october 7 was the third international day of action on migrant rights, with events in various cities across europe and in africa. this year's march in london took place south of the river starting from the imperial war museum in lambeth and striking a rather deserted route across to borough high street and then on into bermondsey, ending with a rally in tanner st.
the march was backed by many groups concerned with migration and related issues including 'barbed wire britain', 'no-borders' , 'no one is illegal, the 'latin american workers assocation' and other national groups of migrant workers, as well as some trade union branches.
marchers called for regularisation for migrants living in the uk who are refused asylum applicants or people who have been trafficked or overstayed their visas, the right of all those here to work and be protected from destitution, the closure of detention centres here and external to to the eu, and for social justice and secure work conditions for all. the uk should sign up to the un international convention on the protection of the rights of all migrant workers.
at tanner street there was some music from a bolivian group, and some danced
before a series of very short addresses. these both described some of the
injustices of the current position and made the point that almost all migrants
want to and are capable of making a real contribution to this country though
their work. many have qualifications and experience in areas which are in
demand, but currently end up in low wage and often illegal employment.
the 70th anniversary of the battle of cable street on sunday 8th was a joyous event, celebrating an important grass-roots victory for the labour movement, when the people of the east end stood up and took action, largely against the orders and advice of the organised jewish and socialist leadership.
it was a real peoples movement when workers from london's east end fought the police at gardiner's corned and barricaded cable street to stop mosley's fascist blackshirts marching through their area.
quite a few present had been there in 1936; some had been arrested and even jailed for their part in it. during the brief opening speeches by veteran harold rosen and his author son, michael, the man standing next to me quietly said "i was there" and later told me a little of the event and his life.
it was the story of a typical east-ender of the era, 13 when it happened. his parents had arrived from poland in 1912 and settled close to cable street, later moving to brick lane. despite being jewish he had gone to the methodist mission just down cable street and paid his penny to watch films of a friday night. and like the rest of his friends, he went with the crowds to stop the fascists. later, in uniform, he was a part of the army which went to europe to finish off the job in 1944, getting married shortly before he left. still married after 62 years, he now lives with his wife in north London. i told him he should write his story and put it on the web. he said he didn't know anything about that, but his son did. "so get him to do it for you", i said.
before the opening there was a short parade. It showed a community still united against fascism. behind the slogan 'they shall not pass' were the 'cardboard citizens samba band', and a commemorative banner made for the 50th anniversary, followed by the international brigade memorial trust and some trade union banners, along with many people from communities in east london carrying unite against fascism posters. at the back of the parade was local mp george galloway along with respect supporters.
outside st georges town hall, the parade was confronted by a short piece of street theatre providing a re-enactment of the battle, entertaining but almost impossible to photograph. inside the park we enjoyed an entertaining program of events, along with photo exhibitions, bookstalls, food and more.
One of the highlights of the afternoon was a guest appearance by karl marx, with a little help from socialist magician ian saville, who as mc really kept the whole event moving through the various rearrangements on stage needed for the various acts. leon rosselon and sandra kerr sang, klezmania provided some stirring music, and the incredible bangladeshi progessive cultural group 'udichi shilpi gosthi' gave us fine music, singing and dancing. they were followed by guitar and dance from duende flamenco, and then a high powered set from reggae revolution, led by great trombone, sax and guitar. unfortunately i had to leave before the grand union orchestra came on to play the specially commissioned piece 'no passaran'.
This was a fine event and a fun event, that both recalled an important
event in popular history and also demonstrated that a lively socialist tradition
still exists. It kept an audience of all ages enthralled, taught them just
a little about surplus value and more, and encouraged us all in our fight
sack parliament on monday 9, and event to mark the return of mps to westminster, was of course only ever an amusing idea rather than a serious chance of a ukrainian-style orange revolution. as the large press turnout showed, it was one that had caught the attention of the media (mondays perhaps tend to be slack) but unfortunately not that of the demonstrating classes.
it got off to a bad start with the planned 'critical mass', which failed to gather more than a handful of cyclists. heavily outnumbered by the police bike posse, they faded away, a couple cycling down the side of the national theatre and the other 3 or 4 carrying their bikes up the steps to waterloo bridge.
at parliament square, things were little better. at the advertised start time, apart from the normal parliament square permanet protest there were perhaps 25 demonstrators and rather more press, along with what must have been around a thousand police, counting those sitting in vans around the area as well as the impressive number standing around.
