Posts Tagged ‘Neturei Karta’

Remember Gaza & Ashura 2009

Wednesday, December 27th, 2023

Remember Gaza & Ashura – Two events in London on December 27th 2009 was the first anniversary of ‘Operation Cast Lead’, Israel’s earlier war against Gaza which began on 27 Dec 2008. By the time this illegal attack came to an end on 18 Jan 2009, it had killed more than 1,400 Palestinians and devastated the Gaza strip, destroying homes and infrastructure.


Remember Gaza – Israeli Embassy, Kensington

Remember Gaza & Ashura 2009

That attack in 2008 had come after a number of earlier attacks by Israel on Gaza over the years – which had resulted in a growing active resistance from Palestinians, including the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel and the free election of Hamas with a majority in Gaza in 2006.

Remember Gaza & Ashura 2009

After Hamas took over the running of the Gaza strip in 2007, Israel imposed an indefinite blockade of Gaza that has continued until now. Intended to stop Hamas importing weapons it “also led to significant humanitarian challenges, as it restricts the flow of essential goods, contributes to economic hardship, and limits the freedom of movement for Gaza’s residents.”

Remember Gaza & Ashura 2009

The current destruction of Gaza is of course on a much greater scale than in 2008, with over 20,000 Gazan deaths including 10,000 children. More journalists have now been killed in Gaza than were killed in the whole six years of the Second World War; many aid workers have also been killed. Over 90% of those living in Gaza have been forced to flee their homes with many families living in squalid conditions in makeshift tents without water supplies or sanitation and short of food. UN officials on the ground describe it as “hell on earth”.

Remember Gaza & Ashura 2009

It is now clear to almost everyone around the world outside Israel that the current Israeli attacks go far beyond anything that can possibly be justified as a response to the horrific attack by Hamas on 7th September. Now impossible not to see the current attacks as an attempt at genocide, the complete elimination of the Palestinian population of the area, and this has been the clearly stated aim of some Israeli right-wing politicians including some of those in the Israeli government.

It is hard at the moment to see any end to the current destruction of Gaza and its people by Israeli armed forces. The US seems unable to exert any real influence on Israel but has been able to effectively stymie any international action through the United Nations, watering down the United Nations Security Council resolution to almost meaningless platitudes – and even then abstaining.

As Russia’s UN Ambassador stated to the council, this resolution “would essentially be giving the Israeli armed forces complete freedom of movement for further clearing of the Gaza Strip“.

More than a thousand came to protest as close a police would allow them to the Israeli Embassy in Kensington on December 27th 2009. They called for an end to the siege of Gaza, justice for the Palestinian people and the trial of Israelis responsible for war crimes, and for Egypt to allow the peace convoy taking humanitarian aid to Gaza to proceed.

It was a peaceful but noisy rally, with a number of speakers including Jeremy Corbyn as well as Palestinians from Gaza. Police stopped people from crossing the road towards the private road leading to the Israeli embassy and led them back, with one man who sat down and refused to move being carried back with reasonable care by smiling officers.

Also present at the protest were a group of ultra-orthodox Neturei Karta Jews who oppose Zionism, believing it to be a political movement that is against their view of the Jewish religion. They were taking part in other similar demonstrations in major cities around the world and a group of their Rabbis was on its way to Gaza to show solidarity with the people.

More on My London Diary at Remember Gaza.


Ashura Day Procession – Marble Arch to Kensington

Also taking place earlier in the day in London on 27th December 2009 was the annual Ashura Day procession, which takes place on the 10th of the Muslim month of Muharram to mourn the assassination of the Imam Hussain and his followers at Karbala in AH 61 (680 AD.) Because the Islamic Calendar is based on a year of 12 lunar months this observance occurs at different dates each year according to the civil Gregorian calendar – and in 2023 was in July.

The march began at Marble Arch and two large groups of Shia Muslims – men followed by women -marched from there to the Islamic Centre in Holland Park. Most were dressed in black and many beat their chests with their hands in mourning as they marched to the beat of drums and the sounding of trumpets. Some wept as the marched. Many had been fasting for the previous nine days of Muharram, saying prayers and giving charitable gifts.

Imam Hussain was the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad and he and his followers had refused to accept the authority of Caliph Yazid as they believed this would have meant abandoning the “true” Islam of his grandfather. He and his small group of followers were surrounded at Karbala, left for three days in the desert without water and then Imam Hussain and his 72 male companions including male children were slaughtered and the women made to march as captives to Damascus.

