Posts Tagged ‘oil’

Defending the Indefensible

Tuesday, March 17th, 2020

It just hadn’t occurred to me that there would be protesters defending Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, hereafter MbS, the man responsible for sending a team of assassins to kill and then dismember with bone saws the body of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2nd 2018.

Of course their state-sponsored posters and placards – including two large electronic screens strapped to two men didn’t mention the killing, nor MbS’s other purges, including the 2017 arrest of business leaders and other prominent Saudi figures in what he called an anti-corruption campaign, the kidnapping of former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in 2017 and more – including recent arrests of yet more leading Saudi figures who he sees as possible rivals.

So when I first walked up to their noisy protest I misunderstood their reason for being there. I couldn’t of course understand what they were shouting, and it was only after I read the posters that I realised they had come to support MbS and not to protest against a cruel dictator.

Of course some of them may have had good personal reasons for supporting MbS. Saudi businessmen operating in the UK may well be profiting from his economic reforms and support his Vision 2030 for a Saudi Arabia that in some respects will modernise, largely in the interests of business. Some of those taking part will be working for the Saudi government and companies such as Saudi Aramco, supposedly the most profitable company in the world, though this position is perhaps under threat by MbS’s current oil war with Russia. And some may have been paid for their evening’s work.

Certainly if you are a Saudi citizen and have any intention of returning to that country in the future, being seen as a supporter of MbS rather than an opponent will be vital for your health – as the brutal Khashoggi murder testifies. You need to be seen (and filmed) to be on the right side.


Justice for Jamal Khashoggi

On the anniversary of Khashoggi’s death, a small group of protesters on the opposite side of the road stood in a quiet line in front of the Embassy garden holding posters, and later burning nightlights, in a silent vigil for the cruelly murdered journalist. It was a small but dignified and rather more impressive display than the PR event taking place opposite.


More on both events:
Saudis support killer Prince MBS
Justice For Jamal Khashoggi


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

Bank refuses Venezuela its gold

Saturday, June 1st, 2019

It’s always difficult for photographers when events more or less repeat themselves, and this was the third protest I’d covered in just a few weeks about the US attempt to engineer a regime change in Venezuela, and the second outside the Bank of England, with many of the same people taking part, and it was all too easy to produce more or less the same images. As the great Yogi Berra said, ” It’s deja vu all over again”, though he also said ” I never said most of the things I said.”

Ken Livingstone was also a figure with a second coming, having run the Greater London Council and begun to bring the capital up to date in the 1980s, his success so enraged Margaret Thatcher that she abolished the council and sold off its palatial headquarters just downstream across the Thames from the Houses of Parliament.

Livingstone returned as elected mayor of the new Greater London Authority after 14 years in which London had largely stagnated, acheiving office despite determined opposition from Thatcher’s successor (following the brief interregnum of John Major), Tony Blair. Although Livingstone was the choice of Labour members and affiliates, the votes of Blairite MPs, MEPS and GLA candidates made Frank Dobson the Labour candidate, and Livingstone stood as an Independent. In the first round of voting he came out on top, with three times the vote of the official Labour candidate who was eliminated, and was elected in the second round with a vote of almost 58% .

Four years later, Livingstone was re-admitted to the Labour Party and re-elected as London’s Mayor. Despite two largely successful terms in office, he lost the 2008 mayoral election to Boris Johnson, who set out to establish himself as London’s worst mayor despite often rapturous media coverage.

Of course Livingstone was not the only speaker, but he was the major speaker at the event. He had been in the crowd at the previous protest outside the Bank of England, but this time he spoke, reminding us of his relationship with the former President of Venezuela and the contribution made by Venezuela to enable him to provide half-price bus fares for lone parents, sick and disabled Londoners. Recently after an earlier protest calling for the Bank of England to return Venezuela’s gold I wrote more on Livingstone with some pictures I’ve taken.

Stop Trump’s Venezuela gold & oil grab


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My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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