Posts Tagged ‘schools’

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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London Gaza Marches & End Guantanamo – 20 Jan 2024

Thursday, January 25th, 2024

London Gaza Marches and End Guantanamo: Last Saturday, 20th January 2024 the main protest against the ongoing genocide by Israel against Gaza was taking place in Birmingham, but there were half a dozen local events around London, and I decided to photographed some of these, as well as a protest calling for the closure of Guantanamo, 22 years after the first prisoners were taken there to be tortured.

Rail engineering works made it much slower than normal for me to get up to London and back and I abandoned plans to go to some of the events and I was only able to pay a fleeting visit to the Camden march because this was meeting at Kentish Town tube station which has been closed since last Summer for extensive refurbishment.


Gaza Ceasefire March, Camden, London, UK

London Gaza Marches and End Guantanamo
London, UK. 20 Dec 2024. A woman holds a blood-stained bundle representing a dead child. Protesters met at Kentish Town to march to a rally outside Camden Council offices on a day of local actions for Palestine as rage grows over the ever-increasing death toll. Genocidal Israeli attacks have killed over 22,000, mainly women and children, with many bodies still hidden over the rubble. Almost the entire medical capacity has been destroyed with many medical staff killed or arrested and hospitals bombed and almost the entire population of Gaza displaced and in danger of famine and disease. Peter Marshall

I took the tube to Camden Town and just missed a bus going up to Kentish Town. The stop had an electronic display that told me I would have to wait 6 minutes for the next and I decided to walk. It turned out to be a little further than I had remembered – almost a mile and the bus would have been rather quicker. People at Kentish Town were waiting for others to arrive before they started and also expected some to join them on the over two mile route to the rally.

London Gaza Marches and End Guantanamo

I had expected the march to have left, and to meet it coming down the road, but it had not yet moved off. After a few minutes of taking pictures I realised I would be too late back in central London unless I left, and caught a bus to Mornington Crescent and the tube to Charing Cross. Camden Town tube is always crowded with tourists and it takes a long time to get down to the platforms.

More pictures: Gaza Ceasefire March, Camden


Close Guantanamo – 22 Years of Injustice Must End

London Gaza Marches and End Guantanamo
London, UK. 20 Jan 2024. Members of the UK Guantanamo Network walked from Parlament past Downing Street in single file wearing orange jumpsuits 22 years after the arrival of the first prisoners at the illegal US camp to a rally in Trafalgar Square. They highlight the abuse, torture, lack of human rights, force-feeding and indefinite detention there and call for its closure. 30 Prisoners are still held there. Peter Marshall

I came out of Charing Cross Station and met the group of marchers wearing orange Guantanamo-style jumpsuits just coming up to the traffic crossing at the top of Whitehall. The protest was organised by the UK Guantanamo Network which includes Amnesty International, Freedom From Torture, Guantanamo Justice Campaign, Close Guantanamo and the London Guantanamo Campaign. They had met in Old Palace Yard opposite the House of Lords and changed into the jump suits there before proceeding in single file around Parliament Square and up Parliament Street and Whitehall to Downing Street and were now coming up Whitehall for a long rally in Trafalgar Square.

London Gaza Marches and End Guantanamo

They demand US President Biden should act rapidly to close Guantanamo, where a total of over 800 prisoners were illegally tortured over they years, the great majority of them having no connection at all with terrorism. Most have since been allowed to return home or to safe countries, but 30 remain held there, although half of them have been cleared for release. “The Guantanamo network calls for Guantanamo to be closed and for an end to depriving people of their legal and human rights, and an end to indefinite detention and torture.”

I left after taking pictures before the rally began as I was already late for the start of the final event I wanted to photograph in Tower Hamlets.

More pictures at Close Guantanamo – 22 Years of Injustice Must End


Gaza Ceasefire March, Tower Hamlets, London, UK

London, UK. 20 Dec 2024. Front of the march. Over a thousand marched from Whitechapel to a rally at Mile End on a day of local actions for Palestine as rage grows over the ever-increasing death toll. Genocidal Israeli attacks have killed over 22,000, mainly women and children, with many bodies still hidden over the rubble. Almost the entire medical capacity has been destroyed with many medical staff killed or arrested and hospitals bombed and almost the entire population of Gaza displaced and in danger of famine and disease. Peter Marshall

I sat on the District Line going east trying to guess where the Tower Hamlets march might have got to as I was too late for the start. Marchers had met in Altab Ali Park in Whitechapel, close to Aldgate East Station but was marching through Whitehchapel and Stepney to Mile End. I looked at the time and took a guess about when they would have started to march and how far they would have got, and decided to leave the train at Stepney Green station.