Twenty minutes later the numbers had been more than doubled, mainly by the arrival of a group dressed largely in black. and soon after they made a charge at the police line into the road towards the houses of parliament. from the start it seemed a pointless gesture. the line held, and pushed them back, and soon the two sides were standing a few feet apart and glaring at each other. after a few more attempts to push through the police, the demonstrators ran back onto the grassed area of the square where they were surrounded by a cordon of police.
one of the photographers, an nuj member i'd been talking to a few minutes earlier, was apparently pushed by police as they rushed the demonstrators. he fell and received a neck injury which left him with no feeling from the waist down. police medics were on hand to give him first aid and to call an ambulance. later i was pleased to hear he had been allowed home from hospital, and the injuries were apparently less serious than we feared.
i was inside the cordon to start with, but the police made no attempt to stop me as i decided to walk out, not even asking to see my press card (they had checked it earlier.)
around the square, small teams of police were rounding up anyone looking vaguely like a punk or a hippy and dragging them inside the cordon. some of those they picked on seemed genuinely to have no connection with the protest. eventually there were perhaps around 150 in there, including quite a few press, along with a few who clearly had little idea what the whole thing was about.
apparently others who looked like possible demonstrators were stopped and arrested in whitehall, or turned back on other roads approaching the square.
outside the cordon, the normal demonstrations in the square went on, with the occasional interruptions by the police, nit-picking about where the demonstrators are allowed to stand and being largely ignored or abused.
occasionally there were scuffles inside the cordon as demonstrators made an attempt to breach the police line, or police teams moved in to grab individuals. there were also occasional arrests around the square, including some of those who protested loudly they were simply bystanders.
at 14.13, roughly 40 minutes after the protestors had been imprisoned in the cordon, police superintendent peter terry (responsible for the taking away and destruction of most of brian haw's property from the square and alleged by demonstrators to have lied in court) read from a handwritten statement telling the protestors that they were being detained in the square because he beleived that their continued presence in the area would lead to a serious breach of the peace!
around 15.00, police began to distribute notices to those outside the cordon waning them "we beleive that you may be, or are about to be, involved in a demonstration located within an area subject to the provisions of the Serious and Organised Crime and Police Act 2005" and moving press and spectators well back from the cordon. there seemed to be little chance of getting further photographs, so i went to get on with work elsewhere.
according to a press report later in the evening, there were 38 arrests made. those caught in the cordon who were not arrested at the event were apparently required to provide evidence of identity and address before being allowed to leave. scopa continues to be a blot on human rights in this country, and this protest, despite its apparent pointlessness and lack of support has underlined this point.
i'm one of a generation who grew up believing in british justice and a
sense of fair play. we were rightly appalled at those countries where protest
was banned, and demonstrators could be arrested. it sickens me to see this
happening in front of what used to be a powerful symbol of freedom, the
houses of parliament.
saturday in hyde park there were land mines. fortunately the were mainly
carefully marked as well as having been made harmless. for many people around
the world they are daily hazard, the deadly and maiming residues of war.
just as dangerous, if not more so, are cluster bombs. these are produced
by the sophisticated weapons industries of many countries including britain
and america, and also used by our armies and air forces, dropped from aircraft
or fired as artillery. each cluster bomb contains from a dozen to several
hundred lethal bomblets, which are distributed over a wide area, intended
to kill infantry or guerillas, but entirely indiscrimate in their action.
between 5-30% fail to explode on impact, usually getting buried in soil;
those dropped over 30 years ago in Vietnam are still killing and maiming
people, especially children, there. almost 2,000,000 were scattered over
iraq in 2003-4. i went there to sign the petition organised by nobel peace
prize-winning charity handicap international to aime for a world-wide ban
on these weapons. you can sign it on the web site www,handicap-international.org.uk
after my brief visit there, i was on my way to walthamstow to collect some
of my pictures of the lea valley that had been on show at the pump house
museum, and as it was a nice day, decided to walk the last few miles across
the lea valley and take a few more pictures. in king george v park i found
some of the muralists at work, and took pictures of a few examples, before
heading down the navigation to springfield and across to walthamstow marshes,
a surprising area of open space so near to the centre of a major city. then
i made my way between reservoir and waterworks to the lea flood relief channel
and st james's park, surrounded with remarkably brooding lime trees.
