Posts Tagged ‘police’

UK Uncut Great British Street Party – 2012

Sunday, May 26th, 2024

UK Uncut Great British Street Party: Waterloo, Barnes & Putney

UK Uncut Great British Street Party

In 2012 public services were being destroyed by cuts made by the coalition government with the Liberal Democrats having gone into the coalition government with the Tories after the indecisive 2010 election. UK Uncut decided to hold street parties in protest on 26th May 2012 and to call for a better and different future..

UK Uncut Great British Street Party

In the 2010 election the Tories had won 306 seats and Labour 258, but with 57 seats the Liberal Democrats could have formed a coalition with either party to form a government. Although a coalition with Labour would only have included 315 MPs, less than half the total of 650, the differing positions of the 28 MPs outside of the main parties would have made this a working majority.

UK Uncut Great British Street Party

Perhaps because they lied to him more effectively, Nick Clegg chose to form a coalition with the Tories. Probably the most important thing he hoped to gain from this was electoral reform – and the United Kingdom Alternative Vote referendum resulted in a resounding defeat for the alternative vote system – a modified form of ‘First Past The Post’. What Clegg didn’t get was what he wanted, a referendum on proportional representation.

UK Uncut Great British Street Party

With an general election coming up on July 4th again under FPTP we can again see the urgent need for electoral reform. With FPTP we are more than likely simply to see Tweedledee replaced by Tweedledum rather than the more vital changes we need to deal with the urgent changes we need, particularly to deal effectively with the climate challenge, but also to move towards a more equal and united society.

UK Uncut Great British Street Party

But for now at least we are stuck with FPTP. Possibly the rise of the Reform Party will present a real challenge to our current two party monopoly, and though I’m very much not a supporter of their policies this fragmentation would certainly improve matters. Just a shame that no similarly positive split on fundamental issues has occurred within the Labour Party which has managed to successfully marginalise its right wing – or expel them – without a similarly important alternative party emerging. Perhaps because of a much deeper loyalty on the left to the Labour movement.

Wherever we live I think the best response to the continuing use of FPTP is to vote anti-Tory – that is for the candidate with the greatest chance of defeating the Tory candidate rather than for any particular party. The best result I think we can hope for in July is one that requires a coalition of several parties to govern. Politics would then have to move into an area of cooperation and consultation rather than the adversarial nonsense which now dominates our politics.

Clegg sold the country down the river for false gold, and joined the Tories in implementing a vicious series of cuts to public benefits from central government in almost every aspect of our lives.

UK Uncut stated:

"The government is slashing our public services and making the most marginalised people in our society pay for an economic crisis they did nothing to cause. It doesn’t have to be this way. In 1948 the UK’s national debt was far larger than it is today, but instead of cutting services and hitting the poorest hardest the NHS and the Welfare State were born.

So forget the Queen’s Jubilee and join the only London street party worth going to this summer – UK Uncut’s Great London Street Party. Let’s celebrate the services that are being destroyed, take the fight to the streets and party for our future, a different future, a better future, that we can build together."
 

The London event was one of several street parties organised in towns and cities across the UK. In London 4 blocks, one highlighting the welfare cuts, another the NHS, a third the disproportionate effects the cuts were having on women and the last mourning the effects they are having on democracy itself, met and finally entrained at Waterloo Station, travelling either to Putney or Barnes.

The destination was kept secret, and after we left the trains we followed bloc leaders with coloured umbrellas, only finding when we were almost there that the party was to take place in the short Putney street where Nick Clegg has his London home. They were on holiday elsewhere.

Police tried to stop the protesters at various points, including on the final street, but eventually had to let the party go ahead. People taking part seemed to be careful not to cause any damage, though some were pushed into hedges by police. But the protesters kept up the party atmosphere despite considerable provocation.

Later I heard that when the party ended at 6pm and people were making their way peacefully to Putney station they were attacked by a group of police, who were perhaps frustrated by not being allowed to attack the party earlier in the day when the press was present in large numbers reporting on the event.

You can read more about the party and see many more pictures on My London Diary at UK Uncut Great British Street Party


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis
London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall.
Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


Free Palestine March & Rally 2005

Tuesday, May 21st, 2024

Free Palestine March & Rally – May 21st 2005. George Galloway, then MP for Bethnal Green, was clearly the man of the hour at the rally in Trafalgar Square, fresh back from his hearing in front of a US Senate committee. As I commented in 2005, “the senators were clearly outclassed and outgunned as Galloway gave them a verbal ‘Glasgow kiss.’ It was an impressively sustained performance of concentrated power, a pit-bull seeing off a pack of ineffectual spaniels.”