Fortunately my guess had proved correct and as I looked down the Mile End Road towards Whitechapel I could see the front of the march in the distance and walked down to meet and photograph it. I walked with the marchers going back and forth and taking pictures over the last mile or so. When we got close to the Green Bridge which takes Mile End Park across the busy road. I left it a little late and had to run up the steps to be able to photograph the front of the march and its long tail behind as it came up to the bridge.

Then I came down and walked with them the final short stretch to the large area of Mile End Park where the rally was being held. I’d photographed the ultra-Orthodox, Neturei Karta anti-Zionist Jews earlier as they were taking part in the march and took some more pictures when a group of them stood on the wall at the entrance to the park.

I took some photographs as the rally started and heard the first of the speakers. The rally was interrupted by a speaker from Movement for Justice using their own megaphones. He complained that they had been refused permission to speak at the event. Stewards argued that he was disrupting the meeting. As I left there were some discussions taking place over whether he might be allowed to make an announcement to the rally. But I was tired and had a long journey home, so I left.

More pictures: Gaza Ceasefire March & Rally


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Massive London Protest Over Gaza Genocide – 13 Jan 2023

Thursday, January 18th, 2024

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

Massive London Protest Over Gaza Genocide

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

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

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

Massive London Protest Over Gaza Genocide
Doctors Against Genocide.

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

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

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

A man holds a bloodstained bundle representing a dead child

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

Free Palestine Hands Off Yemen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Free Palestine Coalition Demand A Ceasefire Now

Tuesday, January 9th, 2024

Free Palestine Coalition Demand A Ceasefire Now: Last Saturday, 6th January 2024, like many others I was watching on Twitter/X for the announcement by the Free Palestine Coalition of the starting point for their Gaza protest at 10am.

Free Palestine Coalition Demand A Ceasefire Now

It was with some surprise that I read it was to be at the drinking fountain in St James’ Park, one of London’s Royal Parks, a feudal remnant with bylaws against almost everything, but at least it was easy to get to, and I had plenty of time to make it by the starting time of noon, and arrived around a quarter of an hour early.

Free Palestine Coalition Demand A Ceasefire Now

The protest was organised and backed by Black Lives Matter UK, NMEE, Sisters Uncut, East and South East Asian Sisters, Copwatch Network, Health Workers For a Free Palestine, Queers For Palestine, London Campaign Against Police & State Violence, Palestinian Youth Movement and London Palestine Action.

Free Palestine Coalition Demand A Ceasefire Now

It made three clear demands; a full unconditional ceasefire NOW, the UK to stop arming Israel and an end to the Israeli Occupation of Gaza and Palestine. It had clearly been planned as a peaceful protest, although one that would cause some disruption to traffic in central London as many other events including other protests do.

Free Palestine Coalition Demand A Ceasefire Now

There was only a small group there when I arrived, but numbers grew rapidly by the time the rally began and continued to grow for some time, perhaps increasing to a couple of thousand by the end of the event. Shortly after the rally began police approached the speaker and told her that she could not use a megaphone as it was against the Park bylaws. After a short delay she continued without it, though now the crowd was so large many could not hear. A few minutes later a public address system arrived and the speakers began to use this. After another warning by police they wheeled this out onto the pavement of Birdcage Walk.

A doctor speaks about the terrible conditions in Gaza’s hospitals, most bombed out of existence.

Here the speakers continued, with a particularly moving account by a doctor from Health Workers For a Free Palestine about the horrific conditions faced by her colleagues working in Gaza, where almost all hospitals have been bombed by Israeli forces and only three remain able to continue, facing terrible shortages which have meant amputations with no anaesthetics available and a total lack of medicines, clean dressings and antiseptics taking medical conditions back into the dark ages.

Officers come to seize the PA system

After the rally had continued for some minutes, a squad of police rushed in and seized the PA system from the pavement, forcefully pushing all those close out of their way. I was thrown aside and kicked in the shin hard enough to cause some bleeding and although not seriously injured certainly suffering from shock. I’m unsure about what happened for the next few minutes and it was almost ten minutes before I’d recovered enough to photograph seriously again.

The police appeared to have been deliberately trying to provoke the protesters and had a very large presence for what was expected to be a relatively small protest. Eventually the organisers called on the protesters who had been shouting angrily at the police for some minutes to move off and the march slowly made its way towards Westminster Bridge.

