No More Deaths from Benefit Cuts

Tottenham Court Rd, London. Thur 19 May 2016

Paula Peters (centre) speaks between the two banners as the protest blocks Tottenham Ct Rd
more pictures

Delegates at the TUC disabled workers conference led by activists from Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), Mental Health Resistance Network (MHRN) and Winvisible (Women with visible and invisible disabilities) marched from Congress House to Tottenham Court Road calling for an end to government benefit cuts which have led to the deaths of many disabled people - including 2 DPAC members the previous day.

There were speeches and chanting as they blocked traffic, with pedestrians , including workers on their break from nearby sites, gathering and applauding and some drivers hooting in support. Many people across the UK now realise the terrible treatment of the disabled and all benefit claimants by the DWP, using unfair tests administered by half-trained assessors designed to trick, the target-driven imposition of benefit sanctions for trivial reasons, often those entirely beyound the control of the claimants, and the withdrawal of various benefits. And although the minister responsible for the worst of those crimes has now resigned, there is little reason to hope that his successor will be any less inhumane.

For any still sceptical about the effects of government policies and their administration, one of the banners carried the names of around a hundred of those known to have died because of sanctions and benefit cuts, with photographs of some of them. But many more have perished, and more still have only kept alive through the charity of friends and neighbours, through the many food banks around the countries, and charities which feed people on the streets - something some councils have tried to make illegal.

Police diverted traffic away from the area and otherwise kept a low profile for half an hour, only turning up to talk with the protesters as they were preparing to leave to return to the afternoon sessions at the TUC.
more pictures

Greenpeace 'Sinking Cities' banners at BM/BP show

British Museum, London. Thur 19 May 2016

Geenpeace banners re-christen the BP sponsored exhibition 'Sinking Cities'
more pictures

At first I couldn't see what all the fuss was about as I walked past the police tape outside the British Museum, but when I studied the very professionally produced banners hanging down each of the seven columns of the famous portico I realised that this was a dramatic intervention on the opening day of the BritishMuseum/BP exhibition 'Sunken Cities', a part of BPs activities to give it a more acceptable image.

BP is one of the world's major polluters, through its own activities and oil catastrophes such as that in the Gulf of Mexico, but more importantly by its lobbying for the continuing use of oil and the supply of huge quantities of climate-harming petrol and diesel - including some from filthy sources such as tar sands.

The posters for the forthcoming 'Sunken Cities' exhibition were already up when I last visited the museum with BP or Not BP? last December, and I took a few pictures in front of them. Clearly this was going to be a controversial sponsorship, and the banners reading Sinking Cities, New Orleans, Boscastle, Manilla, Maldives, Hebden Bridge and Sinking Cities again, listing some of those places in the UK and across the world recently flooded due to global warming induced climate change was I think the third major protest even though this was only the first day the show would have been open to the public.

The whole museum had been closed to the public and people were being told it would not reopen that day. I felt a little sorry for those groups milling around on the pavement, some of whom had travelled some distance to see the exhibition, but felt that the closure was an unnecessary panic response - there are other entrances to the museum and all that was necessary was the closure of the portico area and some minor diversions. The climbers on the columns were obviously experienced and operating safely and apparently without damage to the museum structure. And their banners were certainly an improvement, far more professoinal than the two rather dull large official display boards that can be seen below them.
more pictures

Canada House vigil condemns CETA

Canada House, Trafalgar Square, London. Mon 16 May 2016

Protesters with banner under the maple leaves at Canada House
more pictures

A protest and vigil outside Canada House condemned the secret CETA trade deal currently nearing completion between Canada and the EU. Negotiations have been in secret and the deal would allow the big corporations to force privatisation of public services such as the NHS and prevent governments adopting environmental legislation that might harm company profits.