Free Palestine March & Rally

The crowd gave him “a tumultous ovation when he arrived at the Trafalgar Square rally” at the end of the march, and his speech there did not diappoint them. I commented “he has built up a great rapport with the many muslims now living in this country, not least in his own Bethnal Green constituency, the youths from Bradford were excited when he promised to come and visit their city.” Of course many things have happened since then, but it wasn’t surprising to see him elected for Bradford West at the 2012 by-election or more recently when he won the seat at Rochdale this February.

Free Palestine March & Rally

Galloway was not the only powerful speaker at the rally, with putting in his usual performance as “probably the best living political speaker at least using the english language” and Jeremy Corbyn, still a much underrated speaker, also showing what he could do. And there were others too, including Paul Mackney of the higher education teachers’ union, NATFHE.

Free Palestine March & Rally

The march from Embankment to Trafalgar Square had been reasonably large but not huge, though more had arrived for the rally. Waiting at the side of the march as it reached the square was human rights activist Peter Tatchell with a group from Outrage!

Free Palestine March & Rally

They supported the Palestinian struggle for freedom and justice, but demanded an end to the “so-called ‘honour’ killing of Palestinian women, and the arrest, jailing, torture and murder of lesbian and gay Palestinians by factions of the PLO, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Palestinian Authority.”

Free Palestine March & Rally

At first police stopped the group from getting to the march and handing out leaflets, but after a complaint by Tatchell they were allow to do so. Some march stewards tried to stop people taking the leaflets, but many did so and expressed their support.

You can read more about the event on the second May page on My London Diary under the heading George’s Triumph and the pictures begin at the right of this page.


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis
London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall.
Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


Holloway, Nabja, Vegans, Refugees & Topshop – 2016

Tuesday, May 14th, 2024

Holloway, Nabja, Vegans, Refugees & Topshop – I celebrated 14th May 2016 with a busy day of protests around London.


Reclaim Holloway

Holloway, Nabja, Vegans, Refugees & Topshop
Jeremy Corbyn

Islington Hands Off Our Public Services, Islington Kill the Housing Bill and the Reclaim Justice Network marched from rally on Holloway Road demanding that when Holloway prison is closed the site remains in public hands, and that the government replace the prison with council housing and the vital community services needed to prevent people being caught up in a damaging criminal justice system.

Holloway, Nabja, Vegans, Refugees & Topshop

The prison is in Jeremy Corbyn’s constituency and the then Labour leader turned up on his bike to speak before the march to give his support.

Holloway, Nabja, Vegans, Refugees & Topshop

There was a long rally outside the prison with speeches by local councillors, trade unionists and campaigning groups.

Holloway, Nabja, Vegans, Refugees & Topshop

Islington Council wanted to see the site used for social housing and in 2022 gave https://www.ahmm.co.uk/projects/masterplanning/holloway/ planning permission for a development by Peabody, who bought the site in 2019 with help from the GLA, and London Square for 985 new homes. 60% of these will be affordable, including 415 for social rent, together with a 1.4-acre public park, a Women’s Building, and new commercial spaces.

Reclaim Holloway


68th Anniversary Nabka Day – Oxford St

Holloway, Nabja, Vegans, Refugees & Topshop

A rolling protest outside shops which support the Israeli state made its way along Oxford St from Marks and Spencers, with speakers detailing the continuing oppression of the Palestinian people, and opposing attempts to criminalise and censor the anti-Zionist boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

It came on the day before Nabka Day, the anniversary of the ‘day of the catastrophe’ which commemorates when around 80% of Palestinians were forced to leave their homes between December 1947 and January 1949, and later prevented by Israeli law from returning to their homes, or claiming their property.

The protesters included both Palestinians and Jews opposed to the continuing oppression of the Palestinians by the Israeli government. They were met by a small group of people holding Israeli flags who stood in their way and shouted insults, accusing them of anti-Semitism.

The organisers were clear that the protest was not anti-Semitic but against Zionism and some actions of the Israeli government. Both police and protesters tried hard to avoid confrontation with those who had clearly come to disrupt and provoke.

Many UK businesses play an important part in supporting the Israeli government by selling Israeli goods and those produced in the occupied territories and in other ways, and their were brief speeches as the protest halted outside some of them detailing some of these links.

More on My London Diary at 68th Anniversary Nabka Day.

This Saturday, 18th May 2024, you can join the march in London, starting at the BBC on the 76th anniversary of the Nabka calling for an end to the current genocide in Gaza.


Vegan Earthlings Masked Video Protest – Trafalgar Square

Vegans in white masks from London Vegan Actions were standing in a large circle on the North Terrace of Trafalgar Square, some holding laptops or tables showing a film about the mistreatment of animals in food production, bullfighting, etc. Although bright sun made the laptop screens almost impossible to see and the sound outdoors was largely inaudible the large circle of people standing in white masks did attract attention.

