Posts Tagged ‘My London Diary’

Docs Not Cops, Nigerian Girls, Fast Food Workers & Homeless Deaths

Friday, April 15th, 2022

Docs Not Cops, Nigerian Girls, Fast Food Workers & Homeless Deaths – four quite different protests on Wednesday 15th April 2015, seven years ago today.


Checkpoint Care – Docs Not Cops – Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel

Docs Not Cops, Nigerian Girls, Fast Food Workers & Homeless Deaths

Docs Not Cops set up a mock border checkpoint at the entrance to the Royal London Hospital in a protest against plans to charge migrants for NHS treatment which will force doctors to check on the immigration status of those needing treatment. Hospital security staff came out and forced them to move off hospital owned land and the border, marked by shiny stainless steel posts, shifted a few yards away with the protest continuing there.

Docs Not Cops, Nigerian Girls, Fast Food Workers & Homeless Deaths

Most of those protesting were medical students or health service employees. The Royal London serves an area with a large immigrant population and health workers, including local GP Dr Anna Livingstone. Many of those entering and leaving the hospital both staff members and patients stopped to express support for the action.

Checkpoint Care – Docs Not Cops


Bring Back Our Girls – Nigerian Embassy, Northumberland Ave

Docs Not Cops, Nigerian Girls, Fast Food Workers & Homeless Deaths

The monthly protest outside the Nigerian Embassy was very polite and relatively quiet as men and women from the Nigerian Women In Diaspora Leadership Forum held up posters and photographs calling for the return of the over 200 Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram – and they did it on the opposite side of the road from the Embassy rather than the wide pavement immediately in front of it.

Docs Not Cops, Nigerian Girls, Fast Food Workers & Homeless Deaths

They feel that the Nigerian government has done little to try to get the return of the girls who were abducted a year earlier and hopedd that the new Nigerian government would take a firmer line.

Bring Back Our Girls


Fast Food Rights at McDonald’s – Whitehall

Docs Not Cops, Nigerian Girls, Fast Food Workers & Homeless Deaths

Trade unionists protested outside McDonald’s in Whitehall in solidarity with US fast food workers on strike for higher pay, justice, dignity and respect. They also demanded union rights, a £10 minimum wage and an end to zero hours contracts for workers in UK fast food outlets.

Speakers at the protest included Ian Hodson, National President of the Bakers, Food & Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) who is one of the leaders of the Fast Food Rights campaign, and victimised National Gallery PCS rep Candy Udwin, one of the leaders of the strikes there against privatisation.

A manager from McDonald’s was clearly angry and came out to talk to police about the protest. They told him that people had a right to protest on the pavement.

Fast Food Rights at McDonald’s


No More Deaths on our Streets – Westminster

People from various groups, including those involved in day to day practical support of the homeless on the streets with food and shelter as well as charities, political groups and housing and homeless activists, squatters and more met at 6pm opposite Downing St to call for an end to homeless people dying on our streets. As one poster stated, ‘I want Change – ‘55% More Rough Sleepers since Cameron Became PM – Austerity is killing people paying debt of the 1%‘ The main banner stated ‘NO MORE DEATHS ON OUR STREETS‘.

Recent years had seen a dramatic rise in the number of homeless people on the streets of London in particular due to the removal of welfare support and increasing official persecution, with government cuts making it harder for local authorities to provide support.

Prominent among the groups taking part were supporters of Class War, including their parliamentary candidate for Westminster in the 2015 elections the following month, Adam Clifford.

After protesting for some time outside Downing St and going on to the road to block traffic, the protest moved on to Parliament Square, marching along the road and blocking traffic there before going into the back streets south of St James’s Park.

Adam Clifford

They seemed to be going around in a circle but finally decided they would head for Buckingham Palace. But by then I was getting tired and decided to go home.


More at:

No More Deaths on our Streets
Fast Food Rights at McDonald’s
Bring Back Our Girls
Checkpoint Care – Docs Not Cops


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CND Protest US Star Wars Programme

Wednesday, March 30th, 2022

CND Protest US Star Wars Programme – 20th March 2002, twenty years ago today.