The deal wil not be voted on in the UK parliament and ours is the only EU Parliament that cannot veto CETA or TTIP. The day of action was continuing after the vigil with an evening rally, but I had to leave after the first few speeches at the vigil, including those by Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians and London Green MEP Jean Lambert.
more pictures

 

Banner Drop against CETA & TTIP

Westminster Bridge, London. Mon 16 May 2016

'#noCETA #noTTIP' banners in front of the Houses of Parliament
more pictures

As part of a day of protest against the Canada/EU and UAS/EU trade deals being negotiated in secret, activists lowered banners over Westminster Bridge with the messages '#noCETA #noTTIP' and '#noCETA HANDS OFF DEMOCRACY'. Even MPs are being kept in the dark about the details of these deals, and the UK Parliament will almost certainly not be allowed to vote on them; it is the only EU Parliament that cannot veto CETA or TTIP.
more pictures

BIS protest against CETA & TTIP

Dept of Business (BIS) Westminster, London. Mon 16 May 2016

Green MEP Jean Lambert speaks inside a mock 'MPs reading room' - promisee by BIS but not provided.
more pictures

A day of protest by activists opposed to the discredited US/EU TTIP and CETA Canada EU secret trade deals begins at the Dept of Business (BIS) where a small cell was constructed to dramatise the fact that the access for UK MPs has never been provided. UK Mp's are the only EU MPs who have been denied access and the UK parliament is the only EU parliament that cannot veto CETA or TTIP.

The protesters were not allowed to enter the building to present their letter reminding the minister of the promise to set up the MPs reading room, but a few minutes later a friendly and polite civil servant came out to take it from them.

There were a few arguments between protesters and security about putting banners on the wall and later across the vehicle exit from the building, with security threatening to call the police at one point. If they did, they police failed to arrive before the protest ended
more pictures

Topshop protest after cleaners sacked

Oxford St, London. Sat 14 May 2016
A red flare behind the Womens Death Brigade banner as the protesters head for John Lewis
more pictures

Protests took place outside Topshop in Oxford St and other stores around the country following the suspension of two cleaners who protested for a living wage; one has now been sacked.

Other groups joined the cleaners union UVW in the protest including Class War and cleaners from the CAIWU and other trade unionists. Ian Hodson, General Secretary of the BWAFU and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell were among those at the London protest.

The protest began outside the Oxford St Topshop, which was heavily defended by police, as well as by extra illegal security guards wearing no ID. Several hundred protesters held up banners and placards and with the help of the police blocked the entrance to the shop. They made a lot of noise but made no serious attempt to enter the building.

After a while some of the protesters, led by the Class War Womens Death Brigade moved onto the road, blocking it for some minutes as police tried to get them to move. The whole group of protesters then moved to block the Oxford Circus junction for some minutes until a large group of police arrived and fairly gently persuade them to move.

They did, but not in the direction the police had wanted, instead marching west along Oxford St. As they approached John Lewis, a red flare was set off and then protesters crowded around the entrance, protesting noisily. John Lewis is another major store that allows its cleaning contractor to pay its cleaners low wages, with porr conditions of service and poor management, disclaiming any responsibility for workers who keep its stores running.

There were some heated exchanges between protesters and police, but I saw no arrests, and after a few minutes the protest resumed its march towards Marble Arch and another branch of Topshop where the protest continued.
more pictures

Refugees Welcome say protesters

Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 14 May 2016

A small group of protesters standing in front of the National Gallery held posters calling for human rights, fair treatment and support for refugees. Some held a banner with the message 'free movement for People Not Weapons'.
more pictures

Vegan Earthlings masked video protest

Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 14 May 2016

The protesters were standing in a large circle on the North Terrace
more pictures

Vegans wearing white masks stood in a large ciricle in Trafalgar Square holding laptops and tablets showing a film about the mistreatment of animals in food production, bull-fightng, etc. The protest was organised by London Vegan Actions and posters urged people to stop eating meat to save the environment and end animal cruelty.