sunday i started off in the national gallery, looking at the new presentation of their more modern work in monet to picasso. then it was up to leicester square, where i arrived just as the clock was about to do one of its major performances at 12.00. this was also the start time for the demo outside macdonalds. while i was there around 15 people held up banners and handed out leaflets, most of them wearing bright red wigs. the leaflets stated that mcdonalds were only interested in making money, and that the food that they claimed was nutritious was "processed junk food - high in fat, sugar and salt, and low in fibre and vitamins." it claimed that animals are cruely treated to produce meat for us to east and that the workers in fast food industry are exploited, with low wages and poor conditions - mcdonalds have always opposed workers rights and unions. as the world's largest user of beef, mcdonals are also helping to destroy the planet; each "beef burger uses enough fossil fuel to drive a small car 35km and enough water for 17 showers." beef cattle produce larte amounts of methane, making a major contribution to global warming, and their largely unnecessary packing involves use of damaging chemicals as well as using up forests and, after use either littering the streets if polluting the lad through landfill sites.
for once the police - at least while i was there - behaved impeccably. there were 2 women police there, and they stood and watched; when someone from macdonalds came to complain he was informed that people had a right to demonstrate, so long as they did so within the law. a few of the public refused leaflets but most took them. again a few stopped to argue, rather more stopped to take pictures of the event, and several posed in front of the demo for pictures.
i left after around 45 minutes to have my lunch - sandwiches rather than a big mac - and left for marble arch where hub-e-ali were preparing to celebrate the matyrdom of imam ali in kufa, iraq almost 1400 years ago. the jaloos or procession began with a lengthy session of addresses and mourning. although i could understand little of what was said, the voices clearly conveyed the extreme emotion of the event, which had many of those present sobbing. there were tears in my eyes, too, partly from the emotion of the event ane partly from the incense fumes that were filling the air.
when the tarboot (coffin) appeared, there was soon a scramble to touch
it, at first be the men, then later the women were allowed to come and touch
it. many of the men then removed their shirts and started matam, beating
their breasts vigorously, many were distinctly red and bruised, and their
backs also showed scars. the procession led off down park lane, with the
banners and men being followed by the tarboot, and the women forming the
end of the procession.
having taken a few more photographs, i left for home, stopping off briefly
at trafalgar square to see the start of the diwali celebrations there. diwali
in the square was just starting, but i was tired and continued on my way
the defence export services organisation (deso) spends £15 million a year of our taxes selling arms for british arms manufacturers, often to countries with poor human rights records or engaged in violent conflict. we contribute ten times as much to promoting arms sales than promoting civil exports. always headed by an arms industry executive, deso gives the arms manufacturers a unique influence over government policies.
on monday 16 october, 2006, around 250 protesters, many dressed in white, made a human chain around the deso hq in bloomsbury, just a few yards from the british museum, and designated the department as a 'global danger zone'. from there, many went to lobby their mps to close down the deso. mark thomas came and spoke to those demonstrating, adding his voice to those asking for the deso to be closed down - and making an offer of alternative employment for some of the staff.
for more information on the campaign to shut down the deso see the web site www.calltheshots.org. the demonstration was organised by campaign against the arms trade and supported by other groups including the fellowship of reconciliation, speak, war on want, cnd, the liberal democrats, plaid cymru and the green party.
borough market started with the romans a couple of thousand years ago, and around a thousand years ago was thriving on and around london's only bridge across the river thames. in the next few centuries it moved a little south into borough high street, and in 1550 received a royal charter, although like all london markets it was under the control of the city of london.
increased congestion in borough high street lead to the first of nine acts of parliament about the market's activities in 1754, which moved it out of the road a few yards west to its present site. the agreement with the city authorities, which established the new market was made 250 years ago in 1756. every year the lord mayor of london visits the market and collects fruit for the poor. it is now the only remaining wholesale and retail market in the london.