CND Protest US Star Wars Programme

The US under President Bush was in 2002 intent on achieving what it termed ‘Full Spectrum Dominance’ and not content with ruling the planet on earth were developing a system to ensure their dominance in space. At the heart of this was their ‘Star Wars’ programme, using lasers to form a protective shield and destroy any incoming missiles before they reached US soil, enabling the US to launch a nuclear attack with impunity, knowing they could survive a retaliatory attack.

CND Protest US Star Wars Programme

It was a weapons system that would have destroyed the idea of nuclear deterrence, the mutual assured destruction (MAD) doctrine of military strategy which had supposedly prevented nuclear war since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and put the US in a position to threaten Russia with nuclear attack. The Cold War may have ended with the breakup of the USSR, but it was still the basis for US military strategy – with consequences were are now seeing in Ukraine.

But like most military spending and wars, it was a policy with great prospects for the arms industry, and in particular Lockheed Martin, the US’s large weapons manufacturer, with deep roots in the US administration – including at the time the wife of the US vice-President Dick Cheney, whose wife Lynn just happened to be on their board.

The UN had early seen the dangers of war in space with the 1976 Outer Space Treaty which made it an area solely for peaceful uses. And in November 2001 they passed a new UN resolution ‘Prevention Of An Arms Race In Outer Space’ with only the US, Israel and Micronesia abstaining.

The US began its weaponisation of space by setting up the US Air Force Space Command in 1982. The UK lends a helping hand with allowing both Menwith Hill and Fylingdales to be used as a part of the Star Wars programme. I’ve not been to the various protests at these bases but I did photograph the march from Hyde Park to a rally in Trafalgar Square organised by CND against Star Wars on 30th March 2002, twenty years ago today.

CND were joined by Stop The War protesting against the planned invasion of Iraq, as well as by pro-Palestine protesters following the publication of the Arab peace initiative which had been published two days earlier, but overshadowed by a Palestinian attack on a hotel during a Passover seder the previous day in which 30 Israeli citizens were killed. The initiative was in any case rejected as a “non-starter” by Israel.

Demonstrations back in 2002 still took place largely in black and white – and I was unable at the time to digitise any of the colour film I took. One day I hope to get around to it. Police acted as usual during the march, threatening at times to beat the marchers badly if they got out of hand, and large numbers protected the US embassy in Grosvenor Square to prevent any action there. They issued the usual estimate of numbers present, apparently unable to see half of the crowd.

I only put around a dozen images online – so most of them are here. The link to them is at the bottom of this page, from which you can also view the other events I photographed in March 2002.


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Stop The War – 2nd March 2002

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2022

Stop The War – 2nd March 2002. Along with many thousands of others I went to Hyde Park to join the march from there to a rally in Trafalgar Square against any British involvement in the invasion of Iraq by the USA that seemed to be increasingly inevitable.

It certainly wasn’t the first march against the Iraq War I had photographed, and not the first protest against it I had taken part in. As well as those that I photographed there were also local protests close to where I live where we stood with placards and a banner on the busy road bridge across the River Thames at rush hours each Friday.

Tony Benn

Almost a year later came the largest protest the UK has ever seen – and I was unable to take part or photograph, having only been discharged from hospital the previous day. The operation had gone well, but I’d collapsed the following night thanks to a problem with a drug which had taken my blood pressure dangerously low, and when I came out several days later I was still weak and shaking. I was devastated to miss the protest, left alone at home while the others went, but walking more than a few yards was still a problem.

Despite the protests – and the clear indications that Tony Blair was lying and the evidence he stressed was fabricated, we went to war with Iraq, and destroyed the country. As with most if not all wars the only people to gain were the arms manufacturers – and the oil giants.

In March 2002, my My London Diary web site was in its early infancy, though I had put up a few pictures from the previous couple of years to fill a few pages. But the Stop The War protest on 2nd March was I think the first story to be covered in any real depth, with a short text and a couple of dozen pictures. I photographed the event on film in black and white and colour, but at the time my scanner could only scan in black and white so there are no colour pictures on line.

