Posts Tagged ‘rally’

Strangers Into Citizens – 2009

Saturday, May 4th, 2024

Strangers Into Citizens – Strangers into Citizens held a march and rally on Monday 4th May 2009 calling for long term irregular migrants living in the UK to be provided with a way to earn indefinite leave to remain here.

Strangers Into Citizens

There are thought now around 800,000 people living in the UK without a legal permit to do so. Accurate figures are impossible to find as these people obviously do not want to be recorded by the authorities.

Strangers Into Citizens

Many are working and carrying out work that others do not want to so but are essential to keep our economy running. One of the reasons why the UK is attractive to migrants is the size of our hidden economy, economic activities entirely hidden from HMRC.

Strangers Into Citizens

Almost one in ten UK citizens takes some part in this hidden economy, though for many their activities are on a small scale and often transitory. But almost half of those gain an income that if declared would put the above the current tax threshold. Some of these are people without legal residence, while there are others who have permission to be here but not to work. And of course others are just tax evaders.

Strangers Into Citizens

It would benefit the economy and those concerned to regularise their position so they could both work here legally and pay tax. There are also a significant number with qualifications which could take them out of the largely unskilled manual work that makes up much of the hidden economy and put their skills to work, profiting both themselves and the country. Having people with Maths or Engineering degrees making a poor living as cleaners (and I’ve met them) makes no sense when they could make a much greater contribution.

The UK has an ageing population and increasingly fewer of us are likely to be economically active – the ONS model suggests there will be an additional 317,000 people economically inactive in the UK by 2026 compared to 2023, and this trend seems likely to continue. We need migration to make up the gap and regularising the position for those already here would certainly help.

There are no legal routes to enter the UK to claim asylum and those who want to do so must either enter irregularly or come on tourist or other visas. The majority of migrants enter the country legally but overstay the terms of their visas, some claiming asylum, others just melting into the community. Another large group of migrants are the children born here to irregular migrants – until 1st January 1983 this automatically made you a British citizen but now this is only the case if one of your parents is British.

Over many years now we have seen an increasing ratcheting up of racist rhetoric and policies by the two major parties, each determined to outflank the other in appeasing the extreme right and playing on fear. The Tory government has increasingly introduced criminal sanctions against those who enter the country in ways it calls illegal, with all those arriving by them now being threatened with deportation to Rwanda, whether or not that country is actually a safe destination.

But the number Rwanda expects to take over a five years is only 1000, just 200 per year. In the year ending June 2023, official statistics show 52,530 irregular migrants were detected on, or shortly after, arrival to the UK on various routes, 85% of them on small boats. There are of course no figures for how many came and were not detected.

The UK currently does have a very limited partial amnesty scheme. Those who have managed to stay – legally or illegally – continuously for 20 years can apply for a visa which grants another 30 months of residence, while those with 10 continuous years of legal residence can also apply for an extension.

Many of those who I marched with on Monday 4th May 2009 from Lambeth were from London’s large Latin American community. Some were probably irregular but most will have entered the country legally as EU citizens and some have been given asylum here or be waiting for the Home Office to process their claim. The Home Office states the average time is six months, but the actual average is estimated to be somewhere between one and three years.

Others had marched from other areas of London, many starting from seven religious services in various parts of the city. The marches joined in Parliament Square to march together to Trafalgar Square where there were a large number of speeches in support of an amnesty from religious, political and trade union groups as well as representatives of various ethnic groups and migrants from a number of countries, followed by music and dancing.

More on My London Diary at Strangers Into Citizens.


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May Day 2004

Wednesday, May 1st, 2024

May Day 2004 – One of the many advantages of giving up full-time teaching around 2000 was that I was able to go to various events that previously took place when I was at work. And one of these was the London May Day celebrations taking place on May 1st – previously I could only take part in these when May Day fell on day I was not at work. I hope to be taking pictures of today’s march and rally as usual from Clerkenwell Green to Trafalgar Square gathering at noon.

