Posts Tagged ‘Saudi Embassy’

Defending the Indefensible

Tuesday, March 17th, 2020

It just hadn’t occurred to me that there would be protesters defending Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, hereafter MbS, the man responsible for sending a team of assassins to kill and then dismember with bone saws the body of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2nd 2018.

Of course their state-sponsored posters and placards – including two large electronic screens strapped to two men didn’t mention the killing, nor MbS’s other purges, including the 2017 arrest of business leaders and other prominent Saudi figures in what he called an anti-corruption campaign, the kidnapping of former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in 2017 and more – including recent arrests of yet more leading Saudi figures who he sees as possible rivals.

So when I first walked up to their noisy protest I misunderstood their reason for being there. I couldn’t of course understand what they were shouting, and it was only after I read the posters that I realised they had come to support MbS and not to protest against a cruel dictator.

Of course some of them may have had good personal reasons for supporting MbS. Saudi businessmen operating in the UK may well be profiting from his economic reforms and support his Vision 2030 for a Saudi Arabia that in some respects will modernise, largely in the interests of business. Some of those taking part will be working for the Saudi government and companies such as Saudi Aramco, supposedly the most profitable company in the world, though this position is perhaps under threat by MbS’s current oil war with Russia. And some may have been paid for their evening’s work.

Certainly if you are a Saudi citizen and have any intention of returning to that country in the future, being seen as a supporter of MbS rather than an opponent will be vital for your health – as the brutal Khashoggi murder testifies. You need to be seen (and filmed) to be on the right side.


Justice for Jamal Khashoggi

On the anniversary of Khashoggi’s death, a small group of protesters on the opposite side of the road stood in a quiet line in front of the Embassy garden holding posters, and later burning nightlights, in a silent vigil for the cruelly murdered journalist. It was a small but dignified and rather more impressive display than the PR event taking place opposite.


More on both events:
Saudis support killer Prince MBS
Justice For Jamal Khashoggi


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

Hands off Sudan

Sunday, November 3rd, 2019

The protest in London on 15th June was a response to the massacre of 124 peaceful protesters by Janjaweed militias (Rapid Support Forces) in Khartoum on 3rd June and the 3-day general strike prompted by this the following week. Protests began in Sudan in December 2018, calling for an end to the military regime headed by President Omar al-Bashir and calling for a return to civilian rule.

The protests continued and military coup in April removed al-Bashir from power and the country was under control of a Transitional Military Council, which the protesters demanded transfer power to a civilian-led government. Negotiations continued between the two sides until interrupted by the Khartoum massacre, and were resumed following the three-day general strike.

The massacre was thought to have been prompted by demands from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates that the miltary and police take a tougher line against the protests, and so the London demonstration began at the UAE embassy in Belgrave Square before marching to Mayfair and the Egyptian embassy in South Street and finally the Saudi embassy nearby.

My only real problem in photographing the protest was in finding it, as although I knew the starting time I hadn’t been able to find any timings for the other two embassies. It wasn’t clear how long they would be in Belgrave Square or when they might arrive elsewhere.

Because of covering other events I was unable to get to the start in Belgrave Square and thought by the time I could get to the protest it might be at the Egyptian Embassy. I took the tube to Green Park and walked there – passing the back of the Saudi Embassy on route. There were only a handful of protesters at the Egyptian Embassy and it was clear the protest had not yet arrived, so I continued on the likely route towards the starting point.

As I crossed Hyde Park Corner I saw and heard the protest emerging from Grosvenor Crescent and hurried to meet it. They stopped for some time on Grosvenor Place where I took the first few pictures on a fairly narrow and very crowded pavement; heavy traffic there made it unsafe to photograph from the road.

After a while the protesters moved across to the wider pavement in front of the monumental gateway to Hyde Park, where again it halted for some loud singing, chanting and dancing before moving off around into Park Lane. By the time I’d photographed the end of the procession crossing South Carriage Drive at the Queen Elizabeth Gate I decided I’d probably taken enough pictures and could make my way home. One of the noticeable aspects of the protest was the large proportion of women among those most active in it.

In Sudan negotiations continued with an agreement being reached between the TXC and the Forces of Freedom and Change representing the protesters agreeing there would be a judicial investigation into the Khartoum massacre and other events and that they would share power for a transitional period until elections in mid-2022 led to a civilian government. Street protests have also continued, but it looks as if they have acheived their goal.

More at: Hands off Sudan march


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
And small donations via Paypal – perhaps the cost of a beer – would be appreciated.