Posts Tagged ‘racism’

Croydon, Abortion & Windrush – 2018

Sunday, May 5th, 2024

Croydon, Abortion & Windrush – I began work on Saturday 5th of May with a late May Day march in Croydon, then came to Westminster where abortion rights protesters were meeting to oppose a ‘March for Life’ anti-abortion march and rally. At Downing Street there was a rally against the racist attacks by Theresa May against the Windrush generation, which later marched to continue at the Home Office, where I ended the day after photographing the anti-abortion march.


Croydon march for May Day – Saturday 5th May 2018

Although International Workers Day is celebrated internationally on May 1st, in Croydon there was a march and rally on the following Saturday.

Croydon is just 15 minutes by public transport from the centre of London, and those who were able to do so had probably joined the main London march on May Day, while others will have had to wait for the weekend to celebrate, so the march and rally on Saturday made sense.

It wasn’t a huge march, though doubtless more made their way to the rally later at Rusking House, where the speakers were to include Ted Knight, once the leader of Lambeth council and then one of the best-known Labour politicians, derided in the press of the day as ‘Red Ted’. One of the largest groups on the march was the supporters of the local Keep Our St Helier Hospital campaign fighting against proposed cuts there.

More pictures at Croydon march for May Day.


Women protest anti-abortion march – Parliament Square

Feminists in the abortion rights campaign held a rally in Parliament Square before the annual March for Life UK by pro-life anti-abortion campaigners was to arrive for their rally.

They opposed any increase of restrictions on abortion and called for an end to the harassment of women going into clinics and called for women in Northern Ireland to be given the same rights as those in the rest of the UK, as well as supporting the Irish referendum to repeal the 8th amendment to the constitution dating from 1983 which effectively banned abortion in Ireland.

More pictures at Women protest anti-abortion march.


Anti-Abortion March for Life – Whitehall

I walked up Whitehall to meet the several thousand anti-abortion campaigners, mainly Catholics, marching to their rally in Parliament Square.

They argue that even at conception the fertilised egg should be awarded an equal right to life as the woman whose body it is in, and call legalised abortion the greatest violation to human rights in history.

This was the first London march by ‘March for Life UK’ who had previously held marches in Birmingham and came a few weeks an Irish vote was expected to repeal the 8th amendment and allow abortion in Ireland, and some posters and placards called for a ‘No’ vote in this.

More pictures at Anti-Abortion March for Life.


Windrush rally against Theresa May – Downing St

I remained on Whitehall to join a rally at Downing St organised by Stand Up to Racism calling for Theresa May’s racist 2014 Immigration Act to be repealed and an immediate end to the deportation and detention of Commonwealth citizens, with those already deported to be bought back to the UK.

It demanded guaranteed protection or all Commonwealth citizens and for those affected to be compensated for deportation, threats of deportation, detention, loss of housing, jobs, benefits and denial of NHS treatment and an end to the ‘hostile environment’ introduced by Theresa May.

Speakers also condemned the unusual moves by the Tories in ways that threaten the normal working of Parliament to try and keep information about the Windrush scandal secret. Aong those speaking were Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, trade unionists, and people from organisations standing up for immigrants and opposing immigration detention including Movement for Justice who brought two women who had been held in Yarl’s Wood to speak.

After the rally at Downing Street protesters marched to the Home Office for a further rally there.

More pictures on My London Diary:
Home Office: Windrush Immigration Act protest
Downing Street: Windrush rally against Theresa May


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Shut Down Yarl’s Wood – 2016

Tuesday, March 12th, 2024

Shut Down Yarl’s Wood – Saturday 12th March 2016 saw one of the largest protests outside the Immigration Detention Centre at Yarl’s Wood with well over a thousand people from around the country waving and shouting support to the women asylum seekers held indefinitely inside, who responded enthusiastically by shouting and waving back from the prison blocks behind the high fence, hindered by windows that hardly open. There were many among the protesters who had themselves been locked up in Yarls Wood or other detention centres.

Shut Down Yarl's Wood

My day began badly, with a cancelled train and then a coach driver for the five or six mile journey from Bedford Station to the isolated prison who got lost and took us for a 20 mile mystery tour through rural Bedfordshire, meaning we arrived rather late for the protest.

Shut Down Yarl's Wood

We arrived just in time for the final few minutes of the rally by Movement for Justice, the organisers of the protest, outside the locked gates of the Twinwoods Business Centre. An shortly after the protesters set off for the long march down the road and along a public footpath to a field on a slight rise adjoining the prison where the main protest was to take place.