May Day 2004

Back in 1978, Labour Prime Minister James Callaghan introduced an early May bank holiday, but rather than making May Day – International Workers Day – a bank holiday we got instead the first Monday in May. So only one year in seven do we get a Bank Holiday on May Day.

May Day 2004

Even then, Tories have made several attempts to get the Bank Holiday moved to another time of year – the first attempts came with a bill in 1982 and ten years later John Major suggested Trafalgar Day. The coalition government made another attempt in 2011, but so far strong opposition has kept the early May holiday, though I suspect it may be under threat again in the next Labour government.

May Day 2004

In 2004, twenty years ago, May Day was a Saturday, so many who would otherwise have been working were able to attend the annual May Day march and rally in London. I’ve written on some previous May Days about the origin of May Day and how it became International Workers’ Day and rather than repeat myself you can read an article by People’s History Museum researcher Dr Shirin Hirsch, May Day: A People’s Holiday which has the advantage of some fine illustrations.

Here, suitably corrected, is what I wrote about my May Day twenty years ago. All the photographs in this post are from May 1st 2004. There are many more pictures on My London Diary.

May Day!

London’s TUC sponsored May Day March and Rally is a peaceful celebration of International Workers’ Day. This was apparently first celebrated in 1886 in Chicago by striking textile workers.

May Day 2004

In London, the celebrations are dominated by several Turkish and Kurd groups, with the MLKP and their youth wing being some of the most vocal.

I was pleased to meet up again with members of Bristol Radical Cheerleaders, adding their enthusiasm and a little spectacle to the event. Fortunately they were not responsible for the route, as ‘To the left, to the left, not to the right, to the left’ might never have got us to Trafalgar Square.

Maybe that wouldn’t have been a bad thing. The rally at the end was something of an anti-climax. Not that London Mayor Ken didn’t project his usual charm – and Frances O’Grady and the others spoke well, it was just, well, a bit dull. It needs something that is rather more of a celebration and a party.

I wandered off, jumping on a bus down the Strand to Fleet Street and St Brides where there was a wedding going on. Perhaps I should have taken more than the couple of pictures here, but I didn’t have an invite.

Back in St James Park there was supposed to be a party, and a game of ‘Anarchist Mayday Cricket’. It wasn’t quite the weather for either, and I took a few snaps and came home.

My London Diary – May 2004

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Southall Rally For Unity Against Racism – 2019

Saturday, April 27th, 2024

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

Southall Rally For Unity Against Racism

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

Southall Rally For Unity Against Racism

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

Southall Rally For Unity Against Racism

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

Southall Rally For Unity Against Racism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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UVW Protest Topshop & John Lewis – 2016

Tuesday, April 16th, 2024

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

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

UVW Protest Topshop & John Lewis

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

UVW Protest Topshop & John Lewis

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

UVW Protest Topshop & John Lewis

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

UVW Protest Topshop & John Lewis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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March & Rally for Palestine – 2002

Saturday, April 13th, 2024

March & Rally for Palestine: I find it interesting to look back at the march and rally in support of Palestine which took place in London on Saturday 13th April 2002 for several reasons.

March & Rally for Palestine

The march was organised by the Muslim Association of Britain and came after the start of the large scale Israeli Operation Defensive Shield in towns and villages across the West Bank and battles against Palestinians in Jenin and Nablus in early April.

March & Rally for Palestine

Operation Defensive Shield was aimed at at halting Palestinian suicide bombings against civilians in Israel which were taking place during the Second Intifada.

March & Rally for Palestine

Around 30,000 people, mainly Muslims, had gathered at Hyde Park to march to the rally at Trafalgar Square (police estimates of the number at 10-15,000 were clearly too small.) According to CNNthey clambered on to Nelson’s Column chanting slogans before burning and tearing Israeli flags.”

