Posts Tagged ‘stand up to racism’

Croydon, Abortion & Windrush – 2018

Sunday, May 5th, 2024

Croydon, Abortion & Windrush – I began work on Saturday 5th of May with a late May Day march in Croydon, then came to Westminster where abortion rights protesters were meeting to oppose a ‘March for Life’ anti-abortion march and rally. At Downing Street there was a rally against the racist attacks by Theresa May against the Windrush generation, which later marched to continue at the Home Office, where I ended the day after photographing the anti-abortion march.


Croydon march for May Day – Saturday 5th May 2018

Although International Workers Day is celebrated internationally on May 1st, in Croydon there was a march and rally on the following Saturday.

Croydon is just 15 minutes by public transport from the centre of London, and those who were able to do so had probably joined the main London march on May Day, while others will have had to wait for the weekend to celebrate, so the march and rally on Saturday made sense.

It wasn’t a huge march, though doubtless more made their way to the rally later at Rusking House, where the speakers were to include Ted Knight, once the leader of Lambeth council and then one of the best-known Labour politicians, derided in the press of the day as ‘Red Ted’. One of the largest groups on the march was the supporters of the local Keep Our St Helier Hospital campaign fighting against proposed cuts there.

More pictures at Croydon march for May Day.


Women protest anti-abortion march – Parliament Square

Feminists in the abortion rights campaign held a rally in Parliament Square before the annual March for Life UK by pro-life anti-abortion campaigners was to arrive for their rally.

They opposed any increase of restrictions on abortion and called for an end to the harassment of women going into clinics and called for women in Northern Ireland to be given the same rights as those in the rest of the UK, as well as supporting the Irish referendum to repeal the 8th amendment to the constitution dating from 1983 which effectively banned abortion in Ireland.

More pictures at Women protest anti-abortion march.


Anti-Abortion March for Life – Whitehall

I walked up Whitehall to meet the several thousand anti-abortion campaigners, mainly Catholics, marching to their rally in Parliament Square.

They argue that even at conception the fertilised egg should be awarded an equal right to life as the woman whose body it is in, and call legalised abortion the greatest violation to human rights in history.

This was the first London march by ‘March for Life UK’ who had previously held marches in Birmingham and came a few weeks an Irish vote was expected to repeal the 8th amendment and allow abortion in Ireland, and some posters and placards called for a ‘No’ vote in this.

More pictures at Anti-Abortion March for Life.


Windrush rally against Theresa May – Downing St

I remained on Whitehall to join a rally at Downing St organised by Stand Up to Racism calling for Theresa May’s racist 2014 Immigration Act to be repealed and an immediate end to the deportation and detention of Commonwealth citizens, with those already deported to be bought back to the UK.

It demanded guaranteed protection or all Commonwealth citizens and for those affected to be compensated for deportation, threats of deportation, detention, loss of housing, jobs, benefits and denial of NHS treatment and an end to the ‘hostile environment’ introduced by Theresa May.

Speakers also condemned the unusual moves by the Tories in ways that threaten the normal working of Parliament to try and keep information about the Windrush scandal secret. Aong those speaking were Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, trade unionists, and people from organisations standing up for immigrants and opposing immigration detention including Movement for Justice who brought two women who had been held in Yarl’s Wood to speak.

After the rally at Downing Street protesters marched to the Home Office for a further rally there.

More pictures on My London Diary:
Home Office: Windrush Immigration Act protest
Downing Street: Windrush rally against Theresa May


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All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall.
Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


Goodbye & Good Riddance – May – June 2023

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2024

Goodbye & Good Riddance – May 2023; Continuing my series of posts about some of the many protests I covered in 2023, a year when there was much to protest about.

May always starts with May Day, but after that things went downhill with the coronation weekend, when I found other things to do in Derbyshire, though I did take a few pictures of the decorations, as well as finding a couple of hours to walk around the centre of Chesterfield. But most of the month I was preoccupied with other matters, including a book launch and an exhibition opening by two friends, birthday celebrations and other family matters. Things got a little more back to normal in June.

Goodbye & Good Riddance - May - June 2023
London May Day March – 1st May 2023. Indigenous Ecuadorian dance group Warmis UK march with United Voices of the World trade union. Several thousand gathered at Clerkenwell Green for the International Workers Day March to Trafalgar Square. Those taking part came from a wide range of trade unions and political organisations and included many from London’s wide range of ethnic communities. Peter Marshall

Click the link to see more pictures including many of the banners on the march.

Goodbye & Good Riddance - May - June 2023
Baslow, Derbyshire 14 May 2023.
I didn’t entirely escape the coronation as “I couldn’t avoid a short glimpse when some twit put the TV on” though I did walk out of the room and there were quite a few decorations on the street. The following day I had a couple of hours before my train left Chesterfield for London and you can see some pictures from there and elsewhere in Derbyshire in Coronation Weekend – Baslow & Chesterfield.
Goodbye & Good Riddance - May - June 2023
Unite to Defy Protest Against Racism and Police State, London. 27 May 2023
Protesters at Downing St. Gypsy Traveller League, Black Lives Matter, Just Stop Oil, DPAC, Not My Bill, Republic, Stand Up to Racism and others united in a rally calling for an end to all racial discrimination and against the draconian measures in the Police and Crime Act and other recent laws which remove human rights and make the UK a police state, before marching to Downing St where the GTL handed in a letter. Peter Marshall

Another 70 pictures in the album on the link above.

