Posts Tagged ‘PSC’

Magna Carta, Cleaners & Detention – 2015

Saturday, June 15th, 2024

Magna Carta, Cleaners & Detention: 15th June is Magna Carta day and Monday 15th June 2015 marked 800 years since King John was forced by the barons to sign the great charter at Runnymede. Most years the date is mainly marked by a local fair on the closest Saturday in Egham High Street the nearest town to Runnymede, but in 2015 there were various more national celebrations.

Unless you were a king, archhishop or baron in 1215, Magna Carta was of little relevance to you. Contrary to popular opinion it gave no rights or protection to the common people and, as Wikipedia tells us had little immediate effect in any case, as “Neither side stood by their commitments, and the charter was annulled by Pope Innocent III, leading to the First Barons’ War.”

Magna Carta, Cleaners & Detention

Back in June 2012 I had sat around in a circle with the Diggers, then camped at Runnymede, on the grass next to the US Bar Association’s Magna Carta Memorial, where we had listened to a history lecturer from nearby Royal Holloway University about the charter and the lesser-known but more relevant to the common man ‘Charter of the Forest’ which came shortly after. It was at this meeting that plans were made to celebrate the event in 2015 with a people’s free festival in the woods on the hillside above Runnymede.

Magna Carta, Cleaners & Detention

Unfortunately the establishment thought otherwise and in a clear case of ignoring the rights supposedly granted to us in Magna Carta, police swooped on the eco-village where the festival was being prepared three days before, suppressing the event in an unfair, arbitrary and almost certainly illegal manner.

So while I might otherwise have been enjoying myself at the free festival, instead I travelled up to London to photograph several events there mainly connected with Magna Carta Day.

Truth & Justice Magna Carta Day Protest

Magna Carta, Cleaners & Detention

I began outside the Royal Courts of Justice where the Campaign for Truth & Justice was accusing the judiciary of unlawful convictions, false imprisonment, denial of access to court & perverting the course of justice over child abuse, forced adoption and paedophilia.

Magna Carta, Cleaners & Detention

Above their heads was a banner with its message superimposed on a St George’s flag citing Magna Carta. Some of those taking part had been victims of child abuse, while others claimed to have been treated badly in the family courts where gagging orders had been used to prevent them from talking about their cases or seeking any redress. And we have certainly seen many cases of miscarriages of justice – including the convictions of the Guildford Four (1974), The Birmingham Six (1975), The Maguire Seven (1976) and Judith Ward (1974) as well as many others which have received less publicity.

But as the trial and conviction of Carl Beech for perverting the course of justice and fraud in 2019 made clear, many of the allegations over paedophilia against public figures have been unfounded.

Voice for Justice UK Magna Carta Protest

From there I went to Old Palace Yard opposite Parliament, where the right-wing Christians For Justice UK were holding a Magna Carta Day rally against the increasing human rights legislation which right-wing Christians feel maginalises and prevent them expressing their faith.

I reported that I listened to “ two speeches which appalled me, and appeared to have no connection with my idea of freedom, reminding of various short-lived ultra-right political groups such as the Freedom Party, formed in 2000 by ex-BNP members” and concluded “that this was a rally that was protesting the freedom to be a bigot rather than any real idea of religious or other freedom.”

Cleaners International Justice Day

But the day was not simply about Magna Carta. The protest by the PSC trade union outside HM Revenue and Customs in Whitehall was one of protests in over 50 countries on the 25th International Justice Day for Cleaners and Security Guards.

This remembers the day in 1990 when Los Angeles janitors were brutally beaten up by the police during a peaceful demonstration against their contractor trying to get union recognition and better rights. Since 1990 this day has become international, spreading to over 50 countries and with protests -some very small like this – now taking place in over 70 cities around the world.

Close Yarls Wood, End Detention!

This was also the International week against detention centres, calling for the closure of all immigration detention centres with protests taking place in eleven cities in the UK, USA, Belgium, Greece and Spain.

The London protest was led by the All African Women’s Group who held a rally in Parliament Square before marching to Downing Street with a report on rape and sexual abuse in Yarl’s Wood.

Among the speakers was whistleblower Noel Finn, a former mental health nurse at Yarl’s Wood who revealed publicly details of the abuse of women there after his complaints through the proper channels at the detention prison were not acted on. A number of members of the All African Women’s Group spoke about their own experiences when held in the detention prison. Others who came to speak in support included MPs Dianne Abbott, Kate Osamor, Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell as well as Antonia Bright from Movement for Justice, Peter Tatchell and Selma James.