Shut Down Yarl's Wood

It was dry and sunny, but there had been a week of rain and the fields we walked past were full of puddles and the rise in front of the 20 foot prison fence was extremely treacherous and hard to climb. Alongside the metal fence was a concrete path but then a few feet of churned up mud before the slippery slope.

Shut Down Yarl's Wood

At the bottom the lower 10ft of the fence is solid metal sheeting, so there you have no view of the prison. but can make a considerable noise by banging or kicking the fence. On top of the slope you can see the upper floors of the closest prison block, and from there we could make out those prisoners who had managed to get to the windows and were shouting greetings and some holding out notices though the small gap – just large enough for a hand to go through – that the windows open.

Unfortunately the windows reflect the sky and in the bright weather we could only see dimly those inside. Further along the rise we could see a little of the ground floor of the detention centre, and here the views were a little clearer. This part of the immigration prison was then being used for families, while the rest ws a women’s prison.

The regime in immigration detention differs from that in our other prisons and in one respect is worse. Those inside are held indefinitely and have no way of knowing when they might be released. And their detention can be very lengthy with one woman held there for three years less a couple of days. Many have seen this as totally unacceptable and called for a maximum length of detention of 28 days as is the case in some other countries.

But the detainees alhtough kept as prisoners are allowed to have mobile phones which they need to communicate with solicitors and others dealing with their immigration cases. And the protesters were able to phone some of the women inside and the calls could be linked to the public address system brought to the protest so they could tell something of their stories.

Those held in immigration detention are not criminals and few have or would commit any criminal offences. Many indeed have been victims of criminal attacks, violence and rape, or face these if they are deported back to their home countries. They all want to be allowed to live and work here, to contribute their skills to our country and pay our taxes. There is no need to keep them locked away. But we have a racist immigration regime that treats them as criminals and liars and shows little evidence of any humanity – but much of indifference, incompetence and unnecessary delays.

The goverment outsources their detention to private companies and various investigations and reports have shown the lack of care, mistreatment and even sexual harassment and violence in this and other centres. Rather than shutting them down and moving to a more humane system the government have now moved those who might otherwise been in Yarl’s Wood to a far more remote location to make protests harder to organise.

The pictures and text, including some captions, on My London Diary tell more about what what happened at the protest: Shut Down Yarl’s Wood.


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Peckham & Stockwell Protests – 2017

Sunday, January 21st, 2024

Peckham & Stockwell Protests – on Saturday 21st January 2017 I spent the day in South London, photographing protests in Peckham and Stockwell.


Peckham welcomes march against deportations

Peckham & Stockwell Protests - 2017

Immigration raids in south London had target long-established African, Asian and Caribbean communities, dividing families, deporting people who have built lives in the UK with parents, partners and children here. Protesters compared the deportation flights which followed with slave ships, with deportees shackled with a guard on each side in a cruel and divisive act of racist discrimination.

Peckham & Stockwell Protests - 2017

The Home Office had carried out many of these forced deportations unlawfully, and the High Court had decided that their use of the ‘detained fast track’ procedure from 2005-2014 was unlawful and went beyond their legal powers. Had we as individuals had acted illegally for so long and so persistently there would be little doubt that we would now be in prison.

Peckham & Stockwell Protests - 2017

But the government gets away scot-free. The 10,000 or so asylum seekers deported under the old system could in theory ask for the decision made on their cases to be set aside and lodge a new appeal, although very few are likely to be in a position to do so.

Peckham & Stockwell Protests - 2017

The protest was organised by Movement for Justice, but supported by many other groups including including SOAS Detainee Support (SDS), Anti Raids Network, Zimbabwe Human Rights Organization Mazimbabweans, Jewdas, BLMUK, London Mexico Solidarity, Fight Racism – Fight Imperialism (FRFI), Sisters Uncut – South East London and Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants.

After a short rally the protests marched down Rye Lane, the main shopping street in Peckham, attracting a great deal of support from shoppers on the crowded street.

Some went into shops and handed out leaflets there and on the street. They held a short rally at the south end of the street before returning for another in the square by Peckham Library.

Peckham march against deportations


Oh! Mother march against knife crime – Peckham

Another protest march was taking place in Peckham during the afternoon. Oh! Mother, A Christian organisation based in South London which campaigns for change in communities was protesting to put an end to gun and knife crime.

Their march followed the stabbing to death in Peckham on 30th December 2016 of 24 year old Ernest Kalawa. Among the marchers were members of the dead man’s family, some of whom wore t-shirts commemorating him.

Oh! Mother march against knife crime


March against closing community centres – Stockwell

Members of Lambeth Labour were meeting in Stockwell to march to Stockwell Community Centre, one of two local community centres in Stockwell and Kennington Park which are run by Hyde Housing Association which were threatened with closure.

