my london diary index

August 2009

Epping Forest Centenary Walk
Notting Hill - Children's Day
Climate Camp: Saturday
Climate Camp: Setup
Climate Camp: Blue Group Swoop
Downing St Netanyahu Protest
Hackney Million Mothers March
LIVE & FAME Against Knife Crime
London Sri Murugan Chariot Festival
Southwark Youth Carnival Procession
Day of the Broken Promise
Rally for Vestas Jobs
Olympic Update - August
Stop East London Arms Fair
London Remembers Hiroshima
Ian Parry Award 2009
Carnaval del Pueblo
Iran Protest at Press TV


Stock photography by Peter+Marshall at Alamy

Other sites with my pictures include
london pictures
londons industrial history
>Re:PHOTO My thoughts on photography

All pictures Copyright © Peter Marshall 2009, all rights reserved.
Hight 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

Epping Forest Centenary Walk

Manor Park to Epping, Mon 31 Aug 2009

We walk across Wanstead flats - towards the Montague Rd flats
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Every year in September, the Friends of Epping Forest organise a walk through the forest from Manor Park station to Epping. The route was developed in 1978 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Epping Forest Act, 1878. But we did the 16 mile walk (and perhaps a little more as we occasionally found ourselves a little lost) on our own.

It wasn't the first Epping Forest Act, but it placed the former royal forest in the care of the City of London Corporation and gave them powers to halt and partly reverse the enclosures that were rapidly reducing the size of the forest. The City as Conservators were required to "at all times keep Epping Forest unenclosed and unbuilt on as an open space for the recreation and enjoyment of the people", and have continued to do so - with an exception for the London 2012 Olympics when a legislative reform order allowed a temporary police centre to be built on Wanstead flats, despite considerable local opposition.

Although in general the City have played an important part in preserving the forest, at times - such as the Olympics - they have let other interests interfere with their role under the 1878 Act. There activities are now closely watched by 'The Friends of Epping Forest', a group initially formed to oppose the M25 route which would have cut off a corner of the forest at Epping. Their opposition led to the M25 being put in a tunnel under the forest. But around 10 years later, in 1989-94, a large section at the south of the forest was lost to build the M11 link road.
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Notting Hill - Children's Day

Notting Hill, London. Sun 30 Aug 2009

Liquid Gold. I think it washed off me without too much difficulty
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I spent a few hours in Notting Hill and took a lot of pictures - here are just a few of those I liked. I didn't get around to putting them on line in 2009, and only remembered them again in 2014 when August bank holiday was so wet I stayed home and didn't go to carnival.
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Climate Camp: Saturday

Blackheath Common, London. Saturday 29 Aug

Welcome tent at the Climate Camp
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I've had an active interest in the environment since my student days in the late 60s, speaking in public on some of what were then seen as the major issues, particularly pollution and resource depletion. At that time, although we were aware of the increase in CO2 levels and global warming, the significance of the greenhouse effect was not fully realised.

I first put pictures of an environmental protes on the web in 1996, and those very dated looking pages with primitively scanned images of the Reclaim the Streets West Cross Route Party remain on line, but of course I'd been photographing events before this. And in 2007 I was very pleased to have an exhibition of some of my pictures of environmental protest in London shown at Fotoarte 2007 in Brasilia.

A sash showing I was a part of the Climate Camp documentation team did make taking pictures easier, but I still came across a certain amount of hostility to photography. There were some 'no media' areas marked, and although strictly this did not apply to the documentation team, I largely steered clear of them. I was also asked not to photograph two particular events, and a few people declined my request to take their picture. But in general people were friendly, cooperative and helpful and some clearly enjoyed having their pictures taken.

It would be hard to visit the site and not be impressed by the organisation of the Climate Camp. There also seemed to be plenty of people volunteering to do the various jobs needed. In the workshop sessions, some of the events were very well attended with marquees overflowing, and I was impressed by some of the speakers and contibutors I briefly listened to.

I've read a few silly things about the Camp in the press and on the web, both in articles and more commonly in the comments made on them. What I think they all had in common was that they were by people - journalists and the public - who hadn't been there to actually see what was taking place.