The protest demonstrated in several respects the increasing limitations on our freedom to protest. Protests are now prohibited on the main grass area of the square and they had to hold the rally on the narrow pavement area, inevitably spilling over onto the roadway because of the large number of people present.

After the rally had been taking place for around 20 minutes a police officer came to try and stop them using a public address system, now illegal in the square without authorisation from the Greater London Authority or Westminster Council. They argued and refused to stop, and with several MPs waiting to speak the officer finally left.

And when the protesters tried to had in a letter at Downing Street it was initially refused. Apparently you now need to give a week’s notice to hand in a letter. After some discussion a police officer agreed to take the report and ensure it was delivered to No 10. I don’t know whether it did eventually get there.

Close Yarls Wood, End Detention!
Cleaners International Justice Day
Voice for Justice UK Magna Carta Protest
Truth & Justice Magna Carta Day Protest


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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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Extremists and Mob Rule

Thursday, March 14th, 2024

Extremists and Mob Rule: Last Saturday I walked along with around 450,000 others from Hyde Park to the US Embassy in Nine Elms calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and an end to Israeli genocide. The IDF has now killed over 30,000 people, mainly women and children and many more are threatened with starvation and disease as Israel continues only allow a trickle of the food and medicines needed into Gaza.

Extremists and Mob Rule

Humanitarian agencies including UNRWA are ready to distribute aid, but far too little is coming across the borders and the Israeli army are disrupting their activities, while Israeli spokesmen continue to produce lies which even the BBC now feels it has to challenge. The pictures here all come from this march.

Extremists and Mob Rule

Of course it wasn’t a mob, but a peaceful protest. It wasn’t Islamists taking over the streets of London, though there may well have been a few taking part among the more than 99% of us who were protesting because of the terrible scenes we have seen on even the limited reporting which has been allowed to come from Gaza – where Israel still prevents the international press from reporting. And because many of us believe that we should have a peaceful solution which gives freedom to both Palestine and Israel.

Extremists and Mob Rule

It wasn’t one of of my better days. I was feeling a little weak and walked twice as far as I should have done. The march may only have been around two and a half miles, but photographing it I walked at least twice that, going back and forth. And after collapsing for a short rest beside the Thames opposite the US Embassy I walked back to the middle of Vauxhall Bridge. From there I could see almost the length of Vauxhall Bridge Road, around three quarters of a mile still packed with marchers and no end in sight. But I was tired and turned back and took the train home from Vauxhall station.

Extremists and Mob Rule

Later today the UK Government is expected to announce its new definition of extremism, which is expected to be something along the lines of:

promotion or advancement of ideology based on hatred, intolerance or violence or undermining or overturning the rights or freedoms of others, or of undermining democracy itself

The point behind this re-definition is to enable the government to list organisations which it considers extremist and to ban these from meetings with ministers and elected officials or receiving public money and ban individuals who belong to them from serving on government boards.

It is clear that it will be used by the current government to list a wide range of organisations that are seen as left-wing in an attempt to embarrass the Labour Party, including those that support the Palestinian opposition to Israeli occupation, and with Sunak’s crazed accusations of “mob rule” could be applied to any organisation that supports large protests on any issue, but particularly calling for freedom for Palestine. And I expect to see Stop The War and CND on that list along with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Friends of Al-Aqsa, Muslim Association of Britain and the Palestinian Forum in Britain.

Peter Tatchell

Reports suggest that the largest Muslim group in the UK, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), as well as Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND) and Palestine Action will be on the list and any other groups opposed to the UK’s Prevent programme. Government departments have boycotted the MCB since 2009.

Listing will not ban these groups, though it might deny funding to some organisations which many might feel important in maintaining effective democracy. And if this wretched government remains in power much longer we will certainly see further powers given to the police particularly over the policing of protests, probably giving them much greater control over the activities of listed groups.

It will almost certainly be used to stigmatise groups which campaign against the monarchy, and perhaps also those calling for changes to our parliamentary system such as the abolition or reform of the House of Lords or proportional voting systems. And groups such as Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil will surely be there.

Michael Gove has apparently rejected suggestions that trans rights activists will be among those listed, but suspicions remain that these and some gay rights groups might also be targeted.

Perhaps too, human rights organisations that launch legal cases against government legislation might feature, and when we have had government ministers in recent years labelling the Supreme Court as anti-democratic it is hard to see where this definition might end.

Like many recent statements from the government, this one from Gove seems dangerous and divisive. It might even itself be seen as “undermining democracy itself.

You can read more about the protest march last Saturday, 9th March 2024 and see another seventy or so of my pictures at End Gaza Genocide Massive March To US Embassy


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Gaza March in London 3rd Feb 2024

Friday, February 9th, 2024

Gaza March in London – Another huge march through central London called for an immediate ceasefire and for an end to the Israeli genocide against Palestinians.