Lambeth Council is spending £50 million on a new town hall and had pledged £20 million to support the vanity Garden Bridge project, but the Labour-run council had made drastic cuts in community services, including library closures and selling off council estates to developers but has refused to support these community centres.

Lambeth Labour Council is one of a number of London Labour councils dominated by right-wing members who appear to have lost any sense that councils exist for the benefit of their residents rather than of the councillors.

Lambeth appear to follow in the footsteps of neighbouring Southwark, here journalist Anna Minton found that “20 per cent of Southwark’s 63 councillors work as lobbyists” for developers in the planning industry and that a significant number of Councillors and Council officers are making use of a ‘well-oiled revolving door’ to the industry.

March against closing community centres



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Bread & Roses, Morales & Russian anti-fascists – 2019

Friday, January 19th, 2024

Bread & Roses, Morales & Russian anti-fascists: Three events I photographed on Saturday 19th January 2019.

Bread & Roses is again relevant now in January 2024, with the release of a new version of the song a few days ago by the ‘Orchestra of Cardboard‘, part of the amazing ‘Every street a POWER STATION campaign‘, a project of Walthamstow’s community interest company Optimistic Foundation CIC set up by artist and filmmaker Hilary Powell and filmmaker and musician Dan Edelstyn. The recording is a part of their fundraising campaign and your can read, see and hear more about it and their other campaigns which are already having an effect in the area on their crowdfunder page.

But back to January 2019, five years ago today.


Women’s Bread & Roses protest

Bread & Roses, Morales & Russian anti-fascists - 2019

Inspired by the Bread & Roses protests which revolutionised workers’ rights for women in 1912, Women’s March London marched from the BBC to a rally in Trafalgar Square against economic oppression, violence against women, gender pay gap, racism, fascism, institutional sexual harassment and hostile environment in the UK, and called for a government dedicated to equality and working for all of us rather than the few.

Bread & Roses, Morales & Russian anti-fascists - 2019

The London march was part of an international day with women marching in many countries around the world, particularly in cities across the USA.

Bread & Roses, Morales & Russian anti-fascists - 2019

At the start of the march was opposite the BBC on the steps of Langham Place a few of the women organising the event were being directed and filmed by a BBC film crew. Supposedly this was a documentary but it seemed to be more a scripted drama closely controlled by the director and with the women involved holding orange folders from which they read.

Bread & Roses, Morales & Russian anti-fascists - 2019

But there were a rather larger group of women (and just a few men with them) standing around outside the BBC building and largely ignoring the filming that was taking place. Many had made placards especially for the event, with some using words from the poem ‘Bread and Roses‘ written by James Oppenheim and published at the end of 1911. The phrase ‘Bread and Roses’ came from a speech the previous year by Helen Todd, speaking about the need for laws to regulate wages, working hours and conditions.

A few days later a strike was started by textile workers, largely immigrants, in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The strike was organised by the IWW, the Industrial Workers of the World, led largely by women and they took up Oppenheims poem and sang it at their meetings and marches, as well as apparently marching with a banner ‘We want Bread, and Roses too!’ during their three-month strike.

Eventually, when the BBC had finished making their movie the women gathered for a march and I walked with them to Trafalgar Square.

Many more pictures on My London Diary at Women’s Bread & Roses protest.


Bolivians protest against Morales – Trafalgar Square

A small group of Bolivians had come to protest following a decision in December by the Electoral Commission that President Evo Morales could stand for a fourth term in office in the October 2019 elections which were starting with primaries at the end of January 2019. But I was not convinced that this was truly a protest about democracy rather than simply against his socialist policies.

Morales, Bolivia’s first president to come from the indigenous population was first elected in 2005. He supported the 2009 constitution which allowed only two consecutive terms in office but was able to stand for a third term as his first term had been before the limit was imposed. In 2016 tried to increase the limit to three terms by a referendum which was narrowly defeated. But after this the courts ruled that the limitation infringed the human rights of citizens, allowing him to stand for a further term.

Morales won the October 2019 but their were widespread protests alleging electoral fraud, although later investigations suggested he had indeed gained the 10% lead required for a first-round victory. But the protests grew and he was endangered by armed groups; eventually he resigned on 10th November 2019, fleeing to Mexico where he was granted political asylum. Allegations made against him of sedition and terrorism were later found to be politically motivated and in 2020 a Bolivian court found his rights had been violated and judicial procedures breached.

His successful policies which reduced poverty and illiteracy and combated the influence of the USA and multinational companies made him very unpopular among the middle class and particularly the groups accustomed to running the country. Many in the USA encouraged and financed the opposition to him as he was widely seen to have shown a successful alternative to the growth of international capitalism.