Goodbye & Good Riddance - May - June 2023
Jeremy Corbyn – 40 Years As Islington North MP. Highbury Fields, 10 June 2023.
I was pleased to have a ticket for the celebration of Jeremy Corbyn’s 40th anniversary as MP for Islington North as all were taken up quickly for the event in a small area of Highbury Fields. It was sweltering and there was little shade and I was only able to stay for the first 90 minutes of the 4 hour event, unfortunately having to leave before Corbyn arrived. Tosh McDonald, Vice President of Aslef, Andrew Feinstein, Stella Assange and others. Peter Marshall
Time to Act on Abortion Law, London, UK. 17 June 2023.
People at the Royal Courts of Justice before the march to a rally opposite Downing St called by British Pregnancy Advisory Service, Women’s Equality Party and the Fawcett Society demands for urgent reform of UK abortion law after a woman was sentenced to 28 months in prison after using abortion pills to end her own pregnancy, prosecuted under an 1861 law. Peter Marshall
Puma End Your Support of Israeli Apartheid, Carnaby St, 24 Jun 2023.
Campaigners from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign continue their regular protests at the Puma shop on Carnaby St calling on the company to end sponsorship of the Israel Football Association. Puma is the main international sponsor of the IFA, aiding Israel to whitewash its human rights abuses and normalising the illegal settlements. Peter Marshall
Early Years Equality Protest, Downing St. 24 Jun 2023.
Campaigners protest opposite Downing St at the way in which the government treats children under 5 and the Early Years Sector. Many came dressed in orange and hung ribbons with their demands onto a Rights on RIbbons Tree. They say the government policy is to put babies in underfunded infant storage units so parents can go back to work neglecting the development and rights of the children. Peter Marshall
Just Stop Oil – Don’t Deport Marcus, London. 24 Jun 2023.
Hundreds marched from Parliament Square to the Home Office to demand that environmental protester and German citizen Marcus Decker not be deported after serving his 2 year 7 month sentence, one of the longest ever for a non-violent protest after hanging a Just Stop Oil banner on the Dartford QEII bridge. Marcus gave an eloquent speech by phone calling for continued actions to save the world. Peter Marshall
Free Assange Rally – ‘Anything to Say? 24 Jun 2023.
Hundreds protest at a rally in Parliament Square around Davide Dormino’s ‘Anything To Say?’, life-size bronzes of Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning who all had the courage to say no to the intrusion of global surveillance and to lies that lead to war standing on chairs. They called for the release of Julian Assange from Belmarsh prison and for him not to be deported to the USA. Peter Marshall

You can see more pictures from these and other protests and events in my Facebook Albums.


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All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall.
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Chelmsford & Marikana

Friday, August 18th, 2023

Chelmsford & Marikana – On 18th August 2012 I travelled out of London to Chelmsford where an extreme right march was protesting against the building of a mosque, with a rather larger protest opposing them. I travelled back into London where a protest had been arranged at short notice against the shooting of striking miners by police in South Africa.


EDL Outnumbered in Chelmsford – Essex

Chelmsford & Marikana

I think this was my first visit to Chelmsford, the county town of Essex although it is only around 30 miles northeast of London and the journey from Liverpool Street station takes just over half an hour. But I didn’t much enjoy my time there and though I’m sure its an interesting place I’ve not been back since.

Chelmsford & Marikana

My day started fine as I walked from the station to the Unite Against Fascism rally in the middle of the city and mingled with the crowd there taking pictures. Everyone was friendly and I had no problems taking photographs.

Chelmsford & Marikana

But then I went to the pub where the English Defence League (EDL) wer gathering for the start of their march, where I was met with abuse and threats and one man complained to the police about my taking pictures. Some others more happily posed for me, making V signs but I was pleased the pub railings were between them and me, and when the police, who had told the complainant that I was within my rights to take photographs, politely asked me if I would move away to to avoid further upsetting the EDL I was pleased to do so.

Chelmsford & Marikana

I crossed back to the opposite side of the road where over photographers and TV crews were standing, and photographed the EDL Essex Division spokesman Paul Pitt who was being interviewed, polite and smiling for the camera, denying that the EDL were racist and promising “there will be no violence from us.

As the march formed up behind several banners I stayed in front of them with the other photographers, not getting as close as I usually like to do to avoid any further trouble. Despite Pitt’s claims the marchers were singing some of their usual Islamophobic EDL songs, and as the march moved off a rather large and fat marcher came towards me as I was taking pictures and said: “I hope all your family die of cancer.