Gaza March in London
London, UK. 3 Feb 2024

I didn’t hear any news reports of the march, and over the past few days other events have largely pushed reporting over the continuing genocide to the edges of coverage.

Gaza March in London
London, UK. 3 Feb 2024.

If anything the deliberate targeting of civilians in Gaza appears to have increased since the ICJ ruling calling on Israel to do all it can to prevent genocide in the area.

Gaza March in London
London, UK. 3 Feb 2024.

Israel is still keeping international journalists out of Gaza and feeding the world’s press with misleading information. The BBC have some good reporters but they cannot work in Gaza. They have had interviews with some families and doctors in Gaza – some now killed. Papers such as The Guardian also carry reports from people in Gaza – such as Mondays Gaza diary part 44: ‘The angel of death is roaming the skies, nonstop’. But to get real information about what is actually happening on the ground you need to also go to alternative news sources.

Gaza March in London
London, UK. 3 Feb 2024.

One of those is Double Down News, who say “Far too many Journalists sit comfortably trapped in their own bubble of privilege and power, talking to each other and the so-called political class, rather than serving the people they’re meant to inform.” They aim to “prioritise people, ideas, evidence and community above all.” DDN carries no advertising but is supported by over fourteen thousand of subscribers who give what they can afford rather than being owned by governments or billionaires. And you can be one and become a part of the community equally with the others.

London, UK. 3 Feb 2024.

One of their latest videos is ‘Israel’s AI Killing Machine‘ by Palestinian-American lawyer and activist Lara Elborno which exposes by how Israel is using modern technology to target civilians across Gaza. Like other videos on the platform it provides a chilling insight missing in the mass media.

London, UK. 3 Feb 2024.

Before writing this a few days ago I read Al Jazeera’s Israel War on Gaza coverage, with its list of key events on day 123 published on Tuesday 6th February. Under the Humanitarian crisis in Gaza it begins its report with “At least 27,478 people have been killed and 66,835 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7.

London, UK. 3 Feb 2024.

It goes on to give other significant news on the humanitarian crisis, before news on Regional tensions and diplomacy and on what is happening in the Occupied West Bank. Al Jazeera was the first independent news channel in the Arab world and is funded by the Qatari state.

London, UK. 3 Feb 2024.

All pictures here are from the march in London on Saturday 3rd February 2024 which was I think uneventful. It was certainly large and several streets around the BBC were densely crowded before the start. I photographed the start and then slowly went down Regent Street with the marchers, stopping a number of times to photograph them as they walked past me.

London, UK. 3 Feb 2024. ‘Sunak’ and dead babies.

At Piccadilly Circus I decide to wait until the end of the march arrived there, and it was a long wait. It was almost two hours after the start of the march before the end arrived, and most of that time the streets were crowded across both carriageways with slowly moving people.

London, UK. 3 Feb 2024. London Mothers and Children Say Stop Killing Babies.

It was too late to be worth trying to get to the rally on Whitehall and so I began my journey home. I uploaded 35 images to Alamy but later put these and around 35 more into an online album Ceasefire Now – Stop The Genocide In Gaza.


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More Support to Gaza – 27th January 2024

Saturday, February 3rd, 2024

More Support to Gaza: Local actions took place across the country last weekend calling for an end to the genocide in Gaza and for an immediate ceasefire and freedom and a just peace in Palestine.

More Support to Gaza - 27th January 2024
Barclay’s Peckham branch

Most of the protests last Saturday were directed against local branches of Barclays Bank, demanding they stop bankrolling Israel’s attacks on Palestinians and calling customers to boycott the bank. Barclays has investments in weapons companies BAE Systems, Boeing, Elbit Systems, Raytheon all producing weapons and systems used in Gaza and Caterpiller whose bulldozers are used to demolish Palestinian homes, schools and civilian infrastructure.

More Support to Gaza - 27th January 2024
Barclay’s Peckham branch

The protests came the day after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague, the UN’s top court, had ruled that there was a plausible case against Israel under the 1948 Genocide Convention, and that the Palestinian population in Gaza was at real risk of irreparable damage.

More Support to Gaza - 27th January 2024
Barclay’s Peckham branch

The ICJ stopped short of ordering an Israeli ceasefire and instead directed Israel to take every measure possible to avoid genocide while also ensuring humanitarian aid. The six provisional measures the court voted on to protect Palestinians from “irreparable” damage were all passed by overwhelming votes by the 17 judges, with even an Israeli judge supporting two of them, while a Ugandan judge voted against them all (although the Ugandan government issued a statement backing the ICJ).

