Posts Tagged ‘Peace and Justice’

Goodbye & Good Riddance 2023 – December

Monday, January 8th, 2024

Goodbye & Good Riddance 2023: Apart from a protest by Just Stop Oil against the way their protests are being policed and non-violent protesters being given lengthy prison sentences because of political pressure by our government which has continued to move away from our ideas of liberal democracy towards a police state, all but one of the other events I photographed were about the continuing genocide of the people of Gaza. More and more civilians – men, women and especially children – were being killed every day, more forced to move out of their homes with nowhere safe to go, and an increasing humanitarian crisis – with many workers for relief agencies also being killed by Israeli forces.

Goodbye & Good Riddance 2023 - December
Police Clamp Down on Just Stop Oil. London, 2 Dec 2023. I
Just Stop Oil met at New Scotland Yard for a peaceful non-violent march. As it was about to start one of the organisers was arrested and others were warned that if they stepped into the road they would also be arrested. After a short meeting the protesters marched through the crowded pavements of Westminster holding photographs of jailed JSO protesters behind a banner ‘NO PRISON FOR PEACEFUL PROTEST’ to a rally outside the Supreme Court. Some held large photographs of peaceful Just Stop Oil protesters who are in jail, some serving lengthy terms though some juries have refused to convict those standing up for the future of our planet.
Peter Marshall
Goodbye & Good Riddance 2023 - December
Police Arrest Young Teen at Brixton Gaza Protest. London. 2 Dec 2023.
At the end of a Gaza Ceasefire march to a rally in Brixton, a crowd surrounded a police van containing a young teenager arrested for an allegedly anti-Semitic poster, shouting “Let Them Go!” and preventing the van from leaving. Police argued with protesters for around 45 minutes, eventually bringing in almost a hundred officers who pushed the crowd back to the pavement so the van could leave.
Peter Marshall

The situation in Brixton was rather confused and I got different stories from different people. The police too were arguing with each other for much of the time before a Senior Commander arrived, stopped another officer who had been trying to calm the situation and brought in reinforcements. There were at least two arrests, one for carrying a placard which I think compared in some way the actions of Israel in Gaza with those of the Nazis and the second for damaging a police vehicle.

Goodbye & Good Riddance 2023 - December
Now We Rise Day for Climate Justice. London, UK. 9 Dec 2023.
Climate Justice Coalition protest at BP’s London HQ calling for climate justice. The UN COP28 climate summit in the UAE is presided over by an oil CEO and attended by a record number of fossil fuel lobbyists who togther saw we did not get the committment to phase out fossil fuels we need to survive. Our government too is blocking the path to a green transition, backtracking on cutting carbon and granting many new oil and gas licences despite record world temperatures and increasingly dire scientific predictions.
Peter Marshall
Goodbye & Good Riddance 2023 - December
National March for Palestine – Full Ceasefire Now. London, UK. 9 Dec 2023.
Neturei Karta Jews support the march. Hundreds of thousands march in London to call for a full ceasefire in Gaza where Israeli forces have killed over 17,000 people including more than 7,000 children. Bombing has made humanitarian aid and medical treatment impossible and widespread deaths from disease and starvation now seem inevitable. Marchers call for an end to the genocide and a political solution to bring peace and justice to Palestine under international law.
Peter Marshall
Gaza Ceasefire Rally, Elephant, London, 16 Dec 2023.
The Gaza Ceasefire Now! rally in Elephant Square was one of many across the country in a day of action for Palestine as rage grows over the increasing death toll, with over 18,600, mainly women and children, now having been killed by Israeli attacks. Hundreds came to a rally to demand a permanent Ceasefire now, and for an end to British complicity in Israeli apartheid before marching to join a vigil by medical staff at St Thomas’s Hospital.
Peter Marshall
Gaza Ceasefire Rally, Whitechapel. London 16 Dec 2023. The
Gaza Ceasefire Now! rally at the Tower Hamlets Town Hall was one of many across the country in a day of action for Palestine as rage grows over the increasing death toll, with over 18,600, mainly women and children, having been killed by Israeli attacks. Several hundred came to demand a permanent Ceasefire now, and for an end to British complicity in Israeli apartheid and were supported by many drivers who hooted as they drove past on the busy road.
Peter Marshall
Gaza Ceasefire March, Lewisham. London 16 Dec 2023.
The Gaza Ceasefire Now! march in Lewisham was one of many events across the country in a day of action for Palestine as rage grows over the increasing death toll, with over 18,600, mainly women and children, having been killed by Israeli attacks. A large crowd possibly around a thousand met at New Cross to march demanding a permanent ceasefire now, and for an end to British complicity in Israeli apartheid.
Peter Marshall
Vigil for the children of Palestine, Ilford. London 16 Dec 2023.
A vigil for the children of Palestine in Valentines Park was one of many events across the country in a day of action for Palestine as rage grows over the increasing death toll. Adults and children spoke, some reading poems and we heard about the lives of a few of the many murdered children. The protest condemned the genocide in Gaza, calling for a permanent ceasefire now, and for an end to British complicity in Israeli apartheid.
Peter Marshall

It was almost the end of the year. Christmas too was overshadowed by the news of new killings and increasing suffering in Gaza. Christmas festivities were cancelled in Bethlehem, and the Nativity scene at the The Evangelical Lutheran Church there showed the newborn Jesus wrapped in a kaffiyeh an a heap of rubble to show solidarity with the people of Gaza.