I left the EDL march as it turned into the street leading to where they were to hold their rally and returned to the UAF rally, passing a huge police presence with various fences and cordons across roads to ensure the two groups were kept apart.

The UAF were in the middle of the busy shopping area and as soon as the police had sealed off the street where the EDL were holding their rally the UAF were allowed to march, going around the outside of that area.

The atmosphere on the UAF march was very different. It was several times as large with many more placards and banners and much louder, with almost continuous chanting calling for an end to the racist provocations of the EDL, though usually rather less politely. And the people were certainly much more friendly.

Two EDL supporters appeared at one point and began to loudly shout ‘EDL!, EDL!’ but police quickly moved them away and held them until the march had passed, warning them not to interfere with it again.

More about the march and many more pictures on My London Diary at EDL Outnumbered in Chelmsford.


Solidarity with Marikana Miners

I went back to the station and caught the train back to London and then got on the tube to Hyde Park Corner where, close to the station, a small group of protesters had gathered outside building where Lonmin, the owners of the Marikana mine, then had offices.

The killing of the 34 miners at Marikana in South Africa two days earlier had appalled many around the world and this emergency protest had been called as the news broke. But it was too short notice to draw a large crowd.

Lonmin, previously even more infamous as Lonrho, only occupied a small suite on the top floor of this recently refurbished office building. The building seemed empty and was firmly locked when the protesters arrived and there was nothing on the outside or visible through the glass doors of the lobby to indicate that this was the base of one of the world’s larger platinum mining companies, listed on the London Stock Exchange, with a revenue in 2014 of US$ 965 million.

After protesting outside the offices for around an hour the group decided to walk to South Africa House in Trafalgar Square and hold a rally there.

A speaker on the pavement in front of South African House told us how the massacre at Marikana fitted in to the pattern of exploitation and oppression that has characterised the mining industry in Africa. Conditions in many of the mines are terrible, with little or no attention to health and safety issues, and miners are on low wages.

One of Lonmin’s board members at the time of the massacre was Cyril Ramaphosa, who a few months later became Deputy President of South Africa and in 2018 President. Many blamed his emails putting pressure on the police to intervene for the shooting.

The older South African National Union of Mineworkers, a member of the Congress of South African Trade Unions COSATU which has strong links to the governing African National Congress (ANC) is seen by many workers to have done little or nothing to improve pay and conditions in the mines. Many miners including those at Marikana had joined the breakaway Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) which represented over 70% of the Lonmin workers and had led the strike.

Solidarity with Marikana Miners


UN Anti-Racism Day 2017 & 2023

Saturday, March 18th, 2023

UN Anti-Racism Day 2017 & 2023

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

UN Anti-Racism Day 2017 & 2023

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

UN Anti-Racism Day 2017 & 2023

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

Phyll Opoku of PCS ‘Stand Up to Racism’

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

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

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

The 2023 march organisers say:

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

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

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

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

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


Funeral for Cyclists, Against Islamophobia, Iranian Repression

Thursday, October 13th, 2022

London, Saturday 13th October 2018


National Funeral for the Unknown Cyclist

I’ve been a cyclist since my sixth birthday, when my parents bought me a second-hand two wheeler to replace the trikes I’d been on since before I could walk. By the end of the day I could ride it, if rather unsteadily, along the pavement of our street.

The bicycle gave kids like me a new freedom, and within a couple of years I was riding miles either on my own or with a couple of mates to play both in local parks and green spaces and further afield. We cycled away from our dusty streets into the countryside, often going along some of the busiest roads in the country, the A30, A4 and A3 out west from our grey suburbs.

We didn’t think much about safety back then, and though traffic was heavy, vehicles were smaller and speeds were lower. Drivers were I think more considerate back then, and almost all will have been cyclists before getting behind the wheel. So I survived, though there were a few close shaves, later mainly thanks to teenage stupidity.

Over seventy years later I still ride a bike, though with rather larger wheels, and usually just to the local shops, but I feel less safe on the roads. I’ve been knocked off it a couple of times in the past twenty years or so, both times by drivers who were extremely apologetic and confessed they hadn’t seen me as they drove out onto a main road or came up behind me on a roundabout. I was lucky and only sustained minor cuts and bruises and the motorists paid for the repairs to my bike.

During the first Covid lockdown the roads were almost empty and I went out each weekday morning for a ten-mile ride to keep fit. But then traffic began to come back and the fumes and too many close passes put me off the roads again.

In the past few years we seem to have come out of the long era where cyclists were almost completely disregarded in terms of traffic planning (and pedestrians too) but still we are largely failing to get the kind of separate provision to make cycling more safe that we see in some European countries.

Some councils are still dementedly anti-cyclist, and too many drivers see cyclists as an impediment to their progress rather than as fellow road-users. Some still accelerate past me then cut in across me to turn left at junctions, some pass where there is clearly not enough room to do so safely and some even shout insults as the drive past.