More Support to Gaza - 27th January 2024
Barclay’s Whitechapel branch

Media reports here in the UK have generally been rather lacking in detail and have underplayed the ICJ judgement. You can read it on the ICJ web site in full or as their lengthy unofficial summary. The court demanded that Israel must:

  • take all measures in its power to prevent all acts against Palestinians in Gaza violating the Genocide Convention;
  • ensure its military does not commit any acts of genocide;
  • punish all incitements to commit genocide;
  • take immediate and effective steps to provide basic services and humanitarian assistance in Gaza;
  • take effective measures to preserve evidence related to allegations of genocide;
  • report to the ICJ within one month on actions it has taken over these orders.

The ICJ has no powers to enforce its decisions and statements from Israeli government and military have been defiant, while the UK and USA governments seem determined to continue their support for genocide and to continue giving support to Israel, including supplying weapons

Edmonton Green march to a rally at Silver St

The ICJ decision came after South Africa brought the case, but protesters around the world have been clear that this is genocide. And in December the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention, continuing the work of Raphael Lemkin, the Polish lawyer of Jewish descent who coined the term genocide and campaigned to establish the Genocide Convention, issued a statement explaining “the reasons why we believe the Israel-Palestine situation constitutes an instance of genocide.”

Edmonton Green march to a rally at Silver St

The killing in Gaza continues, with over 26,000 Palestinians now known to be killed including over 10,000 children. More than 8,000 are missing, probably most of them buried under the rubble, and over 65,000 are severely injured.

Edmonton Green march to a rally at Silver St

A BBC report states that more than half of all buildings in Gaza have been destroyed or damaged by the Israeli assault. There are also said to be almost 20,000 children in Gaza who have been orphaned or separated from their families. Other reports suggest that around three-quarters of Hamas fighters are men who became orphans, and so the current attacks are likely to be a powerful recruiting ground for future militants against Israel.

Edmonton Green march to a rally at Silver St

The whole Israeli policy over the years has been counter-productive. Peace in the region requires a thriving Palestine, not an area subjected to military occupation, under an apartheid system and subjected to destructive attacks – and certainly will not be achieved by genocide.

Edmonton Green march to a rally at Silver St

It’s very hard to see how any positive outcome can emerge now for Israel and Palestine, but perhaps the ICJ ruling is a small glimmer of hope – as years ago was Oslo. But hope then was soon defeated by Israel’s determination not to accept peace.

Edmonton Green march to a rally at Silver St

Last Saturday made my way around London on National Rail, Overground, Underground and Elizabeth Line to visit several pickets outside Barclays branches and then to Edmonton Green.

Edmonton Green march to a rally at Silver St

I arrived at Edmonton Green just in time for the march organised by the Enfield branch of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to a rally at Silver Street. They demanded Israel ends its genocidal attack on Gaza, calling for an immediate ceasefire and an urgent programme of humanitarian aid to end famine and provide shelter, medicine and water. They praised South Africa for taking Israel to court for genocide and called for a just peace with freedom for Palestine.

At the start of the rally at Silver St

The pictures here come from protests outside Barclays branches on Rye Lane, Peckham and Whitechapel High Street and from the Edmonton march. You can see more pictures online at Barclays Told Stop Banking On Genocide and Enfield for Gaza Ceasefire, End to Occupation.


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No To Arms Fair At Twickenham

Saturday, January 27th, 2024

No To Arms Fair At Twickenham: This Monday, 22nd January 2024, Richmond & Kingston Palestine Solidarity Campaign organised their third annual protest at Twickenham Rugby Stadium which was hosting the International Armoured Vehicles Fair for the third year in a row from 22-25th January. The arms fair claims to be the largest of its type in the world, attracting around a thousand delegates from over 40 nations,

I came to the bus stop outside Twickenham Station to find several people clearly on their way to the stadium, and found more on the bus when it arrived – the bus more or less emptied when we arrived at the stop in front of the stadium. We walked across the road and joined a hundred or so who had already come to protest.

I had to leave after around an hour for a meeting, and people were still arriving to the protest which had another couple of hours to run. This was a considerably larger protest than in the two previous years having become more important because many of the companies selling weapons inside are suppliers of weapons which are being used now to kill Palestinians in Gaza.

Richmond & Kingston Palestine Solidarity Campaign is an active local group campaigning for the rights of Palestinians, justice and freedom against Israeli occupation and apartheid. Their numbers at this protest were swelled by others who had come from other areas of London to tell the Rugby Football Union to stop hosting arms fairs. As well as the International Armoured Vehicles Fair this week they are also hosting the International Military Helicopter conference from 27th to 29th February 2024.