Here’s the complete text (apart from some picture captions) and this post is illustrated with a few of the pictures. On the web site these are posted three or four to a page, as internet connections then went at a snail’s pace and pages with more pictures took too long to load.

the Stop the War, Hands off Iraq demonstration on 2 march as a large sign of public opinion. people were still leaving hyde park at the start of the march when trafalgar square was full to overflowing two and a half hours later.

police estimates of the number were risible as usual – and can only reflect an attempt to marginalise the significant body of opinion opposed to the war or a complete mathematical inability on behalf of the police.

tony benn told us it wasn’t worth taking his picture – ‘it won’t get in the papers unless i go and kick a policeman’ but he didn’t and was quite right

My London Diary March 2002

Follow the link from the March 2002 page for more pictures.


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Stop Trident, Troops out of Iraq – 2007

Thursday, February 24th, 2022

Stop Trident, Troops out of Iraq – 2007. On Saturday 24th February 15 years ago I spent a long afternoon photographing around 50,000 protesters marching through London calling for an end to Britain’s nuclear weapons and for our troops to be withdrawn from Iraq.

The march was organised by Stop The War, the Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament and the British Muslim Initiative, and on My London Diary – back then still only in lower case – I made clear my support for the marchers:

i’ve for many years been opposed to the so-called independent british nuclear weapons. even at the height of the cold war they were never credible as an independent deterrent. if they have ever had any justification it was that they made the usa feel less guilty, although american guilt at its huge nuclear arsenal and at being the only country ever to have used nuclear weapons has always been an incredibly stunted growth.

i was also firmly against the invasion of iraq. it was always clear to those who didn’t want to be deluded that the so-called ‘intelligence’ on weapons of mass destruction was laughable. blair was either a liar or a fool as he misled a minority of the british people and a majority of their mps. or most probably both. (saddam may also have been deluded and certainly was an evil dictator, but we had long failed those who tried to oppose him.) the invasion was criminal, but the lack of planning for the occupation that inevitably followed even more so.

My London Diary – Feb 2007

My account also points out the ridiculously low estimate of the numbers taking part given by the police of 4,000 – though I think they were eventually forced to increase this somewhat – and gives my own method of assessing numbers on such large demonstrations as this. The marchers took 90 minutes to pass me as I photographed them in Park Lane. My usual rule of thumb was to double the police estimate, but on this occasion they surpassed themselves, being an order of magnitude out.

There certainly is always a policy by our establishment, backed up by the BBC and the press, except on rare occasions to minimise dissent, particularly left-wing dissent, in this country while often exaggerating any protests against left-wing governments abroad. It’s a bias which has been very obvious in the coverage of events in Latin-American countries such as Venezuela.

Tony Benn

The BBC and some of our newspapers have some excellent reporters and correspondents, and it is more in the selection of what they are asked to report on and the editing of their reports and the context in which they are placed that the bias occurs. Some things are just not ‘news’, while others, often trivial or flippant, get major attention.

Fortunately there are other sources with different biases, including the almost invisibly small left-wing press in the UK (the two daily papers – the Communist Morning Star and Workers Revolutionary Party’s The News Line together have a circulation probably well under 10,000), but more importantly large news organisations such as the Russian-funded RT International and the Qatari Al Jazeera English – the latter particularly interesting about current events in the Ukraine.

Every journalist has a point of view and while we may strive to be factual I don’t think there is such a thing as objectivity. Our reporting is always subjective, based on what we feel and what we think is of importance. Every photograph I take involves choice – and the rejection of other things I don’t photograph – even at times things I think would make eye-catching images but would misrepresent people or the event. Further choices come in the selection of which images to send to an agency, and also which I choose to put on My London Diary.

On this occasion I chose rather too many to put on-line, with 17 pages of pictures, though this reflects the typical internet speeds of 15 years ago, when pages with more than ten small images were too slow to load even though I compressed the images as lower quality jpegs than I would now. But the number of pictures also reflected my intention to tell the story of the event as fully as possible rather than creating a single image for the event that might appeal to a picture editor.