Like many others I greeted the passing of 2023 at the end of New Year’s Eve with thanks that 2023 was over and the hope that 2024 would see a better year for us all. But perhaps that hope was realistically only a glimmer.


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Armistice Day Protests 2006

Saturday, November 11th, 2023

Armistice Day Protests – Today I hope to be photographing a huge protest calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and peace in the Middle East as it makes its way from Hyde Park to the US Embassy. It’s an event some Tory politicians have tried to arouse controversy around, aided by some of the media in their lies. Armistice Day has always been an occasion for protests for peace and making it out as some huge national celebration we all share in is untrue as this post shows.

Armistice Day Protests

Both the BBC and the Tories seized on the fact that some people at a protest in London shouted ‘Jihad!’ but lie in saying it was an offshoot from the huge march taking place in London calling for peace and justice for Palestine.

It’s a lie that the BBC continues to let them promulgate without question, although their journalists must surely know that this was at an entirely separate protest organised by Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, an Islamic fundamentalist political organisation dedicated to the establishment of an Islamic caliphate, whose lead banner at their protest read “Muslim Armies! Rescue the People of Palestine!”.

Armistice Day Protests

I’ve photographed many protests by Hizb ut-Tahrir in London since I first came across them in 2004 and they are very different and entirley separate from those organised by mainstream Muslim organisations, Stop The War, CND and the others now leading the protests by hundreds of thousands across the country calling for an end to the killing of civilians – whether Palestinian or Israelis – in Palestine and Israel. Most are particularly enraged by the killing of so many children in Gaza by air strikes which Israel claims are targeted, but are targeted on places where many people live and so die in them.

I think most of us who march – and the many more who support the marches but are unable to attend – want peace and the justice that can only come if there is a thriving country where Palestinians can live normal lives in peace and not under military rule and an apartheid regime.

Armistice Day Protests

Probably that can only come about with a two-state solution and a massive world aid programme to restore the incredible damage in Gaza as well as establishing rational borders for Palestine with the removal of many of the illegal settlements.

I grew up in a largely working class area on the outskirts of London in the 1950s, and then I think it was true that virtually the whole of the country paused to celebrate and commemorate the armistice, joining in with the minute’s silence in schools, shops, works and offices and traffic on the roads coming to a halt.

Armistice Day Protests

But even then relatively few joined in the military style parades on Remembrance Sunday, with most of my friend’s parents who had fought in WW2 having had more than enough of that kind of thing. My attendance was compulsory as a Wolf Cub and Boy Scout but I resented it and my freezing legs as cold November winds blew up my shorts – and the derision from friends who weren’t members. And by the time I was a Senior Scout we collectively refused to take part.

The idea that Armistice Day is not a suitable day for a peaceful protest calling for an end to the fighting and peace in the Middle East seems to me to be beyond absurd – yet again is taken seriously and promoted by the BBC. Armistice Day has I think always seen protests for peace – and November 11th 2006 was no exception.

On that day I began on Park Lane, where there was a brief ceremony in front of the sculpture commemorating animals who died in war in the central area there at 11 am. There were only a small group there, wearing poppies they described as purple, though to me they seemed more lilac or mauve. In 2018, the Peace Pledge Union sold 122,385 white poppies: more than any year since white poppies were first worn in 1933, and many keep their white poppies to wear in following years, as unlike the red poppies their sale is not intended to raise funds but they are simply worn as a symbol of remembrance and peace.

I moved on to Grosvenor Square and the US Embassy where School Students Against The War had scheduled a ‘die-in’. Unfortunately only around 20 had turned up for it – probably now many work on Saturdays or prefer to enjoy a lie-in at home.

Another short walk took me to Marks & Spencer on Oxford Street, where a protest was taking place as a part of the fourth International Week of Action against the Apartheid Wall in Palestine.

Fight Racism, Fight Imperialism who had organised this event also hold regular vigils outside M&S every Thursday evening, calling for a boycott of the company as part of a wider Boycott Israel campaign. M&S sell goods including those coming illegally from the occupied territories of Palestine and give financial and moral support to Israel.

