Posts Tagged ‘Southwark’

Fire Service Cuts Cost Lives – 2013

Thursday, July 18th, 2024

Fire Service Cuts Cost Lives: On Thursday 18th July 2013 I photographed a march and rally by the Fire Brigades Union in London against cuts proposed by then London Mayor Boris Johnson. He had in 2010 repeatedly denied that he would make any cuts to London’s fire services, but the cuts which this protest was against led to the closure of ten fire stations in Greater London and the loss of over 550 firefighters in the force.

Fire Service Cuts Cost Lives

There was also a loss of the number of fire engines, at first of 14, but followed later by another 13, a cut of around 15%. Unsurprisingly the response times to fires across the capital increased. The first fire engine should arrive within six minutes of a fire being reported, and in late 2014 the figures showed that this was exceeded in around a third of London’s wards. Although the average increase in response times was only 12 seconds, in the worst case it went up by two minutes and 48 seconds.

Fire Service Cuts Cost Lives
Matt Wrack, General Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union

Fast response to fires is essential in saving lives and cutting damage to properties, and although fortunately few lives are lost to fire in London thanks to our firefighters it seems that there was at least one fatality in the following year which was widely attributed to a slower response time. As I wrote in 2013, “7 out of 10 Londoners think that the Mayor’s proposed cuts will put public safety at risk, and the remaining 3 are just not thinking.”

Fire Service Cuts Cost Lives

In our great 2017 tragedy at Grenfell Tower, the fire service responded promptly, but it took over half an hour for a turntable ladder to arrive, and at the time the LFB only had ladders that reached under half way up that building. They called in a taller ladder from Surrey which took several hours to arrive. The LFB finally got its first 64m turntable ladder, the tallest in the UK, in 2021.

Fire Service Cuts Cost Lives
A Scottish band from Hull sponsored by the FBU and a photo of Boris

Appropriately the march began at The Monument, a 202ft column topped by a bright brass ball of fire erected shortly after the 1666 Great Fire of London as a permanent memorial to the event.

Fire-fighters, many in uniform, and supporters gathered in the area around, along with a fire engine and a small marching band with bagpipes sponsored by an FBU branch. London’s own firefighters were supported by some for other brigades, including at least a couple from the New York Fire Department as well as retired fire-fighters and anti-cuts protesters.

When the march which went across London Bridge to the London Fire Brigade HQ in Southwark for a rally outside where the cuts were being decided at a Fire Authority meeting I had gone up on top of the fire engine.

What I hadn’t realised was that I would be unable to get down until the end of the march, and although it gave me a good viewpoint it was in some ways a limiting one. I always like to take most of my pictures close to people using wide-angle lenses and during the march was unable to do so. And when the marchers sat down briefly to block London Bridge I could only watch from a distance.

I’d also not realised how much vibration there would be on the top of the fire engine, where we were in a fairly small enclosure made with scaffolding tubing on its top. I found myself having to hang on tightly in some of the bumpier parts of the roads, while trying to take pictures largely one-handed.

It was a rather uncomfortable and just a little scary experience, but it did take me close to some of those who had come to first and second floor windows to applaud the protest as it went past. But I was very pleased when we came to a stop at the Fire Brigade HQ and I could get back to ground.

You can read more about the rally at the end of the march and a long list of the speakers on My London Diary and there are photographs of most or all of them as well as many more from the event.

Fire Service March Against Cuts


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Garden Bridge, Housing, Domestic Violence, Migrants & Police Killings

Tuesday, July 9th, 2024

Garden Bridge, Housing, Domestic Violence, Migrants & Police Killings; Saturday 9th July 2016 began for me in Waterloo, where right wing Labour party members were attending a conference. Then I travelled to Hackney for a Sisters Uncut protest over domestic violence and housing, back to Downing Street for a rally against the scapegoating of immigrants and went briefly to a Brexit debate in Green Park and then south of the river again to a protest against police murders in the UK and US.


Garden Bridge protest at ‘Progress’ conference – Coin St

Garden Bridge, Housing, Domestic Violence, Migrants & Police Killings

Lambeth Council were supporting the ‘Garden Bridge‘, a private green space to bridge the River Thames close to Waterloo Bridge, an expensive vanity project with a costing over £200 million with little public gain.

Lambeth residents came to protest as Lambeth councillors and council leader Liz Peck were attending the Labour Party ‘Progress’ movement ‘Governing for Britain’ conference.

Garden Bridge, Housing, Domestic Violence, Migrants & Police Killings

The Garden Bridge project was finally abandoned in August 2017, by which time it had cost £53m, including £43m of public money.

