that ‘Jews True to their faith will Never recognise ZIONIST occupation’ and other similar statements.

At the US Embassy a large force of police separated their rally from a counter-protest by Sussex Friends of Israel, the Zionist Federation and the Israel Advocacy Movement. They displayed placards demanding ‘Peace Not Hate’ and Israeli flags.

This group reserved its loudest and most angry shouting for the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta Jews who came and stood facing them from a wall in front of the US Embassy.

Much more on My London Diary:

Al Quds Day March
Supporters Stand Up for Israel


Armenians, Copts and Venezuela – 20 April 2013

Thursday, April 20th, 2023

It’s easy to forget in our current government racist climate towards asylum seekers that Britain has a long history of giving sanctuary to political activists from around the world who have been forced to leave their countries and there are a number of statures, memorials and plaques around the city that remind us of this.

Of course our historical record is blemished; although we supported those striving for freedom from the rule of other European countries, attempts in our own Empire to gain independence were met with often illegal, ruthless and horrific violence as well as deliberate famines starving many of the general population – as in India, Ireland, Kenya and elsewhere.

Despite increasingly draconian laws enacted in recent years Britain remains a relatively free country. Protests are coming under increasing restrictions, but we can still protest although it is now rather more likely we may end up in prison for doing so in any active way – and protesters have even been jailed recently for contempt of court for attempting to defend their actions.

Over the years I’ve covered many protests by communities from other countries living in the UK, often involving people who came here as asylum seekers. Most are protesting in solidarity with protesters and victims in their home countries and some because those at home are unable to protest.

The three events I covered on Saturday 20th April 2013 were taking place for different reasons but all involved people whose origins are in other countries and were protesting about events in those countries, current or historical.


Armenians Remember the Genocide

Armenians, Copts and Venezuela - 20 April 2013

Armenians march through London every year in memory of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey. Beginning in 2015, Turkey arrested around a thousand members of the Armenian community and murdered them, followed by the killing of around 300,000 Armenian conscripts in the Turkish Arm and then “mass killings, deportations and death marches of women, children and elderly men into the Syrian Desert. During those marches, many of the weak or exhausted were killed or died. Women were raped. The deportees were deprived of food and water. Starvation and dehydration became commonplace.”

Armenians, Copts and Venezuela - 20 April 2013

Most of the deaths came in 1915, but massacres and deportations continued on a smaller scale until 1923, with around 1 – 1.5 million people – roughly 70% of the Armenian population in Turkey – being killed.

Armenians, Copts and Venezuela - 20 April 2013

Armenia has an ancient cultural heritage, with the first Armenian state dating back to 860BC, and at times its territory has included large parts of its surrounding countries. It was invaded by many other countries and in the 16th century was divided between the Turkish Ottoman Empire and Persia (Iran.) Russia took over the Iranian area following a war with Persian in the early 19th century.

Armenians, Copts and Venezuela - 20 April 2013

The Armenian Genocide took place during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. After the Turkish revolution of 1908 there had been a massacre of around 20-30,000 Armenians at Adana in 2009. But it was during the First World War when Russia and the Ottoman Empire were fighting each other that the genocide took place, probably as a reaction to Armenian volunteers fighting on the Russian side.

Turkey still denies that the genocide took place, despite the incontrovertible evidence, and say that the deaths were the result of a civil war although the Armenians had no weapons and no military organisation.

Although the UN Commission on Human Rights has described it as genocide and many countries around the world have officially recognised it as such, including the United States, France, and Germany and the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland parliaments, the UK government has instead come up with trivial excuses for refusing to do, including the fact that the term genocide was only defined in 1948. When the UN did so then, Raphael Lemkin who had coined the term genocide, described it as “The sort of thing Hitler did to the Jews and the Turks did to the Armenians.”

My London Diary describes the march through London to the Cenotaph, where there were speeches and wreaths were laid. I left the march as it moved off to a service in St Margaret’s Church in Parliament Square.
Armenians Remember the Genocide.


Copts Say End Egyptian Persecution – Old Palace Yard, Westminster

Around the corner from the church I joined UK Copts who were protesting Against the new Muslim Brotherhood led fascist regime in Egypt, which is attacking freedom, muzzling the press, undermining the legal system and encouraging attacks on religious minorities.

