Posts Tagged ‘Rwanda’

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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Vaisakhi, Uganda & Freedom Umbrella – 2011

Tuesday, April 9th, 2024

Vaisakhi, Uganda & Freedom Umbrella: On Saturday 9th April 2011 After visiting Woolwich to photograph the Vaisakhi celebrations I came back into central London to photograph Ugandans and Kurds protesting for freedom and democracy.


Vaisakhi Celebrations in Woolwich

Vaisakhi, Uganda & Freedom Umbrella

For some years I had been documenting religious festivals in and around London and had photographed a number of Sikh Gurdwaras at their Vaisakhi festivals.

Vaisakhi, Uganda & Freedom Umbrella

On Saturday 9th April 2011 I went to the Ramgarhia Association Gurdwara in Mason’s Hill Woolwich. The Ramgarhia are a Sikh community who originally came from the close to Amritsar in the Punjab and traditionally they were carpenters, blacksmiths and other artisan workers but were renowned for their military prowess and the victories of the armies.

Vaisakhi, Uganda & Freedom Umbrella

When I turned up I was warmly welcomed and taken to the Langar hall where I enjoyed some of the free vegetarian food on offer to all, prepared and served by members of the congregation who volunteer their services as a part of their religious practice and was able to talk with people there and wander around taking photographs.

Vaisakhi, Uganda & Freedom Umbrella

The Gurdwara was established in 1970 in an existing landmark building, the Victorian Freemasons Hall, just over the Woolwich border in Plumstead on a street which was then called Mount Pleasant.

The Freemason’s Hall was where the Royal Arsenal Football Club held its annual meetings and dinners, and on 16th May 1891 that the Annual General Meeting of the Royal Arsenal Football Club (earlier known as Dial Square) the committee announced it had decided two weeks earlier to turn professional and had thus resigned from the amateur Kent and London Associations.

In 1913, the club moved across the river to a new stadium at Highbury, where it continued to play until 2006, when it moved the short distance to its new Emirates stadium. Apparently it is doing quite well at the moment.

The Vaisakhi festival, which takes place on April 14 each year marks the formation of the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru, in 1699. You can read more about this and the Vaisakhi Nagar Kirtan procession which is lead by five Khalsa – baptised Sikhs – dressed in saffron robes and turbans and carrying swords in the account I wrote on My London Diary, Vaisakhi Celebrations in Woolwich, as well as in the posts on other Vaisakhi processions on that site.

On My London Diary I wrote in more detail about the origins of Vaisakhi and the 10th Sikh Guru who gave Sikhism its modern form with its symbols and the eternal guru, the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy religious scripture being reverently carried out to the procession in th picture above.

Unfortunately the start of the procession was delayed and although I had photographed the preparations for it I had to run to catch a train before the actual start of the colourful procession, with its joyful singing of Sikh hymns, martial arts demonstrations and Dhol drumming through the town, expected to take several hours.

More at Vaisakhi Celebrations in Woolwich.


Ugandans Demand Democracy – Uganda House, Trafalgar Square

Ugandans had come to protest outside Uganda House in Trafalgar Square, calling for new free and fair elections after the rigged Parliamentary and Presidential elections in February.

The election on 18 Feb had resulted in the re-election of the sitting president Yoweri Museveni, in power for 25 years, apparently getting 68% of the vote.

But the EU Election Observation Mission which had been in Uganda for the vote reported the election, with a turnout of only 59% had been “marred by avoidable administrative and logistical failures which led to an unacceptable number of Ugandan citizens being disenfranchised” and that Museveni had used his presidential power to “compromise severely the level playing filed between the competing candidates and political parties.”

As well as the state owned Uganda Broadcasting Corporation giving much more coverage to the ruling NRM party, there had been extenisve human rights abuses with the police failing to take action against groups attacking opposition political meetings, intimidation and assaults on journalists and the cancellation of broadcasts.

Ugandans Demand Democracy


Freedom Umbrella Kurds March Through London – Old Marylebone Rd – Downing St

Freedom Umbrella (Chatri Azadi), a coalition of British-based Kurdish organisations and supporters, had organised a demonstration in front of the offices of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Old Marylebone Road followed by a march to a rally opposite Downing St.