There were no uniformed police on the site, and no need for them. This was almost certainly the most caring and most law-abiding part of South London, with no crime, no drugs and very little alcohol around. As I walked around the outer area of the site at one point I looked up and saw one of the the police cameras on their cherry picker following me around, and later when I left the site and went to photograph it more closely, I was then followed rather ineptly (perhaps deliberately so) by a young black man in plain clothes as I wandered around for the next 15 minutes, occasionally writing in his notebook. It seemed a waste of public money.
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Climate Camp: Setup

Blackheath Common, London. Wednesday 26 Aug

Whitechapel Anarchists settle in - but not for long as most apparently left after a little 'anti-pig' action when two officers came on site in the evening
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Climate Campers converged from six locations around London onto the common at Blackheath on Wednesday afternoon. It's a large area of common land fairly close to the centre of London, with stations nearby at Greenwich (DLR and Overground), Lewisham and Blackheath, and which is used occasionally for other festivals and fairs, in particular an annual kite festival and a fireworks display, and is far enough away from local housing to cause no great nuisance. The Climate Camp has a good record for putting in the necessary plumbing and other necessities and also for cleaning up sites well when the camp is over.

Lewisham, the borough in which the site lies, is also one of London's greener boroughs, with six green councillors including Darren Johnson. Local Green party members here and in neighbouring Greenwich (just across the main road at the north of the site) have welcomed the Climate Camp in their area.

It's almost certainly a coincidence that it is more or less on the Greenwich Meridian, but not that this was the site where radical cleric John Ball made what is described as the first speech against class oppression, with its famous "When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?" and urged his peasant audience to "cast off the yoke of bondage, and recover liberty."

The Peasant's Revolt of 1381 ended unhappily, and Ball was hung, drawn and quartered the following month while the teenage King Richard II looked on as the priest was bfirefly hung and then carefully kept alive to watch his genitals and bowels being removed and burnt before he was beheaded and his body hacked into four pieces. Ball’s fate didn't stop Jack Cade leading a further popular revolt to also camp at Blackheath Common on its way to London in 1450, although Cade was fortunate to be killed in a battle before he could be hung, drawn and quartered; like Ball, his head was then displayed on London Bridge.

The Climate Camp are hoping for somewhat better treatment by the authorities, and on Wednesday at least the police were content to police at arms length. While I was there on Wednesday afternoon there were no police on site, although a helicopter was hovering above, and presumably filming all those taking part. With stabilised cameras the image quality should have been high enough for them to match the faces against their database (which of course they claim does not exist.)

Although I was able to photograph freely while I was there on Wednesday afternoon, the Climate Camp aims to control the activities of the press on site. Press photographers visiting the site will be required to sign a media policy that most of us would find unacceptable and to be accompanied while on the site by a minder. (It can't of course apply to the police photographers in their helicopter or cherry picker.) The policy appears to be driven by a few individuals with paranoid ideas about privacy and a totally irrational fear of being photographed. It really does not steal your soul!
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Climate Camp: Blue Group Stockwell Swoop

Stockwell to Blackheath, London. Wednesday 26 Aug

We changed on to the DLR at Bank station
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I chose to go with the Blue Group which was starting from Stockwell Underground Station in south London, chosen as a starting point because of the events of 22 July 2005.

Coming up the escalator at Stockwell station it's hard not to shiver at the memory of those videos showing Jean Charles de Menezes strolling down to catch his last train, and police coming though the gates in pursuit. There is a memorial to him outside the station, including a great deal of information about the event and the misinformation and covering up by police.

In the station entrance I passed half a dozen police in a group apparently ignoring everyone and found a group of around 80 Climate Campers waiting for the message to move off, along with around 30 filming and photographing them.

It was good to see some familiar faces there, always making it easier to take pictures, but I think all of us were beginning to get bored with waiting by the time we were told we still didn't know where to go, but could go and wait in a nearby park.