As the front of the march came to Bridge Street at the side of the Houses of Parliament there was a halt for photographs and when the march moved off a line of police across the road tried to stop them. But there were far too few officers to form a proper cordon, and I and around a couple of hundred protesters moved past and onto the start of Westminster Bridge before reinforcements arrived.

There were more police on the bridge and a line of police vans behind them, as well as more on the Embankment. Had the protesters been allowed to march onto the bridge and protest there the bridge would have been closed until the protest ended, but traffic could have continued to flow on both the Embankment and Bridge Street, which were still blocked when I left later. Protests continued on Westminster Bridge, though most of the protesters were still held on Bridge Street behind a police line. Around half an hour later police did decide to allow them to join the others, probably to make it easier for them to kettle the protest in one block rather than two.

On the bridge there were some noisy protests which forced police liaison officers to withdraw from the crowd. Some of them complained to the event stewards about the leaflets which were being distributed to the many tourist also being blocked by the police from leaving towards Parliament Square, suggesting that those distributing them might be committing an offence. I read one carefully and could find nothing anti-Semitic, nothing which I had not heard or read in the mainstream press despite their failures in reporting.

At one point people let off smoke flares in the red, green and white of the Palestinian flag. Later there was a period of silence for the victims in Palestine and those in Israel, and many sat or lay down on the roadway. A group in front of the police cordon wore masks showing Rishi Sunak, wearing tops with the messages ‘STOP ARMING ISRAEL’ ‘CEASEFIRE NOW!’holding up their hands red with fake blood which dripped down their arms.

I left as the police allowed the protesters to all join together, kettling both groups. I was tired and still a little shaken from the earlier assault by police and needed to sit down and rest on a seat on the Embankment. Eating my sandwiches for a late lunch and drinking some water helped too.

As I walked back to Waterloo the blue lights were still flashing on Westminster Bridge, and an hour later at 3.32 the Met posted “All protesters have now left the area around Westminster Bridge. Officers remain on-duty in central London and are ready to respond to any further demonstrations.” I felt their response to this one had been negative in the extreme and had made the situation worse than if they had stayed away completely. Their presence was a huge waste of public money and London really does not need police who behave as they did at this event.

The police had arrested a number of people on Westminster Bridge but later Black Lives Matter UK, one of the organisers, made the following post: “All arrestees have been released with no further action. Thanks to all who have supported the protests and taken time out to care for all those made vulnerable by the police.

More pictures in my Facebook album Free Palestine Coalition Demand A Ceasefire Now!


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Dear Suella, Please Resign

Wednesday, November 1st, 2023

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

Dear Suella, Please Resign

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

Dear Suella, Please Resign

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

Dear Suella, Please Resign

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

Dear Suella, Please Resign

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Global Frackdown TTIP & Kobane

Wednesday, October 11th, 2023

Global Frackdown TTIP & Kobane: On Saturday October 11th 2014 I photographed a protest against HSBC supporting fracking in the UK, against the secret TTIP US/EU trade deal and finally a rally in support of the Kurdish fight against ISIS in Kobane and against Turkish support for the ISIS militants.


Global Frackdown at HSBC

Global Frackdown TTIP & Kobane

As a part of a ‘Global Frackdown’ by communities around the world against this environmentally destructive industry which leaves a legacy of water contamination, air pollution and health problems, activists took a mock ‘fracking rig’ to two branches of HSBC in central London. UK anti-fracking campaigners were joined by some from Algeria and Romania.

Global Frackdown TTIP & Kobane

The HSBC bank provides banking services for Cuadrilla the oil and gas exploration and production company developing fracking in the UK and also funds fracking around the world. In Algeria, they are helping to bring this water intensive process to the Sahara and in the US, they underwrite the BG Group responsible for fracking in large parts of the country.

Global Frackdown TTIP & Kobane

As well as the particular problems caused by fracking produces a dirty fossil fuel whose use deepens the climate crisis. But it was largely the earthquakes caused by Cuadrilla’s exploratory drilling that led to a moratorium on it in 2019 in England & Wales. The ban was briefly lifted by Liz Truss in her short but disastrous time as prime minister, but reinstated by Rishi Sunak.

Global Frackdown TTIP & Kobane

I met with the campaigners in Golden Square in Soho, where they were being closely watched and probably outnumbered by obviously nervous police who tried with no success to find out what they planned to do. After a while a group dressed in orange ‘Frack Off London’ hi-viz suits picked up some long black poles they had brought with them and marched towards Regent Street, with others carrying a banner and joining the procession.