March & Rally for Palestine

Well, a few of them did burn flags, though not in my sight, but rather more joined in the chanting of ‘”Down with Israel,” “Down, down U.S.A.” and “Jihad!” or holy war.’ Later in their article CNN do quote a MAB spokesman telling them that jihad “means ‘struggle', it does not mean war“.

They also quote the MAB spokesman telling them that the youth “tend to get a bit excited just as a large crowd does at a football match” and making clear that the MAB “do not believe in the burning of any flag.”

I think you can see from my pictures that this protest had a very different atmosphere from the current protests calling for a ceasefire and the end of the massacres of the Palestinian people. The current protests involve the whole range of the British population – including many Jews – and are largely about ending the senseless wholesale killing and destruction while many in 2002 were clearly showing support for the activities of Palestinian militants including suicide bombers. There are a number of posters and placards in my pictures which would now result in arrests.

Tony Benn was one of the speakers at the rally and is of course no longer with us, but Jeremy Corbyn still speaks at today’s protests. CNN quotes him in 2002 as saying:

This is a demonstration by thousands of British people, Muslim and non-Muslim, demanding peace and the establishment of a Palestinian state and withdrawal by Israeli forces. And the message to Tony Blair is now clear, he must stop speaking on behalf of George Bush and instead on behalf of peace and justice in the Middle East.”

Replace Blair by Sunak, Bush by Biden and it still makes sense.

This was also I think the first time I had posted colour pictures of a protest on My London Diary. Back in March 2002 I was still working with film, both black and white and colour negative.

Of course film does not come with EXIF data, but I think the colour pictures were probably made using a Konica Hexar F, with various Leica M fitting lenses, with those in the crowd using a 15mm Voigtlander. They were scanned with the first film scanner I bought, a Canoscan which had just come out in 2002, and neither hardware or software were really up to the job. The final picture is not one I posted in 2002, and I have improved the scan made then a little in Photoshop.

A few more pictures on the April 2002 page of My London Diary.


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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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Children’s Blood and Women Rise – 2019

Saturday, March 9th, 2024

Children’s Blood and Women Rise – On Saturday 9th March 2019 Extinction Rebellion covered the road at Downing St with fake blood in a protest calling for a future for children and women marched through the West End in an annual protest against male violence.


Blood of Our Children – XR – Downing St

Children's Blood and Women Rise

Two processions converged from both directions on Whitehall outside Downing Street, each led by children carrying posters with the message ‘Our Future, Our Blood’ along with a person ringing a bell.

Children's Blood and Women Rise

The children were followed by people in single file carrying buckets of fake blood prepared to be arrested to draw attention to the need for urgent action to avoid the otherwise inevitable extinction of human life on Earth. They were followed by a crowd of other Extinction Rebellion supporters.

In front of Downing Street those carrying buckets formed a large half circle and when the bells stopped ringing came forward in three waves to pour the blood onto the roadway, retuning to sit down and await arrest.

Children's Blood and Women Rise

Police watched carefully but took no action. There were a number of short speeches from young people, including some very impressive 10 and 11 year-olds, before I left, as well as by students and grandparents, but no arrests.

More pictures at Blood of Our Children – XR.


Million Women March against male violence – Oxford St

I left early to rush to Oxford Street for the annual all-women Million Women March by several thousand women, girls and children against male violence and arrived a little before the march was due to start from a street at the side of Selfridges.

The theme of the 2019 march was ‘Never Forgotten’ and it remembered the more than a hundred women killed by men each year in the UK, mainly by partners or ex-partners.

As in other years there was a strong representation by women from our diverse ethnic communities, concerned about male violence both here and in their countries of origin.

In the UK 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence at some point in their lives and one incident is reported to police every minute.

Many more pictures on My London Diary Million Women March against male violence.