Julie Felix

Looking at the report now I feel there are rather too many images particularly of some of the well-known faces I photographed at the rally. Perhaps also I made too many of the marchers, some of which might be of far more interest to the people shown in them than the general public. But if people make an effort to make an interesting placard or banner I think it deserves a little recognition.

You can read more of my report of the event and see another 160 or so pictures on My London Diary, beginning on the February 2007 page, though you will need to scroll a long way down the page to reach this march and rally.


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Students March Against Huge Fee Rise

Thursday, December 9th, 2021

Thursday 9th December 2010 was the day of a third student protest against the three-fold increase in university tuition fees which was being debated in Parliament that day, and the scenes in the area around were probably the most confusing of any I’ve seen in London.

My account of my day on My London Diary runs to around 1,700 words, and I’ll attempt not to repeat myself here, while giving a rather shorter account. The march started outside the University of London Union in Malet St, with a crowd of perhaps 10-20,000 including many sixth-formers who would be hit by the £9,000 a year fees when they went to university as well as current students and supporters.

There was a good atmosphere as the crowd listened to speeches there from trade unionists, John McDonnell MP and two sixthformers from schools that were being occupied in protest who got the largest cheers. As usual with student protests there was plenty to photograph.

The march began well though progress was rather slow, and several hundred students decided to walk in front of the main banner and for some reason police tried to stop them. They thought they were about to be kettled and rushed off towards Covent Garden. The official march continued without obstruction along the agreed route along the Strand. It wasn’t at all clear what the police had intended, and this was something that set the scene for the day.

Many more protesters joined the march at Trafalgar Square, and rather than proceed down Whitehall, police and march organisers had agreed on a route though Admiralty Arch and down Horseguards Road, and then left into Parliament Square. The march was then meant to continue down Bridge Street to an official rally on the Embankment, but most marchers had a different idea and wanted to stay in Parliament Square, the obvious place for the protest to continue.

It’s hard to understand why either police or march organisers had thought people would march on rather than stay outside Parliament – and probably many on the march had simply assumed it would end there. And soon police were actually preventing any who wanted to go on by blocking all the exits from Parliament Square except that into Whitehall (which they later decided to block.)

I managed to move around thanks to my press card, but even with this I was often refused access through police lines even in calm areas, and had to move along and find other officers in the line who would let me through, or take a longer walk around to get to where I wanted. The police didn’t appear to know what they were supposed to be doing and at one point I was being crushed by the crowd against the barriers in front of the riot police who were threatening us with batons unless we moved back – which was impossible because of the crush. Several press colleagues did get injured.

Late in the day students who wanted to leave were told by officers they could do so by going up Whitehall – only to be stopped by other police who were closing the street off. We were pushed back into Parliament Square by riot police and police horses. Police told protesters they were not being detained although they were not being allowed to leave, a kind of police logic most of us find infuriating.

Kettling like this is used by police as a kind of minor but arbitrary punishment, and as in this case it often leads to violent incidents and arrests which are then used to retrospectively justify police actions. After I had managed to get through one of the police lines and catch a bus away from the area I heard that Police had pushed a large group into a very confined space on Westminster Bridge with a total disregard for their safety, with some needing medical treatment for crushing. As I pointed out “there could easily have been more serious or fatal injuries and people pushed into the freezing river below.”

Of course protests like this need to be policed to avoid serious disorder. But the confused and sometimes unnecessarily violent way it was done on this occasion seemed to create most of the problems of the day.

As well as a long account of my day there are many more pictures on My London Diary in Students Against Cuts – Day 3.


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Ten Years Ago – 3 Dec 2021

Friday, December 3rd, 2021

City Xmas Celebrations

I thought I’d see how the City of London was celebrating Christmas and took a few pictures of a real life Music Box in front of the Royal Exchange before going inside and being told I couldn’t take photographs. And although I’d been told there were free drinks I think they were only available for the kind of people who looked as if they would spend vast amounts on the luxury items being sold inside. I went out and walked towards St Paul’s Cathedral, pausing briefly to photograph a band and Santa who had come with a couple of reindeer who seemed rather small to me for his lengthy journey.