Unfortunately bright sun made the laptop screens almost impossible to see and few small computers have sound that is audible more than a foot or two away in the large open public square, and the protest was rather less eefective, though the large circle of people standing in white masks did attract attention.
more pictures

68th Anniversary Nabka Day

Oxford St, London. Sat 14 May 2016
A woman hands out leaflets about the Nabka at the protest
more pictures

A protest outside shops supporting the Israeli state made its way along Oxford St from Marks and Spencers, with speakers detailing the continuing oppression of the Palestinian people, and opposing attempts to criminalise and censor the anti-Zionist boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

The event marked Nabka Day, the 'day of the catastrophe', remembering the roughly 80% of the Palestinians who were forced to leave their homes between December 1947 and January 1949, and later prevented by Israeli law from returning to their homes, or claiming their property. It is usually commemorated on May 15, the day following Israeli Independence Day, so this event was a day early, when OXford St would be busier.

Among the protesters were a number of Jews who are opposed to the continuing oppression of the Palestinians by the Israeli government. A small group of counter protesters shouted insults and displayed Israeli flags, accusing the protesters of anti-Semitism, but there was no suggestion of this, with the protest being clearly directed against some actions of the Israeli government and against Zionism, and the event organisers and police clearly trying to avoid confrontation with the counter-protesters, which they were trying to provoke by standing in front of the protest and shouting at them as they moved along the street.

Many UK businesses play an important part in supporting the Israeli government by selling Israeli goods and those produced in the occupied territories and in other ways, and their were brief speeches as the protest halted outside some of them detailing some of these links.
more pictures

Reclaim Holloway

Holloway, London. Sat 14 May 2016


Jeremy Corbyn speaking before the march
more pictures

Jeremy Corbyn spoke outside London Met on Holloway Rd at the start of the march by Islington Hands Off Our Public Services, Islington Kill the Housing Bill and the Reclaim Justice Network to HMP Holloway demanding that when the prison, which is in his constuency, iis closed the site remains in public hands, and that the government replace the prison with council housing and the vital community services needed to prevent people being caught up in a damaging criminal justice system.

A group of around a hundred then marched from there to Holloway Prison, apparently already largely emptied of prisoners, and held a long rally there with speeches by local councillors, trade unionists and campaigning groups. Islington Council would like to see the prison site and adjoining housing estate owned by HM Prisons used for social housing rather than publicly owned land being sold for private development.
more pictures

Going Backwards on Climate Change

Whitehall, London. Sun 8 May 2016

Sheila Menon of Plane Stupid (centre) spoke at Downing St - there is no need for more airport capapcity
more pictures

Protesters marched backwards down Whitehall against UK Governments backtracking over clean energy, which has seen them dropping insulation grants and crippling our green energy programmes while backing climate-wrecking fracking and biomass projects along with proposing massivily polluting and unnecessary road and runway projects.

The protesters stopped several times for short rallies adressed by politicians and campaigners, among the Dame Vivienne Westwood, Sheila Menon of Plane Stupid, Labour and Green politicians and Lianna Etkind from Campaign for Better Transport. The march ended in the yard in front of the Dept of Health where there were more speeches and some street theatre.

Before the start of the march there was a very warm reception for Kye Gbangbola, the father of Zane Gbangbola, who was killed when floodwater released hydrogen cyanide from waste landfill in February 2014; the same deadly gas left Kye part paralysed and he spoke from his wheelchair.

The authorities have repeatedly impeded attempts to get at the truth, and are refusing to give the family legal aid for the inquest. The case raises much wider questions about the safety of landfill sites across the country and the lack of proper oversight by local authorities - in this case Spelthorne Council - and the Environment Agency. Many at the event signed the petition and there is also a crowdfunding appeal to enable the family to have proper representation at the inquest, where the public bodies involved will be spending large sums on legal representation. They lost their appeal for legal aid despite a letter of support from the senior coroner for Surrey.
more pictures

Cleaners invade Barbican Centre

Barbican, London. Sat 7 May 2016

Petros Elia confronts a police officer who is trying to get the protest to stop
more pictures

Cleaners union UVW staged a protest inside the Barbican Centre, after cleaning contractor Servest proposed making many of the cleaners redundant or serverley cutting their hours and pay. Earlier protests at the Barbican had led to the cleaners getting the London Living Wage in January 2016 but the Barbican disclaims any responsibility for the people who clean the building although Servest claims they driving the cuts.