Cycling is good for individual health and for the health system as a whole, though less than it should be because of the pollution from traffic. By reducing car journeys it is good for the environment too, and good for motorists as people switching to bikes cuts congestion in cities. As a country we should be spending far more to encourage it and make it safer. In particular that means more separate provision – fears over safety when bikes are on busy roads is one of the main things that stops many getting on bike, but also driver education and improvements in vehicle and road design.

Among those at the protest were a number of families whose members had been killed on our roads, including some from Tony Spink’s family. He was killed cycling through Wakefield city centre by a lorry driver who didn’t stop, dragging him under his lorry as he hung onto the windscreen wipers and thumped on the side of the truck. His mangled bike was pulled from the lorry by the driver at a layby and then dumped in bushes miles away. The driver was jailed for two years. This was an extreme case but the sentence seemed risibly short, as are many of the sentences given to drivers who kill both cyclists and pedestrians.

Protests by Stop Killing Cyclists such as this National Funeral for the Unknown Cyclist have publicised the problem and the organisation lobbies for £3 billion a year to be invested in a national protected cycling network and for urgent action to reduce the toxic air pollution from diesel and petrol vehicles which kills tens of thousands of people every year, and disables hundreds of thousands.

Several hundred protesters on bicycles met in Lincolns Inn Fields before riding in a funeral procession behind a horse-drawn hearse to Westminster where instead of following the route the police wanted across Westminster Bridge they turned into Parliament Square and staged a 10 minute die-in before proceeding to a rally in Smith Square.

National Funeral for the Unknown Cyclist


Rally opposes Islamophobic DFLA – Parliament St

I left the National Funeral for the Unknown Cyclist as it went on to Smith Square and walked up Parliament Street to a rally opposing the racist, Islamophobic Democratic Football Lads Alliance who were ending their march with a rally at Downing St.

Stand Up To Racism and Unite Against Fascism had organise a rally here, but the DFLA marchers had not arrived at the expected time. Far fewer than expected had turned up for their march, and it had been blocked for some time by more militant anti-fascist protesters on the route.

Some of the DFLA had given up and gone to pubs along the route, but a few had walked across St James’s Park to Parliament Square from where they shouted for a while at the SUTR/UAF protest as police stopped them from getting closer, and after a while persuaded them to move away. The number who finally arrived for their rally was rather small and it didn’t seem worthwhile to take a long walk around the police barricade to try to photograph them.

Rally opposes Islamophobic DFLA


Ahwazi protest Iranian repression – Parliament Square

Instead I went back to Parliament Square where I met Ahwazi protesters marching into the square carrying Ahwaz independence flags. They protested noisily facing the Houses of Parliament calling for Iran to end the repression of their people and to get out of their land.

Al Ahwaz, the oil-rich northern side of the Persian Gulf was under British control until 1925, with the population enjoying considerable autonomy as Arabistan. The emirate was dissolved by the Persian regime following a rebellion in 1924 and the area occupied by Persian troops, and a process of ‘Persianisation’ imposed on the area, attempting to destroy its Arab culture. They renamed the area Khuzestan.

Discrimination against the Ahwazi increased under the Islamic Regime, impoverishing the area which contains much of Iran’s natural resources and there has been widespread civil unrest since 2015, with massive protests in April 2018 on the anniversary of the 2011 Ahwaz Day of Rage, itself an anniversary of the 2005 unrest. In September 2018 militants from the
Ahwaz National Resistance attacked an Iranian Revolutionary Guard parade in the city of Ahvaz, killing 25 soldiers and civilians.

Ahwazi protest Iranian repression


Migrant Rights, XR, Prefabs or Football Lads?

Friday, October 7th, 2022

Most days when I come to write a post for >Re-PHOTO I start by searching for what photographs I took on the same day in previous years. My London Diary has almost 20 years of work online, so usually there is something from at least one year to chose, though if I don’t find that interesting enough I’ll instead write a post continuing the series on my walks in the 1980s.

But often I have the opposite problem, with events from several years to chose between, and I can sit for ages trying to decide which to write about. And for October 7th I simply can’t make up my mind. So for today I’ll show you the options and you can chose which if any you want to find out more about. I’ll present them briefly in date order.


March for Migrant Rights – London, Saturday 7 Oct, 2006

Migrant Rights, XR, Prefabs or Football Lads?

The march for migrant rights was a little unusual in taking place entirely south of the river, from the Imperial War Museum in Lambeth to Tanner Street Park in Bermondsey. The day was the third International Day Of Action On Migrant Rights, and there were events in various cities across Europe and in Africa.

It was a reasonably large march, involving groups including ‘Barbed Wire Britain’, ‘No-Borders’, ‘No One Is Illegal, the ‘Latin American Workers Assocation’ and other national groups of migrant workers, as well as some trade union branches. But the streets along which it marched were largely empty.

The marchers demanded an amnesty for migrants living in the UK, the right for migrants to work, the closure of detention centres, and for social justice and secure work conditions for all. They called for the UK to sign up to the Un International Convention On The Protection Of The Rights Of All Migrant Workers.

More at March for Migrant Rights.