Garden Bridge ‘Progress’ protest


Housing Protest at ‘Progress’ conference – Coin St

Garden Bridge, Housing, Domestic Violence, Migrants & Police Killings

Also protesting outside the Progress conference were housing protesters against the demolition of council estates and their replacement by luxury flats under ‘regeneration’ schemes by London Labour councils including Southwark, Newham and Lambeth.

Garden Bridge, Housing, Domestic Violence, Migrants & Police Killings

The protesters were from the Revolutionary Communist Group, Focus E15 ‘Homes for All’ campaign and Architects for Social Housing who had been involved in various campaigns to stop the demolition of social housing in these boroughs.

They say that New Labour policies, now accelerated by the Tory Housing and Planning Act, makes London too expensive for ordinary workers leading to social cleansing, while making excessive profits for developers, including housing associations and estate agents Savills.

Housing Protest at ‘Progress’ conference


East End Sisters Uncut on Domestic Violence – Hackney Town Hall

Sisters Uncut came to Hackney Town Hall to demand the council abolish all plans to demolish council homes, refuse to implement the Housing Act and invest money into council housing and refuges for victims of domestic violence.

They quoted a Women’s Aid report for 2013-5 which found that over 60% of applications to women’s refuges in Hackney are refused as no room is available.

East End Sisters Uncut-Domestic Violence


Europe, Free Movement and Migrants – Downing St

The Brexit vote had been followed by a rise in the scapegoating of immigrants and Islamophobia, and ‘Another Europe Is Possible’ organised a rally at Downing Street to keep Britain open to migrants, and for policies and media which recognise the positive contribution that migration makes to the UK.

Speakers came from a wide range of groups including Movement for Justice, Left Unity, Friends of the Earth, Newham Monitoring Project, Stand Up To Racism and Syrian activists.

Many from the rally were going to the Brexit picnic and discussion in Green Park afterwards, and I did too.

Europe, Free Movement and Migrants


Green Park Brexit Picnic

Most of those who came to the picnic felt cheated by a vote that was based on lies and false promises, but they came wanting to find ways to make it into something positive for the country.

There were also some who had come to counter the protest with their own picnic for democracy organised by Spiked magazine, and when the people from the Downing Street rally arrived with their placards some of them came over to pick an argument.

Things got a little heated when a woman from the ‘Spiked’ group accused those holding the placards of being unwashed, and there was some vigorous speaking in response. But people from both sides stepped in to cool things down.

Green Park Brexit Picnic


Brixton stands with Black victims

Local black organisers in Brixton called a rally and march in memory of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and to show solidarity with those murdered by police brutality, both in the US and here in the UK.

Alton Sterling was murdered by police officers on July 5, 2016, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, shot at close range after police had pinned him to the ground where he was selling CDs outside a grocery store. In May 2017 the US Justice department announced there was insufficient evidence to support federal criminal charges against the officers concerned – despite the many videos of the incident and other sources.

Philando Castile was fatally shot at close range after has car was stopped by police in he Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area. There was video of the incident and the officer was charged with second-degree manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm. A jury acquitted him of all charges in June 2017.

There were many speeches both about these and other US cases and those in the UK, where Sean Rigg, Wayne Douglas and Ricky Bishop died after being held in nearby Brixton Police Station. One of the organisers spoke wearing a t-shirt listing just a few of those who have been killed by police in the UK. An annual protest is held every year in Whitehall against the many custody deaths in the UK, and in 2015 while this was taking place police took advantage of this to strip the tree in front of the police station of its deaths in custody memorials

Some time after I left the protesters marched around Brixton, bringing traffic to a halt for several hours.

Brixton stands with Black victims


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March of the Human Rights Jukebox – 2007

Sunday, June 16th, 2024

March of the Human Rights Jukebox: On Saturday 16th June I went to South London to photograph this event and put many pictures and a fairly long text on-line on My London Diary.

March of the Human Rights Jukebox

Here I’ll share the text (with some corrections and links added) and just a few of the pictures – you can see many more of these on My London Diary. You can read about the Human Rights Juke Box on the South London Gallery site, and on Isa Suarez’s web site.

March of the Human Rights Jukebox

So this is what I wrote in 2007:

I joined the ‘Human Rights Jukebox’ in its progress from the Camberwell Magistrates Court to Peckham on Saturday 16th June. An event in the Camberwell Arts Week, the ‘March Of The Human Rights Jukebox’ was organised by Isa Suarez, who had a one-year artists residency in Southwark in 2006.