I met the cleaners at Moorgate on their way to the Barbican, and they walked quietly along the road, breaking into a run as they turned into Silk St and making for the main entrance of the Barbican. Their arrival was unexpected and they were able to rush in and make their way into the middle of the arts centre, to portest outside the hall where customers were entering a sold-out concert of music by Yann Tiersen.

After a few minutes, City of London Police arrived and the protesters were told they had to leave, and after some argument they slowly did so, continuing to protest as they made their way out of the building and into a pen in front of the main entrance.

The flashmob, supported by activists from the Bakers Union, Class War, SOAS Unison, Unite Hotel workers branch and IWGB Couriers branch, was in response to Servest, the Barbican Centre's new cleaning contractor's attempt to sack a number of cleaners who are UVW members
more pictures.

Detention Centres Shut Them Down

Harmondsworth, London. Sat 7 May 2016
Security guards manhandle a protester who refused to walk out
more pictures

Protesters at Europe's largest detention centre complex at Heathrow, two Category B prisons, Colnbrook & Harmondsworth, managed by private security company MITIE, called for all immigration prisons to be shut, and the racist scapegoating of immigrants to end. They ran past security guards between the two prisons and were able to communicate with some of the prisoners inside, but were quickly forced back to the front of the building when police reinforcements arrived.

The protest here was part of a day of action at all UK detention centres as well as some on mainland Europe, and the Heathrow event was organised by Anti Raids Network. While I've always been welcomed at earlier protests at Harmondsworth and had received an invitation to go to this one, there were just a tiny minority of protesters who made clear they not happy with being photographed, and attempted to impede my work. Others taking pictures were not harassed, and of course most of the time the protest was being recorded both on CCTV and by police evidence gatherers and security guards with cameras. Many of those present knew me and had no problems with being photographed as they have been on previous occasions; curiously it appeared to be mainly some of those who were masked who objected.

Most of the protesters had travelled from central London and they had arrived at the prison complex earlier than I had expected from what I'd been told. When I arrived there was just a small group of people in front of the roadway between the two prisons, who told me I had just missed the others who had rushed past security down the road between the two prisons and were at the back of the Harmondsworth block.

I stood talking for a few minutes, wondering what to do next, then the protesters came into view at the end of the road being harassed by police and security who were trying to move them out. One of the protesters I'd been with rushed past the one remaining security man watching us along the road to join the others, and as he made no real attempt to stop him, another protester followed and I walked down after her.

The protesters held up a large banner with their mobile number for people held in the prison to phone, and made a lot of noise, using megaphones, banging pans and kickiing the tall prison fences. Police and security tried to move them on, but were only making very slow progress. After a few minutes a police van drove up and more police were soon able to force them to the front of the complex.

There they continued to protest, making a lot of noise. When they made a lot of noise there was a response from some of those inside, and they were able to call some of the prisoners and hear their stories. As always with protests at these detention centres, those inside were very glad to know that there were people who knew they were imprisoned and supported them.

I walked with some of the protesters as they made their way out of the complex and walked the few yards along the Bath Road to the footpath which runs beside the tall fence on the east side of the Colnbrook prison, soon emerging into a field. Bushes and small trees along the outside of the fence prevent a clear view of the blocks inside, but it was easy to hear some of the prisoners inside shouting. The protesters managed to shout a phone number to them and we could hear some of their stories.

