Posts Tagged ‘Syrians’

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

Saturday, June 4th, 2022

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


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

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

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

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

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

Boycott HP against Israeli apartheid


March to save NHS student bursaries

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

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

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

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

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

March to save NHS student bursaries

Rally against axing NHS student bursaries

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

Rally against axing NHS student bursaries


Call for a Greater Hungary – Downing St

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

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

Call for a Greater Hungary


Congo Massacre protest – Downing St

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

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

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

Congo Massacre protest


Syrians demand break the siege of Alwaer – Downing St

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

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

Syrians demand break the siege of Alwaer


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Tibet, Syrians, Nuclear Melt-Down, Islamophobia & Lions

Tuesday, March 15th, 2022

Tibet, Syrians, Nuclear Melt-Down, Islamophobia & Lions. Saturday 15th March, seven years ago was another typically varied day of protests on the streets of London which I covered.


London March for Freedom for Tibet

Every year Tibetans and supporters in London protest around the anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising against Chinese rule in 1959, ten years after the Chinese invasion of the country. In 1959 the Dalai Lama and 120,000 Tibetans escaped to India and established the Tibetan Government in Exile.

In 2014 they met at Downing St for a march to a rally outside the Chinese Embassy in Portland Place, calling for Tibet to be free and in charge of its own destiny again and for an end to the illegal Chinese occupation. They say China is destroying Tibetan culture, and Tibetans are rapidly becoming a minority in their country as thousands of migrants are brought in. Peaceful protests by Tibetans are met by arrests, torture, death and lies, and China’s economic power means western countries adopt what they have called a policy of ‘constructive engagement’ with China, effectively turning a blind eye to the occupation and to human rights abuses in Tibet.

I left the Tibetans shortly after their march went through Trafalgar Square to photograph another protest.

London March for Freedom for Tibet


Syrians March for International Action

I had met the Syrians before the start of their march close to Hyde Park corner and had left them as they began their march along Piccadilly on the third anniversary of the start of their fight for freedom. I met them again as they came down Whitehall for a rally at Downing St to show their commitment to the cause and their solidarity with fellow Syrians inside and outside Syria.

The marchers from the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces and the UK Syrian community called for Assad to go and were appealing to the Britain and the international community to help them to get rid of him. Unfortunately although western leaders condemned the actions of the Syrian government they were not prepared to back up their words with action, and it was left to Russia, who backed Assad to determine the future of the country. Few can doubt that the weakness shown by the west over Syria was not a major factor in Putin thinking he could successfully invade Ukraine.

Ukraine is not of course Syria, but it is hard to read the statement made by the Syrians I quoted in my post without seeing some parallels: “Syria, once proud of its contribution to culture, its distinguished history and its beautiful mosques and churches has been overwhelmed with a brutal dictatorship. Syrian homes have turned to rubble, echoing the unheard screams of its inhabitants. The regime has tried to silence the call of freedom by murdering over 150,000, injuring 500,000, imprisoning 250,000, making 1.5 million refugees and caused over 4.5 million internally displaced people within Syria, and recently started using chemical weapons…” Putin in Syria saved a brutal dictatorship, while in Ukraine it seems his aim is to impose a different regime on the country, perhaps less brutal but requiring similar means for it to be imposed.

Syrians March for International Action


Fukushima Nuclear Melt-down Remembered

Earlier I had been at Hyde Park Corner where protesters had gathered on the third anniversary of the nuclear melt-down at Fukushima to march through London, first to the Japanese Embassy and then on to a short stop at Downing St before a rally in Parliament Square.

I photographed them again at Downing St, but had to leave as they marched away to their rally.

Fukushima Nuclear Melt-down Remembered


English Volunteer Force march in London

The English Volunteer Force is a coalition of various far-right groups and described the protest on Facebook as “highlighting multiple issues from immigration, Islamic hate preachers, sharia law, Sharia zones, Sharia patrol groups, banning the Burhka!, Halal meat, endless applications for more mosques etc.”
They insist that they are ‘patriotic’ and are not racist, and claim not to be against Muslims but simply against Muslim extremists, though I found this hard to take seriously.

The march started outside the Lord Moon of the Mall pub close to the Trafalgar Square end of Whitehall where people were just coming out of the pub as I arrived. Police were taking a great deal of trouble to keep anti-fascist who were intent on stopping the march from getting close to it, but were unhelpful when I complained about an assault by one of the protesters who shouted at me and pushed my camera into my face.

A few minutes before the assault I’d mingled with the protesters as they walked down to Downing St, joking with some I knew from earlier right-wing protests I’d covered previously. They seemed pleased that I was covering the event – and although they were clear we differed greatly in our views had personally invited me to some cover some ‘patriotic’ events as they trusted me to report accurately on them.