The protest followed an attack on April 8th on people leaving a mass funeral in St Mark’s Cathedral, Cairo, for 5 Copts who had been killed in violent clashes in the northern suburbs of the city. As the hundreds of worshippers tried to leave they were attacked with stones and Molotov cocktails thrown from nearby buildings and had to retreat back into the cathedral.

Clashes continued outside the cathedral, Egyptian security forces fired shots into the building and police fired tear gas. One Copt was killed and 84 people including 11 police were injured.

After the attack President Morsi spoke with Pope Tawadros II and issued a statement that he had given orders that the police guard the cathedral and that the state would protect the lives of both Christians and Muslims. But this was just one of many attacks on Copts in Egypt and they feel the authorities are encouraging violence against them.

The Copts see this as part of a growing Islamicisation which is also undermining Egypt’s judicial system, and as a deliberate attack on all opposition, including the liberal and left political opposition as well as all minority religious groups. The stress their protest was not against Muslims but to persuade the British government to stop supporting the current fascist regime in Egypt and to put pressure on the Egyptian government to uphold human and civil rights.

Copts Say End Egyptian Persecution


Stand Off at Venezuela Embassy – South Kensington

Following the death of President Hugo Chávez on 5 March 2013, elections were held in Venezuela on 14 April 2013 which resulted in a close victory with a majoirty of around 223,600 votes for Nicolás Maduro, the successor chosen by Chávez to stand for the United Socialist Party.

Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles refused to accept the result, demanding audits – which confirmed he had lost. Venezuela has a highly sophisticated and automated voting system that left no room for reasonable doubt that he had lost.

Middle-class Venezuelans who oppose Maduro and come along to protest at the embassy, and a wider group of people, mainly South Americans but not all from Venezuela, had come to defend it.

As I commented:

Maduro’s support comes largely from the workers in Venezuela, for whom the Chavez ‘revolution’ has seen real gains, including much improved healthcare. Many of those who were there to support him today had come to Britain as refugees – largely as a result of US-backed military coups in their countries. Their support for Chavez, and after him Maduro is hardly surprising.

More about the protest on My London Diary: Stand Off at Venezuelan Embassy


UN Anti-Racism Day 2017 & 2023

Saturday, March 18th, 2023

UN Anti-Racism Day 2017 & 2023

Today, 18th march is the UN Anti-Racism Day, and in 2017 it was also a Saturday, and tens of thousands marched through London, starting as they will today outside the BBC and ending with a large rally in Westminster.

UN Anti-Racism Day 2017 & 2023

Today’s march, as in 2017, is organised by Stand Up to Racism, Unite Against Fascism and Love Music, Hate Racism and the TUC and supported by many other groups, including football fans from around the country who will be wearing team colours.

UN Anti-Racism Day 2017 & 2023

This years march is perhaps even more important, with the UK Government pursuing clearly racist policies against immigrants in last year’s Nationality and Borders Act, its attempt to deport refugees to Rwanda and Suella Braverman’s recently announced Illegal Migration Bill.

Phyll Opoku of PCS ‘Stand Up to Racism’

Football fans have been energised by the BBC’s reaction to Gary Lineker’s tweet. He was clearly correct in observing the hostile anti-refugees language used by the government to language used in Germany in the 1930s. They say the government are trying to stir up division and racism to deflect attention from their multiple crises and turn refugees into scapegoats.

Unfortunately it isn’t just the government, but also the official opposition who continue to up the ante over immigration, refusing to stand up to the government with any real attempt to improve our treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. Real opposition to racism has been left to a few increasingly isolated figures on the left of the party – including many of those who have been ejected for supposed anti-semitism, increasingly being used to expel Jewish members who support the Palestinian people. And of course left to footballers or former footballers.

Even Theresa May, who the 2017 march was strongly opposed to for promoting racist measures against immigrants and in particular Muslims in concert with Donald Trump has found Braverman’s latest proposals which will break international law on the human rights of migrants a step too far.