More pictures Vegan Earthlings masked video protest.


Refugees Welcome say protesters – Trafalgar Square

Also protesting in front of the National Gallery were a small group holding posters calling for human rights, fair treatment and support for refugees. Some held a banner with the message ‘free movement for People Not Weapons‘.

More pictures Refugees Welcome say protesters.


Topshop protest after cleaners sacked – Oxford St

After Topshop suspended two cleaners who were members of the United Voices of the World trade union for protesting for a living wage and sacked one of them protests were taking place outside their stores around the country.

The UVW were supported by others at the London protest which began outside Topshop on Oxford Street by others including trade unionists from the CAIWU and Ian Hodson, General Secretary of the BWAFU as well as then Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Class War.

A large crowd of police and extra illegal security guards wearing no ID blocked the entrance to the shop stopping both protesters and customers from entering. The several hundred protesters held up placards and banners and protested noisily but made no serious attempt to go in to the store.

A man wears a mask of Topshop owner Phillip Green

Some protesters, led by the Class War ‘Womens Death Brigade’ moved onto the road, blocking it for some minutes before the whole group of protesters marched to block the Oxford Circus junction for some minutes until a large group of police arrived and fairly gently persuade them to move.

They stopped outside John Lewis, another major store in a long-running dispute with the union as it allowed its cleaning contractor to pay its cleaners low wages, with poor conditions of service and poor management, disclaiming any responsibility for workers who keep its stores running.

The protest there was again noisy and there were some heated verbal exchanges between protesters and police, but I saw no arrests. After a few minutes the protesters marched off to continue their protest outside another Oxford Street Topshop branch close to Marble Arch.

More at Topshop protest after cleaners sacked.


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis
London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall.
Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


Police, Public Sector & Peace Campaign – 2012

Friday, May 10th, 2024

Police, Public Sector & Peace Campaign – Thursday 10th May 2012 saw two rather different marches by workers taking place in London, with a large protest by police and a day of public sector strikes with trade unionists marching to a rally. I also visited the Parliament Square Peace Campaign.


Police March Against Cuts and Winsor

Police, Public Sector & Peace Campaign

An estimated 20,000 police from all 43 forces in England & Wales marched through central London in protest at 20% cuts in police budget and proposed restructuring following the Winsor review. Other groups including Occupy and Right To Protest and others joined in call for justice in the policing of protest.

Police, Public Sector & Peace Campaign

Police are not allowed to strike or belong to a proper trade union but can join the Police Federation, a staff association that can represent and support their interests. Although it cannot call for strike action it can organise demonstrations such as this one, attended by off-duty police and some family members.

Police, Public Sector & Peace Campaign

It was an impressively large march, but rather dull as it marched past the Home Office, the Houses of Parliament and Downing St, most wearing black caps. The Police Federation had provided 16,000 black caps to represent the number of warranted officers expected to be lost over the next four years due to the cut in the police budget of 20-30%.

Police, Public Sector & Peace Campaign

My pictures concentrate too much on the relatively few officers from some areas who had come with placards. Most simply marched and mainly in silence. A few carried carried small posters with the names of officers who had been unable to attend due to being at work – and there were some police who were policing the police protest, on rather better behaviour than at some other protests.

Some people also came to protest against the police, with the Space Hijackers setting up a ‘professional protest stall‘ at the side of the march offering advice on making placards and chanting. Most of the police marchers were amused by their chants such as ‘One Solution – Institution’ and some of the mock placards, although there were a few jeers.

Those Police policing the protest were less amused, and threatened the Space Hijackers with arrest unless they removed one of their placards with the well-known acronym ACAB. They also stood in front to try and hide them and other protesters including those with a ‘Defend the Right to Protest’ who were shouting slogans against police violence and over deaths in custody for which there is seldom if any justice.

Some from Occupy London had come with plastic police helmets to join in the march, saying they were not against the police but called for a force that worked for the 99% rather than the 1%, or as one long-winded placard put it, “A fully, Publicly funded, democratically accountable Police force who’s aims and objectives enshrine the right to peaceful Protest in some sort of People’s Charter!”

Others taking part on the march included Ian Puddick who got intimidated, attacked and prosecuted by City of London Terrorism Police and Counter Terrorism Directorate in an operation costing millions carried out on behalf of a giant US security corporation after he discovered his wife had been having an affair with one of her bosses. He marched with a sign ‘Police Corruption‘ and unfortunately there is still a great deal of that as well as racism in forces around the country.

More on My London Diary at Police March Against Cuts and Winsor.