They marched along Regent Street forming a quite impressive small crowd and stepped to erect the poles into their mock fracking rig in front of the HSBC branch, where they held a rally. Supporting the protest were Climate Revolution and Romanian anti-fracking activists who had brought their own drilling rig for some street theatre.

After some speeches the campaigners set off marching again, down Regent Street and past Piccadilly Circus on their way to the Strand branch of HSBC where they erected their rig again.

Here there were more speeches and some from the Romanian group put on a short piece of street theatre, fortunately in English, involving a greedy banker, corrupt politicians and people protesting.

The the protest marched off and down Whitehall to Parliament Square for a final short rally and some photographs.

More at Global Frackdown at HSBC.


No TTIP Rally & Banner Drop – Westminster

Protesters against the TTIP, a EU-US Trade Deal being negotiated at highly secretive talks would let corporations sue governments, lock in privatisation of our schools and NHS, undermine protection for privacy, workers and the environment and allow fracking and other harmful activities.

Although the talks were secret, some details had emerged and they were extremely worrying. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership would get the EU to remove the barriers which stopped US agricultural products produced under less hygienic conditions with lower animal welfare standards such as chlorine-washed chickens and beef pumped with high levels of growth hormones as well as GM crops being imported.

EU governments which took actions on environmental grounds could find themselves in industrial kangaroo courts which could impose huge fines if their laws caused US and other companies to lose potential profits from exporting their polluting goods.

The protesters had brought with them a very long two part banner reading ‘HANDS OFF DEMOCRACY’ which was really too long for Parliament Square – and certainly too long for most photographers. A third part of it read ‘#no TTIP’, and I could only just fit thatin as well using a fisheye lens.

After the rally in the square, the protesters marched on to Westminster Bridge and carried out a ‘Banner Drop’ holding all three parts of the message. I’d run down the busy embankment to where it was possible to get a decent picture of the whole thing, but just as I began taking pictures it was moved, probably at the phoned request of the rather lazier official photographer for the group who was much closer to the bridge. And shortly after I’d started taking pictures at the second position it was on the move again.

More pictures at:
#NoTTIP – Hands off our democracy
#NoTTIP – Banner Drop


Support the Defenders of Kobane – Parliament Square

In Parliament Square I also photographed a rally with thousands, mainly of Kurdish or Turkish origin who had stopped for a rally on a march around London supporting the Kurdish fight against ISIS in Kobane, calling for support for the Kurdish fighters and condemning Turkish support for ISIS.

Kobane is a city in Syria and was surrounded by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants in September 2014, forcing most of its inhabitants to flee to Turkey. Bloody battles by Kurdish forces with some help from US air strikes recaptured the city and the surrounding area, and they quickly drove back a later attack by ISIL in June 2015.

Kobane was at the time part of the de facto autonomous region of Syria, Rojava, a remarkable Kurdish democracy with a constitution giving equality to men, women and all ethnic and religious groups. But in October 2019 the city was threatened by an invasion by Turkey and accepted the entry of the Syrian government forces and Russian Military Police into the city, although it still then apparently remained under the de facto control of Rojava.

Turkey has supported the Islamic state militants, hoping that they will defeat the Kurds, many of whom live in Turkey and have been struggling for many years for greater autonomy. Turkey have provided routes for smuggling oil to provide finance for ISIS, and have for some years been fighting with Islamic militants against Kurdish forces in Syria.

Many speakers at the rally in Parliament Square called for the lifting by the UK of the ban on the PKK, the Kurdish Workers Party, whose leader Abdullah Öcalan has been held in jail in Turkey since 1999. In recent years Öcalan has been attempting to negotiate a peaceful end to the conflict, declaring a ceasefire at the Kurdish New Year in March 2013. There were many speakers from the mainstream UK community, including a number of trade unionists, London Green MEP Jean Lambert, and human rights lawyer Margaret Owen.

As the protesters marched away from Parliament Square there was a confrontation with police after they had tried to search some of the protesters and make an arrest. There was a lot of pushing and shoving and the marchers who had already left the square sat down on the street in Whitehall. They were still sitting there half an hour later, with negotiations between the police and protesters apparently continuing. Later one of the three men arrested was released and the protest came to and end.