More on My London Diary at Ashura Day Procession,


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Al Quds Day march for Jerusalem 2014

Tuesday, July 25th, 2023

Al Quds Day march for Jerusalem: In 2014 the annual Al Quds Day march was held on Friday 25th July and came the day before a major protest close to the Israeli Embassy over attacks by Israeli forces on Gaza which had killed over a thousand Palestinians, mainly civilians.

Al Quds Day march for Jerusalem

I’ve written many times before about these marches which began in Iran in 1979 and is a anti-Zionist protest in solidarity with the Palestinian people and in support of their rights and specifically concerned with the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem (Al Quds) and the West Bank which followed the 1967 Six-Day War. Israel celebrates this with a national holiday on Jerusalem Day.

Al Quds Day march for Jerusalem

Public events take place across the Arab world, particularly in countries with large Shia Muslim communities and also in London and some cities in Europe and America. Many of these events are organised by groups funded by Iran.

Al Quds Day march for Jerusalem

Critics have often accused the event of being anti-Semitic, but on the various occasions I’ve photographed them there has been little evidence of this. I have seenboyco a few people who have turned up with anti-Semitic slogans on placards being forced to discard them or leave the march by the stewards.

Al Quds Day march for Jerusalem

Although the vast majority of marchers are Muslims there is also a significant number of Jews on the march, most obviously with the ultra-orthodox Neturei Karta Jews carried their usual placards and banners against the Zionist state and condemning the atrocities carried out in its name. They say that Judaism is not a nationalist religion and reject any idea of a Jewish State. But many of the the non-Muslims from various left groups that support the march are also Jewish.

The march in London was fairly large with perhaps 5-10,000 people, including many who had come in coaches from mosques around the country. Many had come with families and some marched together, but mostly men and women marched in separate groups as you can see from my pictures. The women were considerably more colourfully dressed and along with the Neturei Karta – all male – are over-represented in my coverage of the event.

The march calls for Freedom for Palestine and for all oppressed people across the world, and it also calls for a boycott of Israel and an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and Israeli apartheid. And clearly this is an anti-Zionist event, but not anti-Jewish, as one of the chants used by the marchers made clear: ‘Judaism Yes, Zionism No!’.

I left the march as it turned off of Regent Street to make its way to a rally at the US Embassy. By that point there had been no sign of the opposition to the march I had seen in some previous years from Zionist, Iranian freedom, communist and royalist movements and UK right wing fringe groups, but I think there many have been some Zionists waiting to protest against it at the US Embassy.

Many more pictures at Al Quds Day march for Jerusalem.


Royal College of Music, Al Quds 2015

Monday, July 10th, 2023

Royal College of Music, Al Quds: I photographed two unrelated protests on Friday 10th July 2015. The first was calling for decent pay and conditions for outsourced workers and the second was the annual Al Quds day march.


IWGB protest at Royal College of Music – Kensington

Royal College of Music, Al Quds

Outsourced cleaners and other low paid workers at the Royal College of Music immediately south of the Albert Hall in South Kensington belonging to the IWGB were protesting to get similar conditions of sick pay, holidays and pension to workers employed directly by the RCM.

Royal College of Music, Al Quds

The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain is a registered trade union which organises cleaners, porters, hospitality workers, domestic workers and other precarious workers in a number of sectors. It is a grass-roots union run by and representing mainly low paid migrant workers in London and has proved effective in getting better pay and conditions for these groups of workers who have largely been neglected by the larger traditional unions, who have often seemed more concerned with preserving differentials in pay than in improving the lot of the lowest paid.

Royal College of Music, Al Quds

The IWGB had called for talks with the RCM management and their employers to discuss their claims, offering to call off the protests if they agreed to this. But the employers had refused to recognise the IWGB or to hold talks with them.

Royal College of Music, Al Quds

So the IWGB and supporters came and held a noisy protest outside the College entrance, handing out leaflets about why they were protesting to those entering the College for a graduation ceremony. RCM security tried to move them further away where the protest would probably not have been heard inside, but they refused to move, while taking care not to impede those entering or leaving the college.

One woman came out to argue with the protesters, telling them to go away and eventually lost her temper and kicked one of them. The RCM’s head of security quickly led her away. The protest was continuing when I left for my next event.

IWGB protest at Royal College of Music


Al Quds Day march – Portland Place to US Embassy

The annual Al Quds Day march on the last Friday of Ramadan, organised by the Islamic Human Rights Commission gathered close to BBC Broadcasting House, marching from there to a rally at the US Embassy, calling for justice and freedom for Palestine.