Many of the posters and placards at the protest called for an end to the Israeli genocide taking place in Gaza now, and there were others more specific to Twickenham, calling for fair play and an end to the promotion of killing by the Rugby authorities.

At the centre of the protest was a large poster with the heading ‘MERCHANTS OF DEATH’ naming companies taking part in the arms fair, including BAE Systems, Elbit Systems and Thales, with cartoons of arms dealers making vast profits from war. Most of the companies involved supply Israel with armoured vehicles and other weapons used in its devastating assault on Gaza and used to repress, terrorise, abduct and kill civilians and children in Palestine as well as in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen and elsewhere around the world. And as some posters and speakers reminded us, Israeli arms manufacturers proudly boast ‘OUR WEAPONS ARE FIELD-TESTED’ – on Palestinians in the killing fields of Gaza and the West Bank.

Standing around the poster were members of Richmond & Kingston PSC, holding up their hands in white gloves stained with fake blood, with one holding a Palestinian flag. Others held posters and banners, ‘CEASEFIRE NOW’, ‘WAR KILLS PEOPLE & PLANET’, ‘STOP BOMBING CHLDREN’

Shortly before I had to leave a group arrived carrying cloth bundles stained with red dye, representing the children killed by the Israeli attacks. A report by Save The Children from Ramallah on 11th January began with the following:

More than 10,000 children have been killed by Israeli airstrikes and ground operations in Gaza in nearly 100 days of violence, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, with thousands more missing, presumed buried under rubble, Save the Children said.

Save The Children

By now the number will be many more. As one poster stated: ‘TWICKENHAM DON’T SIDE WITH GENOCIDE’.

More pictures

Massive London Protest Over Gaza Genocide – 13 Jan 2023

Thursday, January 18th, 2024

Massive London Protest Over Gaza Genocide: Last Saturday I photographed the march in London when over 200,000 marched from Bank calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Among those on the march, Little Amal, a 12ft giant puppet of a Syrian child refugee stood out. As usual there was a strong Jewish representation both on the main march and on a separate feeder march for families and children I photographed as they set off from outside Kings College on Strand.

Massive London Protest Over Gaza Genocide

This was the seventh large protest in London and reflects the feelings of a large majority of the British public but unfortunately this and other huge protests around the world, including in the USA, seem unlikely to have any effect on our or the US governments polices. They will continue to give support to Israel while making weak statements about the need to reduce the killing which Israel will continue to ignore while denying the effects of its actions and blaming Hamas for the death and destruction they are causing.

Massive London Protest Over Gaza Genocide
The front of the march waiting to start.

The march took place on the 99th day of the Israeli attack on Gaza which has so far killed over 23,000 people, mainly civilians including more than 10,000 children, with many bodies still under the rubble. The bombing and shelling has made humanitarian aid and medical treatment impossible and widespread deaths from disease and starvation now seem inevitable.

Massive London Protest Over Gaza Genocide
Doctors Against Genocide.

Israeli forces have attacked hospitals, schools, refugee camps and have killed many doctors and arrested others. Only one hospital remains operating in the whole of Gaza and there are desperate shortages of medicines with many amputations having to be carried out without anaesthetics. Few of the 60,000 severely injured so far by the Israeli attacks have been able to get proper treatment.

Massive London Protest Over Gaza Genocide
A few of the Palestinian press who have been killed by Israel

Gaza’s journalists appear to have been especially targeted and more have now been killed by the IDF than journalists were killed in the whole six years of the Second World War.

A man holds a bloodstained bundle representing a dead child

As well as calling for a ceasefire, protesters also demand a just solution with freedom for Palestine, an end to the military occupation of the country and an end to Israeli apartheid.

Free Palestine Hands Off Yemen

Two events in the previous week added to the demands of protesters. Some had placards praising the Houthi forces in Yemen for their attacks on ships in the Red Sea and their were chants such as “Yemen, Yemen, make us proud, turn another ship around” following the US and UK air attacks. The Houthi are now in control of much of Yemen following the October 2022 ceasefire and peace talks led by the UN began it December 2023, but they continue to be referred to in UK media as rebels or terrorists.

Last week South Africa stated the case at the International Court of Justice accusing Israel of genocide. It got rather less attention in the UK media than the response the following day by Israel, which appeared largely a continued recital of the widely condemned attacks of October 7th and the long-discredited assertion that their actions in Gaza are self-defence. Israel also denied having bombed any hospitals and claimed they were facilitating humanitarian aid, lying in the face of mountains of evidence the world has read.

A woman holds a placard ‘Well Done South Africa’.

