Neo-Nazi 'Free the Golden Dawn!' Opposed
Greek Embassy, Holland Park, London. Sat 29 Nov 2014
march with a flag of Golden Dawn leader Nikolaos Mihaloliakos and their 'meander'
Antifascist Action for Greece, Unite Against Fascism and other anti-fascist
activists including many trade unionists arrived opposite the Greek Embassy
and set up banners an hour before the Golden Dawn supporters were due to arrive.
There were some speeches before the fascists were due, and I left when some
police and black-clad young anti-fascists moved away towards the Underground
station. When I arrived there, a group of twenty or thirty people were in
a close group outside, with Golden Dawn and Polish ultra-right flags and a
'White Pride' banner with the message 'We must secure the existence of our
people and a future for white children.'
Police protected around 30 neo-Nazis at the Greek Embassy supporting the
fascist Golden Dawn, calling for the release of its leaders. Harassed on their
way there by anti-fascists, police prevented a much larger UAF group reaching
The protest was organised by New Dawn, and Polish group NOP Division England
and Nacjonalista.pl and was in support of the Greek neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party
of which 50 leading members are currently on trial in Athens for violent attacks,
firearms and other offences. New Dawn was set up a year ago in the UK after
two members of Golden Dawn were shot dead in front of the party's Athens offices
on November 1st, 2013.
Police held the marchers there while they stopped the anti-fascists who had
come to meet the New Dawn marchers and had been kept on the other side of
the road. There were shouted exchanges of insults and threats, and I and other
photographers were also threatened by some of the New Dawn marchers - and
by a officer driving one of the police vans. The neo-Nazis also came with
a man with a video camera, who spent rather a lot of his time there and later
recording me and the couple of other photographers present.
Eventually the marchers were escorted by police the long way round to the
Greek embassy so as to avoid going past the anti-fascists. They grew impatient
when they were held for around half an hour just out of sight before the turn
into the street leading to the embassy while police brought in reinforcements
and drew up a couple of vans across the street between the areas alloted to
the two groups.
Eventually police allowed them to march towards the embassy and into the
pen set up for them and the rally began. A couple of protesters made an attempt
to prevent me taking pictures of one of the speakers by holding their flags
in front of my camera, but otherwise there were no problems.
After a while the anti-fascists began to drift away, and I followed them.
Some were hoping to confront the neo-Nazis when they came back to the station,
but I decided not to wait, and made my way elsewhere.
Solidarity with Mexican students
Mexican Embassy, Mayfair, London. Fri 28 Nov 2014
Embassy staff take a letter from the protesters
Students in Britain demonstrated at the Mexican Embassy of the dissapearance
and probable massacre of 43 college students in Iguala on 26 September who
appear to have been arrested by police and handed over to a local crime syndicate
to be murdered. Although some of those protesting had posters calling for
them to be found, there would appear to be very little real chance they are
These students, who had been preparing to protest are only the latest of
many Mexicans to be killed. In the search for them, a mass grave with 11 partially
burned bodies of young adults, some decapitated, was found in southwestern
Mexico, not far from where they disappeared, but it seems these are from another
The embassy is in one of the darkest streets in Mayfair (the street lighting
probably affected by Crossrail works) and was on a narrow pavement, making
it difficult for protesters and photographers. There were speeches in Spanish
and English, and a letter was handed in to the embassy; after some delay a
man and a woman came out to receive it, listening to the protest continuing
for a few minutes before going back inside. I left
Stop Arming Israel protest at HP
Hewlett Packard, Wood St, London. Fri 28 Nov 2014
on the pavement opposite Hewlett Packard's London offices
For the 'UK Stop Arming Israel' day of action, the Palestinian Prisoners
Campaign protested outside the City offices of Hewlett Packard whose computers
and software power the Israeli prisons and war machine, with an informative
display, flags and flyers. The protest took place the day before the day of
action as the offices are closed on Saturdays.
HP, one of the top 20 armament companies in the US with arms sales worth
$3 billion in 2011 has a $6 billion investment in Israel, providing the IT
backbone for the entire Israeli war machine - from the army, to the navy,
to the Ministry of Defense. They also provide services for the prisons and
Israeli intelligence services, backing up the repression, imprisonment and
torture of Palestinians.
A small group of protesters set up on the pavement opposite the prestige
office building with posters, banners and flags and handed out flyers about
HP's activities as well as shouting for the company to end its support for
Israeli war crimes and playing some evocative Palestinian music.
No More Deaths from Fuel Poverty
London, Fri 28 Nov 2014
Hutt kept up his die-in on Regent St long after the rest of the protesters
had got up
Pensioners, Fuel Poverty Action and No Dash for Gas protested against
Energy UK, the lobbying organisation of the Big Six Energy companies over
the 10,000 preventable deaths, mainly of the elderly and disabled, of those
unable to afford energy.
The official statistics show that in the year 2012/2013 over 10,000 people
died from fuel poverty, including thousands of people in London, and figures
for last winter are likely to be higher.
Energy supply is a highly profitable business of the Big Six energy companies
and there shareholders, who made £3.7bn in the same year, equal to £370,000
profit for every person who died.
Campaigners call for an 'Energy Bill of Rights':
- We all have the right to affordable energy to meet our basic needs.
- We all have the right to energy that does not harm us, the environment,
or the climate.