March of the Human Rights Jukebox

The juke box included thoughts on people’s rights from many residents and diverse groups in Southwark, some of whom marched with banners along with it.

March of the Human Rights Jukebox

At the start of the event, the Dulwich Choral Society performed a specially composed piece by Suarez, using words from the ‘jukebox’. On Clerkenwell Green we stopped for a impassioned recital (in French) by a Black African poet, and in front of the old baths in Artichoke Place (now the Leisure Centre) there was a long performance by Deadbeat International as well as a short song by three musicians that left us wanting more.

Deadbeat International also performed at various other points on route, including another energetic set at Peckham Library. The march was led into Peckham by a rapper, with some forthright views on human rights.

Accompanying the jukebox were the live art group ‘mmmmm‘, Adrian Fisher & Luna Montengro, covered from head to foot in sheets of paper containing the complete text of the UN Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, in both English and Spanish as well as the pages of a world atlas.

In front of the library at Peckham, mmmmm completed the event by unpinning the sheets from each other one by one, reading the clauses and feeding the sheets into a shredder (and when this gave up, tearing them up.)

Each then poured cold water over the other and threw the shredded papers, so that they stuck to the wet clothes and skin. Finally we were all invited (in what we were informed was an Argentine custom) to jump once into the air for each of the 30 clauses of the declaration.

On the way to the event, I’d jumped off the bus at the Oval, where ‘Stop The War’ and other demonstrators were protesting. Gordon Brown was apparently expected to arrive at 12.00 to watch some kind of game there. It was a very different kind of action to the ‘jukebox’ though both were political and art in their different ways, although only one gets Arts Council funding.

Also dropping in at Peckham Library were a group of young cyclists from the go-kart track in nearby Burgess Park. They were a lively crew and everyone seemed to want to be photographed.

More pictures:
Stop The War Demo
March of the Human Rights Jukebox


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Shakespeare and East Ham Vaisakhi – 2007

Monday, April 22nd, 2024

Shakespeare and East Ham Vaisakhi – for me Sunday 22nd April 2007 was very much a day of two halves, with a morning spent at the Shakespeare’s Birthday celebrations around the Globe Theatre in Southwark and the afternoon with Sikhs celebrating in East Ham.


Shakespeare’s Birthday – Globe Theatre, Southwark

Shakespeare and East Ham Vaisakhi

Shakespeare was born in April 1564, but the exact date is not known, though he was baptised on April 26th. Conventionally his birthday is celebrated on St George’s Day, April 23, so although this event was a day earlier it was just as likely to be his actual birthday.

Shakespeare and East Ham Vaisakhi

Unusually I didn’t write anything on the April 2007 page of My London Diary about either of the two events I photographed on this Sunday, other than the links to to pages of pictures, but there are some captions with the pictures that give the story of the day.

Shakespeare and East Ham Vaisakhi

People met on Montague Close at the north entrance to Southwark Cathedral for the start of the carnival procession. Among them were the Pearly King of Bow Bells & Blackfriars and the Pearly Queen of the Old Kent Road, as well as a very splendid large dragon, who was accompanied by a man in a harlequin costume and mask of diamonds of blues, greens, yellows and reds.

Shakespeare and East Ham Vaisakhi

Fortunately for the dragon I think St George was saving his appearance for the following day, although later there was a man carrying his flag, and perhaps the man himself arrived after I had to rush away at noon.

Shakespeare and East Ham Vaisakhi

There were musicians with large drums and small whistles and others in some kind of medieval dress as well as a large posse of masked children as we made our way west past Pickfords Wharf and along Clink Street to the riverside and Bankside in front of the replica Globe theatre were we were welcomed by Artistic Director Dominic Dromgoole, who invited us all – including the dragon – into the theatre.

Given the Globe is a wooden structure which would burn rather well this was perhaps foolhardy, but the dragon did seem rather short of fiery breath and on his or her best behaviour and posed for photographs rather tamely and demurely on the stage with the children and others. No children were eaten or maidens ravaged at least while I was there.

I was sorry to leave, but there’s a time for all things, and my time on Bankside ran out fast, and the journey to the Gurdwara in East Ham from London Bridge to West Ham and then East Ham and the walk to Rosebery Avenue took me around an hour.

More pictures on My London Diary.


Vaisakhi – East Ham – Gurdwara Dasmesh Darbar

The street was densely crowded as I got close to the Gurdwara, but people were very welcoming and let me through, though I stopped to take a few pictures of them.