the market is now officially a charity, but has always existed to support the residents of st saviour's parish. any surplus made by the market now goes to southwark council and the residents of the former parish get a rebate on their council tax.
the worshipful company of fruiterers have also been celebrating the 400th anniversary of their royal charter in 1605. they had been inspecting (and levying duty) on london's fruit and veg since 1292 or earlier, and received ordinances in 1463.
until recently, borough market was a wholesale market, but its small size and transport problems meant that ten years ago it was almost empty and in a very poor state. since then it has grown as a retail site for high quality food and drink, with many small specialist suppliers, as well as other small businesses. two small parts of the site have been sold to provide money to rebuild and improve the market.
the lord mayor arrived with a small guard of pikemen and there were a few speeches. the fruiterers provide fresh fruit for a number of shelters for the homeless. the lord mayor and his party then toured the market, which had some fine displays of produce as well as its normal superb foods.
the apprentice boys of derry are a protestant organisation dedicated "to maintaining the spirit of liberty" displayed by the 13 apprentices who closed the gates of the city to the approaching army of the catholic king james ii. he demanded that the city surrender, receiving the now famous reply "no surrender." the association which now organises parades to commemorate this was founded in 1814.
as well as in derry itself, there are apprentice boys clubs around the world, and each year there are several marches in london. at times their marches by or through largely catholic areas have been extremely contentious, and the banning of their portadown march in 1986 led to serious riots. recent events, in today's calmer climate have seldom caused any problems.
the march started near victoria station and went through parliament square
to the cenotaph in whitehall where a wreath was laid. i left them at trafalgar
sqaure, on their way to a service at the independent congregational church
in orange street, behind the national gallery, followed by a social evening.
on sunday morning i took a walk with members of london arts cafe through
the once jewish areas of london's east end. we were fortunate to be able
to go in both the fieldgate street great synagogue, as well as the bevis
marks synagogue, britain's oldest standing jewish place of worship, built
in 1698, where unfortunately, photography is not allowed, but you can see
some other pictures from our walk.
al-quds is jerusalem, and sunday saw the annual march calling for its liberation,
and that of palestine. the idea of an international al-quds day came from
ayatollah khomeini, shortly after he gained power in iran in 1979. shortly
after the start of the march, it started to rain heavily and i came home
rather than get my equipment soaked again.
queen's market in green st, next to upton park station, is a busy and popular place, serving an ethnically diverse local community. i can't understand why newham council and its leader sir robin wales wants to get rid of it, unless they are looking at the profits that a few people could get from the redevelopment rather than the benefit to the local population.
the market is badly in need of regeneration, thanks to years of council neglect (though they've been happy enough to use the profits from the shops there to subsidise other redeveloped markets in stratford and canning town.)
pressure from the local community has apparently persuaded asda-walmart to pull out, but this still leaves developers st modwen properties, and a proposal for a scheme that will essentially downgrade the market while increasing the cost to traders.
the developers, while claiming to want to serve the needs of this incredibly diverse area, have chosen to exhibit their proposals in what is an ethnic no-go area for the majority communities which use the market, the west ham stadium just down the road.
newham already has a telling example of how insensitive development can ruin a local shopping centre, in the hideous and uncomfortable monstrosity of stratford which has replaced the once vibrant area between stratford station and the broadway. does it really want another concrete desert?
around a hundred locals from various communities turned up for a lively
protest march organised by local woment, handing out leaflets as they went
through the streets of upton park. many of those they passed outside the
shops showed their support for the campaign, especially the crowds in green
street itself. in the march was a samba band, with contributions from both
'rhythms of resistance' and the 'barking bateria.' it was a little surprising
to see the bloody dress and make-up worn by some of them, although later
in the day i found out why. unfortunately i had to leave before the march
reached the market and the rally there.
another year has passed and yet more people have died in custody, both held by the police and in prisons and remand centres. yet there have been so few real enquiries, and fewer still that have resulted in anyone being held responsible. only a few cases even make the headlines, although it continues to be a national scandal, and the lack of coverage reflects badly on our press.
in a free society, the police have to be accountable for their actions, and not be able to hide behind the lies and destruction of evidence that seem too often to occur at the moment. these cases are of course only the tip of the iceberg, and the police have a considerable job to do to put things in order. like racism, lies and cover-up seem endemic, and they need the same kind of effort to root out.
