Solidarity with the Umbrella Revolution

Chinese Embassy, London. Fri 10 Oct 2014

Protesters kept on the pavement in front of the Chinese Embassy and ignored police requests to move
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The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts organised a protest at the Chinese Embassy in solidarity with the 'umbrella revolution' of the students and workers of Hong Kong in their fight for democracy. Many of the protesters carried umbrellas and others had small yellow paper umbrellas as well as their posters and placards.

The protesters who included a number of Chinese and some who had been at the protests in Hong Kong gathered across the road from the embassy, but after a short introductory speech they decided to go across the road and protest on the pavement outside the embassy door.

Police tried to persuade them to move back across the road, but Daniel Cooper and the others ignored officers who tried to talk to them and continued with the protest. Speakers called on the Chinese Government to honour the promises they had made about democracy in Hong Kong. In solidarity with the students and the workers of the HKCTU they called for the immediate release of all the arrested, an end to the suppression of peaceful assembly, replacing the "fake universal suffrage" formula with the genuine political reform workers have been demanding, and the resignation of Chief Executive Leung Chun Ying.
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Palestine protest at Hewlett Packard

Wood St, London. Fri 10 Oct 2014
Protesters with Free Palestine umbrellas hand out leaflets opposite HP
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The Palestinian Prisoners Campaign continued their campaign against Hewlett-Packard, which boasts of 'a massive presence' in Israel and are the IT backbone for the Israeli war machine with a picket outside their London offices.
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City Panoramas

City of London. Fri 10 Oct 2014

A cement mixer goes down Aldersgate St
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I had a little time to spare between events and took a short walk in the City, including along one of the remaining areas of 'highwalk' at the southwest of the Barbican site, part of the post-war plan to segregate pedestrians from traffic.

The rather ugly brickwork at the west end of London Wall had some strange characters on it, which were explained in a display above by the Museum of London, although fans of Sherlock Holmes may need no explanation.

At Wood St, the remaining highwalk overlooks a large building site which used to be an area of highwalk, but is now being developed to make much greater use of the land, doubtless for more offices.
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Free Ghoncheh Ghavami - SOAS action

SOAS, London. Fri 10 Oct 2014

Students hold posters showing the former student jailed in Iran for trying to watch a volleyball match

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Protesters called for the release of former SOAS Law student Ghoncheh Ghavami, held in prison for 104 days and on hunger strike for 10 days after being detained in Iran with other women after she went to watch a volleyball match. Among those who spoke at the protest was Ghavami's brother.

Among those present at the protest were a number of Iranian students, one who told us that she was unable to return to her country because she had been seen on television watching a volleyball game in Rome when the TV camera showed the audience reacting to a score.

The rally was supported by staff and the SOAS staff unions UCU and Unison, as well as by the SOAS Student Union. As well as the rally I photographed, some of the students were taking part in a day's hunger strike in solidarity with Ghavami, and there was a candlelit vigil in the evening.
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Solidarity for Care UK Strikers

Care UK, Southwark, London. Fri 10 Oct 2014
Protesters outside the offices in Great Guildford St with banners
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NSSN, TUSC and Southwark Unison protested at the Care UK offices in the nation-wide day of solidarity with Doncaster Care UK workers striking for 81 days after huge cuts in pay and services by a private equity company taking over a part of the NHS.

The protest here was one of many pickets and protests around the country outside Care UK offices and those of Bridgepoint, the private equity firm that owns Care UK, or at shops such as Fat Face and Pret a Manger also owned by Bridgepoint.

Their strike is not just about their own cuts in wages, but a stand against the principles involved and the whole idea of a values-based health service. The workers at Care UK are no longer able to proudly address the needs of those with learning disorders in their own community, but are simply required to meet minimum needs at the lowest possible cost - and the greatest profit to Bridgepoint and the company to which they will be sold on once the private equity company has slimmed services and pay to the bone.
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Deptford to Greenwich

Deptford and Greenwich, Thu 9 Oct 2014
The sun had gone and the heavens were about to open at Greenwich
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I was meeting a couple of photographers for lunch and a chat in Greenwich, and when I looked out of the window it was a fine day, so I grabbed my camera bag and took an early train, getting off a stop early at Deptford with a couple of hours to spare to wander along mainly on the Thames Path.

The forecast seemed ideal for making some panoramas, as the last thing you need for these in open locations like the wide views along the Thames are empty blue skies. The forecast promised sunny periods and showers laterm but wasn't entirely accurate, as a shower came almost as soon as I got out of the station.