Excalibur Estate – Downham, Catford. Thursday 7 Oct 2010

I put my bike on the train to Waterloo and cycled to Downham to photograph the Excalibur estate is the only substantial example remaining of a number of pre-fab estates constructed as the Second World War ended for returning soldiers and their family. Erected by prisoners of war it was only intended as temporary housing, expected to last 10 years.

The prefabs were well-made with fitted kitchens, refrigerators, built-in cupboards and heated towel rails, but Lewisham council has allowed them to deteriorate, having decided years ago it wanted to demolish the whole estate.

I made my visit – the second or thrid time I’d photographed the estate – after hearing that following a small majority of residents voting for a regeneration plan the council was transferring the estate to a housing association to carry this out. Some residents were keeping up a fight to save the estate and had managed to get a small group of six prefabs Grade II listing.

In a longer article on >Re:PHOTO I suggested that people who wanted to see the estate should go down and visit it without delay. Twelve years later you still have time to do so, and can also see the new housing on the northern part of the estate. Some of the remaining properties are now empty, but others are still occupied, though I think most of the tidy gardens in my 2010 pictures are rather less well-kept.

More at Excalibur Estate.


Elephants & Rhinos, Football Lads Alliance & Stand Up To Racism – Saturday 7th October 2017

My working day started in Parliament Square where as a part of the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos (GMFER) taking place around the world people stood in a half hour long silent protest holding mock elephant tusks or rhino horns. The speeches after this were continuing when I left for Park Lane.

A crowd of perhaps 5,000 were at the Football Lads Alliance Rally, with speakers from an open-top bus protesting against the recent terror attacks in the UK and Europe, remembering the victims and calling on government to take decisive action against the extremist threat, including locking up all terrorist suspects and deporting those of foreign origin.

It was at times an angry crowd, with many responding to the clearly racist and Islamophobic remarks from some speakers, with suggesters that many thousands of Muslims were Islamist extremists and should be locked up, and there was a huge angry outcry when the name of Diane Abbott was mentioned, with a loud shout from behind me that she should be raped. I recognised some who I’d photographed on EDL marches and made clear they thought I should not be there.

Eventually the march set off and made its way along Piccadilly in silence but by the time it reached Trafalgar Square it had become very noisy. It was joined there by a group of a couple of hundred Gurkhas, many wearing their medals, who led the march for a few yards at the top of Whitehall.

The march organisers and fans then overtook them to take the march down Whitehall. Opposite Downing Street it went past a group of supporters of Stand Up to Racism who were calling for everyone to Stand together and say ‘No to racism & Islamophobia, Football for All’.

Some stood on the edge of the pavement to hand out leaflets to the marchers through a loose line of police. Although some of the marchers took the leaflet with its heading ‘Some questions for the leaders of the FLA‘ there were many angry shouted insults and threats. Some marchers tried to hold back others who tried to attack the people handing out leaflets and eventually a large block of police had to come in and push angry FLA marchers away and down towards Westminster Bridge.

By this time I’d had enough of the FLA and their threats and didn’t bother to try to photograph them laying the football club wreaths on Westminster Bridge, but sat down in Parliament Square to have a rather late lunch.

Stand Up To Racism and the FLA
Football Lads Alliance March
Football Lads Alliance Rally
Silent Vigil for Elephants and Rhinos


Extinction Rebellion – And A Wedding

Extinction Rebellion began their International Rebellion by occupying eleven locations at government ministries, Downing St, The Mall, Westminster and Lambeth bridges, bringing traffic to a halt.

I made my way to most of these sites and took pictures, including some of the Red Rebels on Westminster Bridge. Getting around London was difficult, with the police blocking some roads including Lambeth Bridge adding to the traffic chaos and making me walk much further than I wanted. It was generally a colourful protest and I saw few arrests.

On Westminster Bridge I recorded the wedding of XR rebels Tamsin and Melissa in the middle of the protest. I’m not a wedding photographer but this was a little different.

XR Rebels marry on Westminster Bridge
Extinction Rebellion occupy Westminster


Tax Robbery, Racism & John Lewis

Monday, March 21st, 2022

Tax Robbery, Racism & John Lewis. Saturday 21st March 2015 was another busy day for me in London, covering protests against the criminal activities of UK banks, a large march and rally against racism in the UK (and a few racists opposing this) and customers of John Lewis calling on the company to treat its cleaners fairly.


Great British Tax Robbery – HSBC, Regent St.

UK Uncut campaigners arrived at the HSBC Regent St branch dressed as detectives and robbers to highlight the bank’s crimes in causing the financial crash and tax dodging, which have led to drastic cuts in vital public services and welfare and attempt a ‘Citizen’s Arrest’.