They called for support of the people’s uprising for freedom and social justice in the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan which had begun on 17th February but had hardly been noticed by UK media.

Two Kurdish militia groups dominate Iraqi Kurdistan and remain in power. On 19th April their security forces began a more organised violent crackdown on the protests which brought them to an end.

I met the protesters as the march neared Trafalgar Square and photographed their rally opposite Downing Street.

More pictures Freedom Umbrella Kurds March In London.


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Photographing Police & Policing Protest – 2009

Friday, February 16th, 2024

Photographing Police & Policing Protest: On Monday 16th February 2009 I photographed two protests, one against a new law on photographing police and the second which made me question how the police were policing protests. Fifteen years later we have seen a number of laws which severely restrict the right to protest and draconian new proposals to outlaw many more of the activities which help bring protests to public attention.


Media Protest at Terror Law – New Scotland Yard

Photographing Police & Policing Protest

Around 400 people, mainly photographers, had turned up to protest outside New Scotland Yard, then still on Victoria Street, Westminster, on the day that Section 76 of the Counter-Terrorism Act came into force.

This makes it an offence to photograph members of the police, armed forces or security services, or at least to do so if the photographs are “likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism“.

Photographing Police & Policing Protest

The vagueness of this statement is a a symptom of the failure of our parliament over recent years to properly scrutinise new legislation, and journalists and others have protested that it could seriously inhibit the freedom of the press as well as the normal liberties of all citizens. The Metropolitan Police Federation agreed, believing the law is unworkable and could well inhibit the freedom of the press.

Photographing Police & Policing Protest

Photographers saw it as yet another law which increases the climate of fear felt by anyone using a camera on the public streets. Many of us have experienced questioning by the police when working; photographers have already been detained and searched under existing anti-terrorist laws and other acts when covering demonstrations, travelling close to airports or even photographing weddings.

Photographing Police & Policing Protest
Mark Thomas speaking

Many of London’s leading press photographers turned up to this ‘media event’ organised to highlight the dangers to our freedom of expression and action this new law presents. Most of them wore badges or stickers proclaiming “I’m a photographer… not a terrrorist“, the name of the campaign group set up by photographers.

PHNAT’s founding description was “Photography is under attack. Across the country anyone with a camera is targeted as a potential terrorist. This campaign is for everyone who values visual imagery press freedom.” It was set up by a small group of London-based photographers and videographers who covered political protest including myself and colleagues in the NUJ and grew rapidly.

For once this was a protest which gained wide publicity even on the BBC and newspapers which generally ignore UK protests. It was of course covered in the photographic press too, though at the time I found the quality of the photographs of the event in some of them rather lacking.

More pictures on My London Diary – Media Protest at Terror Law.


Protest at Silence over Congo Genocide – Westminster

Police at the photographers’ protest had been friendly and for once I think they didn’t even bother to photograph us, though doubtless the whole area was covered by a number of CCTV cameras. But there was a very different atmosphere around the policing of this second event I photographed.

It was a fairly small protest, with perhaps 50 people in a march organised by International Congolese Rights against the continuing violence in the DRC, marching slowly down Victoria Street to Parliament Square.

They marched slowly, at a funereal pace in memory of those killed in Congo in the fighting since 1996. The marchers were continually harassed by police to go faster, but refused to do so. There were probably more police than marchers and the march was accompanied by five police vehicles, one in front of the marchers a surveillance vehicle with loudspeakers and continually filming the march.

When the march reached Parliament Square, the marchers were ushered into a pen of barriers on the side of the square facing Westminster Abbey and St Margarets, although clearly they intended to demonstrate to Parliament rather than the Church of England and surely should have been allowed to protest at the front of the square. One of their representatives was still arguing with police about this when I left.

