Class War Women in Red
One Commercial St, Aldgate, London. Wed 12 Nov 2014
A raised fist salure from the Class War Women's Death
The Class War Women's Death Brigade wore red at the 18th weekly protest against
Redrow's separate doors for rich and poor at One Commercial St. Bail conditions
on Jane Nicholl, arrested wearing a red coat last week have removed her right
Class War had brought along their controversial posters from the last general
election campaign, large portraits of the party leaders with Class War's verdict
- the same on each of them - overprinted large, the word 'WANKER'. Shortly
after I arrived these were handed out in what Ian Bone of Class War described
as an attempt to get into the Guiness Book of Records for the largest number
of 'Cameron wanker posters' ever displayed at a protest.
Although it almost certainly was a record, I think the chances of it being
recorded in that rather conservative publication are rather sub-zero. It's
a record you will probably only find recorded on this web site.
Lambeth, London. Mon 10 Nov 2014
The Bligh and Tradescant tombs in the garden of the
I went with some of our family on a short walk along the bank of the River
Thames from Jubilee Gardens to Lambeth Bridge and in the garden of St Mary-at-Lambeth,
now the Garden Museum. In 1976 Rosemary Weekes, having been impressed by the
ruins met the Archbishop of Canterbury at an event next door in Lambeth Palace
and set up a campaign to save the church and the fine tomb of father and son
John Tradescant, 17th century plant hunters and royal gardeners, buried in
St Mary's in 1638 and 1662 as a museum of garden history. A plaque in the
garden of the church commemorates the efforts by her and her husband, John
and Rosemary Nicholson.
The Tradescant tomb is a replica of the original commissioned by Hester Tradescant,
the widow of the son in 1662 and was re-carved for the second time in Lambeth
in 1853 using limestone from Darley Dale in Derbyshire. Close to it is a memorial
to Captain Bligh of the Bounty, whose ship was used by the Tradescants. The
garden also contains a recreation of a 17th century Knot Garden, based on
designs by the elder John for estates at Hatfield and Cranborne.
As well as introducing hundreds if not thousands of plants - including the
Tradescantia - to England and running the biggest garden centre of the age
at their Lambeth estate, which also included a huge collection of other artifacts
brought back from their journeys abroad, the first museum in the country open
to the public. Before he died, the younger John was tricked by a friend who
worked with him, Elias Ashmole into signing the whole business over to him
on the pretence that it would be jointly owned with John's widow, Hester.
He later presented the collection to Oxford University, where it formed the
Ashmolean museum; Hester threw herself into a pond on the estate and drowned
We ate at the museum cafe - pleasant though I would have preferred a pub
lunch, but the Czech bottled beer was fine, before walking out and past a
bit of the Archbishop's place and across Archbishop's Park to Lambeth Palace
Rd, passing some topiary cyclists on the way. As we came onto York Road we
had a 20 minutes spare before our train was due and it was starting to rain,
so I led our group down Leake St to admire the graffiti and then up the steps
to Station Approach Road to the entrance to the station.
Shut Down Racist Immigration Prisons
Harmondsworth, London. Sat 8 Nov 2014
bring the message 'You Are Not Alone' to prisoners in the detention centre
Around a hundred supporters of Movement for Justice, including
some former detainees, protested outside Harmondsworth IRC (now run together
with neighbouring Colnbrook detention centre, and officially renamed Heathrow
Immigration Removal Centre), condemning the UK's immigration detention centres
as racist and abusive, calling for these immigration prisons and the unfair
fast track system designed to deport asylum seekers before they have time
to prepare their case to be abolished.
Many at the protest also expressed shock at the decision by the EU to stop
rescuing immigrants crossing the Mediterreanean, and a placard read 'Refusing
to Rescue is Murder - End the "Let them Drown" policy'.
The two combined prisons are now run by Mitie, who have instructed police
not to allow protests on the roadways around the side and back of the prison
where they can be seen by some of those held inside from the upper floors.
These are not public rights of way and are on Crown property.
After some negotiation, the protesters were confined to an area in front
of the administrative block for today's protest. Although they were out of
sight of the detainees, the protest could be heard inside the prison, as phone
calls with some of the prisoners confirmed.
As well as the noisy shouting and dancing there were also a number of speeches,
including some by people who had been detained inside Harmondsworth and other
immigration prisons. They complained that although they had committed no crime
(and in most cases were victims of crimes in their own countries), in the
UK they were treated as criminals and locked away. They say Asylum detention
is worse than prison for detainees because they have no idea when it may come
to an end - some had been held for well over a year - and the detainees feel
under a constant threat of being forcibly returned to the country they fled
because they feared for their lives or had been tortured.