The 2023 march organisers say:

In Britain we face a crisis-ridden government attempting to use racism to make ordinary people pay for the cost of living crisis. The ‘Rwanda plan’, the Nationality and Borders Act, racist deportations and the hostile environment for refugees and migrants are all about divide and rule.

The government deny the reality of institutional racism – despite massively disproportionate deaths in black communities during the pandemic – and the reality of deaths in police custody, racist stop and search and discrimination across society.

Internationally we are seeing the growth of the racist and fascist right and an alarming rise in Islamophobia, antisemitism, Sinophobia, anti East/South East Asian racism and attacks on Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

Despite a rail strike this Saturday I hope to be there later today, again taking photographs and marching with many thousands of others.

Much more from the 2017 march and rally on My London Diary: Thousands March Against Racism.


Central Hill, Brian Haw & Al Quds

Saturday, June 18th, 2022

Central Hill, Brian Haw & Al Quds. 18th June 2017 was a Sunday, and though I now prefer to observe Sunday as a day of rest, five years ago it was for me another working day. Since the lockdown I get tired much more quickly and I’m cutting down a bit on work. Today I’ll probably go for a walk with my wife after lunch, stopping off on the way home to sit and eat an ice cream before picking more strawberries from the garden and relaxing a little before dinner.

But back in 2017 I was making good use of a Travelcard, going first to the Central Hill Estate which looks down over London close to Crystal Palace then travelling to Westminster to remember Brian Haw before taking the tube up to Oxford Circus and walking to the BBC to join marchers gathering for the annual Al Quds march.


Ted Knight speaks for Central Hill – Central Hill Estate

Central Hill, Brian Haw & Al Quds
A woman comes to talk to me about living on the estate since it was built

I deliberately arrived very early at Central Hill so I could take a walk around and make more pictures of one of London’s finest council estates, but almost missed the start of the talk I had come to hear opposing Lambeth Council’s plans for its demolition as I spent some time talking with a woman who had seen me taking pictures who was still living in the home she had moved into when the estate was built and had raised her family here. She told me how good it had been living here in a fine home that was still in good condition and had never needed any major repairs.

Central Hill, Brian Haw & Al Quds

Ted Knight, former leader of Lambeth Council, had come to speak in support of the campaign to save the Estate, passed for demolition by the council despite the almost unanimous vote of residents for plans to refurbish rather than demolish and the plans by Architects for Social Housing which would achieve the increase in density desired without demolition.

Central Hill, Brian Haw & Al Quds

Knight as council leader earned the name ‘Red Ted’ from the gutter press for standing up to the Tory Government’s rate-capping 1984 Rent Act which severely limited the spending of local councils – which eventually led to him and 31 other councillors being surcharged and banned from political office for five years in 1986. He remained an active trade unionist and in the Labour Party and when he spoke was Branch Chair of the Gypsy Hill ward which includes Central Hill. Although his politics and mine were not entirely the same, I was sad to hear of his death in 2020.

As Knight said, under borough architect Ted Hollamby the estate was planned by Rosemary Stjernstedt as a living community and had remained remarkably successful, with a number of original residents from the 1970s still living there and wanting to continue to do so. At that time Labour believed that nothing was too good for the working people and the estate was built to high specifications and is still in sound condition. A deliberate process of managed neglect – like that which had resulted in the Grenfell Tower disaster had – had been carried out by Lambeth Council to legitimise its demolition.

Lambeth council now refuse to allow the community to use the resource centre

Although the meeting was poorly attended, surveys of estate residents have shown a very high proportion of residents want to remain on the estate and oppose the demolition. The council quotes very different figures and its response to feedback from estate residents has been to remove the estate representatives from the consultative body.

Faults in the paving are marked but left without repair

Lambeth Council has also ridiculously inflated the estimate for the refurbishment of the estate and rejected without proper consideration a carefully planned alternative scheme for a much cheaper limited infill of the site rather than demolition which would involve far, far less disruption to the families who live here and also result in the retention of much-needed social housing. The only real problem with the alternative scheme proposed by Architects for Social Housing is that it would not generate excessive profits for the developers.