Here is what I wrote in 2009 about the Congo and the reasons behind this protest:

Capitalism at its rawest is fighting for the mineral wealth of the country – particularly coltan, an ore containing niobium and tantalum, essential for mobile phones and other electronic devices, of which the Congo has 80% of known world reserves and cobalt – of which it is the world’s largest producer – but also diamonds, copper, and gold.

Competing interests trying to grab these riches have led to over 6 million people being killed in the Congo, and unimaginable atrocities against the people there – some of which were shown in the pictures that some of the demonstrators carried.

The Congo is a corrupt police state ruled by Laurent Kabila, with large areas occupied by forces backed by neighbouring states and criminal syndicates, including the Rwandan army. Rwanda, under President Paul Kagame has supported the National Council for the Defense of the People loyal to former General Laurent Nkunda. The UK government is accused of supporting Rwanda.

Protest at Silence over Congo Genocide


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Goodbye & Good Riddance – July & August 2023

Thursday, January 4th, 2024

Goodbye & Good Riddance – July & August 2023: Some more pictures from my Facebook albums for last year.

Goodbye & Good Riddance - July & August 2023
Ealing Celebrates 75 Years Of The NHS. 1 July 2023.
Eve Turner, Ealing Save Our NHS, leads some singing. Campaigners from Ealing Save Our NHS celebrated 75 years of the NHS on the side of the main road in front of Ealing Hospital. Speakers called for a proper workforce plan, pointing out the failure of the recent government plan to recognise the realities of an overworked and underpaid system which has been deliberately run into the ground as a pretext for privatisation.
Peter Marshall
Goodbye & Good Riddance - July & August 2023
Housing For Need Not Greed – March to the Aylesbury Estate, Southwark. 8 July 2023.
Marchers at the Elephant on their way to the Aylesbury Estate. This was one of 16 events across the country on National Housing Day. It demanded Southwark Council stop demolishing council homes and refurbish and repopulate estates to house people and end the huge carbon footprint of demolish and rebuild. They demanded housing for need not corporate greed, refurbishment not demolition, filling of empty homes and an end to the leasehold system.
Peter Marshall
Goodbye & Good Riddance - July & August 2023
London Trans+ Pride March. 8 July 2023.
Many thousands of Trans+ and gender-diverse siblings and supporters meet in a wet Trafalgar Square and march to a rally at Hyde Park Corner in a day of trans, intersex, non-binary and gender nonconformity joy, rage and liberation in defiance of the attacks on their community and lives. The ‘Never March Alone’ day called for transgender freedom and equality in the UK and globally and honoured the memory of those killed for being trans.
Peter Marshall
Goodbye & Good Riddance - July & August 2023
Speak Out Against British State Racism, Hammersmith. 15 July 2023.
Protesters from the RCG in Hammersmith against the Illegal Migration Bill hand out leaflets and collect petition signatures saying the bill is racist, scapegoating and criminalising migrants and asylum seekers, denying them their basic human rights. The government claims it is compassionate but shows no compassion, intending to imprison migrants regardless and deport them to Rwanda while failing to address the causes of migration.
Peter Marshall
Save Democracy in Israel, London UK. 30 July 2023.
A large rally in Parliament Square organised by members of the British Jewish community sends a message to the Israeli government rejecting their actions and supporting those protesting for the future of their country and children in Israel after the Knesset this week voted to abolish the Reasonableness Doctrine. They call on all who love and care about Israel’s future to defend Israeli democracy.
Peter Marshall
No To Nuclear War Embassy Walk, London. 4 Aug 2023.
Handing in a letter for the French Ambassador. Campaigners from France and Germany en route to the International Hiroshima-Nagasaki International Fast join British anti-nuclear activists in an “Embassy Walk” to the Russian, French, German Embassies and Downing Street calling on them to sign the UN Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and get rid of their nuclear weapons. There were performances by Raised Voices choir.
Peter Marshall
London CND Hiroshima Day Commemoration. 6 Aug 2023.
Jeremy Corbyn MP holds up and reads from a mug commemorating peace campaigner Bruce Kent. 78 years after the US exploded atomic bombs at the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagaski, London CND met at the Hiroshima Cherry tree in Tavistock Square to remember the over 350,000 people killed immediately or who died from the bombing in the next few months. Speakers called on the UK government to abandon nuclear weapons and sign the UN treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons.
Peter Marshall
No To NATO No To War Rally. 6 Aug 2023.
A rally at Downing Street demanded Britain leave NATO and end support for its continuing proxy war in Ukraine. Speakers including journalists Tony Gosling and Patrick Henningsen, lecturer Niall McCrae and former British Ambassador to Syria Peter Ford outlined and gave evidence of its anti-Russsian activities since its inception, with Piers Corbyn ending his speech with climate denial, homophobia and ULEZ opposition.
Peter Marshall.