There some played games (and my whistle came in handy when local kids challenged campers to a game of football) while others rested and ate their lunch. After and hour or so three PCSOs came to see how we were getting on, but otherwise there seemed to be no police interest. Finally another announcement came and at 2pm we made our way back to the station for the Northern Line to Bank and then on to Greenwich on the DLR with a helpful train captain who made sure we all got off at the right stop.

The ride, particularly on the underground, was crowded, hot and sticky but without incident, and the group, perhaps a little over a hundred strong climbed up the hill to Blackheath Common past an apparently deserted police station. On the edge of the common we did see a few police questioning a couple of anarchists in the distance, but otherwise they were keeping a very low profile.
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Downing St Protest at Netanyahu talks

Downing St, Whitehall, London. Tuesday 25 August

Police hold back demonstrators trying to push towards the gates
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Several hundred protesters gathered in London opposite Downing St as Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was due to have talks with Gordon Brown. They chanted 'Netanyahu, War Criminal!' and other slogans, demanding that Israel dismantle settlements on Palestinian land, end the seige in Gaza and stop their ethnic cleansing in East Jerusalem.

Protesters had applied for permission to protest and were allowed to do so on the distant side of the Whitehall, subject to the restrictions on freedom of SOCPA (The Serious Organised Crimes and Police Act) which, for example ban the use of megaphones and other amplification. As the demonstration started around 1.30pm a few demonstrators started to drift across the road to wave placards and flags on the pavement in front of the tall and well-protected gates of Downing St, where any protest is illegal. As I began to photograph them they were joined by more people with a megaphone, and for some minutes police simply watched as he and others waved flags, chanted slogans and addressed the slowly growing crowd of protesters who had by now gathered on the pavement by the gates, as well as passing tourists.

After 20 minutes, police made their first move and came out to talk to the protesters, informing them that their protest was illegal under SOCPA and politely asking them to move across to the other side of the very wide road to continue their protest. After a few minutes police abandoned this polite approach and started pushing people to force them to move, at which point another hundred or demonstrators streamed across Whitehall from the legal demonstration on the other side to join them.

Although the police had managed to clear a small area of pavement in front of the Downing St gates, this was at the expense of blocking much of one side of the road with a larger crowd of demonstrators, and soon traffic had to be stopped. The noisy demonstration continued, with a smaller group including ant-zionist rabbis still protesting on the 'legal' side of the road. There were occasional bouts of shoving as some protesters walked around or through the rather thin police line, but in general it was a good natured demonstration and one elderly and confused woman waving an Israeli flag was treated kindly by protesters - and she had been there around an hour before a police officer insisted it might be a good idea to for her to put the flag away in her handbag.

After police reinforcements arrived, Chris Nineham of 'Stop the War', the organisers of the event, spoke to the crowd outside Downing St and ended by suggesting they move back across the road. Few did, but by then there were enough police to successfully push them across, and the event continued with people on the pavement distant from Downing St.

Three people were arrested at this point; a police officer confirmed that they had been warned earlier in the event that they were demonstrating illegally under SOCPA but had continued, and that their arrest had been delayed until more police were available. Later I heart that there were two further arrests made later, but that all five were freed between 11pm and midnight, having been detained for around 9 hours.

The SOCPA restrictions on demonstrations were ill-thought out and have always angered anyone with a concern for freedom and justice. They were introduced to try to get rid of the inconvenience and embarrassment of a one man peace protest by Brian Haw just down the road in Parliament Square. As I walked home I waved in his direction, still camped there after 3006 days.
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Hackney Million Mothers March

Dalston to St John's Church, Hackney, London. Sunday 23 Aug 2009

The march started along KIngsland High St, calling for 'Peace On Our Streets'!
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Today in Manchester a the a Million Mothers March was taking place to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Mothers Against Violence, mothers from bereaved families who are having a real impact in reducing gun, gang and knife crime. Women in Hackney decided to have a march on the same day as a part of an international peace parade to join in this celebration and to pledge action in Hackney over the issue.