IWGB protest at Royal Opera House
Royal Opera House, London. Fri 7 Nov 2014
Alberto Durango and IWGB members in the box office
of the Royal Opera House
When the IWGB protesters got back to Fleet St after their protest at
Deloitte's offices, IWGB leader Alberto Durango suprised them by announcing
that they would go on to make a brief surprise protest at the Royal Opera
The cleaners walked down Fleet St and across Aldwych, regrouping a short
distance from the Royal Opera House for a short briefing by Alberto. They
then moved quickly and quietly and rushed through the revolving door in the
foyer of the Royal Opera House, pushing past and walking around a member of
the secuirty staff to hold short protest in the foyer over their dispute with
cleaning contractors MITIE over victimisation, trade union recognition and
working conditions. After around five minutes, they left quietly and dispersed.
The IWGB is a small, independent, grass roots union which is determined to
represent its members interests. Protests such as this would be unnecessary
if the employers recognised the rights of this officially registered trade
union to represent its members. Currently MITIE recognises another trade union
which has few if any members at this workplace - and our defective trade union
legislation enables it legally to do so. Relations would also be greatly improved
if the Royal Opera House employed its cleaners directly rahter than using
a contracting firm.
IWGB protest at Deloitte
City of London. Fri 7 Nov 2014
City of London Police officer grabs hold of IWGB leader Alberto Durango and
tries to stop him protesting
The Independent Workers of Great Britain trade union (IWGB) representing
cleaners employed in Deloitte's City offices by services contractor SERCO
held a noisy protest at four of their locations around Shoe Lane over the
suspension two workers for taking part in protests and about working conditions
and staff shortages which have results in many having back problems and suffering
medically from stress.
The workers met on Fleet Street before marching to the first of the offices,
hoping to take security there by surprise, but they were ready and waiting
as the cleaners arrived, and they could only play their drums, blow their
horns and whistles, shout slogans and wave their flags in the courtyard outside.
The unfurled a large banner with the message 'Solidarity. We Are Performing
Security just kept ahead of them as they went on to make their presence and
thier greivances felt and heard at the other three nearby Deloitte Offices.
As they stood outside the third of these, with IWGB union leader Alberto Durango
speaking, an officer from the City of London Police came and grabbed hold
of him, attempting to stop him protesting. Durango twisted away and angry
union members surrounded the two men, telling the officer that they had a
right to lawful protest.
Eventually he backed down and the protest continued, going on to a fourth
office building, where after a few minutes the protest ended, with the union
members marching back to Fleet St.
Trafalgar Square Poppy Memorial
Trafalgar Square, London. Fri 7 Nov 2014
Poppies blow around an idealised sculpture of an 'uknown
Mark Humphrey's brass 'Every Man Remembered' has a statue of a soldier
standing on a block of Somme limestone in a perspex case, with poppies around
his feet and in his arms; every 5 minutes poppies are blown in the air around
The sculpture was unveiled earlier in the day and is there for the Remembrance
Day activities on Sunday, and I assumed it was intended to remain their for
the actual Armistice Day the following Tuesday.
You can read some of my thoughts about this work with its bland and idealised
image of an unknown soldier in Remembering
the Dead on >Re:PHOTO. While the soliders, sailors and airmen on some
of our better war memorials remind us that it was real people who fought and
died in what was essentially a family quarrel over the pride of European royalty,
this figure reminded me more of statues of the Buddha.
if we want to truly remember and honour the sacrifice then rather than statues
like this we might have those that show - in Seigfried Sassoon's words - 'Young
faces bleared with blood, Sucked down into the mud'. In the >Re:PHOTO
piece I linked to a fine
article by Paul Mason, on the almost completely ignored story of how the
First World War actually ended, when German sailors, soldiers and workers
refused to fight.
Taiji Dolphin slaughter protest
Japanese Embassy, London. Fri 7 Nov 2014
A protester on stilts with a dolphin fan outside the
A large protest at the Japanese embassy called on Japan to halt the annual
slaughter of 20,000 dolphins, porpoises and small whales each year in Taiji
Cove, which began around 40 years ago.
