Posts Tagged ‘parliament square’

Mooning for Soldier F

Thursday, March 12th, 2020

I hadn’t come up to London to photograph ‘Operation Zulu’, a protest against the prosecution of ‘Soldier F’ for the murder of civil rights protesters in Londonderry on ‘Bloody Sunday’ in 1972, but since I was in London I did take a brief walk through Parliament Square and Whitehall. And stopped to take a few photographs, mainly of a small group ‘mooning’ on the roof of an armoured vehicle. And to wonder why they called this ‘Operation Zulu’.

I remember going to see the film Zulu back in 1964, I thought at the Dominion Cinema in Hounslow, but memory is fallible as that apparently closed in 1961 (though this fine Art Deco building was only demolished after 45 years as a Bingo club in 2007), so perhaps it was the Regal. The film itself although based on history is incorrect in many aspects, and though the courage of the defenders of Rourke’s Drift is undeniable, the Zulu War it took place in was one of the worse aspects of our colonial past.

The man responsible for it has a statue I often walk past, in the Embankment gardens close to Northumberland Avenue, though I suspect few who walk past could tell you anything about Sir Henry Bartle Edward Frere. He was sent to South Africa as High Commissioner for the British Empire  to carry out a British plan to combine all of the south of the continent into a Canada-style federation. Frere took advantage of postal delays between South Africa and the UK to carry out his unauthorise policy, sending the King of Zululand a completely unacceptable ultimatum which amounted to a declaration of war, and then sent in the British Army.

Despite the Zulus being equipped largely with spears, clubs and hide shields against British firepower of breech-loading rifles and a couple of field guns, the first battle resulted in a great Zulu victory – as Wikipedia puts it, “The British Army had suffered its worst defeat against an indigenous foe with vastly inferior military technology“. The successful defence of Rourke’s Drift (the subject of the film) did much to restore British morale and a much stronger force was then dispatched to finally defeat the Zulus.

Frere was censured but allowed to stay on for long enough to cause several other wars across the area, including the disastrous First Boer War before being finally recalled to London, where he was eventually dismissed by Prime Minister Gladstone and censured by Whitehall for his disastrous actions in South Africa and policies he advocated over Afghanistan which had led to the Second Anglo-Afghan War.

Bloody Sunday in Londonderry in 1972, when British soldiers shot 26 unarmed civilians during a protest march against internment without trial, is a more recent shameful episode in British history. The Tory governent recently announced that soldiers would be granted protection against prosecution for any alleged historic offences, except for those in the Northern Ireland “troubles”. Although there have clearly been some cases where the allegations made against soldiers have been unfounded, where there is significant genuine evidence there should be no immunity from prosecution.

If anything I think there is more justification in providing protection against prosecution for crimes committed by both sides in Northern Ireland than for the crimes against civilians in Iraq and other overseas conflicts the army have been sent to. We need peace in NI, and there needs to be a reconciliation between the two communities . Post-Brexit I think that also means a united Ireland, though it may take some years for this to arrive.

More pictures at Veterans Moon for Soldier F


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

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.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


Students Strike for climate justice

Sunday, March 8th, 2020

The young get it, and inspired by the actions of Greta Thunberg as well as the words of David Attenborough and the overwhemlming conclusions of scientists, school students around the world are coming out on the streets to demand yhat governments take the necessary action to decrease carbon dioxide emissions and act in accordance with the Paris Agreement and the IPCC report, though many recognise that even these are insufficient to deal with the problems we face.

Fridays for Future London started out as a small group, but now together with Youth Climate Strike and other groups there has been an impressive turnout for protests taking place during a Friday in school terms. Some came with parents or grandparents and there were a few other older protesters, but the great majority were with others from their schools and school classes.

Notable by their almost complete absence were the mass-produced placards of so many protests, produced by left groups such as the Socialist Workers Party or Socialist Party. Clearly the climate catastrophe is now a major inspiration for the work of school art departments as well as many obviously home produced posters and placards.

The protesters are deadly serious about the existential crisis they face, with messages on some posters addressed to the older generations who run our country like ‘YOU will die from old age – WE will die from Climate Change’ but there are many more humorous though also deadly serious.

If the world was run by the youth it would have a future. But unfortunately it is largely run by the old and extremely rich. Billionaires who largely can’t see beyond their immediate short-term interests and are doing very well from business as usual. They’ll be OK in the short-term when the sea-level rises or we get more and more storms and floods, when millions (or even billions) die in the majority world and thousands in countries like ours.

Of course in the longer term even the filthy rich will suffer. They are huge hoggers of resources, particularly those made by the poor who mine the metals, grow the crops etc. The world doesn’t need the rich, but the rich do need the rest of the world to support them.

More pictures at Students Strike for climate justice.


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

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.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


Kiss-in against LGBT+ hate

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020

Hate crime attacks on LGBT+ people on our streets and on public transport are on the increase. Between 2014 and 2018 there was a 150% increase and in recent months more and more have been reported, with some disturbing videos posted on social media.

The shift to the right in British politics under the Tories have encouraged anti-gay sentiments and made them come to the surface. A small but very vocal group of feminists have also been very active in campaigning against trans people on social media, with meetings and protests – including at London’s Pride parade. These “trans-exclusionary radical feminists” or TERFs (a label they dislike) include a number of high-profile largely older feminists who often appear on mainstream media and make their views clear.

Trans people have always been an important part of the gay scene, and played an vital role in the Gay Liberation movement, including the Stonewall riots which were really its starting point.

Stand up to LGBT+ Hate Crime, the organisers of this kiss-in have decided that a more active opposition is needed to these attacks:

It is 50 years since the Stonewall Uprising and the birth of the Gay Liberation Front. Our movement was born out of rage and riots. We will not be driven back into the closet. We will meet all attacks with resistance and protest.”