As I arrived the organisers were giving people at the front of the crowd handfuls of flower petals which were thrown as the Guru Granth Sahib – the sacred Sikh scriptures and eternal Guru – was carried on cushions on its bearers head, sheltered by a saffron and blue umbrella, to be placed on a float.

The came the Khalsa, carrying Sikh standards and with the five in saffron robes holding their swords.

There were prayers and the five had flower garlands placed around their necks and loud blasts from a splendid curved metal horn, a Narsinga announced the start of the procession, with the congregation joining behind the float carrying the Guru Granth Sahib.

The Khalsa walk barefoot with holding their swords upright and looking ahead rather than at the ground and a team of sweepers, also barefoot, sweep the roadway in front of them.

The procession moved onto the main road, High Street North, which was soon packed as far as I could see in both directions. I waited for the end of the procession to pass but did not follow it on the long procession around the area which takes several hours.

There are many more pictures on My London Diary


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Class War Victory Over Qatari Royals

Thursday, February 8th, 2024

Class War Victory Over Qatari Royals – Thursday 8th February 2018 saw a remarkable victory for Class War against the one of the richest families in the world, the Qatari Royal Family with a $335 billion sovereign wealth fund who are now one of the biggest landowners in the United Kingdom.

Class War Victory Over Qatari Royals

In the morning I had gone to the Royal Courts of Justice on Strand where lawyers acting for the Qatari royal family were trying to prevent a Class War protest against the ten empty £50 million pound apartments in The Shard, the tallest building in the United Kingdom. The Qataris own 95% of the property with the remaining 5% retained by its original developers Sellar Property.

Class War Victory Over Qatari Royals

I hadn’t gone into the court but had waited outside, arriving in plenty of time to greet Ian Bone and his barrister Ian Brownhill as they emerged triumphant from the court.

Class War Victory Over Qatari Royals

Lawyers for the Qatari royals had tried to get an injunction against protests by Bone and “persons unknown” and to claim over £500 in legal costs from the 70 year-old south London pensioner for them doing so.

Class War Victory Over Qatari Royals

Brownhill had contacted Bone and offered to take up his case pro bono, and as soon as he contacted the Qataris’ lawyers they offered to drop the case if Class War ‘would stop attacking the Shard’. Class War would of course not agree to giving up their protest. The Qatari attempt to stifle protest led to articles in the national and international press and radio and TV coverage.

In the High Court the Qataris’ lawyers were forced to drop the attempt to ban protests and their demand for fees but Bone accepted a legal restriction on him going inside the Shard and its immediate vicinity.

Among documents supplied to the court for the Qataris were some clearly defamatory statments about another person connected with Class War but not named in the injunction and other information which had clearly been obtained from police sources. The Head of Security at the Shard got his job after retiring as a police commander.

Police have over the years carried out a number of clearly malicious arrests of people from Class War during protests, aimed at harassing people engaged in peaceful protest. The cases have either been dropped before coming to court or have been thrown out by the courts.

Class War’s protest went ahead as planned, pointing out that the ten £50 million pound apartments in the Shard have remained empty since the building was completed.

There appeared to be several times as many police as the protesters outside the Shard, as well as a large number of security men and plain clothes police, along with two men with search dogs when the protesters arrived. It seemed a huge overkill for what was always intended – and was – an entirely peaceful but noisy small protest.

Ian Bone’s health problems meant he would not in any case have attended the protest, and the other protesters were careful to remain outside the boundary of the Shard which is marked by a metal line in the pavement.

Despite this police still tried to move them away to the other side of the road, making the patently spurious claim that they were causing an obstruction to commuters attempting to enter London Bridge station. it was very clear that it was the police were obviously causing a rather larger obstruction than Class War.

The protesters pointed out that there are now a huge number of empty properties in London at the same time as a huge housing crisis – at the time including over 100 families from Grenfell who were in temporary accommodation.

There are large developments of high-prices flats taking place, totally unaffordable for those in housing need, many of which are bought simply as investments to take advantage of rising house prices and remain empty all or most of the year.

In 2018 there were plans to build 26,000 more flats costing over a million pounds each, including many on former council estates being redeveloped and replacing social housing – when thousands are sleeping on the streets and councils have huge housing lists. Currently in 2023 both Lambeth and Newham have over 35,000 waiting for housing and nine other boroughs have lists with over 10,000 names, with a total of over 323,000 over the whole of Greater London.

George Monbiot last Saturday wrote an important article In a world built by plutocrats, the powerful are protected while vengeful laws silence their critics. Class War in February 2018 showed it is sometimes possible to take on the powerful and win. Though the Qataris are still laughing all the way to the bank which they own anyway.