- We all have the right to energy that does not threaten health, safety,
water, air, or the local environment of a community.
- We all have the right to a fair energy pricing that does not penalise
those who use less.
- We all have the right not to be cut off from energy supply.
- We all have the right not to be forced to have a prepayment meter.
- We all have the right to energy that is owned by us and run in our interests.
- We all have the right to well insulated properly repaired housing that
does not waste energy.
Pensioners and their supporters met outside Charing Cross Station, where
one campaigner, Obi (Lorenzo Abadinas) from Occupy who was live-streaming
the event stripped to the waist for the protest which certainly made me feel
cold, and though there was a weak winter sun, there was also a quite biting
wind, and the rest of us were glad to be well wrapped up. He handed London
Green MEP Jean Lambert of large felt pen for her to write a message across
his chest with the Twitter address for the event, @fuelpovaction.
The pensioners then marched to the Institute of Directors in Pall Mall where
they met other protesters for a short action there, with several speeches,
before going on into Regent St and the office of Energy UK - the body who
represent and defend the Big Six profiteers. It's head Angela Knight, previously
used to appear on the media to defend the banks for their indefensible and
irresponsible activities, certainly a woman who gives public relations a very
bad name. The protesters called for her to come out and talk, but there was
There was a quarter hour 'die-in' on the roadway outside the Energy UK offices,
by the end of which most present were happy to get up and continue with speeches
on the pavement in front of the doorway. But pensioner Terry Hutt, wearing
a t-shirt 'I'm not dead yet' and with a placard 'I want a fair deal before
I kick the bucket' continued the die-in for slightly over half an hour longer,
while the rally outside Energy UK continued. Police stood around protecting
him from the traffic which was diverted onto the opposite side of the one-way
road but otherwise did not interfere, and at the end of the protest carefully
helped him to stand, checking that he was OK.
Candlelit Vigil for Michael Brown
US Embassy, Grosvenor Sq, London. Wed 26 Nov 2014
A large crowd held candles at the protest in front of
Over a thousand people, angry at the decision not to charge Darren Wilson
with murder, attended a candlelit vigil at the US Embassy calling for justice
and an end to the racism that allows police in the US and UK to shoot black
The 'Flood the Embassy - Justice for Michael Brown - Darren Wilson is GUILTY'
solidarity with Ferguson vigil and rally was called by London Black Revolutionaries
and NUS Black Students Campaign. Speakers include the Chair of London Campaign
Against State & Police Violence, Malia Bouattia of NUS Black Students
Campaign, Zita Holbourne of BARAC, Marcia Rigg, Carole Duggan, the RMT Paddington
Branch Secretary, Wail Qaisim of Defend the Right to Protest and some from
London Black Revs.
There was some ill-feeling between the organisers of this rally and the SWP
dominated 'Stand Up to Racism' campaign, who rather than taking part in this
rally organised a separate earlier event at the US embassy. But the two groups
did come to some kind of agreement that allowed this rally to use the sound
equpment from the previous event.
Class War Xmas Ceasefire Special
One Commercial St, Aldgate, London. Wed 26 Nov 2014
Marina Pepper celebrates an agreement to hold talks
on ending the separate entrances for rich and poor
After 19 weeks of protests, Class War met the new owner of One Commercial
St who will hold talks with all concerned to discuss the ending of separate
entrances. Class War celebrated this, and will stop protests here unless the
The activists met to celebrate their victory, walking down as usual from
outside Freedom Books to One Commercial St. It really does seem that the many
weeks of protest have suceeded, and the owners of the block seem to want to
find a solution.
It isn't just for this block, but a campaign that has raised awareness of
what has been described as a growing social apartheid, an increasing gap in
income between rich and poor being reflected in an increasing social separation.
'Poor Doors' protests at One Commercial St made the issue very visible, bringing
it to a much wider consciousness, making a start to a different way of thinking
for planners and developers. Class War's activities here caught the attention
of the public and of some parts of the media.
When I photographed this event and first put it on-line, Marina Pepper, who
features prominently in these pictures (as she did at the protest) was the
Class War candidate for the parliamentary seat at Chingford, currently held
by Iain Duncan Smith. Unfortunately soon after this it became clear that her
attitude to private education was not compatible with being a Class War candidate,
and she was deselected. Class War don't seriously expect to win any seats,
but hope that by taking part in the election they can engage with a wider
public and put their ideas across.
Focus E15 Support Homeless Mother
Bridge House, Stratford, London. Tue 25 Nov 2014
Jasmine and Sam of Focus E15 try to get in the Housing
Office to help Candice get housed
Homeless mother Candice who Newham wanted to rehouse in Liverpool was
today offered a flat in Canning Town after several Focus E15 and FRFI members
forced their way past security to accompany her to an interview at Newham's
A small group of Focus E15 Mums and their supporters, including some members
of Figth Racism! Fight Imperialism! (FRFI) met at Stratford Station and walked
the short distance down to the LB Newham housing office at Bridge House on
Stratford High St. There they met with Candice and her daughter who had an
appointment in the housing office, and wanted Jasmine and Same to go in with
her and argue her case.
Candice had an appointment and was allowed in, but the security guards on
the door refused to admit Jasmine and Sam. Another of the supporters had managed
to slip past security and after a lot of arguing and some pushing Sam and
Jasmine were allowed in, but security stopped others from following them,
and there were some angry scenes.