City Xmas Celebrations


Occupy LSX Climate Justice Workshops

On the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral was a plain coffin with the message ‘25,700 EXCESS WINTER DEATHS’, a rather lower figure than that I photographed at last week’s Fuel Poverty Action protest – last winter the number was 63,000. Of course this can’t all be put down to 10 years of Tory austerity, and Covid will have played a part, though of course flu deaths were down.

Workshops are not generally the most exciting things to photograph, and I only took a few pictures. I left Occupy LSX shortly after they began a ‘Climate Walk of Shame’ around the offices of various climate change villians (‘unsavoury sites of climate criminality’) which began rather later than advertised to make my way to the Climate March (where they were also heading.)

Occupy LSX Climate Justice Workshops


Stand Up For Climate Justice

Ten years ago we had a chance to begin to disastrous climate change, but world leaders failed to lead. The protest was organised by the Campaign Against Climate Change and around a thousand people marched through London calling for Climate Justice, highlighting the fact the 7% of the world’s population cause 50% of the worlds emissions as the Durban climate talks take place. This was COP17 but by the time of COP26 in Glasgow little had changed.

Here’s a few paragraphs from the post I wrote then on My London Dairy:

The 17th UN climate change conference taking place in Durban is widely expected to lead to a breakdown in efforts to combat global climate change, as the US continues to block serious attempts to combat climate change. The continued refusal of the US to accept mandatory limits on carbon emissions seems likely to prevent any progress on global reductions in emissions, and seems certain to lead to catastrophic increases in global temperature. To put it bluntly, our planet is going to fry.

Currently predicted global temperature rises by the end of the century would lead to an environmental crisis that would be expected to lead to huge areas of the world becoming uninhabitable, and billions dying through flood, famine and and other catastrophes. Those who will die will largely be the poor who currently are responsible for only a small proportion of the emissions, while the rich and highly polluting are those who will survive.

There is no longer any serious scientific debate about the reality of climate change, just about the the exact magnitude of the effects and the timescales involved. But all informed opinion agrees that urgent action is needed. We need to make drastic cuts in carbon emissions. The most industrialised countries who have contributed most to the increase in CO2 levels over the past centuries have a particular moral obligation to make drastic cuts.

Deja-vu all over again! Though perhaps now I might have added something about Australia, China and India also heads firmly in the sand, and also about species extinction – including possibly ours.

Stand Up For Climate Justice


Congolese Election Protests Continue

Congolese continued their protests in London against the election fraud, rapes and massacres and called on the British government to withdraw its support from the immoral regime of President Kabila responsible for the atrocities and voted out by the people.

Congolese Protest Against Kabila Vote-Rigging


London Wandering

As often while walking about London between the various events I photographed I took a few pictures, including some in the city centre, and others as I made my way to and from an evening event in North Acton where a photographer friend was appearing. I’ve always meant to take more photographs of London at night, but have never got around to more than the occasional picture like the one above.

And while I’ve taken many thousands of pictures along the River Thames from its source to the estuary, it’s always good to find something just a little different as in this study of bridges.

London Wandering


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Remembering Paris

Sunday, November 14th, 2021


Paris Photo 2006

For some years around this time of year I would be in Paris, visiting one of my favourite cities in November because of the huge ferment of photography across the city around the huge trade show of Paris Photo.

Paris 1984

I first visited Paris in 1965 for a week in July staying at a student hostel on the outskirts with my future wife, and since then we returned every few years for a week or two in the summer, usually in August when most Parisians are on holiday away from the city. Two of my books on Blurb came out of these visits, In Search Of Atget and Photo Paris, with black and white images from 1984 and colour work from 1988 respectively.

Paris 1984

You can see more of the work from Paris in several albums on Flickr – where there are a couple of albums from 1984 and another from 1988 as well as another small set from 2007. But you can see more on my own Paris Photos web site.

Paris November 2006

I think the first time I went to Paris Photo in November was in 2006, and you can see a set of pictures from my visit on line, but the accounts I wrote for a commercial web site of my visit and the shows I saw there is no longer available.