Bolivians protest against Morales


Solidarity with Russian anti-fascists – Whitechapel

Finally I went east to the Cable Street Mural where anarchists and anti-fascists were meeting l to oppose racism, xenophobia, fascism and the upsurge of far-right populism and to show solidarity with Russian anti-fascists who have been arrested, framed and tortured in a brutal wave of repression.

Russian and Ukranian comrades spoke at the rally. telling us of the persecution taking place. The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) arrested six in Penza in 2017, charging them with belonging to a non-existent organisation, ‘The Network’. Beatings and torture before their trial were used to make them give false confessions.

Two others were arrested in 2018 in St Petersburg and charged with belonging to the same fictional network and again tortured into making confessions and further similar arrests have followed. A total of 11 where then in prison for belonging to’The Network’, facing 5 to 25 years in jail.

The date for the protest was chosen as the anniversary of the brutal murder of two Russian anti-fascists, journalist Anastasia Baburova and lawyer Stanislav Markelov, by fascists in broad daylight on the streets of Moscow on January 19th 2009. Russian anarchists and anti-fascists hold events to remember them on this day every year.

There was then a march to a further rally in Altab Ali Park, named for the 24-year-old clothing worker murdered in a nearby street on 4 May 1978.

More pictures at Solidarity with Russian anti-fascists.


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Red Army & Chinese Torture Victims – 2005

Monday, January 15th, 2024

Red Army & Chinese Torture Victims – 2005: Events in London on 15th January 2005 connected with China and Russia.


Falun Gong Demonstrate – Chinese Torturers. Westminster – Portland Place

Red Army & Chinese Torture Victims

Back in 2005 I wrote “to me, Falun Gong seems a harmless form of meditation exercises, available to anyone without charge and following the admirable principles of truthfulness, compassion and tolerance, but the Chinese government seem to regard it as the most dangerous form of terrorism.”

Red Army & Chinese Torture Victims

Now I’m less positive although still shocked by the accounts of “physical tortures, including beatings, electric shocks, immersion, chaining for hours and days and the infamous ‘tiger bench’ are used together with psychological attacks including humiliation and sleep deprivation by the Chinese government to suppress the practice.”

Red Army & Chinese Torture Victims

According to Wikipedia, while Falun Gong is a new religion based on Buddhism, its founder in the early 1990s Li Hongzhi gave it some highly reactionary characteristics, such as the rejection of modern scientific ideas including evolution and medicines, racism, and opposition to homosexuality and feminism. More recently it has promoted conspiracy theories including QAnon and anti-vaccination misinformation and supported Trump and extreme-right movements in Europe.

Red Army & Chinese Torture Victims

The Wikipedia article also carries an account of a 2018 report that “highlights Falun Gong’s extensive internet presence, and how editors who have to date contributed to English Wikipedia entries associated with Falun Gong to the point where ‘Falun Gong followers and/or sympathizers de facto control the relevant pages on Wikipedia‘”. Perhaps Wikipedia has now managed at least to some extent to prevent this, but although a number of academics have criticised Falun Gong as a cult, this word and the criticisms appear nowhere in the article.

Li Hongzhi now lives with hundreds of supporters close to a 427 acre compound in New York State, Dragon Springs which is the training ground for its Shen Yen performers. The organisation describes itself as “the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company” and whose performances around the world provides significant funding for Falun Gong including a press group The Epoch Times and a PR firm.

Falun Gong has also received considerable funding from the US government particular for the development of free software intended to circumvent Chinese government internet censorship. Their activities have certainly been incorporated in the US’s fight to retain dominance over China.

More pictures


Red Square, SW1- Russian Winter Festival – Trafalgar Square

Red square, SW1 was a Russian winter festival celebrating the Russian Old New Year, January 1st according to the Julian Calendar used in Russia until the Revolution and still by the Russian Orthodox Church – which falls on 14th January for the rest of us.

This was a spectacular event, run in cooperation with Moscow city government and many Russian businesses trading in the UK, and I only photographed it for the first few hours, missing the big celebrations, the rock concert, the ice skating at Somerset House and more. As well as the audience at the event it was also going out to 20 million listeners on Russian radio, as well as to anyone who could put up with an inane presenter from some UK radio station.

Both London Mayor Ken Livingstone and Moscow’s Mayor opened the show, though I decided to take a rest at that point from taking pictures and instead try “a fine but overpriced Baltika beer, imported from St Petersburg – at a sensible price i could develop a taste for it.” But I could still hear the speeches and learn that Ken’s father had taken part in the Baltic convoys in WW2.