Ted Knight speaks for Central Hill


Brian Haw remembered – Parliament Square

This was the sixth anniversary of the death of peace campaigner Brian Haw who had made a ten-year political stand against war in Parliament Square despite considerable harassment by police urged on by politicians, laws introduced against his and other protests, Westminster Council officials and almost certainly MI5 agents.

Brian Haw began his camp here on 2 June 2001, and remained in place despite many attempts, legal and otherwise to remove him for almost 10 years, leaving only when arrested, for court appearances and to speak at protests at Trafalgar Square and Downing St until 1 January 2011 when he left England to receive treatment for his lung cancer in Berlin. He died in Germany in the early hours of 18 June 2011.His ten years of protest and the frequent and repeated harassment undoubtedly hastened his decline and death.

His protest in Parliament square was continued by Barbara Tucker who had joined him in 2005 and had been imprisoned twice for her role in the protest and arrested 48 times. The level of harassment increased and she went on hunger strike on 31st December 2012. Late in January 2013 she was taken into hospital close to death, and was treated for frostbite and exposure. Her protests continued on-line.

Brian Haw remembered


Al Quds march – BBC to US Embassy

Several thousands came from around the country for the annual Al Quds (Jerusalem) Day march in London. Organised by a Quds committee with the Islamic Human Rights Commission it was supported by various groups including the Stop the War Coalition, Muslim Association of Britain and Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods. At the front of the march were a group of Imams and Neturei Karta anti-Zionist Jews.

The march called for ‘Freedom for Palestine’ and for all oppressed peoples across the world. It supports of the BDS campaign for a boycott of Israel Israeli goods, divestment from companies supporting Israel and sanctions against the Israeli state. It demands that Israel ends its breaches of international law and its oppression of the Palestinian people in what is an apartheid system, and ends its siege and attacks on Gaza.

Zionists oppose the march with a protest close to the final rally at the US Embassy, but a small militant group carrying Israeli flags attempted to stop the march on its route, calling those taking part supporters of the banned terrorist group Hezbollah.

A number of the marchers were holding Hezbollah flags, which carried a message indicating they were supporting Hezbollah as a political organisation – it is one of two main parties representing Shia Muslims, Lebanon’s largest religious group – as a part of national unity governments in the Lebanese parliament.

Police seemed very reluctant to move the Zionists off the road in front of the march which was held up for some time, with marchers simply waiting for the police to clear them. After some time the the marchers held their planned minute of silence for the Grenfell Tower victims before getting up and telling police that unless the police cleared the road they would simply push them aside and march through.

The Al Quds day march is very much a family event but with the numbers involved the march stewards would clearly have been able to do so and the statement did galvanise the police into action, and the march was able to move on slowly.

The event organisers make it very clear that this is not an anti-Semitic event, and I think one or two placards which might have suggested this were rapidly removed by stewards. In 2019 Home Secretary Sajid Javid decided to proscribe Hezbollah’s political wing as well as the military wing which had been proscribed in 2008, so showing any support for Hezbollah would be an offence carrying a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

Al Quds march
Zionists protest Al Quds Day March


Nakba, NHS, Gitmo etc & Tamils

Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

NakNakba, NHS, Gitmo etc & Tamils – Saturday 18th May 2013 was another busy day for protests in London and I covered a number of demonstrations.


End Israeli Ethnic Cleansing – Old Palace Yard, Westminster

65 years after 700,000 Palestinians were driven out of their homes as refugees in the ‘Nakba’ (catastrophe) when the state of Israel was created, Palestinians and their supporters protested outside parliament calling for an end to the continuing ethnic cleansing and a boycott and sanctions until Israel complies with international law.

There had been protests in Jerusalem earlier in the week on Nabka Day against the continuing sanctions against Palestinians that have crowded them into an ever-decreasing area of land, diminishing almost daily as new Israeli settlements are created and new restrictions placed on the movement of Palestinians. Many of those protesting in London from Jewish or Palestinian backgrounds and as usual these included a group of extreme orthodox Neturei Karta Jews who had walked down from North London; they see themselves as guardians of the true Jewish faith, and reject Zionism.