More pictures on My London Diary:
Class War protest at Shard
Class War victory against Qatari Royals


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March For Homes – 2015

Wednesday, January 31st, 2024

March For Homes: St Leonard’s Church to City Hall

Defend Council Housing, South London People’s Assembly and Unite Housing Workers Branch had called for a march to draw attention to the crisis in housing, particularly in London where council housing lists are huge and many councils are failing to meet their legal requirements to rehouse homeless families.

March For Homes

These requirements generally do not extend to single homeless people and in London alone over 6,500 people had slept rough at some time in the previous year with around one in twelve of 16-24 year-olds having been homeless at some point. Government figures comprehensively and deliberately underestimate the numbers.

March For Homes

It isn’t really a housing crisis, but a crisis of affordable housing. There are more than enough empty properties to house the homeless, but those who need housing are unable to afford the high rents or house prices being asked.

March For Homes

There has been a huge surge in building high-rise properties in London, with whole areas like Battersea and Nine Elms as well as elsewhere across inner and outer London being increasingly filled with them, but almost all are high-price properties, many sold overseas before the buildings are completed not as homes but as investments. Others are low specification student housing and also do nothing for the housing crisis.

March For Homes

What is needed is a crash programme of housing at social rents for family units of all sizes. Developers have become adept at evading what laws there are about providing social housing in new developments, fiddling the books to claim they cannot make sufficient profits which ridiculously lets them off the hook.

Much of the UK problems over housing go back to the Thatcher administration which both sold off council housing piecemeal under ‘right to buy’ but also stopped councils replacing what they had lost.

In earlier years both Tory and Labour councils had built generally high quality low cost housing though of course there were some examples of poor planning (often when councils were forced to cut costs) and shoddy work as well as unfortunate government encouragement of high-rise system building, which many of us were campaigning against in the 60’s and 70s.

But perhaps even more importantly under Tory administrations council housing became something just for what they regarded as ‘feckless’ and the ‘dregs of society’, those unable to fend for themselves. We got this ridiculous concept of the ‘housing ladder’ and very much it is a ladder that expresses “pull up the ladder, Jack. We’re alright“.

Municipal housing can provide housing for all at low cost and provided a rational approaching to providing decent housing for all, getting away from the poor conditions and high cost of private rented housing at much lower cost than owner occupation.

The March for Homes on Saturday 31st January was actually two marches, one from the Elephant in South London and the other from East London which I photographed at Shoreditch, calling for more social housing and an end to estate demolition and evictions. On My London Diary at March for Homes: Shoreditch Rally I published a very long list of some of the various groups which supported the march, as well as some of the speakers at the rally there. Eventually the march set off on its way towards City Hall, making its way towards Tower Bridge.

Class War left the march briefly to protest as it went past One Commercial St, where they had been holding a long series of weekly ‘Poor Doors’ protests against the separate door down a side alley for the social housing tenants in the block. They had briefly suspended the protests a few weeks early when new owner for the building had offered talks about the situation, but these had broken down.

Approaching the Tower of London the protest was joined by Russell Brand riding a bicycle. He had earlier lent support to a number of housing campaigns by residents in estates threatened by evictions.

By the time the march was going across Tower Bridge Class War had rejoined it, and their banners were in the lead.

The march was met on the other side of Tower Bridge by the South London March for Homes, a similar sized protest called by Defend Council Housing and South London People’s Assembly which had started at the Elephant, marching past the former Heygate Estate. The two marches merged to walk on to Potters Fields for the rally outside City Hall.

We had been marching most of the day in light rain, and this got rather heavier for the rally outside City Hall. Together with a large crowd being jammed into a fairly small space it made photography of the rally difficult.

While the rally was still continuing some of the protesters began to leave Potters Fields to protest more actively, led by Class War and other anarchit groups and accompanied by the samba band Rhythms of Revolution.

They moved onto Tooley Street and blocked it for a few minutes, then decided to move off, with police reinforcements who had arrived than taking over their role of blocking the road as the protesters moved off eastwards.

I watched them go, and later heard that after a brief protest at One Tower Bridge, a new development mainly for the over-rich next to Tower Bridge they had taken a long walk to join occupiers on Southwark’s Aylesbury Estate.

But I was cold, wet and tired, and my cameras too, having been exposed to the weather for several hours were becoming temperamental and I waited for a bus to start my journey home.