I was left outside with most of the Focus E15 supporters and could only follow
what was happening inside through the glass doors and the windows of the reception
area. It was made a little more difficult as I wanted to respect the privacy
of other clients of the housing office, which restricted my view further.
After a while Candice and her advisers were taken to one of the meeting rooms
to talk about her case with one of the housing managers. From time to time
Sam came out and across the waiting area to the windows to tell those of us
outside what was happening.
The protesters outside put up banners around the door, which had now been
locked by security who were refusing to admit even clients who came for interviews.
One of the protesters eventually negotiated with them to get them to allow
clients into the offices for interviews by the rear entrance.
It was cold in the wind outside, and the occasional burst of rain made it
feel even colder. After the meeting inside had been going on for well over
an hour I had to go home. When I arrived back and looked at Facebook I was
very pleased to find that thanks to the intervention of Focus E15, Candice
and her baby had been offered a flat in Canning Town.
We Stand With Shaker
Old Palace Yard, Westminster, London. Mon 24 Nov 2014
Waters, Clive Stafford-Smith and Caroline Lucas MP hold the banner at the
The 'We Stand With Shaker' campaign was launched at Parliament to bring
Shaker Aamer home from Guantanamo. Never charged, he was cleared for release
in 2007 and 2009, but remains imprisoned because his testimony to torture
would embarass MI6.
Music legend Roger Waters, Pink Floyd’s chief songwriter, became involved
in the campaign when he heard that Shaker Aamer recited some of his lyrics
in his Guatanamo prison cell to help him keep sane in long spells of solitary
Others at the launch, as well as Joanne MacInnes and Andy Worthington of
We Stand With Shaker, and a giant inflatable figure of Shaker Aamer included
Clive Stafford Smith, the director of Reprieve, John McDonnell MP (Labour,
Hayes and Harlington), Caroline Lucas MP (Green, Brighton Pavilion), comedian
Jeremy Hardy and Peter Tatchell, as well as a number of people from the 'Free
Shaker Aamer Campaign' who came in the orange jumpsuits and black hoods they
have been protesting in week after week for Shaker's release.
One way the campaign is trying to increase public awareness is by getting
peole, particularly celebrities, to pose with the giant inflatable holding
the message I stand with Shaker.
Still No Justice for Ricky Bishop
Brixton, London. Sat 22 Nov 2014
Ricky Bishop's mother Doreen leads the march through
Brixton to the police station
Ricky Bishop, a fit young black man, died from unexplained injuries hours
after being taken to Brixton Police Station on 22 Nov 2001. Family and supporters
call it a modern day lynching and march annually to remember him and call
The marchers met up at Windrush Square and then marched slowly through the
centre of Brixton to the police station, where a tree outside has been adopted
as a remembrance tree for Ricky Bishop and the others killed there by police.
At the tree there were speeches, including a detailed and forceful presentation
by Marcia Rigg of the battle she and others faced to get any proper investigation
into the death there of her brother Sean Rigg in August 2008. They persisted,
despite the lies and failures of the police and the IPCC, finally getting
an inquest verdict that said officers used unsuitable and unnecessary force
in restraining him which resulted in his death.
As she was speaking there were shouts from the open windows of the police
station accusing the family of lying about the police. Like everyone else
there I was shocked and disgusted that some police still feel the killing
people as they did Sean Rigg is defensible. Of course, the police and the
justice system still cover up such crimes by officers, giving them almost
total immunity from the consequences of their actions, by failing to properly
investigate and interview, allowing collusion, holding up cases, disallowing
evidence, misleading juries and other means. Although by no means all of the
more than 3,000 who died in custody between 1969 and 2011 were killed by police
or prison officers, it is truly shocking that not a single officer has been
succesfully prosecuted, despite considerable evidence of wrongdoing.
Other speakers included Ricky Bishop's mother Doreen, Janet Williams, the
mother of Aston Williams, killed by police in Reading earlier this year and
Stephanie Lightfoot-Bennett, the twin sister of Leon Patterson, brutally murdered
by Manchester police in 1992.
There was a period of silence in memory of those killed, and candles were
lit and flowers fixed to the memorial tree.
Class War Griff Rhys Jones Mansion Tax
Fitzroy Square, London. Sat 22 Nov 2014
Marina Pepper and Jane Nicholl outside Griff Rhys Jones'
house in Fitzroy Square
Class War went to the £7m Fitzroy Square home of Griff Rhys Jones
who said he would leave the country if Labour levied a mansion tax, telling
him to "f**k off now", offering to pay the fare. Class War's election
manifesto includes a 50% mansion tax.
There was no answer when Class War rang the bell at the house, though there
was clearly someone in, as while they were outside someone came and removed
the post that had been visible in the slot in the door. The protesters put
hazard tape around the area outside the house before going for a walk around
the square, pausing for another brief protest outside the home of Guy Ritchie,
another millionaire objector to a mansion tax.
Further around the square, next to the house where both George Bernard Shaw
and later Virginia Woolf both lived, they came across the Magistrates Association
- who got another sticker, as did the locked gates into the private garden
in the centre of the square.
Having gone around the square they returned for a further few minutes of protest
outside Griff Rhys Jones's house, and a group photograph. I then rushed off
to another protest and they went to a nearby pub.