There were several groups of counter-protesters but generally they were kept apart by police – and by stewards in an official protest area against the EVF opposite Downing St. There were a few arrests both of anti-fascists and of EVF marchers who tried to attack them, and one of the larger groups of anti-fascist was kettled by police on Parliament St.

English Volunteer Force march in London


Save Our Lions – Ban Canned Hunting

Finally I walked back up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square, where hundreds had come for the Global March for Lions, marching from different starting points to meet and call for a ban on the ‘canned’ hunting of captive lions by wealthy trophy tourists.

Legal but unscrupulous, ‘canned hunting’ is big business in South Africa, with more than 8,000 lions in captivity, bred on lion farms. Rich visitors pay large sums to take part in lion shoots, where the targets are unable to escape, often raised to be tame and used to human presence and drugged to make them easy kills. Over 160 lion killing camps have been set up in South African in the last 15 years.

As I commented: “It is a terrible way to treat a wild and noble animal, but it also greatly threatens the wild lion population. To prevent the inbreeding that is rife in captive lion populations, wild lions continue to be captured, while the growth in the Asian lion bone trade increased poaching.”

Save Our Lions – Ban Canned Hunting


More about all these events on My London Diary:
Save Our Lions – Ban Canned Hunting
English Volunteer Force march in London
Fukushima Nuclear Melt-down Remembered
Syrians March for International Action
London March for Freedom for Tibet


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Latin Village, Zuma, Boat Dwellers & Syria

Thursday, April 8th, 2021

A human chain surrounds the block containing the Latin Village at Seven Sisters

Four Years ago today on Saturday 8th April 2017 I was travelling around London photographing a very varied set of protests, ending the day at Seven Sisters where London’s most vibrant community market has been under threat since 2006.

The Latin Village or Seven Sisters Indoor Market a few yards from the Underground station exit on the High Rd is a vibrant place in an Edwardian building, Wards Furnishing Stores, a department store which closed in 1972. The ground and mezzanine floors of part of the site house around 60 independent businesses, mainly run by people of Latin American origin but with others from the Caribbean and Middle East and when open it is a vibrant area to walk around, full of music. Covid has of course meant its closure, and the building owners Transport for London in 2010 closed the mezzanine area as unsafe and banned the on-site cooking of food which had been such an important aspect of the market.

Haringey Council and developers Grainger PLC want to clear the site and replace it with a “mixed use development” which would include expensive flats and chain stores – and although it may include a small market it will lose the character of the Latin Village and almost certainly be at rents which would make any of the current businesses uneconomic. Protests against the plans are still continuing.

My work had begun outside South Africa House in Trafalgar Square, where a large group of South Africans were protesting in defence of South Africa’s democracy and calling for the removal of President Zuma.

Jacob Zuma had been president since 2009, and had a long history of legal challenges both before and during his presidency, particularly for racketeering and corruption, and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_Zuma Wikipedia states his time in office is estimated to have cost the South African economy around 83 million USD. Facing a vote of no confidence he finally resigned in February 2018, succeeded by Cyril Ramaphosa, who has also been criticised for various financial irregularities and his call for action against striking miners which resulted in the Marikana Massacre in 2012 in which 34 miners were killed by South African police.

In 2012 the Canal & River Trust (CRT), a charity, took over the running of our canals and rivers from British Waterways and since then have begun a series of evictions of boat dwellers who do not have permanent moorings. The say that it is unlawful for the CRT to impose limitations on their right to live on boats unless they meet arbitrary limitations based on a minimum distance or movement or pattern of travel.

Permanent moorings are expensive – perhaps £6,000 a year along with a licence cost of £1,000, so families who live on boats because they cannot afford houses are being priced out, with moorings going to the wealthy who often only use their boats for a few weeks each year, gentrifying the canal and destroying communities who live on boats. Boat dwellers came to Embankment Garden to picnic and hold a rally against the CRT. As well as opposing evictions they also called for proper maintenance of locks, bridges and waterway banks, more mooring rings, more water taps and more sanitary facilities.

Syrians gathered a Marble Arch for a march to Downing St calling on the UK government to support Syrians against the use of chemical weapons by President Assad’s forces in Syria.

They say that the attack four days earlier at Khan Sheikhoon near Idlib, like that on Ghouta three years previously, used Sarin nerve agent, this time killing over 100 and injuring over 400. Unfortunately our government, along with that of the US, has firmly set itself against any real action in Syria, despite encouraging the uprising against Assad, and is leaving it to Russia (and later Turkey) to ensure that the revolution fails.

More pictures from all these events on My London Diary:
Human Chain at Latin Village
Against Chemical Warfare in Syria
Boat dwellers fight evictions
Zuma Must Go


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