The march was organised by Songololo Feet, Friend's Charity, Hackney Council for Voluntary Service (HCVS), International Action against Small Arms (IANSA), St. John's Church and The Crib, a local community group which "delivers creative and inspiring projects for young people in Hackney" and brought a number of them to take part. Also present were people from the Christian Party and a woman from the 100 Mothers Movement. Perhaps because it was August and many people were on holiday, the actual number taking place was rather disappointing, but it was enough to make people turn round and look as it marched along Kingsland Road, Dalston Lane, Graham Road and Mare Street to St John’s Church.

At the church there were a few more to greet the marchers and bring the numbers up to aproaching a hundred. Several people addressed the rally, including a mother whose son had been killed in a knifing, a young man who had given up gangs and become a professional footballer, he had been lucky to live after being stabbed, someone bringing support from the Manchester Million Mothers March and the Speaker (a councillor elected annually to carry out similar public engagements to Mayors in other boroughs) from LB Hackney, Councillor Muttalip Ünlüer. The event ended with singing from a group of six women on the church porch.
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LIVE and FAME March Against Knife Crime

Whitehall to Kennington Park, London. Saturday 22 Aug, 2009

Families of crime victims from FAME were at the front of the march behind the dark-suited Adventist leaders.
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Saturday's march through London against knife and gun violence was one that raised many questions in my mind. Of course there can't be many who would oppose the aim of cutting down the number of murders, the number of young men and women who are killed, each one a tragedy for the families concerned. But this was also a march that raised other issues of crime and pubishment.

The event was organised by two groups; LIVE, a campaign of the youth leaders of the Seventh Day Adventist Church was working in partnership with FAME (Families Against Murders Escalating) which was backed by the Southwark News. Adventists certainly have a strong presence in black communities around the country, and as these communities are disproportionately affected by stabbing and shooting of young men and women, and their invovlvment seems very positive.

LIVE, "Living Intentionally Versus just (merely) Existing", "aims to challenge, empower and motivate a generation of disadvantaged and advantaged youth to live for all the things that is positive and turn away all the things that are negative like the gun, drugs, and knives." It's clearly a laudable aim, but there were aspects of the event that worried me, not least the very large numbers of stewards in high-viz vests and a slightly sinister dark-suited row of "leaders" at the front of the march.

FAME was established in 2008 by Jackie Summerford from Walworth after the brutal murder of her daughter Bonnie Barrett, a sex worker who was killed in a Rotherhithe flat in 2007 by a man who has been described as a 21st century "Jack the Ripper" and who the judge recommended should serve a minimum of 30 years imprisonment. FAME's message on its placards - and its main demand - is for tougher penalties, that "Life should mean Life". While this would undoubtedly be welcomed by the families of many victims it seems irrelevant to actually tackling the situations that leads to these tragic deaths.

Problems with social services did not start with Victoria Climbié and Baby P. One earlier case of a death that arose from their failure was the tragic death of 18 month old Doreen Jane Mason in 1987. Like the other cases it seems to have been a mixture of inappropriate and failing management, overworked and undertrained social workers, inadeadequate practices an irrational belief in 'management' as well as devious and wicked clients.

Mason, renamed by relatives as Aysha Kuddissi after her terrible death, was killed by mistreatment and neglect by her mother and step-father. What is even more distressing is that although Christine Mason and Roy Aston were found guilty and sentenced to 12 years for her manslaughter (and 3 years for cruelty to run concurrently) in January 1988 they were released on appeal in 1990. Although there was no doubt that the two of them had been responsible for the death, it could not be established which of them had actually delivered the fatal blow - and so both walked free.

Also among the 36 portraits of those killed which were displayed on one of the Fame placards was Tamzin Spalding, who died on 19 May 2008. Her father, Michael Spalding, has complained to the IPCC about the conduct of Northants Police over his daughter's death, claiming they failed to investigate the case properly and that the investigating officer misrepresented it to the coroner's clerk as "a straight forward suicide." The family claim she was murdered and Mr Spalding says that before her death he had complained to the police 31 times over six years about her Colombian ex-boyfriend, who he alleges had made three previous attempts to kill Tamzin as well as making death threats to her and her family.