Justice for Shahzad & Shama
Downing St, London. Sat 22 Nov 2014
People pray for justice at the protest opposite Downing
Pakistani Christians and others called for justice for the brutal murder
of Shahzad Masih and Shama Bibi, bonded labourers at a brick kiln, who were
falsely accused of burning pages of the Quran, attacked by a Muslim mob, tortured
and burnt alive.
Shahzad along with other relatives had moved from their Christian village
to work at a brick kiln in a Muslim village 35 miles south-west of Lahore.
There theywere trapped into bonded labour, and Gujjar their landlord and kiln
owner was in dispute over payments made by Shahzad, who wanted to pay off
his debts and leave, possibly because the landlord's accountant is alleged
to have raped Shama a few days before the killings.
Shama had cleared out and burnt some of the effects of her father who died
on 30 October 2014. These included some black magic amulets and written charms.
The ashes were seen by a Muslim worker and he accused her of burning the Koran.
A large mob came from surrounding villages and attacked the couple, stripped
them and tied them to a tractor, beating them as they were taken to the kiln.
Some relatives say both of them were still alive when they were covered with
petrol and thrown into the kiln, others say Shama was already dead. A van
with armed police was present but made no attempt to disperse the mob by firing
into the air, despite the pleas of relatives.
The police appear to be trying to cover up some details of the case and failing
to name family members as witnesses in the official report. The remains of
the two were buried by the authorities in secret to avoid the family organising
a funeral which might have been reported by the international press. But the
news did leak out, after which the federal government appointed a Christian
who is minister for Ports and Shipping, Kamran Michael, to co-ordinate the
Occupy Democracy at Supreme Court
Parliament Square, London. Sat 22 Nov 2014
Peace Officer' with an anarchist hat badge cocksa snoop
Occupy Democracy activists who spent the night in front of the Supreme Court
were holding banners by the roadside and preparing for two days of workshops
there. The grass and paving in the centre of the square is all fenced and
guarded. Police stood around watching them.
Zero tolerance for Zero Hours
Old Palace Yard, Westminster, London. Fri 21 Nov 2014
Young workers with rasied fists protest against zero
As MPs prepared to debate Gateshead MP Ian Mearns' bill on Zero
Hours contracts the Fast Food Rights rally, supported by the Bakers, Food
and Allied Workers Union, Youth Fight for Jobs and others called for £10
an hour minimum wage, no zero hours contracts and union rights.
Ian Mearns said that many zero hours contracts "demand total flexibility
and commitment from individuals, but offer little in return. Employees agree
to make themselves available for work but no guarantee of work is reciprocated".
"The Bill would put a duty on employers to offer their staff fixed
and regular hours, to pay their staff for shifts cancelled at short notice
and to pay overtime for those announced at the last moment, it would also
outlaw exclusivity clauses that prevent the underemployed from earning in
a second job."
Speaking at the rally as well as Ian Mearns were Ian Lavery MP,
John McDonnell MP, Sarah Wooley of the BFAWU, Christina
Payne from UCU, Helen Patterson of Youth Fight for Jobs and
Rob Williams of the National Shop Stewards Network, as well as several
NHS Vigil for Efford Bill
Old Palace Yard, Westminster, London. Fri 21 Nov 2014
came to join those who had taken part in the overnight vigil and lobby Parliament
A overnight vigil outside Parliament organised by the Save Lewisham Hospital
campaign supported the private member's bill being debated today which would
reverse the worst of the Coalition’s NHS privatisation drive and urged
Labour to take a firmer stand. More protesters came to take part in a rally
and were then going on to lobby MPs.
Speakers at the rally included a number of doctors and health professions
including Louise Irvine of the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign and MPs John
McDonnell and Diane Abbott. Several trade unionists who had come for another
protest also cam and spoke.
As well as banners and placards, the protesters had also brought Jeremy the
Vulture, an impressive bird named after health minister Jeremy Hunt, perching
at a height above a ravaged NHS logo.
Don't Let Them Drown!
Home Office, Westminster, London. Thu 20 Nov 2014
A small picket from the Movement Against Xenophobia
protested outside the Home Office
The Movement Against Xenophobia (MAX), supported by over 100 organisations,
began a series of what they intend to be weekly pickets at the Home Office
calling on the government to support search and rescue operations for migrants
travelling across the Mediterranean. The decision to stop rescuing them means
that there will be many more tragedies with thousands of desperate migrants
drowning between North Africa and Europe.
MAX and the other agencies say that the problem has to be tackled in a humane
way. The pressure for migration comes from the terrible conditions and threats
to existence in the countries people are so desperate to leave, often caused
by conflicts driven by western interests in the exploitation of natural resources.
There needs to be a fairer asylum system involving all European countries
which puts less burden on the countries closest to the problem.
'Bye Bye Redrow' Poor Doors Street Party
One Commercial St, Aldgate, London. Wed 19 Nov 2014
looks from the 'poor' side of the flats at the rich side through a grille
Class War celebrated Redrow's sale of One Commercial Street outside
the 'rich door' and were joined by students from the earlier protest and campaigners
from the New Era estate in Hoxton threatened with quadrupling of rent and
eviction by their new US landlords.
I arrived early enough to meet up with some of the protesters in a nearby
pub before the protest and to march down with them from outside Freedom Books.