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Shaker, Job Centres, Firefighters, Tube, Lambeth

Sunday, February 25th, 2024

Shaker, Job Centres, Firefighters, Tube, Lambeth – On Wednesday 25th February I photographed a number of protests in London, starting in Westminster with the Free Shaker Aamer campaign, striking firefighters and welfare rights activists, then with tube workers at Edgware Road and finally outside Lambeth Town Hall in Brixton.


Free Shaker Aamer – Parliament Square

Shaker, Job Centres, Firefighters, Tube, Lambeth

A protest opposite Parliament called for the urgent release of London resident Shaker Aamer from Guantanamo, where he has been held and regularly abused for 13 years without charge or trial.

Shaker, Job Centres, Firefighters, Tube, Lambeth

The Free Shaker Aamer Campaign had been holding weekly protests opposite Parliament whenever it was in session to remind government of the need for act over his release. He had long been cleared for release but was still held in the illegal prison camp with both US and UK governments dragging their feet as his testimony would be embarrassing to their security agencies, making clear their involvement in torture.

Shaker, Job Centres, Firefighters, Tube, Lambeth

The protest was longer than usual as an international event was taking place at the nearby QEII centre and they wanted to remind delegates there of Shaker’s torture and imprisonment. Eventually the long campaign of protests by this and other groups led the UK government they needed to back his release in practice and he was finally released on 30th October 2015.

More pictures: Free Shaker Aamer at Parliament


Striking Firefighters block traffic – Westminster

Shaker, Job Centres, Firefighters, Tube, Lambeth

Firefighters in England held a 24 hour strike on 25th Feb 2015 against the unworkable pension scheme the government intended to implement. They say that the devolved governments had recognised the problems in the scheme and made improvements but in England government ministers were refusing to talk with the union, simply ignoring requests for meetings. They accused the government of lies about the union, saying they were being labelled as militants despite them being ready and willing to enter into negotiations at any time.

After a rally in Westminster Central Hall, several thousand striking firefighters protested on the street outside Parliament before marching to Downing St. Their protest brought all traffic in the area to a standstill until they marched away.

They stopped outside Downing Street and refused to move, saying they would wait there until someone came out to talk to them. A senior police officer come to talk with Matt Wrack and the other FBU leaders there and was extrememly politie, taking Wrack’s mobile number before going away to see if anyone could be persuaded to come out from Downing St to meet the protesters.

I left them leaning on the barriers and looking into Downing Street waiting for someone to come and see them, though I doubted if anyone would ever emerge.

The Fire Service has also suffered like other public services from government cuts; in London these led to Mayor Boris Johnson making dangerous reductions, closing some fire stations and reducing equipment and staffing, which left the London Fire Brigade ill-equipped to deal with major disasters such as the Grenfell fire.

The FBU union later won a number of legal cases against the government over the changes that were made to the pensions scheme, leading to significant compensation for some members.

More at Striking Firefighters block traffic.


Welfare Advocacy not a Crime – DWP, Westminster

Welfare activists protested outside the Dept of Work & Pensions in Caxton Street as a part of the national day of action over the arrest of welfare rights activist Tony Cox. He had been arrested when he tried to accompany a vulnerable claimant to her job centre interview to argue for a fairer claimant agreement.

As well as several banners, one man was gagged in protest. By law claimants are allowed to have and adviser present with them at the interview, but when a claimant turned up with Cox, his interview was cancelled.

Cox and the claimant then left the job centre, but later in the day police arrived at his him and arrested him, charging him with threatening behaviour.

Welfare Advocacy not a Crime.


RMT protest Underground Job Cuts – Edgware Road Station (Bakerloo)

Around 20 RMT members handed out fliers at the busy Edgware Road Bakerloo Line station against the proposed 50% cut in station staffing and the closure of the ticket offices which they say will endanger the safety of both passengers and staff.

They got a very positive reception from many of the public going in and out of the station or walking past, although a PCSO came to harass and try to stop their picketing. Most of the public seemed to realise that staff do far more than sell tickets and offer service and protection to the travelling public.