Many on the protest praised South Africa for taking Israel to court. The moral case seems clearly proven, but I suspect the case may be lost on some legal technicality. ICJ verdicts are in any case not binding and I think the majority of the world has already reached their conclusion.

People hold up posters showing Nazi Germany and Palestine with a poster saying ‘Signs Like These Have Been Criinalised by the Met Police

There were apparently 1,700 police on duty for the protests and a handful of people were arrested for carrying placards or handing out leaflets which the police decided were possibly “showing support for a proscribed organisation which is an offence under the Terrorism Act.” The flyer, published by the Met, stated their “unconditional and wholehearted support and solidarity for the Palestinian struggle, which is once more breaking out into armed resistance” but made no explicit mention of Hamas. Other groups in the Palestinian struggle are not proscribed in the UK.

With so many taking part, the march ended with rallies in both of London’s major central squares, Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square, though I only got to the first of these. I was quite tired having walked from London Bridge station to Bank and then along with the march going back and forth taking pictures and decided to get a train from Charing Cross rather than go on to Parliament Square.

There are around 50 more of my pictures from the march at Massive London Protest Over Gaza Genocide.


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Goodbye & Good Riddance – May – June 2023

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2024

Goodbye & Good Riddance – May 2023; Continuing my series of posts about some of the many protests I covered in 2023, a year when there was much to protest about.

May always starts with May Day, but after that things went downhill with the coronation weekend, when I found other things to do in Derbyshire, though I did take a few pictures of the decorations, as well as finding a couple of hours to walk around the centre of Chesterfield. But most of the month I was preoccupied with other matters, including a book launch and an exhibition opening by two friends, birthday celebrations and other family matters. Things got a little more back to normal in June.

Goodbye & Good Riddance - May - June 2023
London May Day March – 1st May 2023. Indigenous Ecuadorian dance group Warmis UK march with United Voices of the World trade union. Several thousand gathered at Clerkenwell Green for the International Workers Day March to Trafalgar Square. Those taking part came from a wide range of trade unions and political organisations and included many from London’s wide range of ethnic communities. Peter Marshall

Click the link to see more pictures including many of the banners on the march.

Goodbye & Good Riddance - May - June 2023
Baslow, Derbyshire 14 May 2023.
I didn’t entirely escape the coronation as “I couldn’t avoid a short glimpse when some twit put the TV on” though I did walk out of the room and there were quite a few decorations on the street. The following day I had a couple of hours before my train left Chesterfield for London and you can see some pictures from there and elsewhere in Derbyshire in Coronation Weekend – Baslow & Chesterfield.
Goodbye & Good Riddance - May - June 2023
Unite to Defy Protest Against Racism and Police State, London. 27 May 2023
Protesters at Downing St. Gypsy Traveller League, Black Lives Matter, Just Stop Oil, DPAC, Not My Bill, Republic, Stand Up to Racism and others united in a rally calling for an end to all racial discrimination and against the draconian measures in the Police and Crime Act and other recent laws which remove human rights and make the UK a police state, before marching to Downing St where the GTL handed in a letter. Peter Marshall

Another 70 pictures in the album on the link above.

Goodbye & Good Riddance - May - June 2023
Jeremy Corbyn – 40 Years As Islington North MP. Highbury Fields, 10 June 2023.
I was pleased to have a ticket for the celebration of Jeremy Corbyn’s 40th anniversary as MP for Islington North as all were taken up quickly for the event in a small area of Highbury Fields. It was sweltering and there was little shade and I was only able to stay for the first 90 minutes of the 4 hour event, unfortunately having to leave before Corbyn arrived. Tosh McDonald, Vice President of Aslef, Andrew Feinstein, Stella Assange and others. Peter Marshall
Time to Act on Abortion Law, London, UK. 17 June 2023.
People at the Royal Courts of Justice before the march to a rally opposite Downing St called by British Pregnancy Advisory Service, Women’s Equality Party and the Fawcett Society demands for urgent reform of UK abortion law after a woman was sentenced to 28 months in prison after using abortion pills to end her own pregnancy, prosecuted under an 1861 law. Peter Marshall
Puma End Your Support of Israeli Apartheid, Carnaby St, 24 Jun 2023.
Campaigners from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign continue their regular protests at the Puma shop on Carnaby St calling on the company to end sponsorship of the Israel Football Association. Puma is the main international sponsor of the IFA, aiding Israel to whitewash its human rights abuses and normalising the illegal settlements. Peter Marshall
Early Years Equality Protest, Downing St. 24 Jun 2023.
Campaigners protest opposite Downing St at the way in which the government treats children under 5 and the Early Years Sector. Many came dressed in orange and hung ribbons with their demands onto a Rights on RIbbons Tree. They say the government policy is to put babies in underfunded infant storage units so parents can go back to work neglecting the development and rights of the children. Peter Marshall
Just Stop Oil – Don’t Deport Marcus, London. 24 Jun 2023.
Hundreds marched from Parliament Square to the Home Office to demand that environmental protester and German citizen Marcus Decker not be deported after serving his 2 year 7 month sentence, one of the longest ever for a non-violent protest after hanging a Just Stop Oil banner on the Dartford QEII bridge. Marcus gave an eloquent speech by phone calling for continued actions to save the world. Peter Marshall
Free Assange Rally – ‘Anything to Say? 24 Jun 2023.
Hundreds protest at a rally in Parliament Square around Davide Dormino’s ‘Anything To Say?’, life-size bronzes of Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning who all had the courage to say no to the intrusion of global surveillance and to lies that lead to war standing on chairs. They called for the release of Julian Assange from Belmarsh prison and for him not to be deported to the USA. Peter Marshall