The protest was enlarged a little by a few students who had been protesting
earlier in the day coming to join. It followed what is now the normal pattern,
with the protesters trying to block the 'rich door' on Commercial St, and
the police trying to keep the way clear, but after a while the extra numbers
were too much for them.
Marina Pepper had brought with her a message of support for the protest from
Hunt Saboteurs and a banner from their association, but the big news was that
Redrow, part owners of the building had sold their interest in the building
- which the protesters attributed to their continuing actions. And they had
acquired and brought along a 'Redrow' banner to celebrate this.
Also Ian Bone announced that the campaign was being supported by another
London housing campaign, the tenants from the New Era Estate in Hoxton, who
were under threat of eviction, and had been protesting against billionaire
MP Richard Benyon, one of the owners of the estate. He has now sold his interest
in New Era to his US partners who intend to evict the current tenants, refurbish
the flats and let them at around four times the current rents. Soon after
he finished speaking, a group arrived from New Era and were given a warm welcome.
Shortly before the protest was due to end, a young Finnish woman who lives
in one of the 'rich' flats with her partner came to talk with the protesters.
Before the protests began she had no idea that there were the two separate
doors and she agreed with the protesters that this was unacceptable. She offered
to take one of the protesters inside to look at the flats, and I was invited
to accompany them.
It wasn't easy to get through the rich door. Firstly because of all the protesters
blocking it, then we had to get past the police who were reluctant to admit
us. Redrow staff were courteous, as we were the guest of one of the rich residents.
We went up in the lift, and were told that one of the more obvious differences
between the rich and poor side was that the rich lifts were covered by mirrors
- which I found a little off putting.
The corridors were a little different too, though basically the same, and
with the same signage, though on the poor side there were some notices about
not littering the corridors which were not duplicated for the rich. The carpets
were a different colour - brown for the rich and blue for the poor - and the
rich flats had wood finish doors while the poor ones were painted blue-grey.
The flat we were taken to had cost around £400,000 but was rather small
and didn't seem to be particularly well fitted out when I looked at its fitted
kitchen area of the living room and the bathroom. It was about half the size
of the last flat I'd lived in, from one of our new town development corporations
in the 1970s. I took some pictures but have decided not to publish them in
respect of our guide's privacy. We weren't able to go in any of the flats
on the 'poor' side to compare, but I think they were probably fairly similar,
though probably with lower priced fittings, You can probably find images from
'One Commercial Street' and possibly 'Houblon Buildings' on estate agents
Our guide, who was taking her dog out from the flat for a walk, told us that
sometimes a door between the two sides on the stairs was open at 10th or 11th
floor level, but today it was closed, and we had to go down to the ground
floor. There we walked through a door and waited for a different lift on the
poor side. On the 10th floor we were taken around to a locked door with a
grille, though which residents on the poor side could look into the rich side.
Both rich and poor sides were confusing inside on a first visit - long empty
corridors with no windows. We went down again in the lift and made our way
to the empty corridor leading the the poor door - which for once this evening
was being staffed - by a Redrow employee and a security guard - as it was
being used by rich residents to avoid the protest. We thanked our guide, said
goodnight to the staff and left.
No fees, No cuts, No debt!
Malet St to Westminster, London. Wed 19 Nov 2014
with 'book bloc' posters at the front of the march in Malet St
Thousands of students marched through central London to Parliament Square,
where some went to the official rally but others pulled down fences to meet
on the square before going on a tour of government offices and other targets.
I joined with students at SOAS who were preparing to march to join the official
start of the march in Malet St, behind a long row of people carrying large
and fairly solid posters with the names and authors of books, including Animal
Farm - George Orwell and The Second Sex - Simone de Beauvoir and other mainly
well known works. Behind them were other protesters with placards and banners,
including the Movement for Justice.
When we reached Malet St it was pretty crowded and the 'book bloc' made their
way to meet with others close to the front of the march and I went there also
to take pictures. Also near the front were a number of anarchist 'black bloc'
protesters, and as the march left a couple of them set off flares.
The march was fairly uneventful on the way to Whitehall, though protesters
did briefly surround a police van in Aldwych and rushed up to a MacDonald's
on The Strand, but made no real attempt to enter. There were more flares set
off in Whitehall, and a lot of shouting at Downing St, but nothing more.
Police had brought in a double row of barriers around Parliament Square and
were standing behind these, but soon both students and photographers were
climbing or vaulting over these into the square. Not feeling energetic, I
waited a couple of minutes until some of them had opened up a gap I could
walk through, joining the large crowd already there. Some of the protesters
had walked through the square and on towards the site of the official rally
in Old Palace Yard, but the majority flowed into the square. A speaker was
calling for a campaign to make sure politicians kept their promises, with
behind him a framed picture of Nick Clegg with the quote from the 2010 election
"Say goodbye to broken promises", something which students will
never forget after the Liberals voted with the Conservatives to cut EMA and
raise University fees.
The samba band arrived and livened things up, but after a while I made my
way out and went to talk to the the Shaker Aamer protesters on my way to the
official student rally.
I didn't make it to the rally, as I saw the protesters from the square had
pushed over more of the fences and were walking up Victoria St and I hurried
after them as they rushed down Matthew Parker St to the Conservative Campaign
HQ. Police were waiting for them there, and there were some tense moments
with police batons raised (and people with phones getting in my way when a
rubbish bin was pushed towards the gates) before the students left to go a
long way round to the Dept of Business, Innovation and Skills.