School Students Against The War came from the US Embassy to join them and staged their die-in on the wide pavement in front of M&S. This certainly generated a great deal of attention and they made some short speeches to the the crowds milling past M&S before marching off down Oxford Street with their megaphones and banner. They staged a second ‘die-in’ further down the street, again attracting the attention of shoppers, although perhaps surprisingly, not the police none of whom seemed to be around.

I went on to Trafalgar Square where I hoped to photograph the fountains filled with red poppies, but I arrived a little late to find a man in waders fishing them out with a shrimp net. It was bizarre if not surreal, although not quite what I’d been hoping for.

My main event of the day was taking place on Whitehall, at the Cenotaph. Not the military parade ‘at the eleventh hour‘ which I had refused to cover, but a commemoration by some of the families of servicemen killed in Iraq.

Led by a piper they marched solemnly to stand in front of it, while they came up to read out the names of the 121 dead British servicemen killed in the Iraq war. A small selection of names of Iraqi civilians killed was also read out. It’s difficult to estimate the exact number who have died, and more deaths have occured since 2006. The US Brown University Watson Institute now states “we know that between 280,771-315,190 have died from direct war related violence caused by the U.S., its allies, the Iraqi military and police, and opposition forces from the time of the invasion through March 2023.”

A deputation then took a letter in to Downing Street for Prime Minister Tony Blair who had misled parliament and ignored the largest protest ever seen in the UK to take the country into a misguided invasion together with the USA.

Among those taking part in what was an extremely moving ceremony were Rose Gentle of Military Families Against The War, and others who have lost sons or partners in Iraq, including Ann Lawrence, Roger Bacon, Natasha Mclellan, Maureen Bacon as well as Lance Corporal George Solomou, from the London Regiment of the Territorial Army who refused to go to fight in Iraq. Families of some serving soldiers also took part.

Also there and supporting the event among others were Kate Hudson of CND, Yvonne Ridley and Lindsey German of Respect and Stop The War, fashion designer Katherine Hamnett, and Jeremy Corbyn MP.

This was an event that attracted considerable media attention; there is a delicate balance between intruding on private grief, but those there had chosen to make their grief public, and we had to record it for them.

More Pictures on My London Dairy – Scroll down the page there for links.


Inauguration Day

Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

Trafalgar Square, 20/1/2017

Four years ago, on 20 Jan 2017, London was protesting against another inauguration, that of Donald Trump. Commenting on those protesting outside the US Embassy – still then in Grosvenor Square I wrote:

All were appalled at the thought of a president who is a climate change denier, has a long history of racist and Islamophobic outbursts, has boasted of sexually assaulting women and has downplayed the severity of sexual violence.

Crowds protest Trump’s Inauguration

The four years that followed have confirmed most of our worst fears and in some ways gone further than we imagined, for example with disastrous polices in the Middle East and in particular over Israel and Palestine.

There will not be significant protests in London today, and even if police were not enforcing Covid restrictions particularly rigorously against protests I don’t think there would have been. We may not have any particularly high hopes for Biden and Harris, but at least they are almost certain to be better than Trump.

At least the US seems certain to re-engage with climate change – although probably still intent on keeping the US as the world’s largest polluter and allowing US companies to plunder the world for resources. And though it’s good to have a slightly saner finger close to that nuclear button it seems unlikely that the US will stop supporting corrupt fiefdoms in the Middle East and elsewhere and desist from supporting coups against popular governments that attempt to regain control over their own resources in South America and elsewhere.

Though I do hope for some positive surprises in the first hundred days, and there have certainly been rumours of some. Perhaps we will see the cancellation of some of the more environmentally damaging projects given the go-ahead by Trump. Almost certainly there will be fewer racist rants and tweets and there could even be some real progress on civil rights.

But while we may have some hopes for the United States of America, the future for our United Kingdom remains depressing. Suffering under the burden of Brexit and Covid, with a government that continually proves itself both corrupt and inept and an opposition which is ineffectual and sycophantic – and currently outclassed, outgunned and outplayed by a young footballer.

And that ‘United’ is less and less than ever appropriate; Brexit divided the country, and most of us now realise it was a terrible mistake – even increasingly more of the 34% who voted for it. It has created a border between the mainland and Northern Ireland and exacerbated the gap between England and Scotland. Even Wales seems more distant, though it has protected our relationships with those tax havens that make us possibly the most corrupt country in the world.

There is one small glimmer of hope, apart from the vaccinations that may just eventually allow us to gain some accommodation if not exactly control over Covid. Last Sunday saw the inauguration of the Project for Peace and Justice, founded by Jeremy Corbyn, an international campaign which describes itself as “a hub for discussion and action, building solidarity and hope for a more decent world.”

F**k Trump
Crowds protest Trump’s Inauguration


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.