As I’ve written in previous posts, he celebration of Al Quds Day on the last Friday of Ramadan was introduced by Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran 1979 and spread from there to other countries. The march in London is organised by the IHRC which has received some support from the Iranian regime.

As usual, most of the banners and placards and the chanting on the march were calling for freedom for Palestine, and there were many placards against Israeli violence in Gaza and the West Bank, and calling for a boycott of Israel, a movement which seems to be growing in strength.

This year I saw few celebrating Khomeini and fewer Hezbollah flags and badges than in some previous years. As usual the Neturei Karta were prominent with their anti-Zionist placards stating that ‘Authentic Jewry Always Opposed Zionism And the State of “Israel”‘, but I found no evidence for anti-Semitism, which opponents of the march always charge it with.

Perhaps because the march was on a Friday there were fewer Zionists protesting against the march, and I only saw one man who was protected by march stewards and then led away by police. I imagine there would have been more waiting to protest against the march when it reached the US Embassy, but I left before then.

Al Quds Day march


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


Nicaragua, Votes for Women & Al Quds

Saturday, June 10th, 2023

Nicaragua, Votes for Women & Al Quds – Events in London on Sunday 10th June 2018


End Government Killings in Nicaragua – Trafalgar Square

Nicaragua, Votes for Women & Al Quds

Nicaraguans protested in Trafalgar Square against the violence in their country where since the 19th of April police had killed over 100 protesters and a injured more than 600, and many have been unjustly detained, tortured and raped.

Nicaragua, Votes for Women & Al Quds

President Daniel Ortega first came to power during the Nicaraguan Revolution as a leader of the Sandinista National Liberation Front which ousted the US-supported Samoza dictatorship, becoming leader of the ruling junta which replaced them in 1984 and getting a large majority in the country’s first free and fair presidential election in 1985. His government then implemented a number of leftist policies despite widespread campaigns against him by the US who supported rebel forces and imposed a full trade embargo on the country, even mining its ports.

Nicaragua, Votes for Women & Al Quds

Massive US interference in the 1990 Nicaraguan general election led to his surprise defeat and he also stood and lost in 2001, but was returned to power following the 2006 elections, though on a much lower vote than in 1985 against a very split opposition.

Nicaragua, Votes for Women & Al Quds

Since coming to power in 2007, Ortega has abandoned most of his leftist principles, becoming increasingly dictatorial and alienating many of his earlier supporters. Popular protests which began in 2018 against his social security reforms which increased taxes and reduced benefits were violently repressed and further measures have included closing down newspapers, universities and NGOs. Leaders of the political opposition including some former colleagues were jailed for the 2021 election.

This repression has led to many fleeing the country, particularly to neighbouring Costa Rica where over 30,000 Nicaraguans have claimed asylum. Ortega remains in power, with his wife Rosario Murillo as Vice President since 2017.

End government killings in Nicaragua


100 years of Votes for Women

Women marched through London in three strands wearing head scarves in one of the purple, white and green suffragette colours to celebrate a hundred years since the 1918 act gave wealthier older women the vote.

The 1918 Act brought the vote to all men over 21, as well as those like my father over18 serving in the armed forces, but women had to be both over 30 and meet a property requirement. It was another ten years before my mother and other women could vote on the same terms as men with the Representation of the People Act 1928.

Under the 1918 Act, “Women over 30 years old received the vote, but only if they were registered property occupiers (or married to a registered property occupier) of land or premises with a rateable value greater than £5 or of a dwelling-house and not subject to any legal incapacity, or were graduates voting in a university constituency.”

Around 8.4 million women in the UK got the vote in 1918, but there were still around 5 million of women over 21 without a vote – and there were still around 7% of the population, mainly male middle-class university graduates who had an extra vote either in university constituencies or in the constituency where they owned business premises.

Sadly when my mother did get the vote she used it to support the Conservative Party, displaying their poster in our front window at every election. My father, who kept quiet about his politics to avoid conflict at home, went into the polling station every time to cancel out her vote with one for Labour.

Many more pictures at 100 years of Votes for Women.


Al Quds Day Protests – Saudi embassy, Mayfair

A large crowd squashed into barriers on the street in front of the Saudi Arabian embassy for a rally in support of the oppressed people of Palestine and others around the world.

The event, organised by the Justice for Palestine Committee, was supported by the Islamic Human Rights Commission and a wide range of pro-Palestinian organisations, and opposed by the Zionist Federation and some right wing hooligans, who were stopped from attacking the peaceful event by a large police presence in the area.

