Posts Tagged ‘tuition fees’

Saturday 16th April 2016

Friday, April 16th, 2021

There was a lot happening in London on Saturday 16th April 2016, and I managed to catch some of it. The largest march was organised by the Peoples Assembly Against Austerity. It demanded an end to privatisation of the NHS, secure homes for all, rent control and an end to attacks on social housing, an end to insecure jobs and the scrapping of the Trade Union Bill, tuition fees and the marketisation of education.

It was a large march and by the time I arrived people were fairly tightly packed on around 500 metres of Gower St waiting for the march to start, and it took me some time to make my way through to the gazebo where speeches were being made before the start of the the march – though I found plenty to photograph as I moved through the crowd.

Finally I made my way to the front of the march and photographed some of the main banners lined up there, but police held up the start of the march and I had to leave before it moved off.

I was disappointed in Whitehall as there was no sign of an event I had been expecting to take place there – or perhaps I was too late. But in Parliament Square I met Ahwazi Arabs from the Ahwazi Arab People’s Democratic Popular Front and the Democratic Solidarity Party of Alahwaz who have demonstrated London in solidarity with anti-government protests in Iran every April since 2005, on the anniversary of the peaceful Ahwazi intifada in which many were killed and hundreds arrested by the Iranian regime.

The Ahwaz region, an autonomous Arab state, was occupied by Iran in 1925 iand they incorporated it into the country in 1935 largely to allow the British Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (BP since 1954) to exploit its rich oil reserves. Since then Iran has pursued a campaign to eliminate Ahwazi culture and change the ethnic makeup of the region by encouraging Persian settlers. BP dominated Iranian oil until Iran nationalised it in 1951, and again became an important force there after the CIA (and MI6) engineered coup in 1953 and the company is still the major partner supplied by the National Iranian Oil Company.

I walked back up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square, by which time the Peoples Assembly marchers were arriving for a rally.

Things were visually rather more interesting on the North Terrace, where people were dancing to the ‘dig it sound system’, which carried a message from Tom Paine: “The World is my country – All people are my brethren – To do good is my religion”.

And in one corner the Palestine Prisoners Parade were attracting attention with juggling, hula hoops and speeches to the often arbitrary detention without proper trial suffered by many Palestinians held in Israeli jails. Many of them are on rolling detention orders, released and immediately re-arrested and put back in prison.

As the rally came to an end the United Voices of the World trade union began a protest a short distance away on the Strand, supported by Class War and others, demanding the reinstatement of 2 workers suspended by cleaning contractor Britannia for calling for the London Living Wage of £9.40 an hour for all those working at Topshop. The UVW say Brittania is systematically victimising, bullying and threatening cleaners and Topshop refuse to intervene.

The fairly small crowd held a noisy protest outside the shop entrance, with was blocked by security men, and a large group of police arrived and began to try to move the protesters, and began pushing them around. The protesters didn’t retaliate but simply moved back; some holding up placards in front of the police cameraman who was filming the event were threatened with arrest.

Eventually the protesters marched away, walking back along the North Terrace of Trafalgar Square where they picked up a few more supporters and then on to Top Shop at Oxford Circus for another protest and stand-off with the police.

After a fairly short protest there the protesters marched on to John Lewis, where the UVW have a long-standing dispute calling for the cleaners to be treated equally with others who work there. As they approached the store some police became more violent and one woman was thrown bodily to the ground several yards away.

Other police and protesters went to help her and the protesters called for – and eventually got – an apology for the inappropriate use of force. Things calmed down and the protest continued, but as it moved off after several speeches with many leaving for home the police picked on two individuals and began searching them and threatening arrest and the situation became more tense, with police threatening both protesters and press.

More on My London Diary
UVW Topshop & John Lewis Protest
UVW Topshop 2 protest – Strand
Palestine Prisoners Parade
Dancing for Homes, Health, Jobs, Education
Homes, Health, Jobs, Education Rally
Ahwazi protest against Iranian repression
March for Homes, Health, Jobs, Education

Santa time

Sunday, December 6th, 2020

I’m still rather in denial over Christmas, kind of hoping it will go away. Not that I don’t enjoy most of the things we won’t be doing this year, meeting up with friends, visiting distant family and so on, but somehow I never manage to get myself organised over things like Christmas Cards and presents until the last minute.

This year I did try, and a few weeks ago pored over the many Christmas catalogues that I’d been sent, and then went on line to make some orders – only to find that everything I had chosen was already sold out. It rubbed salt into the wound to then get e-mails from a couple of the companies promoting items that I’d already tried to order without success.

Christmas decorations outside houses began going up early this year – already some were twinkling away in mid-November. Linda brought home a tree a week ago, and I should have photographed her coming home with the pot at its base wedged tightly in her cycle pannier, but couldn’t summon up the energy. I did help her in the difficult task of extracting it from the pannier, and for the moment it is sitting outside in our back garden. We always buy growing trees, and usually they last a couple of Christmases before getting too large to bring inside. We have two specimens now at over 50ft in our smallish back garden, and I’ve had to cut down a couple more over the years when it was beginning to get too crowded.

Although I’ve never myself dressed up as Santa (though I have the beard if I let it grow a bit) in past years I’ve often enjoyed photographing Santacon in London around this time of years. It began as a gloriously anarchic event with hundreds or thousands of Father and Mother Christmases, elves and reindeer spilling rather drunkenly across the city streets, but then the police stepped in as it was disrupting the spending festival on one of the busiest shopping days before Christmas.

These pictures of Santacon come from Dec 6th 2014 and I probably went as far as wearing a Santa hat to join in the festivities for an hour or so before retiring to a small pub a little off their route where a couple of friends were waiting for a rather quieter celebration.

Here’s my text from My London Diary where there are more pictures from Santacon:

Thousands in Santa suits and other Xmas deviations, police trying hard to keep smiling, cans of beer, doubtfully soft drinks, just a few Brussel sprouts in the air, crowded bars, sprawling mass of mainly young people having fun on the streets of London. Santacon

http://mylondondiary.co.uk/2014/12/dec.htm#santas

Of course this – and the extreme shopping were not the only things happening in London that day. After photographing the Santas at one of their three starting points I then joined the South London March for Free Education against tuition fees which was also starting just a few yards away on Clapham Common.

After marching with them through Clapham on their way to Brixton I took the tube to Westminster where there was a rather more Christmassy event taking place, a Fossil Free Nativity Play by Christian Climate Action, before leaving to join the North London Santas on the Euston Road.

More at:
Santacon North London
Fossil Free Nativity – Churches Divest!
South London March for Free Education
Santacon Start in Clapham


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.