Much more on My London Diary:
March for Homes: After the Rally
March for Homes: City Hall Rally
March for Homes: Poor Doors
March for Homes: Shoreditch to City Hall
March for Homes: Shoreditch Rally


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Goodbye & Good Riddance 2023 – December

Monday, January 8th, 2024

Goodbye & Good Riddance 2023: Apart from a protest by Just Stop Oil against the way their protests are being policed and non-violent protesters being given lengthy prison sentences because of political pressure by our government which has continued to move away from our ideas of liberal democracy towards a police state, all but one of the other events I photographed were about the continuing genocide of the people of Gaza. More and more civilians – men, women and especially children – were being killed every day, more forced to move out of their homes with nowhere safe to go, and an increasing humanitarian crisis – with many workers for relief agencies also being killed by Israeli forces.

Goodbye & Good Riddance 2023 - December
Police Clamp Down on Just Stop Oil. London, 2 Dec 2023. I
Just Stop Oil met at New Scotland Yard for a peaceful non-violent march. As it was about to start one of the organisers was arrested and others were warned that if they stepped into the road they would also be arrested. After a short meeting the protesters marched through the crowded pavements of Westminster holding photographs of jailed JSO protesters behind a banner ‘NO PRISON FOR PEACEFUL PROTEST’ to a rally outside the Supreme Court. Some held large photographs of peaceful Just Stop Oil protesters who are in jail, some serving lengthy terms though some juries have refused to convict those standing up for the future of our planet.
Peter Marshall
Goodbye & Good Riddance 2023 - December
Police Arrest Young Teen at Brixton Gaza Protest. London. 2 Dec 2023.
At the end of a Gaza Ceasefire march to a rally in Brixton, a crowd surrounded a police van containing a young teenager arrested for an allegedly anti-Semitic poster, shouting “Let Them Go!” and preventing the van from leaving. Police argued with protesters for around 45 minutes, eventually bringing in almost a hundred officers who pushed the crowd back to the pavement so the van could leave.
Peter Marshall

The situation in Brixton was rather confused and I got different stories from different people. The police too were arguing with each other for much of the time before a Senior Commander arrived, stopped another officer who had been trying to calm the situation and brought in reinforcements. There were at least two arrests, one for carrying a placard which I think compared in some way the actions of Israel in Gaza with those of the Nazis and the second for damaging a police vehicle.

Goodbye & Good Riddance 2023 - December
Now We Rise Day for Climate Justice. London, UK. 9 Dec 2023.
Climate Justice Coalition protest at BP’s London HQ calling for climate justice. The UN COP28 climate summit in the UAE is presided over by an oil CEO and attended by a record number of fossil fuel lobbyists who togther saw we did not get the committment to phase out fossil fuels we need to survive. Our government too is blocking the path to a green transition, backtracking on cutting carbon and granting many new oil and gas licences despite record world temperatures and increasingly dire scientific predictions.
Peter Marshall
Goodbye & Good Riddance 2023 - December
National March for Palestine – Full Ceasefire Now. London, UK. 9 Dec 2023.
Neturei Karta Jews support the march. Hundreds of thousands march in London to call for a full ceasefire in Gaza where Israeli forces have killed over 17,000 people including more than 7,000 children. Bombing has made humanitarian aid and medical treatment impossible and widespread deaths from disease and starvation now seem inevitable. Marchers call for an end to the genocide and a political solution to bring peace and justice to Palestine under international law.
Peter Marshall
Gaza Ceasefire Rally, Elephant, London, 16 Dec 2023.
The Gaza Ceasefire Now! rally in Elephant Square was one of many across the country in a day of action for Palestine as rage grows over the increasing death toll, with over 18,600, mainly women and children, now having been killed by Israeli attacks. Hundreds came to a rally to demand a permanent Ceasefire now, and for an end to British complicity in Israeli apartheid before marching to join a vigil by medical staff at St Thomas’s Hospital.
Peter Marshall
Gaza Ceasefire Rally, Whitechapel. London 16 Dec 2023. The
Gaza Ceasefire Now! rally at the Tower Hamlets Town Hall was one of many across the country in a day of action for Palestine as rage grows over the increasing death toll, with over 18,600, mainly women and children, having been killed by Israeli attacks. Several hundred came to demand a permanent Ceasefire now, and for an end to British complicity in Israeli apartheid and were supported by many drivers who hooted as they drove past on the busy road.
Peter Marshall
Gaza Ceasefire March, Lewisham. London 16 Dec 2023.
The Gaza Ceasefire Now! march in Lewisham was one of many events across the country in a day of action for Palestine as rage grows over the increasing death toll, with over 18,600, mainly women and children, having been killed by Israeli attacks. A large crowd possibly around a thousand met at New Cross to march demanding a permanent ceasefire now, and for an end to British complicity in Israeli apartheid.
Peter Marshall
Vigil for the children of Palestine, Ilford. London 16 Dec 2023.
A vigil for the children of Palestine in Valentines Park was one of many events across the country in a day of action for Palestine as rage grows over the increasing death toll. Adults and children spoke, some reading poems and we heard about the lives of a few of the many murdered children. The protest condemned the genocide in Gaza, calling for a permanent ceasefire now, and for an end to British complicity in Israeli apartheid.
Peter Marshall