There were relatively few protests in August as many people were on holiday – and I spent some time away from London and protests.


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UN Anti-Racism Day 2017 & 2023

Saturday, March 18th, 2023

UN Anti-Racism Day 2017 & 2023

Today, 18th march is the UN Anti-Racism Day, and in 2017 it was also a Saturday, and tens of thousands marched through London, starting as they will today outside the BBC and ending with a large rally in Westminster.

UN Anti-Racism Day 2017 & 2023

Today’s march, as in 2017, is organised by Stand Up to Racism, Unite Against Fascism and Love Music, Hate Racism and the TUC and supported by many other groups, including football fans from around the country who will be wearing team colours.

UN Anti-Racism Day 2017 & 2023

This years march is perhaps even more important, with the UK Government pursuing clearly racist policies against immigrants in last year’s Nationality and Borders Act, its attempt to deport refugees to Rwanda and Suella Braverman’s recently announced Illegal Migration Bill.

Phyll Opoku of PCS ‘Stand Up to Racism’

Football fans have been energised by the BBC’s reaction to Gary Lineker’s tweet. He was clearly correct in observing the hostile anti-refugees language used by the government to language used in Germany in the 1930s. They say the government are trying to stir up division and racism to deflect attention from their multiple crises and turn refugees into scapegoats.

Unfortunately it isn’t just the government, but also the official opposition who continue to up the ante over immigration, refusing to stand up to the government with any real attempt to improve our treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. Real opposition to racism has been left to a few increasingly isolated figures on the left of the party – including many of those who have been ejected for supposed anti-semitism, increasingly being used to expel Jewish members who support the Palestinian people. And of course left to footballers or former footballers.

Even Theresa May, who the 2017 march was strongly opposed to for promoting racist measures against immigrants and in particular Muslims in concert with Donald Trump has found Braverman’s latest proposals which will break international law on the human rights of migrants a step too far.

The 2023 march organisers say:

In Britain we face a crisis-ridden government attempting to use racism to make ordinary people pay for the cost of living crisis. The ‘Rwanda plan’, the Nationality and Borders Act, racist deportations and the hostile environment for refugees and migrants are all about divide and rule.

The government deny the reality of institutional racism – despite massively disproportionate deaths in black communities during the pandemic – and the reality of deaths in police custody, racist stop and search and discrimination across society.

Internationally we are seeing the growth of the racist and fascist right and an alarming rise in Islamophobia, antisemitism, Sinophobia, anti East/South East Asian racism and attacks on Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

Despite a rail strike this Saturday I hope to be there later today, again taking photographs and marching with many thousands of others.

Much more from the 2017 march and rally on My London Diary: Thousands March Against Racism.


The Racist UK Immigration System

Tuesday, June 7th, 2022

The Racist UK Immigration System: The Home Office a couple of years ago commissioned a report following the huge publicity over the Windrush scandal after government ministers had been forced to agree to educate all Home Office employees about our colonial history and the experiences faced by black people coming to the UK.

The report, “The Historical Roots of the Windrush Scandal“, by a well-known historian the Home Office refuses to name, details how the whole history of post-war British immigration legislation since the Second World War was “designed at least in part to reduce the number of people with black or brown skin who were permitted to live and work in the UK“, reflecting the “racist ideology of the British Empire.”