Clearly cases such as these show there are problems with the police, the justice system and social services which need to be addressed, but also and more importantly we need a cultural revolution to create a society where people are more connected and care more for each other. We have to look at ways of creating community.
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London Sri Murugan Chariot Festival

Manor Park, East Ham, London. Sunday 16 August, 2009

A family warms hands over the flame on the blessed fruit
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The Sri Murugan Temple in Manor Park, built in 2005, is the largest South Indian Hindu temple in Europe and an impressive black granite building to a traditional Tamil plan with three highly decorated towers.

A highly decorated chariot carrying images of Hindu Gods (including the Goddess Gayatri) left the temple early on Sunday morning and made its way slowly around the streets of East Ham in a traditional 'Ther' festival, followed by perhaps 5000 people, mainly members of London's Tamil community. Along the route men and women stood in front of their homes and businesses with plates or baskets of fruit to hand to the temple priests riding on the chariot or walking in front for blessings by the Goddess; metal trays bearing fruits were returned bearing a flame and the families held out their hands to feel the warmth.

The chariot had two finely painted prancing horses at its front but was pulled by two ropes, on the right by women and on the left by men, with a large mixed crowd of followers behind. A group of musicians walked in front. Those on the ropes and between them and many others walked barefoot through the streets.

Men walking with the chariot carried short heavy knives which were used to halve the coconuts offered for blessing, and at several places along the route groups of men stood and threw large numbers of coconuts onto the road to smash. Fortunately there appeared to be no injuries although many of those around - myself included - were soaked by coconut milk and the road was running in it.

Finally after almost four hours the procession arrived back at the Temple where there was a very long queue for food, and I left for home.
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Southwark Youth Carnival Procession

Burgess Park, London. Saturday 15 Aug, 2009

Dancers rest before the procession

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The procession was a part of 'The Mix' youth festival in Southwark's Burgess Park. I went briefly to the festival but didn't take any pictures. The procession formed up on Neate St at the east end of the park, and then walked on the road around it. I photographed people getting ready at the start and then as it went up Trafalgar Ave and then along the Old Kent Rd.

Some of the groups taking part had worked on an 8 day carnival costume course organised by Kinetika Bloco in Bellenden Old School.

The procession started roughly 45 minutes late, as some of the performers had been touring around the borough and were held up in traffic. I had to leave as it went down Albany Rd on its way to the Camberwell Rd entrance to 'The Mix.'
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Day of the Broken Promise

Netherlands Embassy, London. Friday 14 Aug, 2009

Benny Wenda, West Papuan independence leader and chairman of the Koteka Tribal Assembly
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Benny Wenda, West Papuan independence leader and chairman of the Koteka Tribal Assembly, and most of the rest of the small handful of West Papuans living in Britain demonstrated opposite the Netherlands Embassy in London, to mark the anniversary of the 'Day of the Broken Promise', 15 August 1962.

The western half of New Guinea became a Dutch colony in the nineteenth century, but by the 1950s they were moving towards giving it independence. However the Indonesian goverment claimed the country and threatened invasion after then Dutch set up an elected government of West Papua in 1961.

Indonesia was backed by military aid from the Soviet Union, and the Kennedy administration in the USA wanted to prevent further movement of the country towards the Soviet bloc, so pressured the Netherlands into signing the 'New York Agreement' with Indonesia in August 1962. This allowed Indonesia to take over the administration of the country but provided for all the adult population of West Papua to vote at a later date on whether they wished to become independent.

The Indonesian army moved in on 1 May 1963 and began a programme of repression and human rights abuse against the people. In 1969 they rounded up and detained just over a thousand West Papuans as representatives of the people and enusured that they voted for rule by Indonesia by threats, including at least in some cases that they and their families would be killed unless they did so.

The Indonesian government made it impossible for the UN represenatative who was supposed to oversee the election to operate properly, and banned most foreign reporters. Although it was clear that the vote did not reflect the will of the West Papuan people - and had failed to meet the terms of the agreement - which had been ratified by the UN - it was approved by the UN General Assembly.