It was almost the end of the year. Christmas too was overshadowed by the news of new killings and increasing suffering in Gaza. Christmas festivities were cancelled in Bethlehem, and the Nativity scene at the The Evangelical Lutheran Church there showed the newborn Jesus wrapped in a kaffiyeh an a heap of rubble to show solidarity with the people of Gaza.

Like many others I greeted the passing of 2023 at the end of New Year’s Eve with thanks that 2023 was over and the hope that 2024 would see a better year for us all. But perhaps that hope was realistically only a glimmer.


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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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Carnaval, Protest For Protest & A Tea Party

Monday, August 7th, 2023

Carnaval, Protest For Protest & A Tea Party: On Sunday 7th August, 2005 my working day began with a Latin carnival and ended with a not quite Boston tea party. Sandwiched between the two was a very varied protest against new laws passed by the New Labour government to restrict the right to protest under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005.


Carnaval del Pueblo – Southwark

Carnaval, Protest For Protest & A Tea Party

The Carnaval Del Pueblo procession by London’s Latin American communities was this year starting from Potters Fields, an empty cleared site between the GLA headquarters then in More London and Tower Bridge. I photographed a number of those taking part in their varied costumes but found it hard to get more interesting pictures as the groups were more spread out.

Carnaval, Protest For Protest & A Tea Party

The pictures, thanks to the various different traditions across South and Central America are very colourful but it was impossible for me to identify the different countries and groups they represented. Most of these countries became colonies of Spain and Portugal and influences from there blended with more traditional indigenous costumes and practices.

Carnaval, Protest For Protest & A Tea Party

Spain was of course traditionally a major enemy of Britain, and this country supported many of the movements to gain independence from Spain in the 19th century as a number of memorials across London testify. Though much of that support was more aimed at getting some of the riches of the continent than freeing the people and was for middle-class movements by people of largely European orgin rather than for the indigenous people – and remains so in UK foreign policy today.

Carnaval, Protest For Protest & A Tea Party

Eventually the procession moved off, on its way to a Latin American Festival in Burgess Park, but I had to leave them as they passed London Bridge station to catch the Jubilee line to Westminster.

It’s hard to choose just a few pictures from so many – so please click on the link to the August page of My London Diary and scroll down to see more.


The Right to Protest – Parliament Square, Westminster

Under New Labour a number of restrictions were introduced which curtailed free speech and the rights of citizens, including a number of measures that they had opposed before they came to power. Some were just been a part of the general trend to central control begun under Thatcher, but others were brought on by the threat of terrorism and even more by the growth of opposition to some government policies, in particular the huge opposition to the invasion of Iran.

This protest followed the passage of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 which prohibited “unauthorised demonstrations within a one kilometre radius of Parliament Square” and was one of several in early August 2005 in which protesters were arrested.

Most people believe that this law had been brought in largely to end the ongoing protest by Brian Haw who had the been protesting in Parliament Square since 2nd June 2001, and whose presence embarrassed Tony Blair and other government ministers. Careless drafting meant the law did not apply to him, though on appeal the court decided it had been meant to and that was good enough, but by then Haw had got permission for a smaller area of protest on the pavement. Despite continuing and often illegal harassment by police and others the protest continued even after Haw died in 2011, continued by Barbara Tucker until May 2013.

At the protezt Brian held up a large poster with a quotation from a speech by US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice in January 2005, when she said “If a person cannot walk into the middle of the town square and express his or her views without fear of arrest, imprisonment, or physical harm, then that person is living in a fear society, not a free society. We cannot rest until every person living in a ”fear society” has finally won their freedom.

The protests in Parliament Square while I was there took various forms. People held up posters, placards and banners; Pax Christi held a service; clowns clowned – all were warned by police they were committing an offence – and five or six were arrested, rather at random from the hundreds present, probably because they argued with police. I got warned for just being there, despite showing the officer my UK Press Card.