Many promises were made to Underground staff and the public about how they would be protected when cuts were made, but most were later broken.

RMT protest Underground Job Cuts


Lambeth against £90m cuts – Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton

After taking some photographs of the protesting RMT staff I got on the Underground there, changing at Oxford Circus to take me to the end of the Victoria Line at Brixton.

There I walked down to Lambeth Town Hall on the corner of Acre Land to join around a hundred trade unionists, pensioners, library and other council staff, social housing tenants and other residents who were gathering for a lively rally outside Lambeth Town Hall.

A lively rally took place urging councillors who were arriving for the council meeting to reject library closures and other £90 millon cuts which were being passed there by the large Labour majority on the council. Labour then held 59 of the 63 council seats. Among the speakers at the rally was the only Green Party councillor, Scott Ainslie, who was to vote against the cuts. The Green Party gained four more seats in the 2018 council elections but lost three of these in 2022. Right-wing Labour councillors still have an overwheming majority and the council continues its policies which fail the community.

Lambeth’s finances were stretched by the development of a new Town Hall or Civic Centre the cost of which roughly doubled from the original contract of £55 million ot £104 million. Policies such as the closure of libraries and the demolition and sale of popular and well-built council estates like Cressingham Gardens had already produced a great deal of protest in the borough.

The £90 million cuts passed at the council meeting later that evening have had a disproportionate impact on children, old people and the disabled who always rely on local services more than the average person. Council employees at the rally opposed the cuts not only because they feared for their own jobs, but because they knew those that remain in post will not be able to offer the public the same quality of service that they do at present.

Lambeth against £90m cuts


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Saturday 10th February 2024 – Gaza & Iran

Thursday, February 15th, 2024

Saturday 10th February 2024 – Gaza & Iran – Saturday 10th February was another day of local actions around the country calling for and end to the horrific genocide now taking place in Gaza. I went to two of the local events in London as well as photographing an annual event on the anniversary of the 1979 revolution in Iran, calling for democracy there.


Ceasefire Now – Stop The Genocide In Gaza, Southwark

Saturday 10th February 2024 - Gaza & Iran
London, UK. 10 Feb 2024. Camberwell Green

Southwark and Lambeth 4 Palestine had organised another march from Camberwell Green to BAE Systems offices on Southwark Street against the terrible genocide now being carried out by Israeli forces in Gaza. It turned out to be rather smaller than previous local marches, perhaps because many people in the area had demonstrated in workplace-based protests earlier in the week.

Saturday 10th February 2024 - Gaza & Iran
London, UK. 10 Feb 2024.

The event started with a few short speeches on Camberwell Green, including one from a student activist from the UAL at the Elephant where they had had a large protest. She talked about how she had been inspired by the example of Brian Haw’s protest over many years in Parliament Square who had carried on calling for peace and an ending to the killing of children until shortly before his death in June 2011, almost ten years after his protest there had begun.

Saturday 10th February 2024 - Gaza & Iran
Brian Haw: Find Your Courage; Share Your Vision; Change Your World.
(T-shirt from Dan Wilkins, The Nth Degree.)March 2007, Peter Marsh
all

I got to know Brian well, going to speak with him every time I went to photograph in Westminster and often photographing him, as you can see on-line at My London Diary. He suffered regular harassment from police, council officials and thugs encouraged by the authorities, some of whom were I think plain clothes officers or military. An Act of Parliament was passed largely to try to end his peace camp there, though it also severely restricted other protests within a kilometre of Parliament.

Saturday 10th February 2024 - Gaza & Iran
London, UK. 10 Feb 2024

Later, after his ill-health took him to hospital, his protest there was continued by Barbara Tucker who had joined his campaign there in 2005. She was subjected to even more severe police harassment, was arrested at least 47 times and served two periods in prison, of two weeks and nine weeks. In January 2012 police removed her protection against the elements – tent, blankets and sleeping bag and later they came back for her chair. She continued to protest there despite needing hospital treatment for exposure until May 2013.