You can see more pictures from these and other protests and events in my Facebook Albums.


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Dear Suella, Please Resign

Wednesday, November 1st, 2023

Dear Suella, Please Resign – I and I think most of the British public have had enough of your hate speech, and your latest tirade against the half million or so people who came out onto the street to call for a ceasefire in Gaza plumbed new depths in hypocrisy.

Dear Suella, Please Resign

Those hundreds of thousands who marched last Saturday – and I was there – were marching for a ceasefire to end the humanitarian catastrophe which is underway in Gaza, where thousands of civilians have already died through Israeli attacks and more will do so if the attacks continue from bombing and shelling, the lack of food and clean water and the almost complete breakdown of medical services.

Dear Suella, Please Resign

There was no celebration of Hamas on the march and certainly none for the particularly barbaric actions in Israel on October 7th. Nor for the taking of hostages, although some on the march will certainly have felt it was the only way that Palestinian prisoners in Israel might be freed – over 4,000 of them, many locked up without charge, including (April 2022 figures) 32 women and 160 children. The continuing attacks on Gaza also threaten the lives of the hostages held by Hamas and appear to have stopped for the moment negotiations which would have led to further releases.

Dear Suella, Please Resign

Together with the BBC and some other news media you continue to collude to suggest that people at these protests shouted for Jihad. As you well know, these shouts took place at an entirely separate protest by Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, an extreme Islamic organisation calling for the establishment of a caliphate, whose protests I have covered since 2004. Their protest was not for peace but was calling upon Muslim Armies to liberate Palestine. To use their activities to denigrate those taking part in the huge protests for an end to the fighting and occupation in Palestine is dishonest in the extreme.

Dear Suella, Please Resign

The world needs peace in Palestine and so does Israel as well of course as the Palestinians. We have seen over the years since Israel was set up that war is not the way to achieve this.

As the UN Secretary General made clear when condemning the Hamas attack, it did not take place in a vacuum. It took place after years when Palestinians have been forced out of their homes, their lands occupied, and they have been subjected to arbitrary military rule under an apartheid regime with Gaza held under siege. Years in which the peace process has been put to one side. The only hope for peace is if Palestine is allowed to grow and to flourish rather than continue to be oppressed.

I grew up in a country which prided itself for its sense of fair play and decency, even though this ideal was not usually extended in practice to those we colonised.

We were a country that led the way in the establishment of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other conventions.

Now we seem to be a country that is ruled by politicians that have no real regard for human rights and the rights of asylum seekers, that are massively incompetent and put their own personal aggrandisement before the national interest, and are directed by corporate interests rather than those of the people or the planet. With some politicians from both main parties claiming huge expenses and often fiddling unnecessary second homes and increasingly frequent sexual scandals.

Government ministers and shadow ministers alike seem prepared to come onto the media and bluster and lie for the party, backed up by an electoral system that fails to provide any real democracy. Our current parliamentary election system is actually rather less democratic than the system that brought Hamas to power in 2006 – despite considerable interference by the US and Israel in the electoral process, though since Hamas took over Gaza completely by military force in 2007 and there have been no elections there.

The Covid inquiry continues to reveal government failures which led to many early deaths and its now clear that our current government have decided to abandon any real attempt to slow down or reverse our excessive global heating despite almost daily scientific evidence of the increasing risks – and the evidence we all fell as our weather becomes more and more chaotic. And rather than try to deal with the many problems that various protests bring to the fore, successive governments have enacted laws to restrict the right to protest and free speech and have encouraged police to prevent protests and courts to impose harsh ‘exemplary’ punishments.

Frankly Suella, you and your government are a disaster. And you are the leading edge of that disaster. The sooner you all go the better for Britain. Resign Now.