The speeches were continuing when I left to cover another event. More at End Israeli Ethnic Cleansing


London Marches to Defend NHS – South Bank to Whitehall

On the opposite side of the River Thames thousands were gathering by the Royal Festival Hall to march against cuts, closures and privatisation of the NHS, alarmed at the attack by the government on the principles that underlie our National Health Service and the threats of closure of Accident and Emergency facilities, maternity units and hospital wards which seem certain to lead to our health system being unable to cope with demand – and many lives put at risk.

Nine years later we are seeing the effect of these policies with ambulance services unable to cope with demand, lengthy delays in treating people in A&E, delays in diagnosing cancers leading to increased deaths and more. And although it was only a matter of time before we had a pandemic like Covid, and exercises had shown what needed to be done to prepare for this, the NHS had not been given the resources to prepare for this, leading to much higher death rates than some comparable countries.

Part of the problems of the NHS come from disastrous PFI agreements pushed through under the Labour government, landing NHS trusts with huge debts that will continue for many years. This forced NHS trusts into disastrous hospital closure plans, some of which were defeated by huge public campaigns. Many of those marching were those involved in these campaigns at Lewisham, Ealing, Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Central Middlesex, Whittington and other hospitals around London.

I left the march as it entered Whitehall for a rally there. More at London Marches to Defend NHS.


Guantánamo Murder Scene – US Embassy, Grosvenor Square

London Guantánamo Campaign staged a ‘murder scene’ at the US Embassy on the 101st day of the Guantánamo Hunger Strike in which over 100 of the 166 still held there are taking part, with many including Shaker Aamer now being forcibly fed.

More at Guantánamo Murder Scene.


More US Embassy Protests – US Embassy, Grosvenor Square

Other protesters outside the US Embassy included Narmeen Saleh Al Rubaye, born in the US and currently living in Birmingham, whose husband Shawki Ahmed Omar, an American citizen, was arrested in Iraq by American forces in 2004 and turned over to Iraqi custody in 2011. He was tortured by the Americans when they held him and was now being tortured by the Iraqis and also was on hunger strike. She has protested with her daughter Zeinab outside the US Embassy for a number of weekends and on this occasion was joined by a small group of Muslims who had come to protest against Guantanamo, appalled by the actions of the US waging a war against Islam and Muslims.

Shawki Ahmed Omar is still held in Iraq; before he died in 2021 former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark recorded a video calling for his release which was posted to YouTube in with the comment by another US lawyer “This case is one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in recent United States history. It is a case where the US government essentially lied to the US Supreme Court to cover up torture and to be able to turn an American citizen over to people who they knew would torture him.”

A few yards away, kept separate by police, a group of supporters of the Syrian regime, including some from the minor Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) was also holding a protest in favour of the Assad regime and against western intervention in Syria.

More at More US Embassy Protests.


Tamils protest Sri Lankan Genocide – Hyde Park to Waterloo Place

I met thousands of British Tamils and dignitaries and politicians from India, Sri Lanka and the UK as they marched through London on the 4th anniversary of the Mullivaikkal Massacre, many dressed in black in memory of the continuing genocide in Sri Lanka. Many wore the tiger emblem and called for a Tamil homeland – Tamil Eelam.

Although it was a large protest, with perhaps around 5,000 marchers I think it received absolutely no coverage in UK media, and I seemed to be the only non-Tamil photographer present. Tamils were rightly disgusted at the lack of response by the UK, the Commonwealth and the world to the organised genocide that took place in Sri Lanka, of which the massacre at Mullivaikkal four years ago was a climax.

The march had started from Hyde Park, and I caught up with it on Piccadilly and went with it taking photographs to Waterloo Place where there was to be a rally. But it had been a long day for me and I left just before this started.

More at Tamils protest Sri Lankan Genocide.


Nine years ago: 6 Oct 2012

Wednesday, October 6th, 2021

Proposals to close Accident and Emergency services at four of the nine hospitals in North West London provoked fury among local residents and opposition from local councils as they would mean slow journeys over heavily congested roads for those living in much of northwest London. The proposals seemed to be motivated simply by cost savings with no regard to the consequences.

This protest was one of a number that I photographed, particularly about the closure of A&E and some other services at both Charing Cross Hospital (which is in Hammersmith) and Ealing Hospital. The previous month I had photographed a http://mylondondiary.co.uk/2012/09/sep.htm#hospitals large march from Southall Park to Ealing Hospital against the closure plan and there was another march to Central Middlesex Hospital taking place that same day.

