Posts Tagged ‘Neturei Karta’

Nakba, NHS, Guantánamo, Sri Lanka – 2013

Saturday, May 18th, 2024

Nakba, NHS, Guantánamo, Sri Lanka: On Saturday 18th May 2013 I began work outside Parliament at a protest against Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, then went across the Thames to the Festival Hall for the start of a march to defend the NHS before going the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square for a ‘murder scene’ in solidarity with hunger strikers at Guantánamo. There I also photographed a woman protesting for the release of her husband arrested 9 years ago by US forces in Iraq. Finally I met a march by several thousands of Tamils calling for and end to the continuing genocide in Sri Lanka. You will find much more detail (and many more pictures) on each of these protests at links below to My London Diary.


End Israeli Ethnic Cleansing – Old Palace Yard, Westminster

Nakba, NHS, Guantánamo, Sri Lanka

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

Nakba, NHS, Guantánamo, Sri Lanka

Several hundred people came to the protest, including a group of extreme orthodox Neturei Karta Jews who see themselves as guardians of the true Jewish faith, and reject Zionism, as well as many of Jewish or Palestinian origin. As well as the Palestine Solidarity Campaign the protest was also supported by many other groups – a long list on My London Diary – and speeches were continuing when I left for another event.

Nakba, NHS, Guantánamo, Sri Lanka

More about the Nakba and the protest at End Israeli Ethnic Cleansing.


London Marches to Defend NHS – South Bank to Whitehall

Nakba, NHS, Guantánamo, Sri Lanka

Thousands had gathered by the Festival Hall to march against cuts, closures and privatisation of the NHS, including many groups opposed to hospital closures around London, trade unionists and others concerned the the government is ending the NHS.

An unprecedented coalition of Londoners, including medical staff, trade unions, health campaigners, patients and others have been alarmed at what they see as an 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.

You can read more about the crisis in the NHS in 2013 in the post on My London Diary, but of course this has continued and is still making the news. Despite their protestations it seems clear that the Tories are trying hard to run down the NHS so that the population lose its trust and love for our universal free public – and would allow them to eventually replace it with US-style insurance based healthcare which would greatly increase costs and generate huge profits for private health companies.

I went with the march across Waterloo Bridge and down Strand to Charing Cross, leaving it as it was waiting to enter Whitehall for a rally there.

More information and pictures 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.

As I arrived there were 8 black-hooded ‘prisoners’ in orange suits lying on the pavement, the number of prisoners who have died there in suspicious circumstances who had previously taken part in sustained hunger strikes. At least seven of them had the cause of death reported as ‘suicide’.

Other protesters drew lines around the bodies on the ground and surrounded the area with ‘Crime Scene – Do Not Enter‘ incident tape. The bodies then stood up and there was a short enactment of forced feeding by a man wearing an Obama mask.

Others held placards and posters, some including quotations from Thomas Jefferson and other historic and prominent Americans, and there were speeches about the events in Guantanamo, where British resident Shaker Aamer was still held despite having been cleared for release. You can read more, including a statement by one of the organisers, on My London Diary.

As I left some of the poems written in Guantánamo by Shaker Aamer were being read.

More at Guantánamo Murder Scene.


More US Embassy Protests – US Embassy, Grosvenor Square

Also protesting outside the embassy as she has for a number of weekends was 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 held by them, and his now being tortured by the Iraqis. He is also on hunger strike. His young daughter Zeinab came and spoke briefly to the Guantanamo protesters, telling them that she wanted her daddy to be released.

Later she was joined by a small group of Muslim men and boys who stood with her.

It was a busy day for protests at at the US Embassy were a small group of supporters of Syrian President Assad, including some from the minor Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) who had come to protest against western intervention in Syria.

More about these protests at More US Embassy Protests.


Tamils protest Sri Lankan Genocide – Hyde Park to Waterloo Place

Finally I rushed away to join thousands of British Tamils and dignitaries and politicians from India, Sri Lanka and the UK who were marching through London on the 4th anniversary of the Mullivaikkal Massacre. Many were dressed in black in memory of the continuing genocide in Sri Lanka and some wore the tiger emblem and called for a Tamil homeland – Tamil Eelam.