The official Zionist Federation protest which was perhaps a little smaller than in some previous years kept behind the barriers provided for them a short distance from the Palestinian protest, and the two groups shouted insults at each other.

There were also a number of well-known Zionist protesters along with some right-wing football supporters active in the EDL and other racist organisations wandering the streets of Mayfair. Police made an effort to keep them away from the Palestine protest, and at one point this involved some fairly forceful policing as the thugs were taken away. Not all of the right-wing are thugs, and later when I went home I was pleased to meet a man who knew me and walked with me to make sure I didn’t get troubled by any of the others still around.

As a colleague remarked to me, there may well have been more Jews taking part in the pro-Palestine rally than opposing it, as the Al Quds day event was supported by several groups and numerous individuals from the Jewish left as well as the ultra-orthodox Neturei Karta, who as always attracted a great deal of venomous anti-Semitic shouting from the Zionists.

Celebrated in many countries, Al Quds Day, established by the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, has been marked in London for over 30 years.

This year’s event was a gesture of defiance to the demonisation campaign and the ongoing murders by Israeli troops of innocent Palestinian protestors in the Gaza Strip commemorating 70 years since Israel was formed on expropriated Palestinian land.

More about the protest and many more pictures on My London Diary:
Al Quds (Jerusalem) Day
Zionists protest against AlQuds Day


Starving Palestine and a Mad Emitters Tea Party

Saturday, May 20th, 2023

Starving Palestine and a Mad Emitters Tea Party: London Saturday 20th May 2006


Stop Starving Palestine! – March for Palestine

Starving Palestine and a Mad Emitters Tea Party

After Hamas, a Sunni-Islamic militant nationalist political movement won a majority of seats in the 2006 Palestinian Legislative Council elections, Israel had imposed an economic blockade and both the US and EU withdrew their support.

Starving Palestine and a Mad Emitters Tea Party

This led to more than two-thirds of the people in the country being below the poverty line, lacking basic necessities such as sugar, oil, milk, and even bread is rationed. A ban on the import of vital medicines threatened many lives.

Starving Palestine and a Mad Emitters Tea Party

Around 20,000 people came to the Stop Starving Palestine! march organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and supported by many other organisations including peace groups, the Muslim Association Of Britain and leading trade unions.

Starving Palestine and a Mad Emitters Tea Party

Among the speakers were Green Party MEP Caroline Lucas, Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn, Baroness Jenny Tonge of the Lib Dems and Manuel Hassassian, the Palestine Liberation Organisation representative to the UK (appointed by the Palestinian President as Ambassador but not recognised by the UK.)

As usual there were many Jewish protesters among the marchers, most noticeable of whom were Neturei Karta orthodox Jews who had walked from Stamford Hill on the Sabbath to attest to their support for Palestinians and their opposition to Zionism.

I left the event as the rally in Trafalgar Square began to go to Grosvenor Square.

More somewhere down the page at My London Diary – May 2006.


Bush in Wonderland, a Mad Emitters Tea Party – US Embassy

Campaign Against Climate Change had organised “bush in wonderland, a mad emitters tea party” held outside the heavily barricaded front of the US embassy in Grosvenor Square. The party was a part of an ongoing series of protests including a weekly climate vigil outside the embassy taking place since the breakdown of The Hague Climate Talks in November 2000.

There was a picnic table with sandwiches, cakes and tea, music from the eco warriors and guests with some appropriate lyrics, as well as samba from rhythms of resistance, and fancy dress. balloons, banners and a short speech by a White Rabbit called Phil reminded us of the need for protests like these.

The USA continues not only to pollute on a massive scale, but increasingly acts to sabotage international efforts to take any effective action on climate change.”

Protests such as this, publications by groups of leading scientists and COP talks after COP talks have done a little to move things on, but the climate situation has worsened and actions taken by governments so far are woefully inadequate.

The USA improved its rhetoric under Obama but didn’t do much and it went backwards under Trump. Biden has also failed to make the real changes needed – and like most politicians is still living in Wonderland rather than the real world.

Politicans are still pursuinging economic polices based on infinite growth under capitalism and we need to move to a new economics which recognises that we live on a planet with finite resources both physical and in the natural world and we need to move to living within sustainable limits.

More somewhere down the page at My London Diary – May 2006.


Nakba, South Africa, Fair Votes & Iran

Monday, May 15th, 2023

Nakba, South Africa, Fair Votes & Iran: Events I covered in London on 15th May 2023 and one I just missed.