Since then there have been many reports of repression by Indonesia in the country, including murder, political assassinations, torture, rapes, dissapearances and bombing. The government also had a programme of resettling migrants from Indonesia in the country, apparently aimed at producing an Indonesian majority population.

West Papuans have engaged in both civil disobedience - particularly around cermonial raising of the West Papua flag (the Morning Star) as well as armed resistance.

Wenda was jailed for displaying the West Papuan flag but managed to escape and gain asylum in the UK. Estimates of the number of West Papuans killed by Indonesian repression are in the hundreds of thousands (400,000 according to the Free West Papua Campaign), and in 2006, 43 refugees landed in a traditional canoe in Australia, claiming the Indonesian military was carrying out a programme of genocide.

Despite a widespread recognition of what has been happening, there is little international support for West Papua. The country has the world's largest copper and gold mines, largely owned by US Compnay Freeport-McMoRan with UK based Rio Tinto Group also involved.

Today's demonstration was peaceful and tuneful, with Benny and Maria Wenda and others playing instruments and singing traditional West Papuan songs opposite the embassy.

A Dutch diplomat came across the road to talk to the demonstrators and receive a letter demanding that the Netherlands and other governments insist on the proper implementation of the 1962 agreement, with a free and fair independence referendum involving all West Papuans overseen by the UN. Papuans feel they were let down by everyone involved, but particularly by the Dutch; "We trusted you and we believed in you. But you betrayed us."

The diplomat spoke for a few minutes with the demonstrators and was interested to see a feature on the rebel army there which appeared in today's Independent on display.

After the demonstration at the Netherlands Embassy the protest was moving to the Indonesian Embassy in Grosvenor Square, where the West Papuans hold regular protests.
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Rally For Vestas Jobs

Dept of Energy & Climate Change, London. August 6, 2009

MIchael Meacher MP speaks
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The rally outside the Department of Energy and Climate Change in Whitehall on Thursday evening started in light rain, but it was pouring by the time it finished. Despite the weather, the 80 or so present listened intently to speeches from a Vestas worker, trade union speakers from the RMT, PCW and Billy Hayes of the Communications Workers Unions, as well as former Labour Secretary of State for the Environment Michael Meacher MP and Green Party GLA member Jenny Jones, who arrived at the event by bicycle.

Despite the government having spent thousands of billions propping up the banks it is unwilling to put up the much smaller amounts needed to support green industries. The problems of Vestas are indeed very much of the Government's making, with its failure to put it's money where its mouth is on green energy policies, relying on hot air rather than support for wind power and other alternative energies.

Making wind turbines is a profitable business, and will become even more so, but unless action is taken - such as nationalising Vestas, at least (as with the banks) on a temporary basis, the UK will be buying them from abroad rather than making money selling them to the rest of the world.
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Olympic Site Update - August

Stratford Marsh, London. August 6, 2009

'Welcome to Hell' says the graffiti at Hackney Wick - and it certainly looks like hell for photographers
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The process of sanitising the Greenway (Northern Outfall Sewer) which forms an elevated footpath through the centre of the site is now in full swing, though I suspect for the actual fortnight they will be relying on tons of air freshener rather than being able to entirely lose its sweet and sickly smell. But they are apparently clearing most of the vegetation that made the 'Greenway' green and reasonably pleasant.

For the next few months the whole section between Stratford High Street and the main line will remain totally closed, and currently between the railway and Hackney Wick all but a relatively narrow strip is fenced off, with security men roughly every 50 yards standing or sitting with very little to do. Most of the larger bushes and trees have little bits of fence around them with a notice saying they are to be retained. The diversion goes round by Pudding Mill station, which adds perhaps a quarter of a mile to the route,and there are other diversions planned for later dates.