Tamils are disgusted at the lack of response by the UK, the Commonwealth and the world to the organised genocide that took place and is still continuing in Sri Lanka, of which the massacre at Mullivaikkal four years ago was a climax. I noted on My London Diary that I could see no other non-Tamil photographers covering the event.

On My London Diary you can read a statement by the British Tamil Forum who had organised the march. I left as the rally in Waterloo Place was about to start, partly because I was tired but also because I thought few of the speeches would be in English.

Tamils protest Sri Lankan Genocide.


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Palestinian Land Day – 2019

Saturday, March 30th, 2024

Palestinian Land Day remembers the day in 1976 when unarmed protesters were killed when marches in Arab towns against the confiscation of land were confronted by Israeli army and police. Six unarmed Palestinians were killed around a hundred wounded and hundreds arrested. Most of the information here on Land Day is from Wikipedia.

Palestinian Land Day - 2019

The numbers involved now seem so small compared to the over 32,000 murdered in Gaza in recent months but it was a significant event as the marches were the first since 1948 in which Palestinians had organised nationally together against Israeli policies with these marches and a national strike.

Palestinian Land Day - 2019

The protests were against plans to confiscate Arab land and to expand Jewish settlements in Galilee were a part of an increasing seizure of Arab land.

Palestinian Land Day - 2019

In response to the planned strike and marches there had been a much increased police and military presence in the area, with armoured vehicles and tanks being driven “along the unpaved roads of various villages of the Galilee“. Some of these military convoys were attacked by youths with stones and even, according to Israeli government sources, Molotov cocktails.

Palestinian Land Day - 2019

The Israeli government had declared the strikes and all demonstrations illegal and some Palestinian leaders had voted against supporting them, but these actions seem only to have hardened the resolve of the Palestinians.

Palestinian Land Day - 2019

According to the Wikipedia article, quoting an academic source, the events led to “a new sense of national pride, together with anger toward the state and police and sorrow over the dead protesters, developed among the Arab community in Israel.” And in 1988, Land Day was announced as “a Palestinian-Israeli civil national day of commemoration and a day of identification with Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza, to be marked by yearly demonstrations and general strikes.

The Freedom, justice & equality for Palestinians protest in London close to the Israeli Embassy in Kensington on Land Day, 30th March 2019 came a year after the 2018 Land Day Protest in Gaza, also known as The Great March of Return. On that day in Gaza, 30,0000 Palestinians took part in a largely peaceful march some distance from the border fence. But Israeli snipers in safe positions opened fire on those who approached the fence, some to burn tyres or through objects at the fence. 17 Palestinians were killed, including five Hamas members, and more than 1,400 injured.

A small group of Zionists had come to oppose the protest

Smaller marches in Gaza continued at weekly intervals and by Land Day 2019 a total of over 250 mainly unarmed protesters had been killed and thousands injured.

It’s hard to look back on history to Land Day (and beyond) and not see how Zionist right wing policies have failed both Israel and Palestine and are continuing to fall all those in the area. Balfour is often blamed for kicking the situation off, but had his “it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine” ever been taken seriously we would not be where we are now.

A line of police protects the Zionist pen

The Oslo Accords were another start to a possible peace process, but again firmly opposed by the right-wing Zionist parties – and Israeli prime minister Yitshak Rabin was assassinated for signing them. Leaders opposed to the accords – Ariel Sharon and current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to power.

This man shouts repeatedly ‘There are no Palestinians in Gaza!’

On Land Day 2019, a group of Zionist extremists had come along to the Palestinian protest to try and shout down those speaking. Police kept them a short distance away and with a relatively powerful public address system their efforts were largely inaudible.

Some of the Palestinians took a large Palestine flag and hid the group behind it until police persuaded them back and other protesters moved in to argue with and shout at them. Police tried to move the Palestinians away with little success while I was present

Taking part in the Palestinian protest were as usual many Jews, including the ultra-orthodox Neturei Karta who see Zionism as diametrically opposed to Judiasm.

Freedom, justice & equality for Palestinians.


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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.