Nakba Protest For Free Palestine – Downing St

Nakba, South Africa, Fair Votes & Iran

May 15 is Nakba Day, remembering the 1948 disaster when Palestinians were expelled from their land and calling for an end to Israeli occupation and breaches of international law.

Nakba, South Africa, Fair Votes & Iran

Over 400 Palestinian villages were destroyed and the 1948 partition of Palestine to create the state of Israel created around 700,000 Palestinian refugees, many of whom or their descendants are still in refugee camps. Protests take place on or around May 15 every year around the world calling for justice for Palestine.

Nakba, South Africa, Fair Votes & Iran

The biggest in London is on the nearest weekend to the 15th, and the 2023 London march organised by Palestine Solidarity Campaign together with Stop the War Coalition, Palestinian Forum in Britain, Friends of Al-Aqsa, Muslim Association of Britain and Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament was last Saturday, May 13th, marching from the BBC.

Nakba, South Africa, Fair Votes & Iran

Organisations supporting this rally included Artists’ Union England, BFAWU, CWU, The MU, NEU, PCS, RMT, TSSA, UCU, UNISON and Unite the Union. In most recent years I’ve photographed these protests, but this year the rail strike meant I was unable to do so.

Back on 15th May 2010 the Nakba protest was a static one opposite Downing Street. Last Saturday the march to the rally began at the BBC, deliberately chosen to yet again expose the failure of our major broadcaster to report on protests in the UK, particularly those calling for freedom for Palestine.

It may not be written down anywhere in the BBC, but the broadcaster definitely has a policy of playing down or usually totally ignoring protests in the UK, at least unless it can condemn any acts of violence of criminal damage by protesters. Occasionally any involving major celebrities may also get a mention, though they may need to get arrested for the BBC to notice. You have more chance of your protest getting a mention if it occurs in another country, preferably one with a regime our government disapproves, than under their noses in London.

Other UK media tend to follow the example of the BBC and if you want to know about protests that are happening in the UK you need to follow foreign media such as Al Jazeera or RT, or read left wing publications in print or online. There you may even find out what the protests were about.

Among the protesters were many Jews opposed to the actions of the State of Israel who form a major part of most if not all left wing and anarchist groups. Most obvious were those from the ultra-orthodox ‘Neturei Karta’ who are totally opposed to Zionism and the idea of a Jewish political state. They say the Torah prohibits the use of human force to establish a Jewish state before the coming of the Messiah, and support the right of the Palestinians to their land, which should be returned to them. The say Jews should live in peace and harmony with their Muslim neighbours in Palestine as their ancestors did for many centuries.

Nakba Protest For Free Palestine


South African Right March in London – Trafalgar Square

I arrived in Trafalgar Square too late to see a march by expatriate right-wingers, part of a campaign to persuade football supporters not to go to South Africa for the the World Cup. They say the country is too violent with around 18,000 murders a year.

Unfortunately that high rate is fairly typical among many countries in the global south and lower than in many of them. Perhaps the main difference between South Africa and the others is the large white population who also suffer from the violence and murders.

The march organisers had earlier regretted that police had prohibited any marchers carrying flags or banners of the extreme right Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) or other white nationalist groups. The extreme racist AWB protest at the ‘Boer Genocide’ and is committed to setting up an independent Volkstaat on parts of South Africa with extreme apartheid policies.

Although there were only a handful of people in red shirts who had taken part in the march I was able to photograph some of the crosses, posters and banners they had left behind in front of South Africa House before police removed them.

South African Right March in London


Purple Protest Demands Fair Votes – Old Palace Yard

More than a thousand people, mainly wearing purple, had come to Westminster to demand a fair voting system, feeling cheated by the recent election results which failed to produce a government reflecting how people voted.

The 2010 election had clearly failed to reflect the votes cast, particularly for the Lib-Dems who got almost a quarter of the votes but less than one tenth of the seats. Perhaps even more importantly it showed that over a third of the population had so little confidence in our political system that they didn’t bother to cast there vote.

These results had left to a movement springing up rapidly through the Internet, using Twitter, Facebook, You Tube and other social networking sites, and it also attracted the backing of existing electoral campaigning groups such as the Electoral Reform Society, Unlock Democracy (incorporating Charter 88), 38 Degrees and Power2010.

Most of us have experience of elections taking place using the single transferable vote system with give much greater fairness. The Lib-Dems had demanded a UK-wide referendum on the Parliamentary voting system for taking part in the coalition governement, but the proposals were dismissed as more an attempt to defuse the issue than to deal with it. The vague proposal was in any case decisively rejected, though only 42% of the electorate bothered to vote.