In 2007 I wrote about my visit for Paris Photo on My London Diary. It was the first time I had been in Paris on my own, though I did meet up with a few people, including my brother-in-law and quite a few photographers also there for Paris Photo. I arrived on the 13th November, just in time for the start of a transport strike, and my first full day there was November 14th 2007.

Paris was a little more difficult on my own, as my O Level French is more than rusty, but I did manage to buy myself breakfast at a café close to my hotel and read a newspaper, which told me there was a trade union protest by the transport workers taking place that afternoon.

I spent the morning walking around Paris before having a lunch at a self-service salad bar and then walking to Montparnasse where the protest was starting. It was a little different from protests in London as I commented in My London Diary, and there were times when my poor French made things difficult. The Leica M8 I was then using was not a great camera, and in particular had problems with colour because Leica had failed to realise its extreme infrared sensitivity needed cutting with a suitable filter on the sensor. Some of the images suffer from this and my failure to process them as well as I now could.

I left the protest as it appeared to be about to march off, and made my way to the opening session of Paris Photo, then at the Carrousel du Louvre, a venue “in the bowels of the earth under the Louvre.” As I commented, “It’s hard to contemplate a more depressing location, although relatively spacious outside the show. It would make a good location for some nasty shoot-em-up video game, sort of half-way between underground car park and shopping mall, a slightly cooler version of hell.”

There was much in the show I found unexciting – or worse, but as I commented, “Its a great opportunity to see almost the whole history of photography in a few days, a collection with much more depth than even the richest of museums – although with some great gaps, as many photographers produced very few prints and their work seldom comes up for sale.”

I went back in the following two days to visit Paris Photo again to see the whole of the show, but after a couple of hours there on the opening day, went with some photographer friends for a meal before walking back to my hotel. You can read more about the rest of my visit on My London Diary.

Paris Photo 2012

Elsewhere on My London Diary you can read a more lengthy account of my visit to Paris for Paris Photo in November 2008, November 2010 and November 2012. I’d chosen those even-numbered years because there were more photographic events happening in Paris outside the trade show on alternate years.

Paris 2008 – in the steps of Willy Ronis

Looking back I’d astonished by the energy I appear to have had – and I think in one of them I went to see 87 other shows outside of Photo Paris in the few days I was there. But I was getting increasingly unhappy about Photo Paris itself, partly because so many of the dealers were showing much the same photographs every year and there seemed less and less new work of interest.


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Fourteen Years Ago

Tuesday, October 26th, 2021

Here is a piece I wrote about my activities on Friday 26 October 2007. I’ve adjusted the capitalisation, or rather added it – back then My London Diary (or rather ‘my london diary’) didn’t use capitals, a mannerism I now find rather twee. I think it was trying to adopt a very informal tone, something to differentiate it from more traditionally journalistic publications, in keeping with my aims set out when the site began expressed in a statement often repeated on the site:

a record of my day to day wanderings in and around london, camera in hand
and some of my comments which may be related to these – or not
things i’ve found and perhaps things people tell me.
if I really knew what this site was i wouldn’t bother to write it.
it’s london, it’s part of my life,
but mainly pictures, arranged day by day, ordered by month and year
some of my work gets put into nice organised websites
this isn’t meant to be like that

Later My London Diary got rather more organised.

Here’s the piece from 2007 which comes with rather more pictures which you can see starting here:


SIOE fail to attract support – or opposition

Whitehall to Temple, Friday 26 Oct, 2007

Only too often I turn up to photograph advertised events and find that really nothing very much is happening. Usually I’m disappointed, but with the march organised by SIOE (Stop The Islamicisation Of Europe) I’m really rather pleased.

SIOE appears to be two people. There are threes and fours from various other groups, including some from Germany and others from France, making a total of just under 40. My count is 36, the police say 40, making it the only demo where they have ever made a higher figure than me. There are around a dozen still photographers, and just slightly less shooting video, so the media get pretty close to the number of demonstrators.

We’d expected a counter-demo, but it doesn’t happen, though the police stop a couple who seem to be innocent passers-by and hassle them for being vaguely Islamic in appearance at Temple.