Because of the fencing it is no longer possible to photograph the stadium and other building works to the north of the Greenway from this viewpoint. The best view of the stadium itself is now from Hackney Wick

What you can see of the Bow Back rivers look in pretty poor shape, and the Lea Navigation itself seems to be suffering from more build-up of weed than usual. The graffiti around Hackney Wick is still flourishing though.
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Stop East London Arms Fair

Clarion Events, Hatton Garden, London. August 6, 2009

A young demonstrator lies down in front of the office door
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Demonstrators from 'DISARM DSEi' picketed the offices of Clarion Events in Hatton Garden, London on Thursday lunch time, calling for an end to the Defence Systems & Equipment international (DSEi), the world's largest arms fair, which Clarion are organising at ExCeL in East London next month.

DSEi is a vast event - in 2007 there were over 1300 companies from 40 countries exhibiting weapons (though the Space Hijackers were refused admission to sell their tank) and related equipment and a total of over 26,000 visitors to the show.

The arms trade results in millions of men, women and children being killed in conflicts around the world. According to UNICEF, in the ten years between 1986 and 96, two million children were killed in armed conflict and a further six million injured, many permanently disabled.

British companies are among those making high profits from equipment designed to kill people, and our High Street banks invest huge amounts in arms companies.

Demonstrators handed out leaflets to the many passing by, explaining what went on the what appears to be an office for the diamond trade. Many of them were surprised to find that our government encouraged such activities, and some stopped to talk with the pickets. The youngest member of the group provided some entertainment running around with a small plastic boomerang, hardly a dangerous weapon and unlikely to be found at arms fairs. At one point he staged a short 'die-in', blocking the entrance to the offices by lying on the floor in front of the door, but otherwise the demonstration was restrained and entirely peaceful.

Police watched from across the road, one making copious notes and apparently taking a great deal of interest in the four press photographers present, who were mainly just standing around talking to each other as there wasn't a great deal to photograph. There were also two officers, one armed with what a colleague identified as a GLOCK semi-automatic pistol on hand a few yards down the street, although it was hard to see any need for this - the demonstrators are after all opposed to the arms trade. This was an event with no possible terrorist threat or threat to public order, and it looked very much a case of boys and toys. Only a few years ago we prided ourselves that our police were not armed; now they seem to want guns even to help old ladies across the road. The only active duty they took during the protest was to escort one - or possibly two - men into the offices, rather pointless as they would otherwise have walked through the picket without being noticed.

The protesters rolled up their banner and left as arranged after an hour, with a police car following them at walking pace along the street and along High Holborn as they went towards a pub.
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London Remembers Hiroshima

Tavistock Square, London. August 6, 2009

The Workers Music Association was one of two socialist choirs at the event

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The London nemorial ceremony, organised by London CND, took place in Tavistock Square, next to the cherry tree planted there by the Mayor of Camden in 1967 to remember the victims of Hiroshima. The current Mayor of Camden, Cllr Faruque Ansari was the first speaker, after a brief introduction by Islington MP Jeremy Corbyn and a peace song by the Workers Music Association, and he was followed by Frank Dobson MP and Bruce Kent, Vice President of CND.

Speakers called for Britain to abandon our Trident missiles and not to waste billions on their replacement. South Africa is the only country yet to renounce nuclear weapons and we could lessen the risks of a future nuclear conflict by giving up our expensive and obsolete systems.

A second socialist choir, Raised Voices also performed, and were followed by Pat Allen of Highbury and Islington CND talking on the the international campaign for a ban on atomic weapons he was involved with in the years before the foundation of CND. and Ann Garrett of Bromley CND reading three of her poems. It was a surprise to also hear a 14-year-old girl, Sonia Azad speak so confidently. I had met her a few months earlier when I was photographing and she was videoing CND's 'Wedding 'Die-In' Against Afghanistan War' at the British military HQ at Northwood in May. The two socialist choirs then joined together for a further anti-bomb song, 'Against the Atomic Bomb' which puts words by Ewan McColl to a Japanese melody.

Lindsey German, convenor of Stop the War gave a typically forthright performance and reminded us of the need to keep demonstrating against the war in Afghanistan - particularly in the demonstration planned for 24 October. Len Aldis talked about the success of the 'Mayors for Peace' campaign but urged all of us to get our Mayors to join if they have not already done so, and Silvia Swinden talked about the World March for Peace and Nonviolence, which starts on 2 Oct 2009.