Public Sector Pensions Strike and March

Unite, PCS and UCU were holding a one day strike against public sector cuts in pensions, jobs and services. Many had been up in the early hours picketing at their workplaces long before I arrived in London, but there were still pickets in place when I visited Tate Britain and walked past the House of Commons on my way to a rally outside St Thomas’ Hospital on the opposite bank of the Thames.

I arrived late for the rally there and people were just getting ready to march to a larger rally at Methodist Central Hall.

Workers are incensed by increases in their pension contributions and plans to increase them further. They are also worried by the increasing state retirement age which also applies to their pensions. Now in 2024 it is 66 and will increase to 67 between 2026 and 2028. A further rise to 68 is planned and the date for that is likely to be brought forward – as the rise to 67 was.

As they marched, people were chanting “Sixty-eight – is TOO Late“. Pensioners also feel they are being cheated by the government’s decision to index them to the CPI inflation rather than the higher RPI inflation figures, which will mean them receiving some 15-20% less. Over 94% of Unite’s NHS members voted to reject the government’s proposals and take strike action today along with members from the Ministry of Defence and government departments as well as others from the PCS and UCU.

I left the marchers as they went into the rally at Central Hall and returned to photograph the police march and visit the peace camp in Parliament Square.

More pictures at Public Sector Pensions Strike and March.


4000 Days in Parliament Square

I went to talk with Barbara Tucker who was continuing the Parliament Square Peace Campaign begun by Brian Haw on the 2nd June 2001. The protest, continued by her and other supporters was about to reach a total of 4000 days of 24 hour protest in the square, with others in the group maintaining the presence on those various occasions when Brian or Barbara was arrested and held overnight.

They had then continued for almost 11 years despite constant harassment years by police, who have been pressured by politicians – as well as passing two Acts of Parliament intended to end the protest.

As I wrote in 2012:

A few hours before I arrived, police had come and spent 90 minutes “searching” the few square meters of their display in the early morning, and three days later, at 2.30am on Sunday 13 May, police and Westminster Council came and took away the two blankets that Barbara Tucker, no longer allowed to have any “structure designed solely or mainly to sleep in” by law was using to survive in the open. This was apparently one of two visits over the weekend by police and council in which they illegally removed property from the site.

4000 Days in Parliament Square.

Despite an increase in harassment as a great attempt was made to clean up the capital for the Olympics, the peace protest continued in the square for another year, with Barbara Tucker starting a hunger strike in January 2013. Eventually she became too ill to continue and the protest came to an end in May 2013.


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis
London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall.
Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


Baltimore to Brixton – Black Lives Matter! 2015

Friday, May 3rd, 2024

Baltimore to Brixton – Black Lives Matter! The hashtag #BlackLivesMatter was first used on Twitter on 12th July 2013 but only became common in 2014 after the killings of Eric Garner, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice in 2014, reaching a peak when it was announced nobody wold be prosecuted over the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson. According to a list published by Twitter on the tenth anniversary of the platform in 2016 #BlackLivesMatter was the third most used hashtag in those ten years, beaten by #Ferguson at number one and #LoveWins, celebrating the US Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage.

Baltimore to Brixton - Black Lives Matter!

Of course the UK has its own cases of people, especially but not only black who have been killed by police and otherwise in custody and an annual march takes place in Whitehall on the last Saturday of October by the United Families and Friends Campaign to remembers them, with a list of over 2000 names being carried to a rally at Downing Street.

Baltimore to Brixton - Black Lives Matter!

The United Families and Friends Campaign (UFFC) describes itself as “a coalition of families and friends of those that have died in the custody of police and prison officers as well as those who are killed in immigration detention and secure psychiatric hospitals. It includes the families of Roger Sylvester, Leon Patterson, Rocky Bennett, Alton Manning, Christopher Alder, Brian Douglas, Joy Gardner, Aseta Simms, Ricky Bishop, Paul Jemmott, Harry Stanley, Glenn Howard, Mikey Powell, Jason McPherson, Lloyd Butler, Azelle Rodney, Sean Rigg, Habib Ullah, Olaseni Lewis, David Emmanuel (aka Smiley Culture), Kingsley Burrell, Demetre Fraser, Mark Duggan and Anthony Grainger to name but a few. Together we have built a network for collective action to end deaths in custody.”

Baltimore to Brixton - Black Lives Matter!

And we have a long history of racist prosecutions, most notably perhaps the trial of the Mangrove Nine in 1970. The defendants, most of whom defended themselves, were finally all acquitted on the main charge of incitement to riot with four receiving suspended sentences for less serious offences. But the judge made clear in his comments that the authorities and in particular the Metropolitan Police had been racist in their actions and in bringing the prosecution.