So I go to spend a little time in the National Gallery before making my way to Rich Mix, where I’m pleased to see they have got the Paul Trevor show sorted out again, and I can spend 30 minutes looking at some of the best documentary work from the 1970s and 80s – including pictures of several anti-fascist marches I was at – before going to see Brian Griffin and Roof Unit Foundations opening at [space].


And above is one of my four pictures in the Roof Unit Foundations show at [space] in Hackney, taken in Bromley by Bow, on the edge of what later became the Olympic site in 1982. It was an image inspired by Man Ray’s 1920 The Enigma of Isidore Ducasse, itself inspired by a passage in Les Chants de Maldoror, published under his pen name Comte de Lautréamont, ‘Beautiful as the accidental encounter, on a dissecting table, of a sewing machine and an umbrella’. I think my accidental encounter came about in Cooks Road, E15.


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Latin Village, Zuma, Boat Dwellers & Syria

Thursday, April 8th, 2021

A human chain surrounds the block containing the Latin Village at Seven Sisters

Four Years ago today on Saturday 8th April 2017 I was travelling around London photographing a very varied set of protests, ending the day at Seven Sisters where London’s most vibrant community market has been under threat since 2006.

The Latin Village or Seven Sisters Indoor Market a few yards from the Underground station exit on the High Rd is a vibrant place in an Edwardian building, Wards Furnishing Stores, a department store which closed in 1972. The ground and mezzanine floors of part of the site house around 60 independent businesses, mainly run by people of Latin American origin but with others from the Caribbean and Middle East and when open it is a vibrant area to walk around, full of music. Covid has of course meant its closure, and the building owners Transport for London in 2010 closed the mezzanine area as unsafe and banned the on-site cooking of food which had been such an important aspect of the market.

Haringey Council and developers Grainger PLC want to clear the site and replace it with a “mixed use development” which would include expensive flats and chain stores – and although it may include a small market it will lose the character of the Latin Village and almost certainly be at rents which would make any of the current businesses uneconomic. Protests against the plans are still continuing.

My work had begun outside South Africa House in Trafalgar Square, where a large group of South Africans were protesting in defence of South Africa’s democracy and calling for the removal of President Zuma.

Jacob Zuma had been president since 2009, and had a long history of legal challenges both before and during his presidency, particularly for racketeering and corruption, and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_Zuma Wikipedia states his time in office is estimated to have cost the South African economy around 83 million USD. Facing a vote of no confidence he finally resigned in February 2018, succeeded by Cyril Ramaphosa, who has also been criticised for various financial irregularities and his call for action against striking miners which resulted in the Marikana Massacre in 2012 in which 34 miners were killed by South African police.

In 2012 the Canal & River Trust (CRT), a charity, took over the running of our canals and rivers from British Waterways and since then have begun a series of evictions of boat dwellers who do not have permanent moorings. The say that it is unlawful for the CRT to impose limitations on their right to live on boats unless they meet arbitrary limitations based on a minimum distance or movement or pattern of travel.

Permanent moorings are expensive – perhaps £6,000 a year along with a licence cost of £1,000, so families who live on boats because they cannot afford houses are being priced out, with moorings going to the wealthy who often only use their boats for a few weeks each year, gentrifying the canal and destroying communities who live on boats. Boat dwellers came to Embankment Garden to picnic and hold a rally against the CRT. As well as opposing evictions they also called for proper maintenance of locks, bridges and waterway banks, more mooring rings, more water taps and more sanitary facilities.

Syrians gathered a Marble Arch for a march to Downing St calling on the UK government to support Syrians against the use of chemical weapons by President Assad’s forces in Syria.

They say that the attack four days earlier at Khan Sheikhoon near Idlib, like that on Ghouta three years previously, used Sarin nerve agent, this time killing over 100 and injuring over 400. Unfortunately our government, along with that of the US, has firmly set itself against any real action in Syria, despite encouraging the uprising against Assad, and is leaving it to Russia (and later Turkey) to ensure that the revolution fails.