Bashir from Lebanon told us he had been held in detention for 18 months and that his wife and children need his help, but he is stuck inside, unable to see them or do anything. Indefinite detention such as this seems a clear breach of so many of the human rights that everyone in the UK should be entitled to under our Human Rights Act 1998. Treating people like our system does is simply shameful.
more pictures

F**k Parade 4: Ripper & Tower Bridge

London. Sun 1 May 2016

Fire-breathing and flares as partying protesters block Tower Bridge
more pictures

From Aldgate, the protesters in Fuck Parade 4 (FP4) headed south, going down Leman St to the junction with Cable St, where they briefly diverted to pay a short visit to the Jack the Ripper tacky attraction for the odd perverted tourist which opened in a shop there under false pretences of being a 'museum' and against which Class War and others have held a number of protests.

Here most of the area soon became thick with red smoke, though a line of parked vehicles protected the narrow pavement between shop and street where a line of police face the Class War banner.

But the parade quickly left and moved along a back street to turn down on to Tower Bridge. They moved down the approach on the south-bound carriageway, but on reaching the narrower bridge stopped traffic in both directions. At the middle of the bridge they stopped and watched a display of fire-breathing while others set of flares and shouted.

The protesters then walked slowly across the bridge and turned into Tooley St, where I left them as they reached Southwark Council Offices. It was getting late and I'd been on my feet far too long and it was time to get home for dinner.
more pictures

Anti-Capitalist May Day Street Party Starts

One Commercial St, Aldgate, London. Sun 1 May 2016

Dancing on the street outside the 'Rich Door' to One Commercial St
more pictures

Fuck Parade 4 (FP4), the fourth in a series of anti-capitalist street parties organised by anarchists in East London returned to its origin at One Commercial St, the venue for over 30 protests by Class War against social apartheid in housing, and where last year's May Day event was the first of this series of roving music and dancing protests.

Among the several hundred mainly black-clad FP4 party-goers were a number from Class War, who had brought a couple of their banners for the event. I met some of them outside a local pub and took some pictures as a cycle-drawn sound system came to join them. After a few minutes we walked down to One Commercial St together.

There was already a small crowd outside the 'Rich door' of the building when we arrived and FP4 really got going, while police guarded the building but made no attempt to interfere with the protest. The music got pretty loud, and people, many in masks of one kind or another were dancing wildly, and smoke from blue and move flares was soon drifting across the area.
more pictures

May Day Rally & Gonosangeet

Altab Ali Park, Whitechapel, London. Sun 1 May 2016


Long Live May Day' was the message on the red headbands of the Bangladeshi Workers Council

more pictures

The Bangladeshi Workers Council along with Red London, trade unionists, labour movement, political and community activists held a rally to commemorate and celebrate May Day at Altab Ali Park in Tower Hamlets.
more pictures

May Day Rally

Trafalgar Square, London. Sun 1 May 2016

The front of the plinth during the rally

more pictures

Speakers at the rally included NUT General Secretary Christine Blower, UNITE Regional Secretary for London & Eastern Region Peter Kavanagh, Yannis Gourtsoyannis from the BMA Junior Doctors' Committee, a representative from Turkish/Kurdish Community Centre Daymer, Patrick Brill, better known by his pseudonym Bob and Roberta Smith and Luciana, one of the Brazilians protesting against the opposition impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff which they say is a coup.
more pictures

Ahwazi Protest at May Day Rally

Trafalgar Square, London. Sun 1 May 2016

Ahwazi Arabs demand an end to repression and ethnic cleansing by Iranians

more pictures

I clambered up onto the plinth of Nelson's Column to photograph the march as it entered Trafalgar Square, as I've done on previous marches. The event stewards were trying to keep the plinth clear of marchers and press, which neither of the two groups felt was in spirit with the fraternal nature of the event, and largely ignored.

As one of the groups came into the square, they set off smoke flares, while others arrived with a sea of red flags. More and more protesters brought flags and banners onto the plinth despite stewards attempting to stop them, including a number of Ahwazi Arabs protesting against their repression over many years by the Iranian regime which they say has stolen their land and is trying to eradicate their culture. Their region, Al Ahwaz (incorporated into Iran as Khuzestan in the 1920s), is the source of much of Iranian oil and is under military control with many Ahwazis being imprisoned and executed.