UK Uncut had a clear message for both HSBC and the government, accusing them of being criminals:

The government told us they’d “protect the poorest and most vulnerable”. They said “those with the broadest shoulders will bear the brunt of the cuts”. And what have we seen? Dismantling the NHS and wrecking the welfare state. Cutting schools, youth clubs, sure start centres, domestic violence refuges and libraries. Slashing local council budgets. Attacking disabled people with inhumane ‘work capability assessments’ and cuts to vital benefits. Removing access to justice through legal aid cuts. Allowing the big six energy companies to push people into fuel poverty. Cutting jobs, wages and pensions. Selling off social housing and moving people away from their communities. Driving hundreds of thousands into food banks and making families choose between heating or eating

My London Diary, March 2015

The bank closed a few minutes before the protesters arrived and kept its doors shut as the protesters’ ‘forensic team’ chalked around ‘crime victims’ on the ground and put crime scene tape around the area, sealing off the door with a banner. There was a speech from a NHS campaigner from East London about the effects of the cuts on the NHS and ‘criminals’ with HSBC on their chests posed for pictures. After a few minutes the protest was ended as many of those taking part were, like me, joining the Anti-Racism protest.

Great British Tax Robbery


Stand Up to Racism March – BBC to Trafalgar Square

Thousands came to the Stand Up to Racism march from the BBC to Trafalgar Square to reject the scapegoating of immigrants, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism and to celebrate the diversity of Britain, with the message ‘Migrants are Welcome Here!

The march began at the BBC, who campaigners accuse of having a policy of ignoring protests in the UK, especially those against government policies – such as the racist hounding of immigrants under their ‘hostile environment’.

Among those marching were DPAC, Disabled People Against Cuts. Government policies have also targeted disabled people, cutting benefits and subjecting them to unfair ‘fitness to work’ tests which largely ignore medical evidence.

Stand Up to Racism March


Britain First Protests anti-Racist March – Piccadilly Circus

A small and rather sad extreme right-wing group stood on the steps around Eros waving flags and shouting insults at the anti-racist marchers as the thousands marched past. It was a reminder of the kind of bigotry the great majority were marching against.

Some of the marchers paused to shout back at them, while others followed the advice of the march stewards and ignored the small group. There were a few scuffles but generally police kept the two groups apart, though later I learnt that after I had gone past a group of anti-fascists had seized the Britain First banner.

Britain First Protests anti-Racist March


Stand Up to Racism Rally – Trafalgar Square

Lee Jasper holds up a large poster responding to Trevor Phillips saying he is not a criminal, murderer or thief

Several thousand who had marched to ‘Stand up to Racism’ through London stayed on to listen to speeches at a rally in Trafalgar Square.

Speakers included Owen Jones, Jeremy Corbyn, Zita Holbourne, Omer El Hamdoon, Lee Jasper and many others, whose photographs you can see on My London Diary.

Stand Up to Racism Rally


John Lewis customers support Living Wage – Oxford St

John Lewis is a company proud of its history and its reputation as a company based on its constitution as the UK’s largest employee owned business with both John Lewis and Waitrose owned in Trust by its 80,000 ‘partners’. They say everyone who works in its stores are not just employees, but a partners in the company, and in almost every year they enjoy a share in its profits.

Everyone who works there, except the cleaners who play a vital role in the proper running of the stores. John Lewis gets out of making them partners by using other companies to employ them and provide the cleaning as a service, choosing its cleaning company through competitive tendering. Cleaning companies cut wages and conditions of service such as sick pay, maternity pay, pensions, holiday pay to the bone – usually the absolute legal minimum – so they can put in low tenders and still make good profits. They exploit the workers – a largely migrant workforce with limited job opportunities – while John Lewis can claim it isn’t them who are doing so and try to maintain their reputation as a good employer.

For some years the cleaners have been protesting to get a living wage and also for John Lewis to recognise their responsibility as the actual company the cleaners are providing a service to. They want to be treated equally with the others who work in the stores, rather than the second-class employees they are now. The least John Lewis could do would be to insist on contractors paying the living wage and giving employees decent conditions of service as a condition of tender, but they had refused to take any responsibility.

Many customers of John Lewis – a very middle-class group – back the cleaners’ case for fair and equal treatment, and a few had come to hand out flyers and talk to shoppers to back their case in a very restrained protest. One of them told me it was the first time she had ever taken part in any protest. They were supported by a few members of the cleaners union, the IWGB, who had brought some of their posters.

John Lewis customers support Living Wage


UN Anti-Racism Day – London

Saturday, March 19th, 2022

March 21st was established by the United Nations as a World Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on the sixth anniversary of police opening fire and killing 69 peaceful protesters at Sharpeville, South Africa on March 21, 1960. Protests in the UK for UN Anti Racism Day take place close to the date and there will be large national marches today, 19th March in London and Glasgow and tomorrow in Cardiff. Today’s post is about events in London on March 19th 2016.

UN Anti Racism Day - London

Stand Up to Racism – Refugees Welcome march

UN Anti Racism Day - London

Thousands met at the BBC to march through London to a rally in Trafalgar Square in an event organised by Stand Up to Racism against racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and fascism and to make it clear that refugees are welcome here.