Those present were then invited to lay flowers beneath the Hiroshima cherry tree during a minute's silence to remember the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, after which choirs and all those present joined in singing "Don't you hear the H Bomb's Thunder." I had to rush away at this point to another event, but people were invited to stay for a picnic in the park after the ceremony.
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Ian Parry Award 2009

Eastcastle St, London. Tuesday 4 August

Award winner Maisie Crow in front of her work
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It was a good show - and it continues for a week at the gallery. You can read some of my thoughts about it on >Re:PHOTO. Although there were a lot of people there I recognised (and often wished I could put names to - my memory sometimes seems to be going very fast) none of the photographers I meet regularly when I'm working were there. That there seemed to be very few of the working photojournalists who come to events such as Photoforum or attend NUJ events seemed a little odd given the nature of the award. It perhaps says something about the way this country's photographic establishment regards photographers.

I was disappointed that Don McCullin wasn't able to make the evening. But there were a few people it was good to meet again. Brian Griffin for one, and I was pleased to hear that he is to be photographing people involved in the Olympics - at least one thing to look forward to in the run up to 2012.

Since I intended to write about the award on >Re:PHOTO I'd taken a camera with me, though by the time the awards were made I'd sampled the rather better than average for openings offerings from Eminent Wines, and was not in the best state to operate machinery; fortunately the D700 works pretty well on autopilot and occasionally I managed to press the button at an appropriate time.
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Carnaval del Pueblo

Elephant & Castle, London. 2 August, 2009
The carnival parade forms up on Elephant Road
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The London borough of Southwark is home to many of London's Latino communities and in 1999 supported the first 'Carnaval del Pueblo', a three mile carnival procession followed by a huge free festival in one of south London's largest parks. In the ten years since then it has grown into what is described as "the largest Latin American out-door festival in Europe" and attracted support from the Mayor of London and the Heritage Lottery fund among others.

The colourful procession started from the Elephant and Castle and included floats, music and traditional costumes from 19 Latin American countries including Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru with around 20 different community organisations and other groups providing floats. I photographed the performers getting ready for the parade and left as it started out down the Walworth Road to Burgess Park.
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Iran Protest at Press TV

Westgate House, Hanger Lane, London. 2 August, 2009

Demonstrators opposite Press TV studios in West London
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Around 40 British and Iranian socialists and trade unionists protested outside the west London studios of Press TV, the English language TV station funded by the Iranian government on Sunday 2 August to highlight the plight of political prisoners in Iran.

The protest at Westgate House overlooking the A40 Hanger Lane roundabout at was organised by Workers' Liberty and the Worker-communist Party of Iran - Hekmatist and The 8 March Women’s Organization (Iranian – Afghanistan.) (March 8 is International Women's Day, first celebrated by the Socialist Party of America a hundred years ago in 1909.)

In the June protests in Iran, thousands were arrested and possibly a hundred people killed. Around 750 are still in prison and many have simply disappeared. Show trials of some are now taking place. Amnesty reports that four have died in prison, and torture is routine, with some dying from its effects after their release.

Last Thursday there were further protests to mark the 40 days since the killing of protesters including Neda Agha-Soltan, with protesters being beaten, arrested and one reported killed.

Press TV's reporting of the events has been one-sided propaganda in favour of the regime and failed to report the protests when - thanks largely to citizen journalism for Iran - they were headlining other media around the world. The demonstrators expressed their support for journalist Nick Ferrari who resigned his job as a presenter at Press TV and Jeremy Corbyn who withdrew from a program because of the station's biased coverage of the repression in Iran.

Among the demands made in speeches from Iranians and UK supporters in English and Farsi were the unconditional release of all political prisoners and an end to torture as well as the arrest and trial of those responsible for the attacks and killing of protesters. Protesters also called for freedom of speech, a free press and free trade unions and political organisation, as well as equal rights for women in all aspects of life and the abolition of compulsory veiling. They demand a separation of religion from the state and a society where all are free and equal.
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