But for me the cultural highpoint was the performance of the Alexandrov Red Army Choir, founded in 1928 to glorify the revolution by the composer of the Soviet national anthem. Though I found little to photograph during the performance I was able to take quite a few pictures of the men later and of a Irish woman who had attended a red army choir performance in Dublin in the 1950s as a schoolgirl,and had brought a record of them from 1956 for them to sign.

The record cover had a picture of the choir and some of those who had sung on it were still with the choir 49 years later. A younger member of the choir brought some of them across, including the fantastic bass soloist who treated us to a little of his voice and signed the cover – using the Stabilo ‘Write-4-all’ pen I carried to do so on the glossy cover when an ordinary pen failed.

And in 2005 I concluded:

Oh yes, there was fake snow on the lions, some very weird folk dancing involving things that looked rather like dustbin lids wielded by fur-coated women with a lot of heavy breathing rather than singing, Russian dolls, food and more.

My London Diary

What I failed to record was that in the crush to see the Red Army Choir I had forgotten to zip up my camera bag and later found that the cheap telephoto zoom was missing from it. I wasn’t too bothered, as I had already realised it had been a mistake to buy it as it was rather a poor performer and I rather welcomed the need to replace it with something better.

I wrote rather more and there are more pictures, particularly of the choir on My London Diary


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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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Goodbye and Good Riddance – April 2023

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2024

Goodbye and Good Riddance – April 2023: Continuing from yesterday’s post some more pictures from 2013, from my albums on Facebook from April 2003.

Goodbye and Good Riddance
Good Friday in Staines. 7 April 2023.
Christians in Staines, as in many other towns and cities across the UK, take part in a Good Friday procession of witness through the town centre. Led by a man carrying a large wooden cross and the Staines Salvation Army Band people from churches in Staines, Ashford and Laleham walked past shops and market stalls to an outdoor service in the Two Rivers Shopping Centre with hymns, prayers, religious songs and a short address. Peter Marshall
Goodbye and Good Riddance
Fight4Aylesbury Exhibition – Friday 14 April 2023
An exhbition in Aysen’s council flat on the Aylesbury Estate in Southwark to celebrate 20+ years of housing struggles for housing justice and against gentrification, social cleansing and demolition of social housing. Her flat has been transformed into a living exhibition with flyers, posters, video, audio and installations on housing struggles. Peter Marshall
Goodbye and Good Riddance
Extinction Rebellion’s ‘The Big One’ London, UK. 21 Apr 2023.
On the first day of Extinction Rebellion’s ‘The Big One’ people march past Parliament calling for an end to airport expansion. Air travel is hugely polluting and expansion would make it impossible to meet the targets needed to prevent disastrous global warming and climate change. Peter Marshall
Goodbye and Good Riddance
Care 4 People & Planet, London. 21 April 2023.
On the first day of Extinction Rebellion’s ‘The Big One’, women hold an open speakout opposite Downing St with the banner ‘Care 4 People & Planet – Pay US NOT billionaire polluters”. Women are being targeted by government cuts in mothers and disabled benefits to force them back into employment while they support fossil fuel polluters and other destructive industries. Young people and women have been at the forefront of the movement for climate justice around the world. Peter Marshall
Peoples’ Pickets for ‘The Big One’, London. 21 April 2023.
On the first day of Extinction Rebellion’s ‘The Big One’ people picketed at a number of short protests outside government ministries and other government buildings in central Westminster. Peter Marshall
More From ‘The Big One‘, London. 21 Apr 2023.
Many thousands came to Westminster to take part in the first of 4 days of Extinction Rebellion’s protest demanding the government reverse policies that are fuelling climate change with new coal mines and oil fields and encouraging aviation. The protesters say their corruption has wrecked the economy, education system and our NHS, increased fuel costs and cut living standards while they blame poor families, people of colour, and new immigrants. Peter Marshall
XR Earth Day Unite For Nature March, London. 22 Apri 2023
Many thousands of Extinction Rebellion supporters march from a rally outside Westminster Abbey on Earth Day to honour and respect the natural world and all endangered species. Led in blocks by drummers they stopped at several points to play birdsong loudly on all their phones. So many took part that the silent die-in for species lost and under threat planned for Parliament Square spread from Lambeth Bridge to St James’s Park. Peter Marshall
Extinction Rebellion Procession Against Incinerators, London. 24th April 2023.
A procession sets off from the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero (DESNZ) to march to DEFRA calling for plans to build more waste incinerators to be dropped and existing ones to be closed down. The call for a massive reduction in waste through reuse, recycling and composting and an end to polluting carbon dioxide producing waste burning. The procession included a Stop HS2 elephant, mimes, drummers and a large model incinerator. Peter Marshall
XR End Fossil Fuels March, London. 24 April 2023.
Greenwash Carbon Capture & Storage team. On the final day of XR’s The Big One, several thousands marched from Parliament Square past Downing St and along the Strand, crossing over Waterloo Bridge to end with a protest in front of the Shell Centre. The march demanded no future for fossil fuels. Peter Marshall
Black Lives Matter Protest State Racism, London, 29 April 2023.
The march begins. Black Lives Matter lead a rally and march from Home Office to Whitehall calling for unity and action against the state racist Borders Act, the anti-democratic Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act and the fascist Public Order Bill. They were joined for the march by Just Stop Oil. Among the speakers were Holly, the partner of Marcus jailed for 2yrs 7months for his protest on the Dartford Crossing, who also sang. Peter Marshall
Iranians Continue Protests For Regime Change, London 29 Apr 2023.
Several thousand Iranians and supporters marched to Whitehall and formed a dense crowd opposite Downing St for a rally in solidarity with protesters in Iran calling for the end of rule by Mullahs. The called for the UK to declare the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, IRGC a terrorist organisation. Peter Marshall
Sudanese Call For Peace in Sudan, London 29 Apr 2023
The Sudanese Revolutionary Movement protest opposite Downing St, calls for an end to the war between generals in Khartoum and the genocide in Darfur. The people want peace, democracy and justice in Sudan. Peter Marshall