Baltimore to Brixton - Black Lives Matter!

Since then there have been other high profile cases which have demonstrated the institutional racism of the police force – notably over their investigation of the murder of Stephen Lawrence and the police murder of Jean Charles de Menezes. In 2023 the report by Baroness Casey was only the latest to castigate them as racist, sexist and homophobic.

Activists in the UK have also responded to the police murders in USA, and on Sunday 3rd May 2015 following the killing of Freddie Gray in Baltimore and police attacks on his funeral which led to massive protest in the USA, they protested in Brixton in solidarity and pointed out similar problems in Brixton and the UK.

It wasn’t a huge protest but was supported by a wide range of groups from Brixton and across London, including London Black Revs, Class War, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement, Reclaim Brixton, Women of Colour and the All-African Women’s Group from the Global Women’s Strike, Brixton Latin American Community, Mexica Movement London Chapter, Our Brixton, Latin Brixton, Justice for Christopher Alder, BirminghamStrong, Justice 4 ALL, The Brick Lane Debates, Occupy UAL, RCG, Revolutionary Communist Group, Occupy London, Rojava Solidarity Working Group, Algeria Solidarity Campaign, Environmental Justice North Africa and Justice4Paps.

On My London Diary I give some brief facts about the killing of 25-year-old African American Freddie Gray and the attack on his funeral by police which provoked riots. You can read a much more detailed account on Wikipedia.

The march began by going through the large barrier bloc of Southwyck House, built in the 1970s as a shield for the urban motorway, plans for which were dropped after the devastation it would cause became obvious after the Westway section was built in North Kensington, stopping for a brief protest there before it continued to a housing occupation against Guinness Trust opposite the Loughborough Park Estate. It then through the centre of Brixton to a rally in Windrush Square.

People then marched along Brixton Road past the Underground Station to Brixton Police Station and on to the Loughborough Estate to a community centre on Somerleyton Road.

I’d walked far enough and left the march there, walking back along Atlantic Road where I photographed some of the murals against the eviction of local shopkeepers from the railway arches before taking the tube to Westminster to go to visit the Occupy ‘Festival of Democracy‘ in Parliament Square, then in Day 3.

More pictures at Baltimore to Brixton – Black Lives Matter!


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis
London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall.
Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


Brighton MayDay Protest & Party – 2011

Tuesday, April 30th, 2024

Brighton MayDay Protest & Party – On Saturday 30 April 2011 I had a day out in Brighton, not with my bucket and spade on the beach but photographing an early May Day Protest against the cuts, bankers, tax dodgers and those damaging the environment and the local community.

Brighton MayDay Protest & Party

It was a protest organised deliberately without consultation with the police, essentially a succession of static protests at a number of locations around the city in random order, selected by the throwing of a large dice.

Brighton MayDay Protest & Party

Even the meeting point for the day was a closely kept secret and only revealed as I arrived in Brighton half an hour before the event was due to start, posted on Twitter, Facebook and a mobile number.

Brighton MayDay Protest & Party

I arrived to join around a dozen other photographers and a couple of plain clothes police watching around the same number of protesters, but had passed several police vans and a couple of officers on police horses just a short distance away.

Brighton MayDay Protest & Party

The protesters handed out a map of Brighton marked with 27 possible targets including arms manufacturers EDO MBM/ITT some way out in Moulscomb and Thales, several branches of Barclays, the UK’s largest investor in the arms trade, an armed forces recruitment centre and Marks & Spencer’s who support Israel by buying goods from illegal Israeli settlements. Other shops on the list included notable tax dodgers Vodaphone, Boots and the various Arcadia group brands – Topshop, BHS, Burton, Dorothy Perkins. Accused of damaging the environment were RBS who invest hugely in the area, Shell, particularly for their Rossport pipeline in Ireland, BP for their exploitation of tar sands, E.ON for coal fired power stations and Veolia. Other targets named included Brighton Town Hall, Tescos, Sainsburys and Starbucks, Fox & Sons involved in illegal evictions, Beyond Retro who sell fur and also two properties owned by the notorious Nicholas Van Hoogstraten.

At 12.30, by which time rather more protesters had arrived, a giant dice was thrown and came down on 4 which meant we were heading to Brighton Town Hall and the protesters set off, accompanied by the police and the two horses.

But although the protesters were clearly in carnival mode, the police were not and soon were stopping and harassing them.

They grabbed a few protesters apparently more or less at random and there were some minor scuffles as police kettled the protest in Duke Street for around 40 minutes.

The protesters danced while some tried to negotiate with the police and finally they were allowed to move off to hold a rally outside two banks with speeches about the cuts and handouts to bankers.