Support the Defenders of Kobane


Global Climate Strike & Puma Boycott

Tuesday, September 20th, 2022

Global Climate Strike & Puma Boycott

I spend most of my time on Friday 20th September covering the Earth Day Global Climate Strike inspired by Greta Thunberg which brought huge numbers of schoolchildren along with teachers, parents and other older supporters to a rally filling Millbank. Others were starting later from various parts of London to join in and I made short visits to both the Elephant and Castle and Windrush Square in Brixton to photograph them there, returning to Whitehall to photograph a large crowd who were continuing the protests there. Finally I went to Carnaby Street where the Islamic human rights group Inminds were protest outside the Puma store calling for a boycott of Puma products.


Global Climate Strike Rally – Millbank, London

Global Climate Strike & Puma Boycott

I began taking pictures of people going to the rally when I entered Parliament Square. Many schools had brought large groups of pupils to take part in the protest, and had obviously spent some time preparing hand-painted placards and banners. Greta Thunberg’s example has led to a great awareness among many young people of the existential threat posed by global warming, as too have the television programmes by the ageing David Attenborough, and they showed themselves to be convinced of the need for urgent action.

Global Climate Strike & Puma Boycott

Unfortunately politicians and companies – particularly those with interests in fossil fuels – have been rather less convinced, and although we have seen plenty of words and promises, real actions have so far failed to come anywhere close to meeting the desperate need. Our new UK government under Liz Truss has started by going backwards on the issue, issuing licences for fracking, and almost certainly in the first few days following the Queen’s funeral will be bringing forward other measures which will make climate disaster even more inevitable.

Crowds got so packed that I had to give up trying to walk up Millbank to the lorry on which the speakers, bands and others were to perform both live and on large screens, and I had to divert through the side streets to approach it from behind.

I spent some time photographing those at the front of the protest, then decided to move back through the crowd taking pictures. It was slow going both because I stopped to take pictures, but also because I needed to keep asking people to let me squeeze past them, but eventually I got back to Old Palace Yard and Parliament Square where movement was now easy, though there were still groups of protesters.

Global Climate Strike Rally


Elephant & Brixton Global Climate Strike

I took the tube from Westminster Station, changing at Embankment to the Bakerloo Line which took me to the Elephant and Castle. Outside the University of the Arts was a poster display and people were gathering to march to join the protests. I photographed a small march setting off to join with workers at Southwark Council’s offices in Tooley St, but left them after a few hundred yards to go back to the Northern Line, changing at Stockwell to get to Brixton.

Teachers and parents had come with children from Lambeth schools for a rally in Brixton Square which was still in progress as I arrived.

There was an impressive speech from a young protester and support from a local MP before the rally ended and many of those present got ready to take the tube to join in the protest outside Parliament.

Elephant & Brixton Global Climate Strike


Global Climate Strike Protest continues – Whitehall

I hurried to the tube ahead of the children and arrived in Westminster where people were sitting on the road and blocking Whitehall, with police trying to persuade them to move.

I saw one man being arrested and led away towards a waiting police van, and the road was almost cleared when a large crowd of school students came from Parliament Square to march up Whitehall blocking it again.

Police tried to stop them and they turned down Horseguards Ave, then up Whitehall Court and into Whitehall Place where they were finally stopped at the junction with Northumberland Avenue and sat down on the road.

There were a few sort speeches and a lot of chanting slogans as police attempted to get them to move. I couldn’t understand why the police were bothering as they were on a road that has very little traffic and were causing no problem in sitting there.

Eventually they did decide to do as the police said and got up and moved – back to sit down and block Whitehall again. Eventually they stood up and began to march towards Parliament Square, nicely in time for me to cover a different protest in Carnaby Street.

Global Climate Strike Protest continues


Carnaby St Puma Boycott

Whenever tourists come up to me in London and ask me (as sometimes happens) the way to Carnaby Street I’m always tempted to say “You just go back 50 years“, but I’m actually more helpful. But it always surprises me that this rather ordinary street of mainly small shops still attracts tourists so long after it was the touted as the epi-centre of ‘Swinging London’. It still puts on something of an effort, but I find it rather sad. Somehow not the same if you are not wearing flares.

Puma is the third largest sportswear manufacturer in the world, coming from a company founded in Bavaria in 1924 by two brothers. Both brothers were members of the Nazi party during the war and after bitter arguments split up in 1948 to form Adidas and Puma, two companies engaged in bitter rivalry. Adidas is now the second largest sports manufacturer in the world.

The Israel Football Association began life in 1928 as the Palestine Football Association, changing its name following the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948. It only represents Israeli clubs and there is a separate Palestinian Football Association covering the West Bank. But the IFA includes six clubs based in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Adidas sponsored the IFA until 2018, when under pressure from Palestinian sports clubs and the international BDS movement they ended their sponsorship. Rivals Puma then took it up, becoming their only international sponsorship and over 200 Palestinian athletes and sports clubs have called for a Puma boycott.

