Posts Tagged ‘TfL’

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


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

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.


A Busy Monday

Thursday, February 11th, 2021

Kashmiris call for independence

Monday 11th of February 2019 was an unusually busy day for me covering protests in London, with several unrelated events taking place across Central London.

My day began outside in Marsham St, where groups outraged at the callous hostile environment introduced by Theresa May as Home Secretary from 2010 to 2016 and carried on by her successors Amber Rudd and Sajid Javid (and of course from later in 2019 by the despicable Priti Patel) held a mock trial of the the Home Office.

The Home Office were represented by a figure in Tory blue

The Home Office runs a violent, racist, colonial, and broken asylum, detention and deportation regime which treats refugees and asylum seekers as criminals, judged guilty without trial and often faced with impossible hurdles as they attempt to prove their innocence and claim their rights. It puts pressure on police and the CPS to launch false prosecutions – such as that of the Stanstead 15 who peacefully resisted an asylum flight and were charged and convicted under quite clearly ludicrous and inapplicable terrorism laws – and whose conviction was recently quashed on appeal.

Two years ago I wrote:

There were testimonies from individuals, groups and campaigns about suffering under the vicious system of rigged justice, indefinite detention, ill-treatment and arbitrary arrest and deportation. Two judges watched from their bench and those attending were members of the jury; I left before the verdict, but it was never in doubt.

People’s Trial of the Home Office

I left early to cover a protest at India House in Aldwych by the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front calling for freedom, there on this day as it was the 35th anniversary of the hanging by India of Maqbool Bhat Shaheed in 1984. The population of Jammu and Kashmir is around 12.5 million, and India has over 800,000 troops in Kashmir, who shoot to kill, torture, rape and burn homes with impunity, killing over 100,000 Kashmiris since 1988. More recently India has even tightened its control over Kashmir, getting rid of the constitutional limited autonomy of the area, politically integrating it with India although this seems unlikely to lessen the continuing fight of the Kashmiri people for independence.

Later I photographed a protest by a second group of Kashmiris, the Jammu Kashmir National Awami Party UK, calling for the remains of Maqbool Bhat Shaheed to be released and for independence for Kashmir.

In late afternoon, private hire drivers came to London Bridge in their cars to protest against the decision by Transport for London (TfL) to make them pay the London congestion charge. London’s traditional Licenced Taxis – ‘black cabs’ – will remain exempt in what clearly seems unfair discrimination.

Minicab drivers have been organised by the International Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) into the United Private Hire Drivers (UPHD) which includes the British Bangladesh Minicab Drivers Association, the Minicab Drivers Association and the Somali All Private Hire Drivers, SAPHD. Most private hire drivers are from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups while black cab drivers are almost entirely white and the UPHD claim that TfL’s decision is a case of race discrimination.

London’s Licensed Taxi system dates back to the era of horse-drawn vehicles (Hackney Carriages) and seems largely inappropriate now in the age of smart phones and sat navs. ‘Plying for hire’ creates both congestion and pollution on our overcrowded city streets, and is now unnecessary when cars can be summoned by phone, and good route-planning software with real-time traffic information out-performs the archaic ‘knowledge’ routes.

The drivers parked on London Bridge and blocked both carriageways, then locked their vehicles to march along the bridge and hold a rally, then marched to hold a noisy protest outside City Hall. From there some went to Tower Bridge to block that, but were persuaded by the UPHD stewards to leave and return to their vehicles.

UPHD drivers protest unfair congestion charge
Kashmir Awami Party call for Freedom
Kashmiris call for freedom
People’s Trial of the Home Office


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

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.


Travelcard & more protests

Thursday, August 29th, 2019

I do like to get my money’s worth from a Travelcard. Because of some Tory gerrymandering in the 1960s the area where I live was the only part of Middlesex not to become a London borough, which means that despite my age I don’t qualify for a ‘Freedom Pass’ but am still paying for rail and underground travel.

I do of course get a national bus pass, which does save me a great deal, and a Senior Rail Card gets me a third off my rail fares except during the morning peak – and is a bargain at £70 for 3 years. But still the travel to and around London working costs me around £1500 a year – yet another reason to curse the Tories.

The Freedom Pass was introduced by a Labour GLC in 1973, largely pushed through by the effort’s of Ken Livinstone’s Deputy Illtyd Harrington. Welcome though it was for pensioners, transport in London remained a difficult and expensive business for those of us younger at the time, with journeys generally requiring the purchase of a separate ticket for each stage in any journey.

Again it was under a Labour GLC that the Travelcard was introduced in 1983-4 (the later year for the one-day version) although its use was restricted until the Capitalcard in 1985 added rail travel to Underground and buses. This was replaced by a revised Travelcard in 1989 which included rail and DLR services, which despite changes in London’s governance and travel systems remains in use with only minor changes today.

The Travelcard made my extensive photography of Greater London from 1986-2000 possible, or at least greatly simplified the logistics, particularly in removing the need to queue at tube and rail stations to buy a ticket for each stage of the journey. Improvements in providing information about services, and latterly the online Journey Planner and Googlehave also greatly simplified the process, which previously had meant much tedious work with paper timetables and tube and bus maps as well as the London A-Z. Though with a little intelligence it often remains possible to find faster routes than those suggested online, which occasionally verge on the bizarre.