There another flare was set off, but rather disappointingly it was very bright
with relatively little smoke, not great for photography. People also threw
paint up at the building, and although it didn't hit me directly, some got
transferred from other people in the crowd onto me and my camera. The next
target was a Starbucks, but by then I was a bit fed up.
I walked down past New Scotland Yard to the Ministry of Justice, and bit
around there, but although I saw a lot of police, there was no sign of the
protesters until a few minutes later when I went back to New Scotland Yard
and found several hundred sitting in the road outside. Among those watching
them was John McDonnell MP.
After I'd been photographing a couple of minutes there, I saw a small crowd
of TSG officers arriving and went to photograph them. There was a long and
bitter argument with a couple of students who complained that they had been
stopped going away from the protest by police, who appeared at that moment
to be trying to kettle the protesters. But there were few police at the other
end of the road and I walked through a scattered line, and shortly afterwards
those who had been sitting on the road got up and came the same way.
I walked with them back to Parliament Square, where they went back on to
the grass area, but it looked like the protest was drawing to an end and I
left for Aldgate.
Shaker Aamer protests continue to shame UK
Parliament Square, London. Wed 19 Nov
Protesters were inside the barrier that the police had
forlornly hoped would keep the students of the square
The regular vigil for Shaker Aamer coincided with the student protest which
came to Parliament Square. Imprisoned and tortured for over 12 years and cleared
for release in 2007 he is left to die in Guantanamo to avoid embarrassment
to MI6 and the US.
Police had allowed the protesters onto the pavement along the front of the
square as usual, though they were now behind a double row of barriers that
were there to keep the students out. While I was there, Kate Hudson came to
talk with Ray Silk, Secretary of Free Shaker Aamer campaign across the barrier.
I was still speaking to the protesters and taking photographs when I saw
the student protesters who had been on the central grass area were leaving
the square and had to rush away to follow them.
Feeding the Poor is not a Crime
US Embassy, London . Sat 15 Nov 2014An
armed officer inside the fence tells protesters they are not allowed to fix
posters or banners on the fence
Protesters with posters 'I am Arnold Abbott' supported the 90-year-old veteran
twice arrested in Florida for giving food to the homeless, and Jillian Pim
who began her hunger strike against the 'homeless hate laws' when he was charged
14 days ago.
This was the first in a series of weekly events in which protesters aimed
to give out food to the homeless after the protest. It had been arranged only
at the last minute and there were few people there, but they hope for more
as word gets out.
The way to cut down homelessness is not to persecute the homeless nor to
criminalise those who respond humanely to their obvious distress and needs,
but to provide paid jobs they can do and homes they can afford. The case of
Arnold Abbott has rightly provoked repulsion and anger around the world, but
we have seen similar things in London, where police in some areas have actually
stolen sleeping bags from rough sleepers.
In London it took a sustained campaign in 2011 to stop Westminster Council
from bringing in a proposed new by-law making it a criminal offence to feed
homeless people and to criminalise sleeping on the street. Westminster's intention
wasn't to help people who are forced into sleeping rough, but simply to displace
them to other boroughs.
Funeral for the Unknown Victim of Traffic Violence
Bedford Sq to Marble Arch, London. Sat 15 Nov 2014
The coffin was carried in a horse-drawn hearse to
Marble Arch for the funeral
Hundreds of cyclists and pedestrians marched behind a piper and a horse-drawn
hearse through Oxford St to Marble Arch where a dignified commemoration of
victims killed, maimed and poisoned by motor transport culminated in a die-in
Too many cyclists and pedestrians are killed and maimed on the streets of
London and part of the problem is the lack of proper regard for the needs
of non-motorists by Transport for London. We need a road system that is safe
for all users, not one that is largely engineered for the convenience of motorised
As well as actual deaths through actual road traffic incidents (most of which
are not truly accidents as deliberate decisions on road and vehicle design
play a large part in them) there are also thousands of premature deaths caused
by air pollution from road traffic, with pollution levels in many places -
such as Oxford St which this protest went along - being well above legal limits.
The protest made ten demands:
- Stop the Killing of Children with a national, multi-billion pound
programme to convert residential communities across Britain into living-street
Home Zones and abolish dangerous rat-runs.
- Stop the Killing of Pedestrians by a national programme to fund pedestrianisation
of our city and town centres, including the nation’s high-street,
- Stop the Killing of Pensioners from excessive speed with an enforced
speed limit of 20 mph on all urban roads, 40 mph on rural roads/lanes and
60 mph on all other trunk roads.
- Stop the Killing of Cyclists, investing£15 billion in
a National Segregated Cycle Network over the next 5 years.
- Stop the Killing by HGVs by banning trucks with blind spots,
making safety equipment mandatory and strictly enforcing current truck-safety
regulations; currently around 30% are illegally dangerous.
- Stop the Killing without liability with a presumed civil liability
law for vehicular traffic when they kill or seriously injure vulnerable
road-users, unless there is evidence blaming the victim.
- Stop the Killing from Lung, Heart and other Diseases caused
by vehicular pollutants with mandatory for particulate filters that meet
latest EU emission standards on all existing buses, lorries and taxis.