A little rain is a good thing too, as the air over London is seldom too clean, with a combination of particulates and photochemical smog making the distance hazy. Rain scrubs the air, and after a good pour it can seem unnaturally clear.

The first pictures I took were actually during a shower, and the diesatnce is hazy because of the rain in the air, but it soon stopped, leaving some clear views and dramatic skies as the rain cleared. Pictures taken in different directions within seconds of each other sometimes showed dramatic differences.

The sunny weather that followed was sometimes too sunny, and at times there was harely a cloud to disturb the boring blue. With panoramic images like those I was mainly making there can be quite a shift across the frame from deep blue to hard to keep within bounds white, which often looks odd in a photograph. Most of these images, though within the 'normal' 1.5:1 aspect ratio of the 35mm frame are panoramic in view, with a horizontal angle of view of over 145 degrees and a vertical view of almost a 100 degrees. Extreme angles of view such as this make it impossible to maintain rectilinear perspective and some straight lines appear curved.

1+I was particularly interested in the area around Deptford Creek which has changed so radically since I photographed it in the 1980s. The power station, the scrap metal and almost all of the industry has gone, replace by blocks of often expensive flats, Stowage, which always seemed to be a workshop on the fringes of hell hardly exists, and there is just one small area of Deptford Creek still at work,

I got engrossed and arrived at the pub rushing and a little late to enjoy a curry and a couple of pints of an excellent real ale. When I finally left, the weather had changed again, now dull and threatening, the clouds grey upon grey, and towards London an almost menacing dark, but with a bright light still making the river shine and lighting the tower blocks theatrically.

At first the rain was fairly light, but driven by a gusting wind that made holding an umbrella difficult. Then the rain became torrential. My umbrella was intruding uncontrollably into some of my pictures and I had to find some shelter. As soon as it slackened off a little I set out again, taking more pictures on my way to the DLR to Canary Wharf and the way home.
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Poor Doors Musical Protest

One Commercial St, Aldgate, London. Wed 8 Oct 2014

Cosmo plays and sings, the Class War banner and Marina dancing
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The 11th weekly protest on the pavement at One Commercial St over different doors for rich and poor tenants of the prestige block was the largest to date, with almost a hundred Class War activists dancing and singing to Cosmo and Different Moods.

The protests at the block next to Aldgate East station are continuing to grow, and this week's felt a powerful event with the a great atmosphere, with powerful contributions from the two groups and some stirring speeches. Cosmo, who had come from Cardiff to perform here was impressive - his web page calls him a one-man anarcho-folk-punk-hiphop phenomenon - and I think I heard him back in the 90s at some Reclaim the Streets events.

People meeting at a nearby pub before the protest had noticed there was a strong police presence, with around a dozen officers standing inside and outside the 'rich door' as well as Redrow's own staff. So they decided to start the protest on the opposite side of the road to One Commercial St, only coming across after a few minutes as the rain got heavier. One Commercial St has a wide glass porch which keeps the rain off the pavement immediately in front of the building, but unfortunately doesn't protect photographers who stand a little further out to take pictures.
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Unstone Grange & Chesterfield

Unstone and Chesterfield, Derbyshire. Sun 5 Oct 2014

Finally I came to something that really looked like it was a canal
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It had long been dark by the time we arrived at Unstone Grange, a small conference centre a few miles north of Chesterfield. We had actually missed most of the weekend conference, but Linda had some business to sort out and it was good to meet friends again.

I woke up early and went for a walk before in the half hour or so before breakfast, around the grounds and then up the lane into Apperrknowle before it was time to go back.

We got a lift into Chesterfield after lunch and arrived well over an hour before our train was due. We'd bought advance tickets at a small fraction of the full fare and they were only valid for that particular train. Chesterfield station isn't a great place to wait, so we took it in turns to go for a walk while one of us sat with the luggage in the station and read.

I took rather more than my share of the time, as I found the start of the Chesterfield canal and decided to have a quick explore. It turned out to take me rather longer than I expected, and I had to run most of the way back.
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Hull and Hornsea

Hull & Horsea. Fri 3 & Sat 4 Oct 2014

Its a mistake to actually go to the Land of Green Ginger,so much better left in the imagination
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Part of the reason we'd come up to Hull early for the wedding was to meet some of the other wedding guests, more old friends who had come over from Germany for the event and were arriving on Friday morning. But before they came we said hello to Philip Larkin who was standing - looking rather bronzed - outside the hotel door and went for another walk around parts of the Old Town, including a visit to Holy Trinity, before meeting them to have coffee in the Ferens Gallery.