The Ahwazi protesters then set off flares and protested noisily along the east side of the plinth as the remaining marchers made their way into the square.
more pictures

May Day March

Clerkenwell to Trafalgar Square, London. Sun 1 May 2016


Brazilians on the march protesting against the attempt to remove their president
more pictures

I photographed the march as it left Clerkenwell Green and going along slowly with it on the Clerkenwell Rd, waiting to see the last marchers as they went past the top end of Leather Lane. There were perhaps five thousand marchers, and they were quite well spread out, so by then the front of the march was probably at Holborn.

I walked down to Chancery Lane tube and changed at Tottenham Court Rd to get to Charing Cross a few minutes before the front of the march came along the Strand.
more pictures

May Day at Clerkenwell Green

Clerkenwell Green, London. Sun 1 May 2016

There was intense media interest this year as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn came to speak
more pictures

Socialists celebrating international Workers Day including many from London's international and migrant communities gather at Clekenwell Green where they are addressed by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady before marching through London to a rally at Trafalgar Square.

May day is a time to celebrate the many acheivements of struggle by workers over the years and show the determination to fight against attempts to reduce workers rights and to continue the fight for equality and justice.

This year differed from all the previous years I've attended in that the two main speakers of the day came to make their speeches here, TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady and Jeremy Corbyn, rather than at the final rally in Trafalgar Square.

Jeremy Corbyn was the reason the TV cameras and a large crowd of press, most of whom were probably at their first ever May Day event, were present. I didn't bother to join the mob of photographers who tried to photograph him as he made his way to the bus to speak or to the car to drive away, but was disgusted to hear on a video of his leaving one of the stewards shouting about there being so many expensive cameras that might get wrecked.

If anything, attendance at the event overall - apart from the media - seemed lower than in some previous years, with rather fewer of the Turkish groups who have been a major part.

While Corbyn was speaking from the upper deck of an open-top bus I deliberately stood well back to get a decent angle, and avoid being blocked by banners. But at one point a person carrying a CPGB-ML flag attempted to block Corbyn from the TV cameras around me - and I think there were a few arguments and some pushing before he was persuaded to move away.
more pictures


London Images

London, May 2016


   top of page

All pictures on this site are Copyright © Peter Marshall 1999-2016; all rights reserved.
for licences to reproduce pictures or to buy prints or comment on the work,

contact me

Payment may be waived for acceptable non-profit use by unfunded bodies.
But organisations that pay any staff should also pay photographers.

 

my london diary index
 

May 2016

No More Deaths from Benefit Cuts
'Sinking Cities' banners at BM/BP show
Canada House vigil condemns CETA
Banner Drop against CETA & TTIP
BIS protest against CETA & TTIP
Topshop protest after cleaners sacked
Refugees Welcome say protesters
Vegan Earthlings masked video protest
68th Anniversary Nabka Day
Reclaim Holloway
Going Backwards on Climate Change
Cleaners invade Barbican Centre
Detention Centres Shut Them Down
F**k Parade 4: Ripper & Tower Bridge
Anti-Capitalist May Day Street Party
May Day Rally & Gonosangeet>
May Day Rally
Ahwazi Protest at May Day Rally
May Day March
Day at Clerkenwell Green

London Images

january
february
march
april
may
june
july
august
september
october
november
december

Stock photography by Peter+Marshall at Alamy

Other sites with my pictures include
london pictures
londons industrial history
lea valley / river lea
and at my blog you can read
>Re:PHOTO my thoughts on photography.

All pictures Copyright © Peter Marshall 2016, all rights reserved.
High res images available for reproduction - for licences to reproduce images or buy prints or other questions and comments, contact me. Selected images are also available from Alamy and Photofusion

Site search: powered by FreeFind