Inminds Islamic human rights group organises protests in London at companies and events which support the Israeli regime and call for the release of Palestinian prisoners. At a previous protest outside Puma the protesters were violently attacked by some members of a small group of Zionists, but there was no sign of any counter-protest while I was present.

Carnaby St Puma Boycott


Haringey Residents protest housing sell-off

Sunday, July 3rd, 2022

Angry residentshold up placards and posterson the glass wall of the Civic Centre

Haringey Residents protest housing sell-off – Wood Green, London. Monday 3 July 2017.

One of the London Labour councils whose housing policies were causing much local distress was Haringey, where the council was in process of setting up the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV), Britain’s biggest collaboration yet between a local authority and a property developer, which will demolish a third of Haringey’s social housing, handing over half of an estimated £2 billion worth of publicly owned housing estates, schools, public facilities and private housing acquired through compulsory purchase orders to developer Lendlease.

Time to march from Duckett’s Common

Many feel that the cabinet system for local government is anti-democratic, removing decisions from the elected councillors as a whole to small highly selected groups for the convenience of administration. It means that ideas such as the HDV are not properly debated, and in this case it was about to be imposed without any real public consultation, and to many its only real purpose appeared to be to hand huge profits to the developer.

Marching through Wood Green shopping centre

The scheme to build 6,400 new homes would result in the demolition of many existing properties, and would have the consequence of driving many existing tenants and leaseholders out of the area as they would be unable to afford to buy the new properties or afford the rents. It would mean a massive wave of social cleansing.

Police & security stop all but a few entering

The formation of the HDV was opposed by many in the borough’s Labour Parties, trade unionists, Greens, tenants, small businesses and community groups and well over 500 of them came to make their opposition clear.

A large crowd at the front of the CIvic Centre

They had met at Ducketts Common and then marched through the centre of Wood Green, stopping briefly to block traffic on a road junction before moving on to the front of the Haringey Civic Centre where the council was meeting later to approve the HDV. They soon pushed aside the barriers which had been set up in front of the building to continue their noisy protest, with a row of police standing across the entrance.

But others went around to protest in front of the large glass windows at the back

After an angry and noisy protest outside some made a rush to get into the building though a side entrance. I decided not to try and enter with them, and security and police managed to stop all but a few and then locked the building, leaving even some of the councillors coming to attend the meeting unable to enter.

Many of the protesters moved the to the rear of the building and banged noisily on doors and large glass windows, and at one point the large glass panes began to flex by almost half an inch as people pushed against them and I moved back fearing they might shatter.

Eventually police came and pushed the people away from the glass

It looks from some of the pictures I took as if the protesters were actually inside, but they were on the outside of these large glass panels which gave a good view of the interior. Eventually police arrived and pushed the people back, forming a line in front of the glass.

A rally continued in front of the building entrance

I moved back to the front of the building where a rally was taking place with a number of mainly local speakers. This was still continuing as I left and the noise would have been very noticeable to councillors inside who were voting to go ahead with the scheme to give away around £2 billion to the Australian developers Lendlease.

Although this battle was lost, the war was at least partly won. The HDV was a major issue in the next set of council elections in the following May, with the many councillors from the left of the Labour Party strongly opposed to it getting elected, and the new council quickly voted to scrap the scheme to redevelop the Northumberland Park council estate with Lendlease. Instead Haringey set up its own housing company, Haringey Homes, and will carry out developments – including some with private developers such as Lendlease – in a way that avoids some of the social cleansing and retains more affordable and social rented properties. It has met some of the issues raised by the campaigners but by no means all.

The council’s new approach was in part made possible by a government decision to remove the cap on councils’ borrowing in their Housing Revenue Accounts (HRA) and also by a funding grant from the Mayor of London. But they still need to build some properties for market sale, though they state they are committed only to do this so they can deliver the “greatest possible number of council-rented homes.”

More at Haringey Residents protest housing sell-off.


Homes, Health, Jobs, Education, Iran, Palestine & Topshop

Saturday, April 16th, 2022

Homes, Health, Jobs, Education, Iran, Palestine & Topshop – Saturday 16th April 2016 was another busy day for me in London.


March for Homes, Health, Jobs, Education – Gower St

The Peoples Assembly Against Austerity march 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.