Pictures here are from London last Saturday, 28th October 2023. You can see more of those I made during the protest at:
National March for Gaza – Ceasefire Now, London 28 Oct 23
More Pictures – Gaza Ceasefire Now! London 28 Oct 23
Gaza Ceasefire Now! Protest At Waterloo Station, London 28 Oct 23


Israel, Palestine & Syrian Refugees – 2015

Friday, October 13th, 2023

Israel, Palestine & Syrian Refugees: On Tuesday 13th October 2015 supporters of Israel and Palestine faced each other on the street in Hammersmith. From there I went to a candlelit vigil at Parliament calling for the UK to resettle Syrian Refugees.


Zionists and Palestinian protests over killings

Israel, Palestine & Syrian Refugees

The Zionist Federation had come to protest outside the Palestinian Authority UK Mission following a number of stabbings of Jews in Israel. Jewish and other groups supporting Palestinian resistance to the occupation and Israeli terror against Palestinians came to oppose them, calling for an end to Israeli occupation and all violence against both Jews and Palestinians in Israel.

Israel, Palestine & Syrian Refugees

Police kept the two groups well apart though both had powerful sound systems so they could each hear what the others were saying. But while the Palestinian ambassador to the UK Professor Manuel Hassassian quite clearly spoke condemning violence on both sides, a speaker at the Zionist Federation protest continued to insist as the main point of his speech that Palestinians refused to condemn violence against Jews.

Israel, Palestine & Syrian Refugees

I commented then:

“There is of course a great assymetry between violence against Israel and Palestine, with much smaller numbers of Israelis being killed, largely in suicide bomb attacks and knifings. Palestinians have been killed in much larger numbers, by the attacks of the Israeli army, by Israeli police shootings and by the Jewish settlers occupying parts of Palestine; Israeli army and police turn a blind eye to their raids on Palestinian villages in which people are sometimes killed as well as the olive trees on which they depend being uprooted.”

My London Diary
Israel, Palestine & Syrian Refugees

Many of those in both groups were Jewish, with the pro-Palestine counter-demonstration being organised by Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods and supported by The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and the British Committee for Universities of Palestine, as well as other Jewish protesters. There were also some Palestinians and others from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the British left which also includes many Jews.

Supporting the Zionist Federation were some right-wing British Groups including some extremist Christian groups. The shouting match was continuing when I left to go to Westminster.

More at Zionists and Palestinian protests over killings.


Citizens UK Vigil for more Refugees – Old Palace Yard, Westminster

Although the British public has been greatly moved by stories of refugees fleeing Syria drowning as they cross the Mediterranean and struggling as they cross Europe the UK government has so far made only a trivial commitment and limited this to admitting a small number from those still in refugee camps in the countries around Syria. Overwhelmingly when people see the actual numbers they think this is nothing like enough, with many individuals, organisations and local authorities making offers to take in refugees.

People fear that many more will freeze to death in the bitter European winter and Citizens UK were calling on the government to take urgent action. Their demand for the UK to take a thousand more Syrian refugees by Christmas and then 10,000 a year for the next five years seemed rather low given the huge numbers now in the refugee camps – where six children froze to death last winter and so many trying to make their way across Europe.

Among the speakers calling for the government to take urgent action to save refugee lives were SNP MP Angus Robertson, Labour MP Yvette Cooper, a leading East London Imam, The Right Reverend Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, Bosnian refugee Zrinka Bralo of Citizens UK and Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron.

Labour MP Yvette Cooper

Protests like this fall largely on deaf ears in the government, who are scared of doing anything that might anger the right-wing press and the racist bigots in their own party. But Cameron did later agree to resettle 1000 by Christmas and considerably large numbers were admitted from 2015 to 2019.

Tim Farron

The Tories keep making pledges to cut immigration and keep harassing migrants and imprisoning in detention centres sometimes for several years those who have come to the UK to claim asylum rather than attempting to process their claims in a timely manner. According to a House of Commons Research Briefing there are currently around 140,000 people awaiting an initial decision, a small number appealing there refusal and over 40,000 “Subject to Removal” having had their claims rejected.

Now they complain about the huge costs of housing asylum seekers and resort to extreme plans such as sending them to Rwanda or housing them in crowded barges. Many of those who are currently prevented from working have skills which we need and could be making a contribution to our country – and paying taxes.

Between 2014 and 2020, 20,000 Syrians were resettled in the UK – compared to around 180,000 Ukrainians in 2022-3. The total number of asylum applications in the UK in 2022 was only a little over half the average based on population for the 27 EU countries.

More pictures at Citizens UK Vigil for more Refugees.