The protesters then tried to walk into the Pavillion Gardens, a few managing to do so before police decided to block the gates. There were a few more incidents and a couple of arrests, but after around 20 minutes the officer in charge decided there was really no reason why they should not walk through the gardens – and they did, to the cheers of those sitting on the grass and enjoying a picnic.

Police continued to chase the protesters around Brighton for the next couple of hours, though they seemed to be going around in circles and making occasional sudden changes in direction to leave the police – some of whom were noticeably less fit than the protesters or even the photographers – behind.

Police made at least one more arrest and the protesters eventually returned to the promenade where some sat down on the road. For the first time there was a clear message from the police that they would be kettled unless they got up, and they did, running up the hill again (with another arrest for no clear reason) before returning to party on the beach.

I rather doubt if any of those – at least 8 – arrested on the day ended up being charged, let alone convicted. The police were clearly totally confused by the event, and their response, particularly the use of police horses in some very restricted areas, put both protesters and public at risk. But I think also that the protesters rather failed to convey clearly to the people of Brighton their concerns. Perhaps and more organised series of rallies outside a more selected group of targets would have been more effective.

More detail about the protest and many more pictures on My London Diary at Brighton MayDay Protest.


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis
London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall.
Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


Southall Rally For Unity Against Racism – 2019

Saturday, April 27th, 2024

Southall Rally For Unity Against Racism – On Saturday 27th April 2019 I joined with several thousand others to march through Southall, a town ten miles west of Central London callling for unity against racism. The date marked 40 years after the racist murder of New Zealand born East London teacher Blair Peach on St George’s Day, April 23rd 1979, 40 years before.

Southall Rally For Unity Against Racism

Peach had come to Southall with many others to protest against a National Front rally being held at Southall Town Hall, the venue chosen deliberately to inflame racial tensions in the area which had become the centre of a large Punjabi community, attracted by work in local factories and nearby Heathrow airport. Well over half of Southall’s roughly 70,000 inhabitants were of Asian origin and two thirds of the children were non-white.

Southall Rally For Unity Against Racism

I’d grown up in the local area though we didn’t go to Southall much as the bus route there was probably the least reliable in London, though I occasionally cycled there to watch the steam trains thundering through on the Great Western main line. My older sister taught at a school in the area and we had seen the population change over the years; our Irish neighbours were replaced by Indians and we got on well with both. The new immigrants to the area were hard working, revitalised many local businesses and generally improved the area, making it a more interesting and exciting place to live.

Southall Rally For Unity Against Racism

I wasn’t there in 1979 when Blair Peach was murdered, but the accounts published of the event were horrific, with several thousand police apparently running amok trying to disperse the protesters who fought back. Members of the specialist Special Patrol Group were reported by eye-witnesses as hitting everybody down Beachcroft Avenue where Peach and his companions had gone thinking wrongly it would enable them to leave the area. Wikipedia has a long article, The Death of Blair Peach.

Southall Rally For Unity Against Racism

Peach was badly injured by a severe blow to the head, almost certainly by an officer using wielding “not a police truncheon, but a “rubber ‘cosh’ or hosepipe filled with lead shot, or some like weapon“, and died a few hours later in hospital. Police in the squad which killed him made great attempts to avoid detection, one shaving off his moustache and another refusing to take part in identity parades; some uniforms were dry-cleaned before being offered for inspection and others withheld, and various attempts were made by police to obstruct justice and prevent the subsequent inquest establishing the truth.

Peach’s was not the only racist murder in Southall. Three years earlier Gurdip Singh Chaggar, an 18-year old Sikh student had been murdered by racist skinheads in June 1976 shortly after he left the Dominion Cinema, and the marchers gathered in a parking area close to there. His family had requested that the event begin with a karate display there, after which the march set off, halting for a minute’s silence on the street outside the cinema where Chaggar was murdered.

From there we marched to the Ramgarhia Sabha Gurdwara in Oswald Road which Chaggar and his family attended and prayers were said outside before the march moved on.

As we walked along the Broadway, red and white roses were handed out to the marchers, and the march turned off down Beechcroft Road to the corner of Orchard Ave, where they were laid at the spot where Blair Peach was murdered by an officer of the police Special Patrol Group.

The march moved on to Southall Town Hall on the corner of High Street and Lady Margaret Road. Blue plaques were put up here in 2019 honouring the deaths of Blair Peach and Gurdip Singh Chaggar, with a third in tribute to Southall’s prominent reggae band, Misty ‘n Roots. These plaques were stolen in June 2020, but were replaced the following year.