The march was a large one, with the crowd filling across the street for around a quarter of a mile well before the start and at times it was slow to move through the crowd to get to a stage where there were a number of speeches, including from Ian Hodson, Baker’s union (BWAFU) General Secretary and Kate Hudson of CND before the march set off.

Eventually the march did set off, and I went with it taking pictures for some distance, working my way towards the back of the march before leaving to take the tube to Charing Cross to be in Whitehall before the start of the rally.

March for Homes, Health, Jobs, Education


Ahwazi protest against Iranian repression – Parliament Square

I’d expected to find the next protest at Downing St, but there was no sign of it when I arrived, but I saw them marching a short distance away and ran and after and caught up with them shortly before they reached Parliament Square Ahwazi Arabs in London were demonstrating as they have done every April since 2005 in solidarity with anti-government protests in Iran on the anniversary of the peaceful Ahwazi intifada in 2005 in which many were killed and hundreds arrested by the Iranian regime.

Ahwaz is a mainly ethnically Arab province that was invaded by Iran in 1925 and ten years later incorporated into the state, given the name Khuzestan in 1936. Since then the state has persecuted the Ahwazi attempting to eliminate their culture and have brought in many Persian settlers. The motive for the conquest was undoubtedly the rich oil reserves which were for many years exploited by the British Anglo-Iranian Oil Company which became BP in 1954.

There have been many anti-Iran protests and insurgency since 1925, and in April 2005 there were four days of widespread peaceful unrest put down by the Iranian military with at least 12-15 deaths and many injuries and arrests. A similar uprising at the time of the 2011 Arab spring was also brutally suppressed, and the repression of the entire community continues, with arbitrary arrests and executions.

Ahwazi protest against Iranian repression


Homes, Health, Jobs, Education Rally – Trafalgar Square

I walked back up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square which was now packed with marchers from the Peoples Assembly Against Austerity march 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.

Many of the marchers had placards and posters calling for Prime Minister David Cameron, ‘Dodgy Dave’ to resign, and there were a number of pigs heads referring to his initiation in a bizarre ritual at the notorious Oxford dining society, the Piers Gaveston, where, according his unauthorized biography by Michael Ashcroft, as the Daily Mail put it “the future PM inserted a private part of his anatomy into the animal’s mouth.”

At the rally there was a long succession of speeches, including by then Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett, Len McCluskey General Secretary of Unite and others, some of whom I photographed. But more interesting is perhaps my picture of Danielle Tiplady, a leader of the Bursary or Bust campaign looking rather like one of the lions as she talks with Natalie Bennett.

Homes, Health, Jobs, Education Rally


Dancing for Homes, Health, Jobs, Education – Trafalgar Square

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I drifted away from the rally as the speeches continued, it seemed forever, to the North Terrace from where I could hear music. There were some of the marchers preferred to dance to the ‘dig it sound system‘, which carried a message from Tom Paine: “The World is my country – All people are my brethren – To do good is my religion“.

Not that the speeches that I heard were not interesting, but there were just too many different things covered by the People’s Assembly March, and while their causes were all legitimate and demonstrated the terrible suffering this immoral government for the wealthly was inflicting on the majority population, it had just gone on (like the government) far too long.

Dancing for Homes, Health, Jobs, Education


Palestine Prisoners Parade – Trafalgar Square

Also on the North Terrace were a group of people who had taken part in the People’s Assembly March dressed in clown outfits as the Palestine Prisoners Parade. They attracted attention with juggling, hula hoops and speeches to the often arbitrary detention without proper trial suffered by many Palestinians held in Israeli jails. Many are on rolling detention orders, released and immediately re-arrested and put back in prison.

Those imprisoned in Israel include young children, often held for long stretches in solitary confinement, accused of throwing stones, as well as people who have objected when Israeli settlers have stolen fruit or land. Human rights organisations have protested about the imprisonment and treatment of many of them, and some have taken part in hunger strikes against their continued incarceration.

Palestine Prisoners Parade


UVW Topshop 2 protest – Strand

As the rally was coming to a close the United Voices of the World hold a further protest against Topshop, demanding the reinstatement of 2 workers suspended by cleaning contractor Britannia for calling for the London Living Wage of £9.40 an hour for all those working at Topshop.

UVW General Secretary Petros Elia

Class War had come to support the UVW, and when a large crowd of police came to try and move the protesters away there were arguments and quite a bit of pushing by police when people tried to prevent them filming protesters by holding up banners and placards. One man was pulled to one side by police who appeared to be about to arrest him; a crowd formed around him as he refused to answer police questions and eventually the officer concerned gave up.