These large and widespread protests and legal actions taken by the protesters were almost certainly a major factor behind the decision in March 2019 by then Health Secretary Matt Hancock to finally scrap the plans for what was the biggest hospital closure programme in the history of the NHS. The campaigners welcomed the decision but said it should have come much earlier rather than after seven years of the Dept of Health supporting the plans, which would have involved demolishing Charing Cross Hospital and selling off most the site.

I photographed as people gathered for the march in Shepherds Bush but had to leave as the march was setting off for Hammersmith and a rally in Fulham to go to Westminster.

Britain First, a far-right anti-Muslim movement (it describes itself as “a modern, responsible patriotic political movement”) was protesting at Downing St against what they described as ‘Britain’s secret shame – Muslim Grooming’ and were joined on their protest by members of other extremist groups including the English Defence League. After protesting for around an hour at Downing St they marched the short distance to Parliament Square where they tried to burn an Islamic flag. It proved to be rather fire-resistant.

A few yards away, thousand of Muslims packed Old Palace Yard opposite the Houses of Parliament in a peaceful protest against an Anti-Muslim film made in the USA. They called for laws to protect religious figures.

The film, Innocence of Muslims, a crude video made by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nakoula_Basseley_Nakoula Egyptian-born American writer Mark Basseley Youssef had already prompted violent anti-American protests in various Muslim countries. Youssef was then in jail in Los Angeles for violations of a probation order which, among other things included making false statements regarding his role in the film, and his use of the alias “Sam Bacile”. He had a previous conviction for in 1997 for intent to manufacture methamphetamine and was under probation following release in June 2011 from being jailed in 2010 for his part in a bank fraud.

Youssef, under his alias Bacile, falsely claimed that the anti-Islamic film had been funded by $5 million from 100 Jewish donors and that he was an Israeli Jew. An Egyptian court tried him and others in absentia and sentenced them to death for defaming Islam in November 2012. He was released from prison in 2013 to serve the remainder of his sentence in a halfway house in Californinia followed by 4 years of probabation.

Finally I travelled to Kilburn for a march and rally demanding Brent council rehouse the Counihan family from South Kilburn. Two years earlier, Anthony Counihan, a London bus driver inherited a few acres of poor land in Galway on the death of his father. Rented out, it brings an income of £18 a week.

He reported this to Brent Council, who responded with an eviction order and a demand for repayment of £70,000 of housing benefit, later telling him he should move back with his family to Ireland where he was born – while continuing to drive a bus from Cricklewood Depot. His wife Isabel and five children were all born in Brent.

The case was complicated by the fact that the family had moved out of a council property to go back to Ireland for a year to look after his sick father, and had signed away their lease as the council had not told them they could sublet for the year, and by their treatment by the council after their return, when they were unable to find accomodation they could afford on a bus-drivers salary. Brent decided they had made themselves “intentionally homeless” and were refusing their statutory duty to rehouse the family.

More on all at:
Rehouse the Counihans
Muslims against Anti-Muslim Film
Britain First – Muslim Grooming
Save Our Hospitals – Shepherds Bush


30 Sept 2007 – Two Religious Events

Thursday, September 30th, 2021

Martydom of Ali

On Sunday 30th September 2007 I photographed two events in London connected with religion, the first Muslim and the second organised by Christian Aid.

Shia Muslims hold a large parade every year mourn the martydom of Ali, a cousin who grew up the the house of the prophet Muhammad and was one of the first to profess his belief when the prophet disclosed his divine revelation when Ali was around ten years old. Later he married Muhammad’s daughter Fatimah and was a great warrior and leader and one of the foremost Islamic scholars.

Ali was elected as the fourth Caliph at a time when civil wars were taking place between Muslims following the death of his predecessor, and he fought in a number of battles, eventually being assassinated in 661 CE by a member of a group who regarded him as a heretic while praying in the mosque at Kufa, now in Iraq. Many of the details of events around this time are disputed.