For over a year politicians and others have been calling for the report to be published but the Home Office has refused. Last month it was leaked in full to The Guardian, but is still not available to the public, despite having been paid for by our taxes. Many requests for its publication from MPs including the home affairs select committee and campaigners over the past year had been turned down and a freedom of information request about it was refused.

The protest began on Bath Road in front of the Immigration Removal Centres

Some speculate that the true reason for it being kept secret was because it was in direct contradiction to last years report from the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities which had ludicrously concluded there was “no evidence to suggest that Britain was an institutionally racist place.

Others suggest the refusal to publish was that it would bring new highly discriminatory policies being introduced – such as the attacks on cross-channel migrants and the deportation of asylum seekers to Rwanda – liable to greater opposition as a development of an already clearly racist immigration system.

Colnbrook on the left, Harmondsworth at right

Back in June 2014, when the Movement for Freedom organised a protest on June 7th outside the adjoining Harmondsworth and Colnbrook detention centres on the northern boundary of London Heathrow, the thrust of the protest was against the the unjust ‘Fast Track System’ and mistreatment of detainees by private security firms inside these immigration prisons.

John McDonnell speaks outside the detention centres on Bath Road

Local MP John McDonnell who came to speak told the protest that when he first became MP for the area in 1997 the immigration detention centre was only a small building housing a dozen or so detainees rather than the two large blocks the protesters were in front of. The protesters argue that immigration detention is almost entirely unnecessary, existing only to deter immigration and harass and punish those who come here to seek asylum.

Asylum seekers wave from behind the 20ft fence, razor wire and window bars

The fast track system was set up with the deliberate aim of deporting people before they had time to put together the evidence that would enable them to properly present their case to remain. You don’t get a certificate given to you for being tortured or raped but our system treats all of them as guilty, trying to evade our immigration laws and rather than the Home Office having to prove their stories are fabricated calls on them to provide proof of threats, torture, rape and other events that forced them to flee. Legal challenges including that by Detention Action in 2015 found “rules setting the tight timescales for asylum-seekers to make appeals were unlawful and ‘ultra vires’ and that the strict time limits in and of themselves were ‘structurally unfair’.”

Although the legal judgements led to the suspension of DFT, the deportations of asylum seekers to Rwanda currently about to take place clearly represent a ratcheting up of this punitive approach and seem likely also to be successfully challenged in the courts – thought not before hundreds or thousands have been wrongfully deported.

The detention centres were built on a site which has a private road leading to a BT site at the rear. After the speeches on the public highway in front of the site, the marchers walked down this road, making a lot of noise chanting and shouting as well as with whistles and other noise-makers. Detainees came to the windows and waved thanking the protesters for their support, and some were able to communicate using mobile phones.

Mobile phone messages from inside were broadcast to protesters using a megaphone

The two detention prisons are both surrounded by 20 foot high fences, the lower half solid metal sheets and the upper half with a dense solid wire mesh, which makes photographing the windows difficult. But we could clearly see the detainees and they could seem the long banner with the message ‘Stop Racism – End Fast Track – End Detention’ which was held up, and we could make out some of the messages they had written calling for freedom.

We were able to walk completely around the Harmondsworth building (but not the higher security Colnbrook one) and when I left the march organisers were planning to return their route in the opposite direction as they had so many phone calls from those inside, but I had to leave.

Diane Abbott published an opinion piece in The Guardian on the leaked report at the end of May this year, “The truth is out: Britain’s immigration system is racist, and always has been. Now let’s fix it“. Unfortunately I think our current government is unlikely to have any interest at all in doing so. She ends her piece: “The system is calibrated for racism. It always was. We know it, and now we know that, behind closed doors, Priti Patel’s Home Office knows it. The dirty secret is no longer secret.”


HP in Israel, Nurses bursaries, Hungary, Congo & Syria

Saturday, June 4th, 2022

HP in Israel, Nurses bursaries, Hungary, Congo & Syria – five protests that I photographed on
Saturday 4th June 2016.


Boycott HP against Israeli apartheid – PC World, Tottenham Court Road

HP in Israel, Nurses bursaries, Hungary, Congo & Syria

A protest outside PC World on Tottenham Court Rd was one of around 20 actions around the UK held to raise awareness of Hewlett Packard’s heavy involvement the Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people and encourage a boycott of HP.