On April 30th my Travelcard first took me to Waterloo, and then on the tube to Westminster. After photographing the protests there it was back on the tube to London Bridge and then by rail to New Cross and a short walk to Goldsmiths. I then returned by train to London Bridge, again taking the tube to Westminster, where I photographed a protest by XR Families at the Treasury. I walked back to Westminster station and again took the Jubilee Line, this time to Finchley Road, with a short walk to cover a protest against a fundraiser to recruit young people to the Israeli army at the JW3 Jewish Community Centre. This is close to Finchley Road & Frognal station from which I caught the Overground to Richmond for a South West Railway train home.

I think the day would have needed a combination of 5 or 6 single or return tickets for the various stages in the pre-Travelcard era, each involving queing to buy a ticket from a clerk in the ticket office. I don’t think I could have contemplated a journey like this and had I done so it would have been expensive. I felt my Travelcard had served me well.

More about the last two protests of the day and of course more pictures:

XR Families and Children at the Treasury
Protest against Israeli Army Recruitment


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

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

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


Unfair treatment of private hire drivers

Wednesday, July 10th, 2019

Rather than write something myself about the discrimination by Transport for London making private hire drivers pay the London congestion charge to accompany some of my pictures from the protest by them at the start of April, I’ve decided to quote some of the statement made last week about their High Court case which begins today:

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) will be arguing at the High Court on 10 and 11 July that Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s decision to introduce a congestion charge on minicabs discriminates against and breaches the human rights of a mainly BAME workforce.
The IWGB is seeking a judicial review of Khan’s decision to introduce the £11.50 charge on the grounds that it is a case of indirect discrimination under the Equality Act. The charge is being imposed on a workforce that is mainly BAME (94% of London’s 107,000 minicab drivers are BAME according to TFL), while black cab drivers, who are mostly white, continue to be exempt.

This policy is also in breach of a number of articles of the European Convention on Human Rights that cover discrimination, property rights, right to a family life and ability to carry out a profession.
The IWGB has assembled a legal team which includes renowned discrimination barristers Ben Collins QC,Nadia Motraghi and Tara O’Halloran of Old Square Chambers, and TMP Solicitors founding partner Jacqueline McGuigan.

The IWGB has proposed a number of alternatives to this policy, including a cap on the total number minicab driver licenses, a levy on minicab operators such as Uber and Viavan, and the enforcement of worker rights by Transport for London (TfL).

Discrimination also runs throughout London’s enforcement regime. The most recent figures released by TfL show minicabs are almost three times as likely to be stopped by enforcement officers as black cabs, despite the fact that TfL’s own statistics show that on average minicabs are more compliant than black cabs.

You can read the rest of this statement, including quotes from some of the drivers on the IWGB web site: London congestion charge discrimination claim to be heard at the High Court 10 & 11 July

More of my pictures from the April 4th protest at Private hire drivers protest congestion charge.


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

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

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.

To order prints or reproduce images


UPHD protest discrimination

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

I’m not a fan of Uber and very seldom a user of taxis or private car hire services, regarding them as a necessary evil for those rare occasions when public transport is not practicable. And taxis in particular are evil, causing large amounts of unnecessary pollution – both oxides of nitrogen and particulates – on the city streets both directly and also indirectly from other vehicles caught up in the congestion they cause by ‘plying for hire’ – an archaic system now made redundant by the smartphone.

Also rendered archaic by modern technology is the ‘knowledge’, made unnecessary at least in principle by sat-navs and sat-nav apps, though there is still room for further development on these. But at least in theory they can determine best routes making use of real-time traffic information. An car magazine recently conducted a very unscientific test of black cab, Uber and the writer’s car with an up to the minute sat-nav on a London journey, and the journalist’s satnav – evidently a better one than that in the Uber – won. And despite the ‘knowledge’ many taxi drivers seem to have and use a sat-nav, or at least the “Cabbies Mate” App .

Learning the ‘knowledge’ is certainly a good way to learn your way around London, but largely retained as a method of entry control to the trade. It’s part of the reason why London’s cabs are still largely driven by white British drivers while most private hire drivers come from various BAME communities. The United Private Hire Drivers union (UPHD) would appear to have a good case in claiming that TfL’s decision to apply the congestion charge to minicabs but not to taxis is discriminatory, though it remains to be seen what the court will make of it.

The UPHD also claim that private hire drivers are four times as likely to be stopped by TfL’s enforcement officers “than taxi drivers despite consistently better compliance performance on a licensed driver & vehicle basis. ”

THe UPHD is a part of the IWGB (Independent Workers Great Britain) one of several grass roots unions which are leading the fight for precarious workers in various sectors , including cleaners, cycle couriers and foster carers. As well as this campaign against TfL and the congestion charge, they are also fighting Uber for proper employment rights for the drivers, who are clearly workers for the company rather than self-employed.

Since 2016, successive judgements from the UK’s Employment Tribunal, Employment Appeal Tribunal and Court of Appeal have all said Uber drivers are being unlawfully denied basic worker rights, such as the minimum wage and holiday pay. 

(IWGB web sute)

The union says drivers currently only earn around £5 per hour and are demanding an increase in fares to £2 per mile, a reduction in Uber’s commission from 25% to 15% and an end to unfair dismissals.

We need to reduce traffic and congestion in London, though the congestion charge is a blunt instrument and unfairly discriminates against less wealthy car drivers. For all private hire vehicles – taxis and minicabs – a per fare surchage paid by the customer would be a better solution. We need to give far more encouragement to cycling and walking, by providing safe routes and also by changes to some traffic laws and road design to give cyclists and pedestrians priority; more bus-only routes (or rather bus and cycle routes), and greater subsidies for buses, trams and local underground and overground trains; to set dates before very long when non-electirc powered vehicles are banned for our cities .

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

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

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.

To order prints or reproduce images