Ali is one of the central figures of Shia Islam and they regard him as having been the rightful successor to Muhammad while Sunni Muslims supported the father-in-law of Muhammad, Abu Bakr who became the first Caliph. The split led to various battles but only became a schism almost 20 years after Ali’s death, when Ali’s son Husayn and family were killed at the Battle of Karbala in 680 CE.

The ceremonies which involve a procession with an elaborate flower-decorated coffin, and tall banners about Ali, began at Marble Arch with a long period of mourning. There was much beating of breasts and then a procession moving very slowly down Park Lane with much continued mourning and beating of breasts. The men march in one group and then the women behind them, the two groups separated by the bier. Many of the men are stripped to the waist and their bodies become reddened by their powerful beating.

It’s an impressive event which I photographed on several occasions. The stewards at the event have sometimes told me “We do not photograph the ladies” but I’ve also had emails from some of the women thanking me for recording their participation in the ceremony.

Cut the Carbon

An event of a very different nature was taking place at St Mary’s Battersea, a church with fine views across the River Thames that Turner sat at window above the entrance to record – and a window inside remembers him, with another for William Blake, along with some splendid monuments, one with a relief illustrating Edward Wynter’s feats of crushing a tiger to death and overcoming 60 mounted moors.

I was there with others to photograph the arrival of Christian Aid’s ‘cut the carbon’ march, arriving in London at the end of a thousand mile journey from Bangor in Northern Ireland via Belfast, Edinburgh, Newcastle On Tyne, Leeds, Birmingham and Cardiff to London – including a detour to meet Prime Minister Gordon Brown at the Labour Party conference in Bournemouth. The following day they were going on to City Hall and then to finish at St Paul’s Cathedral.

This was a march 14 years ago with an international perspective on climate change, with walkers from Brazil, El Salvador, Kenya, India, Bangladesh, South Africa, Congo and elsewhere. When I photographed it the following day in front of Tower Bridge it was led by marchers from Brazil representing an organisation of landless farm workers – and I was very pleased a few months later to include picture of them in my show on environment protests as a part of Foto Arte 2007 in Brasilia.

More at:
Mourning the Martydom of Ali
Cut the Carbon march

and on October 1st 2007
Christian aid Cut the Carbon march – final mile


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.


Arbaeen – 7 Feb 2010

Sunday, February 7th, 2021

One side of my work on London that has perhaps been overlooked, certainly in my posts on this site, is the coverage of religious festivals. Of course not all are public events and most of my work has been on the streets, but there are many processions and similar events that I’ve been able to photograph, mainly by Christians, Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims.

Some of these have been taking place in London for many years – such as the annual procession from the Italian Church in Clerkenwell which dates back to the Victoria era, while others have only come here as London has become more multicultural with the arrival here of many from our former colonies. But we have also seen a revival of some older traditions in more recent years, for example with more Christian processions of faith on Good Fridays, as well as the importation of Christian events from other countries and such as the annual blessing of the River Thames.

One of the larger and more colourful of these annual festivals is the Arbaeen procession of mourning by Shia Muslims organised in London by the Hussaini Islamic Trust UK since 1982, the largest and oldest such event in Europe.

It commemorates the sacrifice made by the grandson of Mohammed, Imam Husain, killed with his family and companions at Kerbala in 680AD and takes place on the Sunday following the end of 40 days of mourning the martyrdom of Husain.

I’ve photographed this event on several occasions, and in 2010 I wrote:

Imam Husain is seen by Shia Muslims as making a great stand against the oppression of a tyrant and representing the forces of good against evil. Husain and his small group of supporters were hugely outnumbered but chose to fight to the death for their beleifs rather than to compromise. Their stand is a symbol of freedom and dignity, and an aspiration to people and nations to strive for freedom, justice and equality.

London Arbaeen Procession

You can see and read more about the procession, with its impressive silver and gold replicas of the shrines of Karbala, Zuljana, the horse of Imam Husain, its flags and banners, the re-enactment of the events by children, the prayers and recitations,

and the beating of breasts on My London Diary: London Arbaeen Procession.

You can also find pictures of the Arbaeen processions in March 2007, March 2008, February 2009, Jan 2011 and Jan 2012 on My London Diary.


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.