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024.

The march set off with around a hundred people marching behind the banner though more joined the later at the end. There was considerable support from people on the roadside, particularly when it went past the busy section of Walworth Road close to East Street Market, and many drivers going in the opposite direction beeped their horns in support. Although the UK government continues its support of the Israeli genocide clearly the majority of the British people do not.

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024

I found it a rather long march – well over two and a half miles – and was wishing I’ve brought my bicycle by the time we got to the Bluefin Building on Southwark Street. The march stopped for a few minutes in front of the building where BAE Systems have offices on an upper floor.

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024.

BAE Systems is the world’s seventh-largest military contractor, and the largest in Europe and supplies Israel with a wide range of weapons which for years have been used against Palestinian citizens and civilian infrastructure “including hospitals, schools, and water and electric systems.” There is much more about their activities in arming Israel on the American Friends Service Committee web site.

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024

When we arrived at Bluefin, we saw that others had been there before us, and a large area of the frontage had been sprayed with red paint. A team of contractors were busy cleaning it off. I took a few pictures of them as the marchers moved off down the side of the building for another rally, but I walked back to Southwark Station to catch the Elizabeth line to Westminster.

More pictures online and available for use on Alamy.


Iranians Call For Freedom and Democracy in Iran

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024.

45 years after the Shah of Iran was forced into exile by a popular revolution following repression under the Pahvlavi regime, the Anglo-Iranian community and the National Council of Resistance of Iran call for a new revolution to end the oppressive theocratic regime with democracy and for the UK to declare the Islamic Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group.

They say Khomeini who had been invited back by the acting government after the revolution stole the leadership of the country revolution in a rigged vote, imposing the current oppressive theocratic regime.

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) has put forward a ten point plan for a future democratic republic in Iran, with secular government, democratic elections, freedom of expression, equal rights for women and human rights and an independent judiciary and legal system.

The NCRI is a coalition with representation from five bodies, the major of which is the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), which currently has its headquarters in Albania. It was largely disarmed after the US/UK invasion of Iraq and its camp in Iraq was attacked after US forces withdrew.

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024

On Feb 1st this year, the House of Commons agreed to a motion in support of freedom and democracy in Iran. The motion condemns the violent state crackdown on the protests and urgest the government to proscribe Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

As I left the protest, two men came to try and disrupt the protest and there were brief scuffles as security and others tried to move them away. After a few minutes police came and held one of them, talking to him and suggesting he leave – the other was already a few yard down the road.

More pictures online and available from Alamy.


Ceasefire Now – Stop The Genocide In Gaza, Ealing, London, UK

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024

I was on my way to Ealing, fortunately a much faster journey now the Elizabeth Line goes to Ealing Broadway, although I still arrived well after the rally outside the town hall there had started. There was a large crowd around the steps on the main road in front of Ealing Town Hall, another of the many local protests around the country calling for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the genocide in Gaza which has now killed 28,000 mainly women and children and severely injured around 68,000.

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024

The entire population of Gaza is now living in desperate conditions with constant threat of bombing, shelling, famine and disease. Speakers condemned the failure to respond to the ICJ ruling to prevent acts of genocide and for the continued killing taking place there with precision targeted attacks on ambulances, aid workers, schools, hospitals, refugee camps, medical staff, journalists and others.

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024. Grenfell campaigner Moyra Samuels.

I think most of the speakers were from Ealing and Southall, but Grenfell campaigner Moyra Samuels had also come to speak both about the shameful attack on Gaza and also share some experiences of campaigning over the Grenfell fire, where continued protests had helped to keep the fight for justice alive – though there is little sign of justice so far.

London, UK. 10 Feb 2024.

I left as the rally was coming to a close, taking my final pictures of it from the top deck of the bus which was taking me to Brentford and a train home from there.

More pictures online and available from Alamy.


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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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All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall.
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