- Stop the Killing at Junctions with pedestrian crossing times
long enough for elderly disabled to cross, filtered junction crossings by
cyclists and strict legal priority for pedestrians and urgently provide
physically protected left-hand turns for cyclists.
- Stop the Killing from Climate Crisis caused by CO2 emissions
by insisting that all transport fuels are from truly environmentally-sustainable,
renewable sources within 10 years.
- Focus on Life! with transport governance making safety and quality
of life the top priority. Reform all council transport departments, the
Department of Transport and Transport for London into Cycling, Walking and
Transport Departments with formal pedestrian and cyclist representation.
Environmental campaigner Donnachadh McCarthy walked at the head of the protest
which he organised and led the funeral ceremony at Marble Arch, where flowers
were placed on the coffin that had been brought from the horse-drawn hearse
by pall-bearers and placed in front of Marble Arch. There was singing, poetry
and speeches, and as I was leaving after a period of silence and a 'die-in'
as the trumpeter was sounding the 'Last Post'.
Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign at the IPCC
Holborn, London. Fri 14 Nov 2014
Granville Williams of the Orgreave Truth and Justice
Campaign in front of the North Selby NUM banner
The protest on the second anniversary of the case referral to the IPPC
called for action to be taken by the IPPC. 39 pickets have been paid compensation
for brutal assaults after the attack by police at Orgreave on 18 June 1984
but no police officers have been disciplined or charged.
Among the speakers at the event were NUM Yorkshire area chairman Chris
Skidmore, Granville Williams of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign
& Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, Bakers, Food and Allied
Workers Union (BFAWU) National President Ian Hodson, Bridget
Bell of Women against Pit Closures and RMT Senior Assistant General Secretary
Various union and other banners added colour to the event, especially the
splendid North Selby Branch banner, the last NUM banner to be produced, with
its graphic illustrations of the miner's strike. One police officer appeared
to have a personal problem with the 'Justice for the Shrewsbury Pickets' banner,
having a long argument with the man holding one end attempting to get the
banner moved away from by the side of the IPCC doorway. The banner was being
held out of the way, and just off the edge of the narrow pavement which the
officer claimed it was obstructing. Clearly neither the banner nor the two
men holding it were creating an obstruction, while equally clearly that officer
and several other police officers were standing on the pavement in a way that
did make it difficult for people to walk past. Those holding the banner refused
to move, and eventually the officer stepped back to block the pavement even
more while he made copious notes in his notebook.
Class War hunt Ian Duncan Smith
Chingford, London. Fri 14 Nov 2014
Marina Pepper rings the bell for the Chingford and Woodford
Green Conservative Association
I feel a need to make it clear that I am not a member of Class War, since
there seem to be so many posts about them here. I'm not even sure that anyone
is a member or that is that formal a group, more a loose collection of largely
like-minded individuals centred around Ian Bone, Martin Wright and a few others.
If you share the key ideas you can join in - as it says on the Class War Party
web site "Comrades whatever our yesterdays you are welcome now. Join
in. Reject cynicism. Have fun."
The decision to stand candidates in next year's general election is not because
there is any real expectation that Class War candidates will win any seats
- or indeed save their deposits, but "to launch a furious and coordinated
political offensive against the ruling class with the opportunity an election
gives us to talk politics to our class." And they intend to "make
ourselves central to the campaign in a funny, rumbustious combative and imaginative
With the campaign against separate doors for rich and poor they have shown
how their kind of protests - a kind of agitprop or street theatre - can bring
things to public attention and help to change the attitude of a much wider
group to issues such as this.
While I'm not with them on everything, there are many issues on which I share
their underlying points of view, even if I would not express them in the same
way. In particular I share their opposition to the privileged private education
that serves to maintain the class and income divisions in this country. As
a student and later as a teacher I refused offers to work in the private sector
and would like to see an end to private education (and private health services)
because of their unfair and divisive nature. I worked in state education (full
and later part-time) for over 30 years and my sons went to our local schools.
Our state education system isn't perfect, but it didn't fail them.
When Class War went to Chingford it was to support Marina Pepper
who had decided to stand as Class War candidate against Iain Duncan Smith,
whose incompetence and discriminatory policies have made him a figure of hate
among every disadvantaged group in Britain. He was supposed to be present
at a job fair there, which some out of work people were being forced to travel
to on threat of losing benefit - though of course many were keen to be there
and to try and find jobs.
But rather than be there to meet the job seekers, IDS had called in and left
long before the event was open to the public. Class War protested for a couple
of hours outside the building - with a 'Wanted' poster for IDS, showing his
picture as 'Wanted for Mass Murder' of the 10,600 people who died in 2011
after having been found fit for work by Atos administered tests; a statistic
so damning that the Department for Work and Pensions stopped publishing any
They then went on a search of the streets of Chingford for IDS (who clearly
wasn't going to be there), looking for his constituency office, which is not
open on Fridays. Although they had the address it wasn't too easy to find,
its doorway and small nameplate hidden from the road behind some rubbish bins.
Nobody was there, and certainly no one would have answered the bell to Class
War, and after a few minutes and some photographs outside the door the group
left, and I made my way to the station.
Not long afterwards it emerged that Marina Pepper had a connection with private
education that was clearly incompatible with her being a Class War candidate
- despite her other views and great record of campaigning on issues such as
fracking. It was news that I was sorry to hear.