UN Anti Racism Day - London
Lee Jasper and Zita Holbourne at the front of the Black Lives Matter bloc on the march

Prominent on the march were Black Lives Matter protesters, wearing red in support of the ‘Justice for Sarah Reed’ campaign, chanting loudly “Say Her Name, Sarah Reed” and “Black Lives Matter”. She had died aged 31 in Holloway prison where she was held waiting for psychiatric reports following an attack on her, possibly an attempted rape, by fellow patient in a psychiatric hospital for which she was arrested and charged with grievious bodily harm with intent.

An inquest decided she had killed herself when her mind was unsound, and that unacceptable delays in medical care contributed to her death. Clearly too the prison staff had failed in their duty of care. Four years earlier she had been falsely arrested for shoplifting and seriously assaulted by the arresting officer who was later convicted and dismissed from the Metropolitan police for the offence.

There were also a number of groups on the march working with refugees trapped in the camps in Calais and Dunkirk, and some of those had lines drawn across their lips to remember some of the refugees on hunger strike there who have sewn up their lips.

Although the deaths of many refugees drowned in crossing the Mediterranean have led to widespread sympathy among the British people, there has been no compassion shown by our government, who have increasingly been driven by racists and bigots who oppose Britain taking in any refugees and want to abandon the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the UK helped to draw up in 1947-8.

There were a small number of these bigots, members of the far-right group ‘Britain First’ in their para-military uniforms, who came to shout insults and make offensive gestures at the marchers as they went through Piccadilly Circus. A large ring of police kept them away from the marchers and protected them from any attack by anti-fascists.

Stand Up to Racism – Refugees Welcome march


Refugees Welcome Rally

Marcia Rigg, whose brother Sean was killed by police in Brixton in 2008

At the end of the march there was a rally in Trafalgar Square, with a long list of speakers. They included Vanessa Redgrave and Jeremy Hardy, MP Diane Abbott, MEPs Claude Moraes and Jean Lambert, journalist Journalist, writer Michael Rosen, leading trade unionists Dave Ward CWU, Christine Blower NUT, and Sally Hunt UCU, Marilyn Reed the mother of Sarah Reed, Stephanie Lightfoot-Bennett and Marcia Rigg, Maz Saleem daughter of the Mohammed Saleem who was killed in a racist attack, Talha Ahmad of the Muslim Council of Britain and a young refugee from Iraq.

Refugees Welcome Rally


Australians protest on UN Anti-Racism day

Australian human rights protesters were holding protests at embassies around the world, including the Australian High Commission in London to condemn the Australian government’s racist immigration policy and treatment of refugees.

Refugees who try to claim asylum in Australia are locked up and detained indefinitely in contradiction to international law on remote Pacific Islands including Manus and Nauru in detention camps run by Serco and will never be allowed to resettle in Australia. The Australian protesters were joined by some of those from Movement for Justice which has led protests against the UK immigration detention centres, including that at Yarl’s Wood, run like the Australian camps by Serco, where detainees, also held indefinitely, have been sexually abused and denied proper health treatment. At least one prisoner in the Australian camps has been beaten to death by the prison guards.

Australians protest on UN Anti-Racism day


DPAC’s ‘IDS Resignation Party’

Finally on 19th March I went to Parliament Square for another human rights related event, where Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) were celebrating the resignation of Iain Duncan Smith, one of the chief architects of the brutal Tory welfare policy that has caused them so much suffering, harm and deaths to disabled people.

Though they were pleased that IDS has gone, his policies remained, and his successor, Stephen Crabb, proved top be equally be bigoted and lacking compassion and any understanding of the needs of the poor and disabled.

DPAC’s ‘IDS Resignation Party’


More on all these events on My London Diary:
DPAC’s ‘IDS Resignation Party’
Australians protest on UN Anti-Racism day
Refugees Welcome Rally
Stand Up to Racism – Refugees Welcome march

October 7th 2017

Thursday, October 7th, 2021

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On 7th October 2017 I started the day at a silent vigil for Elephants and Rhinos in Parliament Square before going on the the main event, the Football Lads Alliance and Veterans Against Terrorism rally and march. They were protesting against the recent terror attacks in the UK and Europe, remembering the victims and calling on government to take decisive action against the extremist threat, including locking up all terrorist suspects and deporting those of foreign origin.

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I had some slight hopes that the FLA would turn out not just to be another extreme right organisation like the EDL and the organisers had emphasised that they were opposed to all extremism and racism, but the speeches at the rally in Park Lane and the response from the crowd soon made their position clear, with demands for many thousands of British Muslims to be locked up as extremists. And as I wrote “there was a huge outcry when the name of Diane Abbott was mentioned, with a loud shout from behind me that she should be raped. It was hard to avoid the impression that it was a meeting to stir up Islamophobia, and there seemed to be a total lack of sympathy with refugees fleeing their countries to seek asylum here.”

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Although most of the supporters were happy to be photographed with their wreaths there were a few times when I was greeted with abuse and threats and moved quickly away from some groups.

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More people joined the march as it moved up Picadilly and by the time it reached Trafalgar Square what had been billed as a silent march had become very noisy. There it was joined by a couple of hundred Gurkhas, many wearing medals, who marched at the front for a short distance before being overtaken by some of the organisers and fans.