More pictures from these and other protests in March 2023 in my Facebook Albums.


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Cleaners protests, UK father in Israeli Jail – 2016

Saturday, November 18th, 2023

Cleaners protests, UK father in Israeli Jail – On Friday 18th November 2016 I went with members of the Independent Workers Union CAIWU to protests at three companies over their treatment of cleaners before a protest over the abduction by Israel, torture amd imprisonment of a British national father of five.


Cleaners In Lloyds Against Racist Sacking

Cleaners protests, UK father in Israeli Jail

CAIWU, the Cleaners & Allied Independent Workers Union is an independent grass roots workers union helping to improve the lives of cleaners across the UK. Many of the workers who clean the offices of London’s many prestigious offices are employed by cleaning companies who pay minimum wage and treat their workers abdominally with bullying and arbitrary management and lousy conditions of service, often failing to provide safe working conditions.

Cleaners protests, UK father in Israeli Jail

Respectable and prestigious companies who would never employ people on such terms nevertheless contract out their cleaning to companies who do so on their behalf. Many cleaners who tried joining our major unions found that these were more concerned with taking their union dues than fighting for their rights and set up several grass roots unions to represent them more actively in the workplace.

CAIWU is one of these and has had considerable success in getting workers a living wage and improving their conditions, as well as defending them against discrimination.

Cleaners protests, UK father in Israeli Jail

Following the sacking of two members who cleaned Lloyd’s but were employed by Principle Cleaning Services, a company which Lloyd’s outsources its cleaning to, members of CAIWU went with posters, vuvuzelas and a powerful megaphone to protest noisily inside the foyer of the Lloyd’s building at lunchtime.

Cleaners protests, UK father in Israeli Jail
The security officer who was pushing Alberto suddenly dives to the floor, pretending he has been hit

Two black workers were disciplined and dismissed from the site by Principle Cleaning Services following a window cleaning accident. CAIWU say that white workers involved in a similar accident were left off without even a warning and that this is a clear case of racist discrimination. They also say that another African worker, a CAIWU member, was also recently dismissed for trivial reasons because of his trade union activities.

After a brief protest inside the building in which a security guard began to assault some of them and then dived to the floor claiming falsely he had been hit they left and continued their noisy protest outside.

More at Cleaners in Lloyds against racist sacking


Cleaners at Mace protest Dall nepotism

Next the CAIWU group made its way to Mace in Moorgate, where they again rushed into the lobby for a protest against the cleaning contractor there, Dall Cleaning Services.

Here they complained about nepotism with a cleaning supervisor roster made up of five members of the same family. The also say that after Dall had promised cleaners the London Living Wage they promptly reduced the working conditions and also dismissed two cleaners without notice or proper procedures. They had come to demand the reinstatement of the two workers dismissed and also proper conditions of service and working conditions.

Again after a brief protest inside the lobby they left and continued the protest outside for a few minutes before catching a bus to Holborn.

More at Cleaners at Mace protest Dall nepotism.


Cleaners at Claranet for Living Wage – Holborn

Again at Claranet’s offices CAIWU briefly occupied the lobby for a brief protest leaving when security began pushing them around to continue their protest on the pavement outside.