More pictures from all these events on My London Diary:
Human Chain at Latin Village
Against Chemical Warfare in Syria
Boat dwellers fight evictions
Zuma Must Go


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.


Class War, Murdoch & Cross Bones

Sunday, March 28th, 2021

I began my work on Saturday 28th March 2015 meeting with a small group from Class War in Purley, a Surrey suburb south of Croydon, who had gone there to launch the general election campaign of Class War’s candidate Jon Bigger.

Jon is now Dr Jon Bigger, and his PhD thesis at Loughborough University was on “British anarchist group Class War with a specific focus on their approach to the general election of 2015. As anarchists tend to shun concepts like representation, even within their own ranks, as well as working towards the ending of the state, the groups’ electoral behaviour is worthy of close investigation. The study is ethnographic in nature providing a detailed account of how the group operates, its norms, values, structure and methods of organising.”

His work was very much as an insider, one of seven candidates the group backed at the 2015 election, all of whom lost their £500 deposits. The election campaigns were a form of direct action rather than an attempt to actually be elected, “one that ruptures the norms of electoral campaigning, providing the group with new avenues for activity.”

You can read more of Bigger’s views on his web site Jon Bigger: A Journal of Anarchy and in regular features elsewhere. South Croydon was always going to be a tough constituency for anarchist views and the 65 votes he got were probably more than expected – and recorded on the parliament web site as a 0.1% increase which perhaps compares well with the -16.9% of the Lib Dem candidate.

Jon Bigger makes his election address outside the Tory Pary HQ

My main surprise about the event was the almost complete emptiness of central Purley on a Saturday morning – avery windy desert where Class War found it difficult to find anyone to talk to other than the group of police – roughly the same number as them – who doggedly followed them around happily earning their overtime. Purley man (and woman) appears to have lost the use of their legs, only managing the short distance from supermarket car park to supermarket.

I was sorry not to be able to relax with Class War in the pub after their strenuous campaigning, but had to get back to London Bridge where Occupy Rupert Murdoch week was continuing outside the News International building at London Bridge with the People’s Trial of Rupert Murdoch.

Inevitably he was found guilty, but the sentence seemed extremely mild. My account continues:

Max Keiser then spoke about the economic fraud and the basis of our economic system. London is the the world’s largest tax haven, and the whole basis of the City is corrupt, allowing people to borrow money on the basis of their earlier borrowing in a system that seems rather too much like the Emperor’s new clothes which began to crash in 2008. He ended by handing out StartCOIN scratch cards with free money on them (“The currency of the revolution”) but I think I lost mine. Always been hopeless with money.

Occupy Rupert Murdoch

I decided not to stay on for the attempt to occupy the News International building at 7pm, but was tired and decided to leave it to my colleagues to cover. Rather to my surprise it was successful, with protesters managing to stay in the building for around 20 hours, but it got little or no media coverage. Even Murdoch’s competitors didn’t want to get on his wrong side by covering the event – as I commented “Those 5 billionaires obviously stick together and the BBC always seeks to marginalise any UK protest. Probably there was some important news about a minor celebrity hiccoughing.

I’d earlier seen two men in what looked like Victorian dress on the pavement outside a pub close to News International and had gone over to talk with them. The told me that they were attending an Open Day at the nearby Cross Bones Graveyard. It’s a place I’d visited before, where outcasts who were refused burial in churchyards had been buried until it was closed as overcrowded in 1853. Among them were many ‘Winchester Geese’ prostitutes licenced by the Lord Bishop of Winchester from 1142 on, whose taxes and fines provided a considerable income for the clergy, and their young children. Museum of London excavations of part of the site carried out for the Jubilee Line extension suggest that half of the around 15,000 burials there were of children.

Local writer John Constable (right, above) revived the story of Cross Bones through his cycle of poems and mystery plays, ‘The Southwark Mysteries’, and regular ceremonies and vigils now take place there. In 2020 Southwark Council granted a 20 year lease to Bankside Open Spaces to protect and maintain the graveyard as a public garden of remembrance.

More at:
Cross Bones Open Day
Murdoch on Trial – Guilty as charged
Jon Bigger Class War South Croydon


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.