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On Whitehall a group from Stand Up to Racism had gathered to stand as the march went past, handing out a flier ‘Some questions for the leaders of the FLA‘, which asked them to take steps to ensure their movement was not taken over by racists. The called on the marchers to stand together with the slogan ‘No to racism & Islamophobia, Football for All’.

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Many of the marchers took exception to this, shouting insults and threats, with some taking the leaflets and tearing them up, though there were some who seemed to take an interest and read it. Police formed a line to protect those handing out leaflets – making both handing the leaflets and taking photographs difficult, but preventing us being assaulted – and eventually forced the marchers who had stopped in a block against Stand Up to Racism to move away. Relatively few of the marchers seemed to make it to the final rally and wreath-laying on Westminster Bridge, with pubs in the area getting crowded and others hanging around in groups in Parliament Square.

Stand Up To Racism and the FLA
Football Lads Alliance March
Football Lads Alliance Rally
Silent Vigil for Elephants and Rhinos


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Refugees and Corbyn Welcome – 2015

Sunday, September 12th, 2021

Saturday 12th September 2015 was both the day that the Labour Leadership election results were being announced and also of a large demonstration with over 50,000 people of all ages from across the UK marching through London to show their support for refugees facing death and hardship and their disgust at the lack of compassion and inadequate response of the British government.

People celebrate Corbyn’s landslide victory

It had been clear from the start of the leadership election that Labour MPs were completely out of touch with the mood of the party and of the country after five years of cuts made by the coalition government. A number of those who had given Corbyn the nomination needed for him to stand in the election had only done so with the expectation that it would lead to a humiliating defeat for him and the left, and even those who truly supported him had done so with no hope of victory. Corbyn himself had almost certainly not expected to do well, and had probably only allowed his arm to be twisted to stand after being told it was his turn to do so.

When opinion polls indicated Corbyn was the front runner, many Labour MPs panicked, with leading New Labour figures including Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, Jack Straw and David Miliband all over the media saying his election would be a disaster, making the party unelectable. It was the beginning of a long campaign against him both in public and with many dirty tricks in private that resulted in Labour losing the 2017 and 2019 elections. The result of the leadership election, with a resounding 59.5% for Corbyn, three times that of his nearest rival seemed definitive proof they were wrong (and was confirmed by an increased vote of 61.8% in the 2016 leadership challenge) but the plots and back-stabbing continued to ensure defeat in the 2017 general election. But it was a close thing and Starmer and his Brexit policies were needed to make sure Labour lost dramatically in 2019 and could begin the process of purging the party of socialists.

People in Park Lane for the Refugees Are Welcome march

When Corbyn’s vote was announced I was with a crowd of a couple of hundred Corbyn supporters in Hyde Park, with around as many media people, including many TV crews. I’d taken a position before the announcement sitting on the grass with many of them behind me, but both the supporters and the media went wild, photographers and TV crews knocking me flying as I tried to get up and join the rush to get closer to where the champagne corks were popping. All the usual niceties of media scrums went tothe wind and my gear was scattered. I still managed to get a few pictures.

Maimuna Jawo a refugee from Gambia

Most of those celebrating Corbyn’s victory were like me also waiting for the start of the Refugees Welcome Here march protesting against the government’s failure to respond to the huge numbers of refugees seeking asylum in Europe, risking their lives to travel across the Mediterreanean and other dangerous routes to reach safety from civil wars and persecution. Countries on the front lines of these escape routes are flooded with more refugees than they can cope with, and while some other European countries have taken large numbers of refugees the UK has resisted doing so. Many want to come here as they speak English or have relatives or friends already in this country.

Speaker after speaker on a stage in Park Lane gave damning condemnation of the UK government to act humanely and to meet its international obligations. On My London Diary I list most of those I heard: Jean Lambert, MEP; Claude Moraes; Sabby Dhalu; Zita Holborne of BARAC; Maurice Wren from the Refugee Council; Kevin Courtney, NUT; Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron MP; Antonia Bright of Movement for Justice, Maimuna Jawo, Women for Refugee Women; Zrinka Bralo, Citizens UK; and Sam Fairbairn of People’s Assembly Against Austerity.

Park Lane was packed with people along its length and I walked though to the head of the march at its southern end and went with it for the first couple of hundred yards into Piccadilly, where I stopped to photograph the rest of the march as it came past. Fairly densely packed and spreading across the whole of the roadway (and sometimes on to the pavement) it took exactly an hour to go past me.

I took the tube from Green Park to Westminster and arrived just in time to meet the head of the march as it got to Downing St, going with it from there the short distance to its end in Parliament Square, which soon filled up. I photographed more marchers arriving and coming down Whitehall and Parliament Street and then realised I was rather tired and hungry. I sat down on a wall and had a late sandwich lunch before deciding I’d heard enoough speeches and taking the train home.

More at:
Refugees Welcome march reaches Parliament
Refugees are welcome here march
Rally Says Refugees Welcome Here
Victory Party for Jeremy Corbyn


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