The cleaners here are employed by NJC under a contract by Claranet, and both NJC and Claranet have ignored the union’s attempts to negotiate for the London Living Wage and have confirmed they have no intention of considering to pay this.

The union has called on Claranet which claims to be an ethical company to insist the cleaners are paid the London Living wage now.

More at Cleaners at Claranet for Living Wage.


Release British father from Israeli Jail – G4S HQ, Westminster

Protesters pose for a selfie with Laila Sharary, wife of the British father held by the Israeli military

Human rights group Inminds were protesting outside the headquarters of British security company G4S over the abduction by Israel and subsequent torture of British national and father of five, Fayez Sharary.

The protest took place at G4S because the company trains Israel’s police forces and was at the time responsible for the security of Israel’s prison. Protests like this and pressure by the BDS movement led to G4S ending its contracts with the prisons in December 2016 and in June 2023 the world’s largest private security company Allied Universal, which owns G4S, announce it was selling all its remaining business in apartheid Israel.

An image projected on the neighbouring building shows Fayez Sharary with his daughter

Sharary had gone to the West Bank for a family visit and was arrested by Israeli forces when leaving on 15th September and tortured for 3 weeks by Israeli secret police Shin Bet to force a confession.

Laila Sharary and their 3 year old daughter were also arrested but released after 5 hours

At a military trail an Israeli judge declared this confession worthless and pointed out that several of the charges against him were for activities which were not illegal, ordering his release. But he was instead held in a G4S secured prison and a few days later the military returned him to court and got the judge’s order set aside.

Torture is not a crime in Israel and the insist the UN Conventions Against Torture which they have signed do not apply to Palestinians. The UN treatment centre for victims of torture in the occupied Palestine territories treated 845 Palestinians in 2014, including 317 women and 135 children.

Laila Shahary reads out a statement

Sharary is a British citizen who has lived in this country for over 23 years but he has received no support from the British Embassy and had no legal support at either of his military trials.

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Our Flag & Olympic Site 2007

Friday, November 17th, 2023

Our Flag & Olympic Site – On Saturday 17th November 2007 I had a more varied day than usual, beginning with a march my football supporters, then a walk around the outside of the then fenced off Olympic site followed by an Olympic-related symposium. I can’t remember anything about the symposium, though I think it was almost certainly critical of what was being done to London, its future being sacrificed to a highly commercial sports festival.


March For Our Flag – Westminster

Our Flag & Olympic Site 2007

A few months earlier in February 2007 I’d photographed and written about a ‘March for Our Flag’ organised by football supporters, particularly Tottenham fans. The main group backing that – and the repeat march this month through Westminster – was the United British Alliance. There was a suggestion that, although a patriotic event, it was at least trying to detach itself from the racism of the far right.

The UBA web site described itself as “a multi-ethnic, multi-faith organisation with a passionate interest in reclaiming our once proud nation from the grip of international terror and political correctness gone-mad,with a view to re-installing some pride in our communities and way of life.”

Our Flag & Olympic Site 2007

As I commented in November 2007:

Although individuals may well be sincere in these attempts, it isn’t so easy to shake off this impression. Some of the links on the [UBA] web site are to people and groups who I would consider as having extreme views, and the discussion you can find on football forums and elsewhere seems clearly Islamophobic.

Our Flag & Olympic Site 2007

Although there were even fewer supporters this time – well under 200 – there did seem to be a slightly calmer attitude and a slightly wider range of people attending, although still only one or two black faces.

Our Flag & Olympic Site 2007

Curiously enough, on the UBA web site galleries, all the marchers have their faces – or at least their eyes – blacked out. The only people not given this treatment are the police escorting the event.

Our Flag & Olympic Site 2007

As I’ve often said, the only way to protect our freedom is by being free. That includes standing up for what you believe – and being seen to do so. So I’m totally opposed to this kind of censorship of the news. Freedom of expression is a part of the British heritage of which I’m proud. As too are Morris Dancing, Association and Rugby football along with the many other things, including the way we have successfully integrated elements from other cultures and religions into our way of life over the years – and continue to do so.

My London Diary

My pictures from the 17th November do show one or two families and their children took part and I can see just one darker face among the young men. In view of recent events and the behavior of Suella Braverman my final two sentences are very appropriate and very relevant: “We all need far more positive messages and actions from our politicians to lead us all – including Britain’s muslims to a new and united vision of our society. Islamophobia needs combating, not encouraging.”