it was good to see marc, who was injured by police three weeks ago in parliament square, taking pictures again, the first time he has been well enough to work again since the incident. fortunately there seems to be considerable evidence of what happened, and perhaps in this case someone may be bought to justice.
last year's shooting of jean charles de menezes in a train at stockwell tube station was one shocking cases, that made the headlines. there were plenty of witnesses among the ordinary public, and no chance to hush it up, although considerable spreading of lies about exactly what had happened particularly in the first few hours and days before it was obvious that the mistakes could not be hidden. it is still not clear exactly whose failures of judgement and panic actions lead to the order being given to shoot to kill, and it seems unlikely that anyone will be brought to justice.
one small piece of positive news came from pauline campbell, whose daughter sarah campbell died in styal prison in 2003. she said "After nearly four years of my struggle for justice - in a highly unusual move, the home office have finally admitted responsibility for the death of my daughter sarah campbell, including liability for breach of sarah's human rights under the european convention on human rights. don't give up the fight." it is a fight that has taken pauline to many protests around the country on behalf of other women who have died in prison and numerous arrests, recognition by the 2005 emma humphreys memorial prize for her campaigning.
the procession continued down whitehall at a snail's pace, solemn and in
silence until reaching downing street, where they intended to make as much
noise as possible. i left just before they got there. later they continued
to parliament square, where 100 small placards with names of those who have
died were embedded in the square. they were still there when i arrived the
following day, as brian haw had reminded the westminster council workmen
who had arrived to remove them that the square was gla property, and they
had no right to take them. apparently after checking this information in
a few phone calls, the council men retired, and the names were left.
it was an unfortunate lapse of taste that from this sombre event in whitehall i headed for the ben crouch pub, named and gothically themed after the infamous london bodysnatcher who ran a very effectively enforced monopoly of illegal supply of corpses to the surgeons of barts and other london hospitals almost 200 years ago.
but this is now the halloween season, and london's third annual 'crawl of the dead', also billed as 'the rise of the dawn of the evil living zombie dead' was convening here before going out on the streets. in fact i thought it was going to end at ben crouch's as well (along with some very odd cocktails they serve a passable bitter.) but finally the group emerged.
oxford street's acolytes were only momentarily diverted from their shopathon as london's crawl of the deal surged along it, hungry for brains. it was hard to tell who were the most zombie-like, although the assorted ghouls, zombies and others, including an incredible heavily over-pregnant bride with baby bursting out messily through her white wedding dress, were clearly having more fun.
after a short tour of an incredibly banal off-street mall (a true vision of hell) the crawl turned back down crowded oxford street and the steps down to ramillies place, soon to be the new home for the photographers' gallery, but now strangely empty. from there it turned into great marlborough street on its way to carnaby street, a prime example of living death, 45 years on. the fake irish pub at its top proved a fatal attraction,
here numbers were swelled by new vampires, werewolves etc, including several
of the sambanistas from the morning's queen's market demonstration. but
at this point i made my excuses and left london to their mercy.
I arrived in Malet Street early for the start of the NUS march against tuition fees, but there were already plenty of students there, including nany scottish students who had come down to show solidarity.
my father had left school at 14, at the end of his elementary education and never managed to complete the part-time studies which he had once dreamed would lead to qualifications. i came from the first generation of my family who could go to university, thanks to the 1944 education act that opened up secondary education and also the free tuition and student grants that were available. without that support i would never have gone to university.
both my sons were also fortunate to be able to study without having to pay tuition fees, and were able to leave university with a degree and no debts. things are rather different for most of today's students, with tuition fees now at £3000 a year, and costs of accomodation increasing all the time.
the nus is campaigning for free education, but also calling for a cap on
fees, as some universities call to be able to raise them without limits.
already the current level of fees seems to have led to a drop in the numbers
of students entering universities.
i left shortly before the march started to get to parliament square, where the 24 hour 'unauthorised' peace camp, 'No More Fallujahs', was about to start. protestors formed a circle and joined maya evans and milan rai in reading the names of iraqis who have died as a result of the occupation.