There were a few short speeches including one by Susanna, one of the two cleaners victimised by Britannia and Topshop, who broke down in tears before continuing and ending her speech to loud applause. The protesters then decided it was time to march to another location.

UVW Topshop 2 protest – Strand


UVW Topshop & John Lewis Protest – Oxford St

The UVW marched to Oxford Street and tried to enter the Topshop close to Oxford Circus but were stopped by a large squad of police.

After a brief confrontation outside the shop they marched on to another site where the UVW are in dispute, John Lewis, where they are also demanding a living wage for the cleaners.

The banners slowed the protesters down a little and the police were able to rush past them, and pushed them back with considerable force as they tried to move towards the store doors. Susanna, one of the Topshop 2, was violently thrown to the ground and was helped up by both other police and protesters, who demanded an apology – and rather to my surprise the officer in charge after some arguments got the officer concerned to come and make one.

After some minutes of protest blocking the road in front of Jown Lewis and the store entrnace the protesters decided to return to Topshop. As they did so the police seized and questioned a woman who was wearing a mask and a man in a hood and goggles which they made him removed, threatening him with arrest; reluctantly he did so. After they had released him I decided to leave the protest for home.

UVW Topshop & John Lewis Protest


More pictures and text about all the protests on My London Diary:
UVW Topshop & John Lewis Protest
UVW Topshop 2 protest – Strand
Palestine Prisoners Parade
Dancing for Homes, Health, Jobs, Education
Homes, Health, Jobs, Education Rally
Ahwazi protest against Iranian repression
March for Homes, Health, Jobs, Education


End Gaza Invasion: 2014

Monday, July 26th, 2021

Israel ‘disengaged’ from Gaza in 2005, but retained many controls in what international bodies still consider a form of occupation. It has maintained a blockade, controlling access by sea and air to the area which has a closed border with Egypt and strict border controls to Israel. With 1.85m Palestinians on under 140 square miles it is the third most densely populated area in the world. (See Wikipedia for most of the figures in this post.)

The Israeli and US-led economic blockade of Gaza, imposed after Hamas gained a majority in the area in the 2006 elections and too over from Fatah in 2007 has stopped the import and export of many goods, and together with damage caused by Israel air raids and invasions has led to severe shortages of water, medicine and power.

The protest in London on July 26th 2014 came during the Israeli ‘Operation Protective Edge’, which had begun on July 8th with bombing and artillery fire and escalated to a ground invasion on July 17th, with the aim of killing as many Palestinian militants as possible. It was sparked by the murder of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas members but the Israeli response was quite disproportionate.

Estimates of deaths and damage vary slightly, but agree that over two thousand Palestinians were killed, with the UN suggesting that 1,462 of these were civilians. 67 Israeli soldiers were killed and 6 civilians were killed by Palestinian rockets.

The damage to properties was similarly disproportioate. While around 18,000 homes were destroyed or seriously damaged in Gaza, Palestinian rockets only destroyed one in Israel. Gaza also lost over 200 places of worship, and almost three hundred primary schools and 73 medical facilities were badly damaged or destroyed. The attacks are said to have produced around 2.5 million tons of rubble in Gaza.

Jeremy Corbyn on the march in Whitehall

This is of course not the only year in which there were attacks by Israel on Gaza. “008-9 saw ‘Operation Cast Lead’ which also produced incredible devastation and over a thousand Palestinian Deaths and 13 of Israelis. In 2018 there were border protests in which over 13,000 Palestinians were seriously wounded by Israeli snipers and many killed. A UN Human Rights Council’s independent commission examined 489 cases of Palestinian deaths or injuries and found that only two were possibly justified as responses to danger and the rest were illegal. And most recently in May 2021 there were ten days of attacks by Israeli forces resulting in more destruction and deaths.

The protest on July 26th began on the main road close to the Israeli Embassy, tucked away in a private street in Kensington. Soon themain road was packed with people many too far away to hear the speeches despite the amplification. Finally it moved off on its way to Parliament Square.

There was a long list of speakers at the rally, including a number of well-known musicians and other public figures, but I began to feel rather tired, having been on my feet too long covering this and another protest, and I left before the end. But you can see pictures of many of the speakers as well as the crowd in My London Diary.

As usual there were many Jewish supporters of Palestine on the march, and a small group of the ultra-orthodox Neturei Karta anti-Zionist Jews who had walked from north London to join the rally.

Stop the Massacre in Gaza Rally
End Gaza Invasion March to Parliament
Israeli Embassy rally – End Gaza Invasion