It really is a good gallery (and many years ago gave me my first solo show - which included many of the images in my book 'Still Occupied - A View of Hull' and it was a pity we didn't have time to look at the exhibitions there. But as well as Hull, we had to take a trip to Hornsea, and the buses are not too frequent and take over an hour each way.

There really isn't a lot to do in Hornsea but look at the sea. So we looked at it, walked along the front and then back and waited for another bus back to Hull, pausing briefly to look at the patch of grass where my wife's aunt had owned a small cottage. Every year her family had their holiday there, until the council made a compulsory purchase order on the long-condemned property. The development they intended for the site fell through, so it is now just a bit of grass and a flower bed or two.

We wanted to be back for a French film that was showing in the Hull Film Festival, a miniature event getting ready for a larger festival next year and of course working up to more for 2017 when it is the turn of Hull to be UK City of Culture. Like many other northern cities it has always been a city of culture - for those who wanted it.

On Saturday I took a few more pictures as we walked in the rain the mile and a half to the church for the wedding, which are also on line. I wasn't the official wedding photographer (they didn't want one, but the husband of the bride's sister, a retired photographer took some pictures as they signed the register) but had been asked if I would take some pictures of the guests at the short celebration at the church after the wedding and later at the reception in a hotel a few miles away. Which I enjoyed doing and it stopped me getting bored when I wasn't eating or drinking. But I won't post the pictures here.

The rain was a shame, as the hotel had what looked like some fine gardens, and the sun came out just as we had to leave to catch a bus and a train and then another bus to make our way to another event at Unstone Grange in the country between Sheffield and Chesterfield.
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Hull at Night

Hull. Thur 2 Oct 2014

The new bridge across theRiver Hull in the Old Town
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We travelled to Hull a couple of days early to attend the wedding of an old friend, who had been at primary school with my wife. As we travelled by train, the Royal Station Hotel was a convenient place to stay, with an entrance on the station forecourt.

After we'd settled into our hotel room overlooking Paragon Square we were getting hungry, and went to look for somewhere to eat. We walked along Princes Avenue looking at all the places before deciding to try a Malaysian restuarant, and it turned out to be an excellent choice, and by London standards very reasonably priced and a pleasant atmosphere.

By the time we left I was in a very good mood (the wine helped) and we took a long walk around the Old Town and a lot of pictures - all handheld.
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Class War Poor Doors Week 10

One Commercial St, Aldgate, London. Wed 1 Oct 2014

One of the two vases that Class War had brought to One Commercial St
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Over 60 people came to the 10th weekly protest at One Commercial St over separate doors for rich and poor tenants of the prestige block at Aldgate.

Class War brought with them two vases of flowers to replace the one broken during last week's protest, though they were perhaps a little plastic and tacky looking compared to the one that had been broken the previous week.

I wasn't entirely clear how the vase had been broken during the Class War occupation of the reception area behind the 'rich door'. Ian Bone had been standing next to the reception desk on which it was standing, and had been speaking and waving his walking stick around. Possibly he just meant to rest the stick on the desk, but somehow the vase was sent crashing to the floor, leading to his later arrest as he tried to leave the area.

Possibly too his action may have been recorded on CCTV as police claimed, and given the luxury nature of the Redrow block, they may even have CCTV with a high enough resolution to show what happened. But I understand that the replacement cost him 70 quid.

The two replacement vases brought to the protest looked rather cheaper, although I doubt if that is why the building manager refused to take either of them when first offered. But later, as he was letting in a resident through the rich door, one of the vases was thrust into his face and he took hold of it, probably by reflex. His face when he found himself holding it was interesting, and he quickly put it down, placing it on the desk in the reception area in the same place as the one knocked off last week, complete with its with a 'Toffs Out!' Class War card.
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All pictures on this section of the site are Copyright © Peter Marshall 2014; to buy prints or for permission to reproduce pictures or to comment on this site, or for any other questions, contact me.

my london diary index
 

Oct 2014

Solidarity with the Umbrella Revolution
Palestine protest at Hewlett Packard
City Panoramas
Free Ghoncheh Ghavami - SOAS action
Solidarity for Care UK Strikers
Deptford to Greenwich
Poor Doors Musical Protest
Unstone Grange & Chesterfield
Hull and Hornsea
Hull at Night
Class War Poor Doors Week 10

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