This year has seen another attack on the fairness of our elections with the introduction of the need for photo-ID to cast a vote. I don’t know how many were put off from trying to vote by this requirement, but apparently 1.2% of those who turned up to polling stations were not allowed to vote.

Purple Protest Demands Fair Votes


Protest Against Executions in Iran

Around a hundred people demonstrated in Trafalgar Square and then marched for a rally opposite the Iran Embassy following the execution last Sunday of 5 political activists, the latest of many such death sentences.

In the previous year millions in Iran had protested for greater freedom in Iran, with the protests making headlines around the world after the fatal shooting of Neda Agha-Soltan in June 2009. Thousands have been arrested, tortured to make untrue confessions and then condemned in unfair trials and many have been executed.

The death of Jina Mahsa Amini after being arrested by the religious morality police for allegedly not wearing the hijab in accordance with government standards in September 2022 has led to a series of protests in Iran and around the world on an even more widespread scale than those in 2009-10, 2007 and 2019. Again the protests in Iran have been brutally repressed with at least 476 people killed by the end of 2022, and many arrested and tortured and a number of protesters hanged.

The protest on 15 May 2010 came after the executions of five political activists – four men and a woman – on Sunday 9 May; Farzad Kamangar, Ali Heydarian, Farhad Vakili, Mehdi Eslamian and Shirin Alam-Houli.

The protests in London around the world in 2022-3 have been on a larger scale than in 2010, with large and continuing protests with the slogan ‘Woman Life Freedom’.

Protest Against Executions in Iran


Stop Israeli Snipers Killing Palestinian Protesters – 2018

Friday, April 7th, 2023

Stop Israeli Snipers Killing Palestinian Protesters

On Saturday 7th April 2018 around 2,000 came to Downing Street to condemn the shooting by Israeli snipers of peaceful unarmed Palestinian protesters on the first day of the Great March of Return, a peaceful protest at the separation wall in Gaza on Land Day, 30th March 2018.

Stop Israeli Snipers Killing Palestinian Protesters

Live fire by the Israeli army had killed 17 and wounded over 750 unarmed protesters on that day. The second protest had taken place a week later on the day day before the London protest in this series of protests planned to continue in Palestine every Friday until Nakba Day (May 15th). Another nine Palestinians, one a journalist had been targeted and killed, and around 1,350 injured.

Stop Israeli Snipers Killing Palestinian Protesters

Many had been appalled by videos of the shooting, and by seeing Israeli citizens who had gone to watch and support the snipers who were shooting to kill.

Stop Israeli Snipers Killing Palestinian Protesters

The UK parliament was in recess and there were few UK politicians at the event, with only Baroness Jenny Tonge and a Sinn Fein MP among the speakers, although both Jeremy Corbyn and Caroline Lucas had sent messages of support.

Stop Israeli Snipers Killing Palestinian Protesters

With the current threat of accusations of anti-Semitism being raised against any who speak out to support the Palestinians, perhaps some did not want to speak out in public, but there were many Jews at the protest, including those in Jewish Voice for Labour, many Jewish supports of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and others including a group of ultra-orthodox anti-Zionist Neturei Karta members. A speaker from Jewdas recited a prayer for peace in Hebrew and then in English translation.

Stop Israeli Snipers Killing Palestinian Protesters

Among those who spoke at the event was Glen Secker of JVL, the captain of the Jewish Boat to Gaza in 2010. In 2018 he was suspended from membership of the Labour Party on a vague and unspecified accusation of anti-Semitism. Many other Jewish members of the Labour party, including the sons, daughters and grandchildren of holocaust survivors, have also been expelled from the party for the same reason.

Other supporters of Palestine, including Jeremy Corbyn have been banned from standing as Labour candidates in what can only be seen as a witch-hunt.

A few yards down the road were a handful of right-wing Zionist supporters waving Israeli flags and shouting slogans in support of the shootings and against Hamas. The few protesters who could hear them simply turned their backs on them and ignored them.

At the end of the protest the names of those murdered last week were read out and there was a two minute silence honouring them. The London protest was organised by the Friends of Al-Aqsa, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Palestinian Forum in Britain and Stop the War, and supported by EuroPal, Olive and Muslim Association of Britain.

On My London Diary you can see photographs of many more of those at the event, including most of the speakers at Great March of Return – Stop the Killing.


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.