HP in Israel, Nurses bursaries, Hungary, Congo & Syria

HP provides the biometric system used for ID cards used to control movement of Palestinians inside Israel and in the occupied Palestinian territory, technology for the Israeli military and supporting the illegal settlements.

Boycott HP against Israeli apartheid


March to save NHS student bursaries

HP in Israel, Nurses bursaries, Hungary, Congo & Syria

NHS students and supporters marched from St Thomas’s Hospital to the Department of Health in Whitehall along a route over Waterloo Bridge where there was a brief sit-down, and along the Strand to Charing Cross, where they were joined by disabled protesters who went with them to a rally in front of the Dept of Health at Richmond House on Whitehall.

HP in Israel, Nurses bursaries, Hungary, Congo & Syria
Cecilia Anim, Royal College of Nursing President

Student bursaries are essential for nursing students as they have to spend 50% of their course working in the NHS and unlike other students are unable to work part-time to support themselves. Their work as students is important in keeping the NHS running and the bursaries also allow mature entrants to the profession to train.

Our current nursing shortage is in part due to the ridiculous decision by Jeremy Hunt who ignored the nursing unions and almost everyone else in making the cut. He claimed that removing the bursary would mean that there would be up to 10,000 more training places. In fact the number accepting places on nursing courses in 2018 dropped to its lowest level for five years, 8% less than when bursaries were available. The maintenance grant was reinstated in 2020, leading to an increase in student numbers, particularly in those over 30, where the increase was around 40%.

March to save NHS student bursaries

Rally against axing NHS student bursaries

Danielle Toplady (right) supports Helen Corry as her mother makes a passionate speech in support of nurses

Rally against axing NHS student bursaries


Call for a Greater Hungary – Downing St

Hungarian nationalists marched to Downing St calling for the restoration of the pre-1920 borders of Hungary, including the Székely Land in Romania.

The right-wing Jobbik party or Movement for a Better Hungary has grown considerably in support and in 2018 became the second largest party in the National Assembly and is often accused of seeking the restoration of the borders before the 1920 Trianon Treaty. Around a quarter of ethnic Hungarians live outside of Hungary and many suffer discrimination because of their culture and language. But according to Wikipedia, “Jobbik has never suggested changing borders by force, and believes that the ultimate solution is territorial and cultural autonomy within a European Union framework of minority rights.

Call for a Greater Hungary


Congo Massacre protest – Downing St

The Patrice Lumumba Coalition protested opposite Downing St after the massacre last month of 120 people in Beni, North Kivu, Congo. They say that since 2014, 1000 people have been horrifically murdered in the region, despite the presence of a UN army and the Congolese armed forces.

They blame the massacres in Congo which have resulted in over 10 million being killed on the US-backed overthrow of the Mobutu regime and the support by the US, UK, Belgium and Canada of President Museveni in Uganda and President Kagame in Rwanda, whose proxy armies and militia groups attack the Congolese. This war is driven by multinational corporations to provide the mineral reserves of the Congo, gold, oil, tin and particularly coltan, essential for the production of smart phones, laptops and other electronic gadgets.

The UK backs the genocide with around £500m a year in support of Congo’s President Kabila, and £90m to prop up the Rwandan regime. They want those responsible for backing the genocide – including Tony Blair and the Clintons as well as African leaders to be brought to justice.

Congo Massacre protest


Syrians demand break the siege of Alwaer – Downing St

Syrians at Downing St called on the UK and international community to take urgent action to end the siege of Alwaer and 50 other besieged towns in Syria. People are without electricity, drinking water, food, fuel, and medical care and are at risk of dying from malnutrition

Alwaer, a town of more than 100,000 people, has been under siege by Syrian government forces for over 3 years and many have been killed and others are suffering disease. Assad’s forces are carrying out a systematic and deliberate policy of starvation of civilians, a war crime in grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Syrians demand break the siege of Alwaer