Speakers at the rally there included a number of people who had been there when the police rioted 40 years ago, as well as John McDonnell MP, Pragna Patel who was inspired by the event to form Southall Black Sisters, trade unionists, Anti Nazi league founder Paul Holborow, and local councillor Jaskiran Chohan. Notable by his absence was the local Labour MP.

You can seem many more pictures from the march and of the rally on My London Diary at Southall rally for unity against racism.


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis
London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall.
Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


DPAC – Stop & Scrap Universal Credit – 2018

Thursday, April 18th, 2024

DPAC – Stop & Scrap Universal Credit: A couple of days ago the media were carrying news of a report by the Resolution Foundation on the working of the Universal Credit benefit first introduced in 2013. This found that seven in 10 (71%) families on UC were worse off in real terms now than they would have been under the previous benefits, and that out of work people with disabilities were those likely to have lost most.

DPAC - Stop & Scrap Universal Credit

Six years ago, DPAC were already pointing this out and on Wednesday 18th April 2018 campaigners from DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts), MHRN (Mental Health Resistance Network), Black Triangle, Winvisible and others began a nationwide day of action against Universal Credit in London with a rally in Old Palace Yard and a protest inside Parliament.

DPAC - Stop & Scrap Universal Credit

Security meant I was unable to cover their protest inside the Houses of Parliament but I met those who had been protesting inside when they came out to join those protesting outside and held a rally in Old Palace Yard.

DPAC - Stop & Scrap Universal Credit

As that rally ended the campaigners marched into Parliament Square where they blocked the roadway for around half an hour before ending their protest.

DPAC - Stop & Scrap Universal Credit

DPAC and others say that Universal Credit has so many flaws it must be scrapped, calling it “an economic and political disaster bringing further distress and impoverishment to those forced to endure it“.

Back in 2018 they pointed out it has been particularly disastrous for disabled people. The removal of Severe and Enhanced Disability Premiums means single disabled people lose around £2,000 per year and a disabled couple over £4,000.

There have been some changes in Universal Credit since 2018, but these have mainly been administrative and have not affected the basic unfairness towards the disabled. The Resolution Foundation report suggests that a single person with a long-term disability which prevents them from working would now be £2,800 per year worse off than under the old benefits system.

Their report suggests overall cost of Universal Credit in 2028 will be about £86bn a year, while under the previous system it would have been £100bn, a saving of £14bn, which is being made to the cost of those disabled and others out of work – the poorest groups in our society. In contrast those working and also claiming UC will be a little better off than under to previous benefits system.

As always police found dealing with disabled protesters difficult. It doesn’t look good to be harassing them in the way they would normally act to protesters, and they have a great problem in making arrests of people in wheel chairs or on mobility vehicles. Apparently the Met have only one vehicle which can safely carry either – and only in limited numbers, perahps one at a time.

More about the protet and more pictures on My London Diary at Stop & Scrap Universal Credit say DPAC.


As well as this protest there was also a large protest in Parliament Square by Kashmiris and Indians from many sections of the community including Tamils, Sikhs, Ravidass, Dalits, Muslims and others against the visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and smaller groups supporting him and his ultra-right Hindu supremacist policies.
Indians protest President Modi’s visit
Hindus support Modi
Save Girl, Educate Girl

And in late afternoon I went to join Environmental group Biofuelwatch holding their ‘Time to Twig’ Masked Ball Forest Flashmob outside the Marylebone hotel where the largest international biomass conference was taking place.
‘Time to Twig’ Masked Ball


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis
London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall.
Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


UVW Protest Topshop & John Lewis – 2016

Tuesday, April 16th, 2024

UVW Protest Topshop & John Lewis – Saturday 16th April 2016 was a busy day for me in London with a large march and rally by the Peoples Assembly Against Austerity demanding an end to privatisation of the NHS, secure homes for all, rent control and an end to attacks on social housing, an end to insecure jobs and the scrapping of the Trade Union Bill, tuition fees and the marketisation of education and smaller protests against repression in Iran and Palestine, all of which you can read about on My London Diary.

March for Homes, Health, Jobs, Education
Homes, Health, Jobs, Education Rally
Dancing for Homes, Health, Jobs, Education
Ahwazi protest against Iranian repression
Palestine Prisoners Parade

UVW Protest Topshop & John Lewis

After all that I went with the grass roots trade union United Voices of the World on their protest against Topshop, demanding the reinstatement of 2 workers there suspended by cleaning contractor Britannia for calling for the London Living Wage of £9.40 for Topshop cleaners. All of the pictures in this post come from the UVW protests at first outside Topshop on the Strand, and then at the Topshop at Oxford Circus.

UVW Protest Topshop & John Lewis

On Strand the shop was protected by security but soon a large group of police arrived and tried to move the protesters away from the store. The protesters refused to move and police began pushing them around roughly, but soon stopped, perhaps because they were being photographed and filmed by a large group of press who like me had been at the Peoples Assembly rally.