When I arrived, half an hour or so after the start of the long protest, there
was a crowd of several hundred behind barriers on the narrow pavement on the
opposite side of the road from the embassy. More were arriving all the time
I was there, and by the time I left, they were on both sides of the road and
on the wide central strip of pavement between the two carriageways.
As well as the large numbers involved, the protest was remarkable for the
number of hand drawn posters and placards, as well as some 3D artworks. Many
of those present accepted the offer of having their hands covered in red paint
to represent the blood of the dolphins, which turns the water in the bay red
during the slaughter.
Among those present was Ric O' Barry, founder of the Dolphin Project and
the maker of the film 'The Cove' which has shown the shocking reality of the
dolphin slaughter to audiences around the world. Many of those present came
to talk to him and to be photographed standing with him. Accompanying him
was a stilt-walker in Japanese costume long red scarves on each wrist, a dophin
fan in one hand and a placard in the other.
Fukushima Nuclear Protest
Japanese Embassy, London. Fri 7 N ov 2014
A Japanese anti-nuclear protest offers a leaflet to
a man passing the Japanese Embassy, who refuses
A small group of Japanese and English protesters handed out bi-lingual Japanese/English
flyers outside the Japanese embassy in their regular weekly protest over Fukushima
and the continuing danger from radioactive leaks from the site.
The want an end to the building of nuclear power stations worldwide because
of the safety risks that Fukushima has highlighted, and for a proper investigation
of the failures of TEPCO, the owners of the Fukushima power plant in running
the plant and reporting and tackling the catastrophe.
As on other Fridays, after protensting for an hour or so outside the Japanese
embassy they left, on their way to carry out a further protest outside the
London offices of TEPCO in Berkeley Square.
Brent Housing Sit-in
South Kilburn Housing Office, London. Fri 7 Nov 2014
Protesters with placards hold a discussion in the waiting
area of the Housing Office
Protesters sat in the South Kilburn Housing Office calling for Brent to end
selling properties to overseas investors while rehousing local residents outside
the area. They accuse them of social cleansing and say people need to be put
A staff member came and asked the protesters to continue the protest outside
as it was interfering with work, but the protesters told her they were not
stopping anyone from coming to appointments or calling in at the office, and
questioned her for supporting the council's policies which were failing to
meet the needs of local people in favour of wealthy foreigners with no connection
The few minutes of shouting slogans at the start of the protest might have
made any interviews then taking place in the building difficult, but after
that the protesters were holding a discussion of the issues which would have
caused no problems. Several people who came in to see staff in the office
came to talk with the protesters and expressed agreement with their views.
Two police officers arrived and talked with the office staff and then with
the protesters. The room in which the protest was taking place was described
on a board outside as a "Community Resource Centre" and they could
see no problem with the way that is was currently being used by members of
the community and so long as they behaved reasonably the police did not want
to be involved.
I left after around an hour while the protest and discussion was still continuing,
with one or two more people coming to join it as I left.
Guy Fawkes 'Anonymous' Million Mask March
Parliament Square, London. Wed 5 Nov 2014
'Anonymous' figure with a poster 'We will not be silenced'
on an empty police van in front of Big Ben
The world wide Million Mask March against austerity, the corporate takeover
of government and the abuse of power in London set off from Trafalgar Square,
marching to Parliament Square where I joined them.
The march of hundreds of people were met by a mass of barriers around the
square with large groups of riot police threatening them. The marchers called
on the massed riot police to put their batons away and join their Guy Fawkes
party without success. They marched around the square and then left in several
directions, some heading for Buckingham Palace. I decided I'd had enough of
taking pictures in the dark and went home.
Poor Doors Guy Fawkes burn Boris
One Commercial St, Aldgate, London. Wed 5 Nov 2014
Protesters dancing with Class War Banners are lit up
by the flames of the burning Boris
A guy with a Boris Johnson mask was set on fire at Class War's weekly
protest outside the rich door to in Aldgate and several flares were set off.
Police made an arrest, provoking a struggle between police and protesters
and a second arrest.
Many of the protesters gathered in a nearby pub with an effigy of Boris Johnson
(BJ) before the protest, before going out onto the street at the mouth of
the alley leading to Freedom bookshop. They then got out banners and walked
along with BJ towards One Commercial St. On the way someone placed an orange
flare into BJ's top pocket which livened things up, but had come to an end
before we reached the rich door.