More pictures on My London Diary


Stratford – Olympic Edge

I walked out of Stratford Station and across the footbridge leading to the Carpenters Estate and on to Bridgewater Road, a dead end with a bridge across the tidal Waterworks River.

The road to Hackney Wick is firmly closed and so too was the Greenway just a few yards from the entrance on Stratford High Street.

You could walk down it just a few yards, and I took another picture looking back along the Waterworks River towards Bridgewater Road where I had been standing earlier.

I took a few pictures around the edge of the area, then walked back along the High Street towards the centre of Stratford.

The Log Cabin pub had been here at 335-337 High Street, Stratford as a coaching inn since at least the mid-18th century, though it was known as The Yorkshire Gray before being renamed around 1997 when the hiddeous green excresenes were added. The building was Grade II listed in 2003, almost certainly saving it from demolition and is thought to date from around 1740, and though parts were rebuilt in the late nineteenth century much of the interior had survived more or less intact. It closed in 2001 and is now a hotel.

My final picture was at The Working Mens Hall and Club Rooms on Romford Road, founded in 1865 and rebuilt in 1905, with the motto Labor Omnia Vincit (Work Conquers All). Perhaps it was here that the symposium was held, and I have a very vague recollection of a talk by Iain Sinclair, although that could have been on quite a different occasion.

A few more pictures here.


Grenfell Remembered in South Norwood – 2018

Tuesday, November 14th, 2023

Grenfell Remembered in South Norwood. On the 14th of every month since the terrible fire on 14 June 2017 I remember Grenfell, though its something which has fallen out of the news. The Grenfell Inquiry dragged on – as it was meant to – until November 2022, and now its final report is not expected until some time in 2024. Such is the long grass which the UK excels in to protect the guilty, or at least the wealthy guilty who are an integral part of the establishment and corporate bodies.

Grenfell Remembered in South Norwood
Pictures are from South Norwood Stands With Grenfell march on November 14, 2018

It seems unlikely that there will ever be justice for the victims and their families or that any of the people or companies and other organisations responsible will ever be brought to trial. Probably at most there will be a few minor cases resulting in some fairly inconsequential fines.

Grenfell Remembered in South Norwood

Of course there have been some changes, with the similar cladding on some other towers being replaced by less flammable alternative, although there are still buildings with this dangerous cladding.

Grenfell Remembered in South Norwood

It didn’t take long for independent experts to produce extensive reports into the causes of the fire and publish these, and nothing that years of inquiry have produced adds much more than minor details and an increased list of those culpable. At one protest a few months after the fire we were told of a similar fire in Japan where those responsible were in court a matter of weeks after the disaster.

Grenfell Remembered in South Norwood

We also saw a concerted attempt in the first phase of the inquiry to push blame for the deaths onto the fire service, which was over-stressed due to cuts and which had been prevented from doing many of the things recommended in the report by a government programme of ‘reducing red tape’ in health and safety and building regulations which led those responsible only too literally get away with murder.

Jane Nicholl and Ian Bone

An earlier fire in Southwark had led to an inquest which had identified some of these problems and the coroner had made a number of recommendations, most of which had not been implemented.

What is clear is that on the night of the fire, firefighters had acted with incredible bravery despite lacking some essential equipment – such as the long ladders that had to be brought in from Surrey. And that as they were not aware of the conditions in this tower and some other blocks they had not realised until too late that the fire measures that should have contained the fire in the flat where it had started would not work.

A few weeks later there was a similar incident in a council block in East London which was contained and there was no loss of life. If Grenfell had been properly inspected and maintained the same would have been true, but it had been turned into a firebomb.

The march on Wednesday 14th November 2018 in South Norwood was prompted by a disgusting video being posted of a cardboard Grenfell tower being burnt by Conservative club members at a bonfire party in the area. It was a hateful video that shocked the nation by its callous treatment of a distaster that killed so many.

The South Norwood Tourist Board – and unofficial community group which has enriched the area by converting waste areas into public gardens and promoting local community events – organised a march to show solidarity with Grenfell, with several hundreds of local residents marching through the streets at the same time as the monthly silent march of remembrance in Notting Hill on the 14th of every month.

Those taking part included several former residents of Grenfell Tower and some who lost friends in the tragic fire, and several came with a Grenfell United banner to support South Norwood’s demonstration of solidarity. Leading members of the SNTB include Jane Nicholl and her partner Ian Bone of Class War. Ian had lived in Grenfell Tower when he first moved to London and it was from there that the first issued of Class War’s magazine were produced.

A relative of Sandra Ruiz of Grenfell United died in Grenfell Tower

Some shops along the route were decorated in support of Grenfell, and after the final speeches there was very welcome free hot soup provided by the Portland Arms pub.