a year ago, the two were arrested in whitehall for a similar reading. in december 2005 maya was the first person to be convicted for taking part in an unauthorised demonstration under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act, and in april 2006, milan was convicted for organising the demonstration.
maya is appealing against her conviction and fine, but was risking a prison sentence as arrest for this action would break the terms of her 12-month conditional discharge. milan has refused to pay the fine of £350 with £150 costs imposed on him, and is also appealing to a higher court.
the demonstrators formed a circle in parliament square and began reading the names at one minute intervals, each marked by a bell. varous volunteers joined maya and milan in reading names from the list.
the police simply stood and watched for around half and hour, then at 12.30 began to circulate and hand out a notice to everyone that they were a part of an illegal demonstration. where people refused to take one, they left a copy at their feet. the officers concerned were extremely patient and polite, and were attended by a police photographer filming everything they did. rather to my surprise one officer insisted i have a copy, despite my assurances that i was press, so i took it, while being recorded for yet another 15 seconds of so of video by the photographer, pointing out that i always complied with police directions.
it isn't as if i'm unknown to the police. earlier in the day in malet street, as i walked past two officers, one turned to the other and said "looks who's here then." i turned and gave them a smile.
after that, the protestors decided it was time to pitch their tents, and soon the square was covered with small tents, mainly blue. for a while nothing much seemed to be happening, and i went away for an hour or two.
when i returned, the news was that police had taken four people away. they had been approaching individuals involved in the demonstration and asking them to give their name and address. they were told that they could then later expect a summons for taking part in an illegal demonstration. people were informed that if they did not give their details, they would be taken to the police station and arrested for taking part in the event. while i was there several other people were questioned and one was taken away when he refused to give his details. Those who gave their names and addresses seemed to be allowed to continue to take part in the demonstration. while i was present, everything was conducted civilly and without any violent handling of those concerned, although i was told there had been a little rough handling of at least one person.
the demonstrators were holding an open meeting to discuss what to do in the event of a more concerted approach by the police in the centre of the square, while on the corner by Churchill's statue, brian haw was making use of his megaphone to hold his weekly service. its a sermon i've heard many times and i felt it was time to go home.
some of my work gets put into nice organised websites.
this isn't meant to be like that, but you can see some of the rest at
and you can read what I think about photography at
Q. Are the pictures on your site for sale?
A. Yes, both as rather expensive high quality archival prints and also for repro at standard NUJ rates (negotiable.) Contact me - link above - for details.
Q. You photographed me, but I can't see my picture on the site.
A. I don't have room to put all the pictures on the site. E-mail me - 'contact me' link above - with a description including what you were wearing and where I took the picture, and if I can identify you I'll send you a picture.
Q. Do you have other pictures from these events?
A. Yes. If you want to buy or reproduce pictures e-mail me with an idea of what you are looking for.
Q. Do you have photographs of other events?
A. Yes, I was photographing events for many years before I started this site, and only a few selected images before 2002 appear here. Since the end of 2002, most events I've photographed are on this site, although only a very small fraction of my urban landscape and other work.
Q. Do You accept commissions/Will you photograph my event?
A. Yes, I'm happy to accept commissions on a half day or day rate basis, rates by negotiation - see the 'contact me' link. I also welcome invitations from event organisers to cover suitable events without payment for 'My London Diary', although I can't guarantee to do these. Any information about suitable events is also welcome.
Q. How do I find images on this site?
A. If you know the date of an event, the site is organised by year, month. Go to the month and look down the page or pages. If not, most events are listed thematically on the front page, though that index is seldom entirely up to date. Otherwise you can use the search box at top right, but again this sometimes seems to miss out pages.
Q. Can I use your pictures for nothing?
A. Limited non-profit use by suitable non-profit organisations may be permitted - please e-mail to discuss and apply for permission.
But if your organisation pays a designer (or you) to produce documents or web pages, then I expect to be paid too. Like you, I like to eat occasionally.
Q. Are these pictures copyright?
A. Yes, every single picture on this site is copyright.
The right of Peter Marshal to be identified as the author of all photographs on the 'My London Diary' website (mylondondiary.co.uk) has been asserted generally in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
All pictures on these pages are copyright © 2006 and may not be reproduced
Unauthorised copying of images registered at the US Copyright Office may result in punitive damages.