Boycott Hewlett Packard - Sustainable Brands
Lancaster London Hotel, London. Wed 5 Nov 2014
Campaigners with Palestinian flags outside the Lancaster London Hotel at Lancaster
Palestian campaigners contested Hewlett-Packard's claim to create "a
better future for everyone" at the Sustainable Brands conference which
HP sponsor, because of their IT support for Israeli forces who killed 521
Palestinian children in the attack on Gaza.
HP's IT support also runs the Israeli prisons, where young Palestinian boys
as well as other prisoners have been kept for long periods in solitary confinement
and tortured. Many Palestinians are locked up in 'adminstrative confinement'
without any proper charges or trial.
A group of protesters stood outside the hotel where the conference was
taking place, handing out flyers to people going in or out of the hotel as
well as those walking past, and several people spoke about the HP's deep involvement
in Israeli war crimes and persecution of Palestinian.
Global Solidarity With Kobane
Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 1 Nov 2014
Women with Kurdish Workers Party flags
Thousands came to a Trafalgar Square rally for the defenders of Kobane against
ISIS and for the remarkable democratic revolution of Rojava, calling for aid
for the Kurdish fighters and refugees, legitimisation of the PKK and the release
of Ocalan. The protest was part of a Global day of solidarity with the YPG
(People's Defense Units) and the women of the YPJ fighting against ISIS at
The protest was organised by the Kurdish People’s Assembly and Peace
in Kurdistan Campaign in cooperation with Kurdistan National Congress (KNK),
Roj Women Assembly and Free Youth Movement and community organisations, and
was also supported by some left and human rights groups. Among the speakers
were Margaret Owen OBE, human rights lawyer and adviser to the Kurdish
Human Rights Project (KHRP) and Peace in Kurdistan (PIK), Jean Lambert,
Green Party MEP for London, Mark Thomas, Peter Tatchell
and Father Joe Ryan, a Catholic priest from Haringey where many of
London's Kurds live, as well as representatives of various Kurdish groups.
As well as speaking about the fight and the need to support the Kurds in
their struggle, many speakers criticised Turkey for their support of ISIS,
and their refusal to let Turkish Kurds join in the fight. Turkey is accused
of letting fighters cross its border to join ISIS and also of facilitating
the smuggling operations that support ISIS financially as a continuation of
its long discrimination and attempts to subdue opposition from Kurds living
Many see the model constitution adopted in the Rojava, the de facto autonomous
Kurdish majority region in northern and north-eastern Syria as an important
democratic development, especially for its pluralism, democratic participation
and protection of fundamental human rights and liberties.
Revolution Banner Drop
Waterloo Bridge and Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 1 Nov 2014
Protesters hold the 'Revolution' banner on Waterloo
Bridge - later they took it to Trafalgar Square
Protesters from 'Anonymous' in Guy Fawkes masks held up a banner with the
message 'REVOLUTION' on Waterloo Bridge and the Kobane demonstration in Trafalgar
Square, handing out flyers for the Nov 5th 'March Against Government Corruption'
Against acid attacks on Iranian women
Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 1 Nov 2014
A woman, her head and face bandaged holds a sign 'This
is not for Halloween...'
The 8th March Women's Organisation (Iran - Afghanistan) protested in Trafalgar
Square against acid attacks on women who do not wear a veil in Iran. Attacks
by gangs encouraged by the regime to enforce strict Islamic rules have left
many women scarred and blinded.
PETA World Vegan Day Naked Protest
Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 1 Nov 2014
were rather fewer than 255 protesters, but it was still an impressive show
A World Vegan Day protest by PETA dramatised the 255 animals killed for
food in the UK every second by a similar number of people lying near naked
or nearly naked and smeared with fake blood on a tarpaulin.
Many animals farmed for our consumption are kept in crowded and cruel conditions
and are killed in painful and terrifying ways. Many are also treated with
hormones, anti-biotics and other chemicals that can be dangerous to both the
animals and to those of us who eat them, and the overuse of antibiotics threatens
to produce drug-resistant mutations that pose a threat to human life.
Some of the posters at this protest read 'Choose Life: Chose Vegan',
but a vegan economy would have little place for animals. PETA believe "Animals
are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse
in any other way". I'd be happier to see fewer animals being farmed
and slaughtered in an ethical and humane manner - and be prepared to eat less
meat and to pay a fair price for it.
Nature isn't vegetarian, and certainly not vegan, though of course some species
are herbivores. But others are carnivourous or omnivores, and I can see no
problem in our own species eating meat oor fish though I would like to see
all of the current cruel practices involved in producing food for us outlawed.
Eating foie gras should definitely be made a crime!
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