UVW Protest Topshop & John Lewis

Police pulled one protester to the side and started to ask questions and a large crowd formed around him; the man refused to answer police questions and eventually the officer concerned gave up.

UVW Protest Topshop & John Lewis

There was a short rally on the pavement outside and Susanna, one of the two cleaners victimised by Britannia and Topshop spoke briefly but soon broke down in tears. After a couple of minutes she started again and was loudly applauded.

The protesters then marched off and I met them again on Oxford Street outside the flagship Topshop store close to Oxford Circus.

A squad of police rushed to stand in line to guard the main door on Oxford Street and pushed the protesters away. After a short while the UVW protesters marched around the block to other entrances, where police moved inside the store to meet them.

The UVW moved back to Oxford Street to continue the protest outside the main entrance, again blocked by police. Class War who were supporting the UVW moved their banner up to the police line and there was a standoff as the two groups eyed each other from a couple of feet away.

Class War then produced some yellow ‘Crime Scene’ tape and stretched it across in front of the police line, which left some officers looking rather perplexed.

The protesters then marched off towards John Lewis, where the UVW has long been The protesters then marched off towards John Lewis, where the UVW has long been holding protests calling for the cleaners to be treated equally with other workers in the store.

They walked towards the doors, but police pushed them back forcefully knocking one woman flying. Others rushed to help her, and UVW General Secretary Petros Elia protested angrily at the officer who had pushed her.

Eventually a senior officer came to see what had happened and listened to the complaint. To my surprise he then asked the officer to apologise for using excessive force – something I’ve never known to happen at a protest before.

There were a few speeches to explain to the shoppers walking by why the protest was taking place. Clearly many who listened felt that the cleaners were being shabbily treated by companies like Topshop and John Lewis who use outsourcing to get work done on the cheap with conditions that are greatly inferior to their directly employed workers.

The UVW left to return to continue their protest at Topshop, but I left them at Oxford Circus to take the tube – I was already late for dinner.

More on My London Diary:
UVW Topshop & John Lewis Protest
UVW Topshop 2 protest – Strand


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis
London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall.
Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


Sudan and Brunei Gay Sex – 2019

Saturday, April 6th, 2024

Sudan and Brunei Gay Sex: I began work on Saturday 6th April 2019 at the Sudanese Embassy and then left for the Dorchester Hotel in Mayfair where protesters had come after the Sultan of Brunei had announced death by stoning as a punishment for gay sex, adultery and blasphemy.


Sudanese for Freedom, Peace and Justice – Sudan Embassy

Sudan and Brunei Gay Sex

War is raging again now in Sudan between between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

Sudan and Brunei Gay Sex

Back in 2019 people were protesting against the extreme violence in Sudan against peaceful protests calling for for an end to the violent and corrupt Sudanese regime and for president Omar al-Bashir to ‘Just Fall’ and stand trial by the ICC for genocide in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains and South Blue Nile.

Sudan and Brunei Gay Sex

People in Sudan had been protesting for 17 weeks and over 70 protesters had been killed and thousands injured.

Sudan and Brunei Gay Sex

Five days later, Omar al-Bashir was deposed by the Sudanese Armed Forces and in May 2019 was charged al-Bashir with “inciting and participating in” the killing of protesters. Later other charges were brought, including of corruption and money laundering. Other trials followed and he has been accused of genocide. The prison in which he was being held has been overrun by the current fighting between forces led by the generals who deposed him and he is currently held in a military hospital in Khartoum.

I left the protesters still in and around the protest pen outside the embassy opposite St James Palace in Cleveland Row and rushed the three quarters of a mile or so to the Dorchester Hotel in Park Lane, where I knew the protest had already begun.

More pictures at Sudanese for Freedom, Peace and Justice.


Brunei Sultan gay sex stoning protest – Dorchester Hotel

A large crowd had gathered on the streets in front of the Dorchester Hotel behind barriers that kept them out of the area directly in front of the entrance.

There were a number of speeches including those by Labour Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Emily Thornberry MP and activist Peter Tatchell condemining the announcement by the Sultan of Brunei of death by stoning as a punishment for gay sex, adultery and blasphemy.

It was a colourful protest with many from the gay community with some interesting posters and placards. Police continually harassed protesters to keep the roads open, although there were really too many people to make this sensible.

After an hour or so, Class War decided to move from behind the barriers and pushed some aside to protest directly in front of the hotel doors. They were followed by many of the other protesters and a noisy protest continued there.

Many more pictures at Brunei Sultan gay sex stoning protest.


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis
London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall.
Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.