This protest held in Parliament Square in persistent light rain was the first of a series of protests to combat this increasing hate.

Stand up to LGBT+ Hate Crime Kiss-In


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

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.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.


Friday Diary

Sunday, July 7th, 2019

I had three events listed in my diary for 29th March, but for some reason, although I took the train to London, I only photographed one of them. Perhaps it was the weather, or just that I got tired and went home. But I think it was more likely that I just thought I’d done enough for the day before the last two things started.

I had after all already photographed three protests, if not the three I had come up to London for. One I hadn’t bothered to put in my diary was a regular thing, a Fridays for Future climate protest inspired by 15-year-old Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg. I photographed the first of these last October, and although there have been some big Friday school students protests since, the regular events have not really grown.

I was probably feeling pretty fed up. Although the Brexit protest hadn’t been anything like as huge as the organisers appear to have expected, I do find most Brexiteers rather depressing. Of course people voted to leave for a whole number of reasons, some of which make at least some sense, the kind of people who come to protest appear largely delusional and racist, convinced that Brexit will restore the British Empire and put foreigners, particularly black foreigners, back into their place both literally and metaphorically.

Migration to this country over my lifetime (and I was born some time before the Empire Windrush berthed at Tilbury) has revitalised our culture, giving us greater variety, most obviously in our diet, but across the whole spectrum. And it wasn’t migrants that took our jobs, but migrants who provided the workforce needed for a post-war recovery, to keep essential services like the NHS and transport running. It wasn’t migrants or Europe that took away large sections of manufacturing industry but overseas competition and government stupidity.

And again it was Thatcher whose policies greatly reduced the supply of low cost social housing, with ‘right to buy’ removing homes from councils that were largely after a few years recycled into the hands of people wealthy enough to profit from a disastrous rise in ‘buy to let.’

The last of the three events came as a surprise, when some of the Kurds I had photographed a few weeks earlier supporting Kurdish hunger strikers turned up to protest again outside parliament. The hunger strike by HDP MP Leyla Güven  began in early November; kept alive by sugary and salty drinks and vitamin B she was then on her 142 day of protest – eventually ended on 16 May after the authorities ended the isolation of Abudullah Ocalan in prison.

Kurds support hunger strikers
Fridays for Future climate protest


There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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

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.

To order prints or reproduce images


Busy Friday

Monday, June 10th, 2019

I didn’t expect Friday March 1st to be particularly busy in Westminster. Fridays generally aren’t a very busy day for protests not least because many MPs rush off back to their constituencies for the weekend. I’d gone up to take pictures largely because I knew that protesters from DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) were protesting against Universal Credit, which is causing widespread hardship and extreme poverty, particularly for disabled people.

They are a group I admire and the treatment of the sick and disabled by the current government has been calculatedly cruel; as a small gravestone they had brought recorded, over 12,980 people have died within six weeks of being found fit for work by a deliberately ill-designed biased scheme adminstered to make a huge proportion of incorrect decisions – which if people live long enough for their appears to be heard are overturn in over two thirds of cases – though often by the time this happens it it time for another fake assessment. It is all about cutting costs and academic studies point to around 120,000 early deaths from the Tory cuts since 2010.

That protest turned out to be rather smaller than I had hoped – and then those taking part had anticipated. In part the small number reflected the difficulties of travel for disabled people that I’ve also photographed protests about.

My own travel on that morning took me on a slightly unusual route. Usually I take the train to Waterloo and walk from there to Parliament Square, but I think I was feeling lazy, and instead got off the train at Vauxhall and took a bus from there, which took me past the Home Office, now also home to DEFRA, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. In front of their entrance was a giant plastic bottle, made up of single use plastic bottles, drawing attention to the need to take action against the huge amount of plastic waste that ends up in our oceans and in landfill.

Apart from the problem of disposing of this waste, there are also the problems caused by the extraction of the petroleum and the energy required to produce the plastic from this and fabricate it into bottles. I carry a plastic bottle of water in my bag when taking pictures, which I bought on a very hot day a couple of years ago, as a single-use bottle containing a fizzy lime and lemon drink. Since then I’ve refilled it several hundred times with water, rinsing it out every day when I get home, and it is still going strong.

The first person I met on getting off the bus at Parliament Square was a lone protester with sandwich boards and a placard with plastic bottles hanging from it calling for a ban on all disposable plastic trash. This was the first time I’d met him there though I’ve seen him several times since.

I’d known that there would be other protests taking place in the square, and one was by Climate Strike, one of many weekly #FridaysForFuture events taking place in many cities and towns across the world inspired by the action of 15-year old Greta Thunberg. The weekly protests here – like this one – have not really grown much since they started, but there have been several much larger and noisier protests Friday protests involving many school children.

Another that I hadn’t really been aware of before became apparent when a large number of London’s black cabs came to a halt around Parliament Square, one of a number of protests by them demanding to be allowed to use all roads and bus lanes in London. I think it’s time to look again at taxis in London, and to replace the outdated system of ‘plying for hire’ and ‘the knowlege’ with one based on smartphone apps and professional sat-nav systems. Black cabs cause too much pollution and congestion to keep running as they now do in London. But I was pleased when a group of them came to support the DPAC protest against Universal Credit.

The final group of protesters in Parliament Square were at the start of a march to the Japanese embassy against the barbaric annual slaughter of dolphins in Taiji cove. I went with them as far as Downing St before returning to Parliament Square.

More at:
Scrap Universal Credit
End Japanese dolphin slaughter
Black Cab Drivers blockade
Weekly climate protest
Plastics protests in London


There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.

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

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.

To order prints or reproduce images