Eventually there was some discussion among those taking part and people agreed they would lie down for a short protest together on the grass in Parliament Square.

More pictures on the the link on the August page of My London Diary


The Westminster Tea Party – Time for Tobin Tax, Westminster Bridge

At the end of the Parliament Square protest everyone had been invited to join another short protest about to take place on Westminster Bridge. People gathered there and held tea bags, used here as a political statement against corporate power and in favour of elected governments calling for the introduction of a ‘Tobin Tax’.

Nobel Prize economist James Tobin had in 1972 proposed a small tax on currency transactions to cushion exchange rate volatility by ending speculation, increasingly now carried out by ‘high frequency’ computer algorithms and now relying in AI. It was a development of earlier ideas proposed in the 1930s by John Maynard Keynes.

The idea of a Tobin Tax was taken up by global justice organisations at the start of this century as a way to finance projects to aid the global South such as the Millennium Development goals. In part this came from the Fair Trade movement which gives growers and other producers a fair return for their work. One of its most successful areas has been in promoting fairly traded tea. Once only available from specialist agencies such as the sadly now defunct Traidcraft this is now stocked on many supermarket shelves – as too are Fair Trade certified coffee and chocolate.

More pictures on the the link on the August page of My London Diary


Housing For Need Not Greed

Thursday, July 13th, 2023

Housing For Need Not Greed: Mostly my posts here look at old work, either from a few years ago or my work on London back in the 1980s and 90s. But I’m still goining out at taking pctures if not quite as often as I once did. So this post is about one of the two events I photographed last weekend.

Housing For Need Not Greed - Aysen Dennis - Fight4Aylesbur
Aysen Dennis – Fight4Aylesbury

Last Saturday, 8th July 2023 was National Housing Action Day, and a march from the Elephant to the Aylesbury Estate was one of 16 across the country on National Housing Day. Others were taking place in Lambeth, Islington, Kensington, Cardiff, Glasgow, Abbey Wood, Wandsworth, Harlow, Merton, Ealing, Cornwall, Folkestone, Devon, Birmingham, and Hastings.

Housing For Need Not Greed -Tanya Murat - Southwark Defend Council Housing
Tanya Murat – Southwark Defend Council Housing

The Southwark protest 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.

Housing For Need Not Greed
Marchers at the Elephant on their way to the Aylesbury Estate

Demolition and rebuilding of housing produces huge amounts of CO2, and whenever possible should be avoided now we are aware of the real dangers of global warming. Instead existing buildings should be insulated, retrofitted and refurbished and properly maintained.

Housing For Need Not Greed

Southwark Council’s estates have for well over 20 years been deliberately run down and demonised with some being demolished and replaced. Around 1000 council homes on the Aylesbury Estate have already been demolished buy around 1,700 are still occupied but currently scheduled for demolition.

Marchers on Walworth Road on their way to the Aylesbury Estate.

These homes were well built for the time to higher standards than their replacement and could easily and relatively cheaply be brought up to modern levels of services and insulation with at least another 50 years of life. The estate was carefully designed with open spaces, natural daylight and a range of properties, many with some private outdoor space. The planned replacements are at higher density, less spacious and unlikely to last as long – and only include a small proportion at social rents. Current tenants are more secure and the properties are far more affordable.

People on the street watch and video the march

Many of those whose homes have already been demolished here and on the neighbouring Heygate estate have been forced to move outside the area, some far from London as they can no longer afford to live here.

Bubbles and Marchers on Walworth Road on their way to the Aylesbury Estate.

Although the developers have profited greatly from their work with Southwark Council here and in other estates, and some officers and councillors involved have personally landed well-paying corporate jobs and enjoyed lavish corporate hospitality, the schemes have largely been financial disasters for the council and council tax payers.

Fight4Aylesbury was formed in 199 as Aylesbury Tenants and Residents First, and has been fighting Southwark Council’s plans to demolish the estate since then. While these schemes – part of New Labour’s regeneration initiative – have always been destructive of local communities and disastrous for many of those whose homes have been demolished, we now see that they are also environmentally unsupportable.

You can watch a video on YouTube of Aysen Dennis, Fight4Aylesbury and Tanya Murat, Southwark Defend Council Housing talking about the protest, and FIght4Aylesbury recently released a newsletter, The Future of the Aylesbury with more details on the estate and their proposals. A few more of my pictures from the event are in the album Housing For Need Not Greed – National Action Day, London, UK and are available for editorial use on Alamy.