Posts Tagged ‘Vivienne Westwood’

Armenian Genocide, TTIP, Football and Cyclists in Tweed

Sunday, April 18th, 2021

On Saturday 18th April 2015, Armenians marked the 100th anniversary of the start of the Armenian Genocide in Turkey in which 1.5 million were killed between 1915 and 1923. Turkey still refuse to accept the mass killings as genocide and the UK has not recognised the killing of this huge number of Armenians as genocide. The term was first published in 1943 by Polish lawyer Raphael Lemkin in his book ‘Axis Rule in Occupied Europe‘. After he had read about the killing of Armenians in Turkey and found that there was no law under which Talat Pasha, the grand vizier of the Ottoman Empire could be charged he invented and defined the term ‘genocide.

I left shortly before their march began to catch up with the Football Action Network who were taking copies of their manifesto to the Labour, Tory and Lib-Dem offices in Westminster. They were moving fast and there was no sign of them at Labour HQ; I ran on to the Tory HQ to find they had left, and finally caught up with them at the Lib Demo offices near Parliament Square. There I found supporters with scarves from Bolton, Luton Town and Dulwich Hamlet from Football Beyond Borders holding a couple of banners and passports with their demands, including a Football Reform Bill, a living wage for all staff, fair ticket prices, safe standing, and reforms to clubs & the Football Association.

The next even came to me, as a group of cyclists on the Tweed Cycle Ride stopped at the traffic lights on the road opposite, and I ran to meet them, then ran along with them through Parliament Square when the lights changed to green. he Tweed Run raises money for the London Cycling Campaign and describes itself as “a jaunty bike ride around London in our sartorial best“. The vintage-themed ride stops for tea and a picnic and ends with “a bit of a jolly knees-up.” Not really my kind of thing.

I caught the tube to Shepherds Bush and a rally on the Green against TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership being secretly negotiated by governments and corporations which poses a threat to democracy and all public services. The huge public outcry across the EU against this and in particular the Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) already incorporated in some other treaties which allows companies to sue countries for ‘discriminatory practices’ including efforts to combat global heating is possibly why these talks were eventually abandoned in 2016, though our EU referendum may also have helped. After speeches the rally split into groups for discussion.

After the rally, white-coated War on Want campaigners moved across the road to a branch of Kentucky Fried Chicken for a performance with buckets and rubber chickens protesting against TTIP which would force us to admit US agricultural products produced by practices considered unsafe here – such as chlorine-dipped chickens, hormone stuffed beef etc. The need for these methods is driven by US intensive farming methods which have lower standards for safety and animal welfare than are acceptable here – and although TTIP ended without a treaty, our post-Brexit trade agreement with the US seems almost certain to include similar hazards.

Next I moved with protesters to the BP garage on the opposite side of Shepherds Bush Green, where activists staged a die-in as TTIP would force countries to use dirty fuels including coal, tar oil and arctic oil and seriously delay cutting carbon emissions and the move to renewable energy.

Finally, a group of protesters walked into the Westfield centre to stage a street theatre performance outside Virgin Media to illustrate the danger that TTIP poses to our NHS, allowing corporations to force the privatisation of all public services. Like other large shopping centres Westfield is a private place where protests and photography are not permitted, but police and security stood back and watched the event, and though security attempted to stop some videographers I kept a lower profile and was not approached.

Virgin Media is actually no longer a part of the Virgin empire, though it still pays Branson to use the name. Virgin Care now runs a large part of the NHS which is rapidly being privatised by the Conservative government. According to The Observer, because of a complex structure of holding companies with links to other parts of the Virgin empire with its roots in the British Virgin Islands, the company is “unlikely to pay any tax in the UK in the foreseeable future.”

Westfield ‘Save our NHS’ protest
BP die-in against Climate Change
KFC protest over TTIP
Stop TTIP rally
Tweed Cycle Ride
Football Action Network Manifesto
Centenary of Armenian Genocide

What Future for Protest?

Friday, March 19th, 2021

Wednesday 19th March was a busy day in London as it was Budget Day and also the day of the Fracked Future Carnival which had been planned to take place outside a meeting of the Shale Gas Forum in Kensington, and later at the Territorial Army base on Old St where that meeting had moved to in order to avoid the protest. And there was also a a protest calling from the repeal of Uganda’s draconian anti-gay laws.

What all these protests had in common was that they would all have been illegal for various reasons had the current Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill been law. It will seriously restrict the right to hold protests, restrict their length and set noise limits and allow police to enforce restrictions even if protesters have not been told about them.

Public outcry followed the attack by police last Saturday on a peaceful vigil on Clapham Common – where the police had been ordered by the Home Secretary to take action (and she later expressed her concern when she saw the outrage it had caused.) Thousands went to protest the police actions the following day at New Scotland Yard, the Met Police HQ, and later in Parliament Square. And thousands turned up again to Parliament Square on Monday when the PCSC bill was being debated in Parliament.

Protests such as these – even in the absence of Covid – would be clearly illegal under PCSC – and police could shut down even a single person coming to protest. Only protests that are well-behaved, entirely ineffectual and preferably out of sight are likely to be legal.

On March 19th 2014 I began my day at Battersea Bridge, marching across it with designer Vivienne Westwood and around a hundred supporters, mainly her students to the protest against fracking.

Although the Shale Gas Forum had made a last minute change of plans, moving their meeting to a secret location, the rally outside the Jumeirah Carlton Tower hotel in Cadogan Place went ahead as planned -as agreed with the police. There would have been much tighter restrictions under PCSC, and the police could have limited numbers and prevented the use of the public address system.

After several speeches the organises cut the rally short and told those at the protest to take the tube to Old Street station from where they would march to the ‘secret location’, which turned out to be the Territorial Army Centre in the Honourable Artillery Company’s grounds between Bunhill Row and Old St.

We arrived there and the protesters made a great deal of noise outside the gates in Bunhill Row, and then walked through Bunhill Fields to protest outside the Old St Gates.

From Old St I took the tube to Charing Cross and walked the short distance to Trafalgar Square, where the African LGBTI Out & Proud Diamond Group and Peter Tatchell Foundation were filling the relatively narrow pavement outside Uganda House with a great deal of loud chanting, drumming and dancing calling for an end to anti-gay laws in Uganda.

Later I joined Budget Day protesters around Parliament, and later at a rally called by the People’s Assembly opposite Downing St

Many more pictures on My London Diary:
People’s Assembly Budget Day Protest
Protest over Uganda Gay Hate Laws
Fracked Future Carnival at Shale Gas Forum
Fracked Future Carnival in Knightsbridge
Climate Revolution March to Fracked Future Carnival


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.