Class War Women in Red
One Commercial St, Aldgate, London. Wed 12 Nov 2014
A raised fist salute from the Class War Women's Death
The Class War Women's Death Brigade wore red at the 18th weekly protest against
Redrow's separate doors for rich and poor at One Commercial St. Bail conditions
on Jane Nicholl, arrested wearing a red coat last week have removed her right
Class War had brought along their controversial posters from the last general
election campaign, large portraits of the party leaders with Class War's verdict
- the same on each of them - overprinted large, the word 'WANKER'. Shortly
after I arrived these were handed out in what Ian Bone of Class War described
as an attempt to get into the Guinness Book of Records for the largest number
of 'Cameron wanker posters' ever displayed at a protest.
Although it almost certainly was a record, I think the chances of it being
recorded in that rather conservative publication are rather sub-zero. It's
a record you will probably only find recorded on this web site.
Lambeth, London. Mon 10 Nov 2014
The Bligh and Tradescant tombs in the garden of the
I went with some of our family on a short walk along the bank of the River
Thames from Jubilee Gardens to Lambeth Bridge and in the garden of St Mary-at-Lambeth,
now the Garden Museum. In 1976 Rosemary Weekes, having been impressed by the
ruins met the Archbishop of Canterbury at an event next door in Lambeth Palace
and set up a campaign to save the church and the fine tomb of father and son
John Tradescant, 17th century plant hunters and royal gardeners, buried in
St Mary's in 1638 and 1662 as a museum of garden history. A plaque in the
garden of the church commemorates the efforts by her and her husband, John
and Rosemary Nicholson.
The Tradescant tomb is a replica of the original commissioned by Hester Tradescant,
the widow of the son in 1662 and was re-carved for the second time in Lambeth
in 1853 using limestone from Darley Dale in Derbyshire. Close to it is a memorial
to Captain Bligh of the Bounty, whose ship was used by the Tradescants. The
garden also contains a recreation of a 17th century Knot Garden, based on
designs by the elder John for estates at Hatfield and Cranborne.
As well as introducing hundreds if not thousands of plants - including the
Tradescantia - to England and running the biggest garden centre of the age
at their Lambeth estate, which also included a huge collection of other artifacts
brought back from their journeys abroad, the first museum in the country open
to the public. Before he died, the younger John was tricked by a friend who
worked with him, Elias Ashmole into signing the whole business over to him
on the pretence that it would be jointly owned with John's widow, Hester.
He later presented the collection to Oxford University, where it formed the
Ashmolean museum; Hester threw herself into a pond on the estate and drowned
We ate at the museum cafe - pleasant though I would have preferred a pub
lunch, but the Czech bottled beer was fine, before walking out and past a
bit of the Archbishop's place and across Archbishop's Park to Lambeth Palace
Rd, passing some topiary cyclists on the way. As we came onto York Road we
had a 20 minutes spare before our train was due and it was starting to rain,
so I led our group down Leake St to admire the graffiti and then up the steps
to Station Approach Road to the entrance to the station.
Shut Down Racist Immigration Prisons
Harmondsworth, London. Sat 8 Nov 2014
bring the message 'You Are Not Alone' to prisoners in the detention centre
Around a hundred supporters of Movement for Justice, including
some former detainees, protested outside Harmondsworth IRC (now run together
with neighbouring Colnbrook detention centre, and officially renamed Heathrow
Immigration Removal Centre), condemning the UK's immigration detention centres
as racist and abusive, calling for these immigration prisons and the unfair
fast track system designed to deport asylum seekers before they have time
to prepare their case to be abolished.
Many at the protest also expressed shock at the decision by the EU to stop
rescuing immigrants crossing the Mediterranean, and a placard read 'Refusing
to Rescue is Murder - End the "Let them Drown" policy'.
The two combined prisons are now run by Mitie, who have instructed police
not to allow protests on the roadways around the side and back of the prison
where they can be seen by some of those held inside from the upper floors.
These are not public rights of way and are on Crown property.
After some negotiation, the protesters were confined to an area in front
of the administrative block for today's protest. Although they were out of
sight of the detainees, the protest could be heard inside the prison, as phone
calls with some of the prisoners confirmed.
As well as the noisy shouting and dancing there were also a number of speeches,
including some by people who had been detained inside Harmondsworth and other
immigration prisons. They complained that although they had committed no crime
(and in most cases were victims of crimes in their own countries), in the
UK they were treated as criminals and locked away. They say Asylum detention
is worse than prison for detainees because they have no idea when it may come
to an end - some had been held for well over a year - and the detainees feel
under a constant threat of being forcibly returned to the country they fled
because they feared for their lives or had been tortured.
IWGB protest at Royal Opera House
Royal Opera House, London. Fri 7 Nov 2014
Alberto Durango and IWGB members in the box office
of the Royal Opera House
When the IWGB protesters got back to Fleet St after their protest at
Deloitte's offices, IWGB leader Alberto Durango surprised them by announcing
that they would go on to make a brief surprise protest at the Royal Opera
The cleaners walked down Fleet St and across Aldwych, regrouping a short
distance from the Royal Opera House for a short briefing by Alberto. They
then moved quickly and quietly and rushed through the revolving door in the
foyer of the Royal Opera House, pushing past and walking around a member of
the security staff to hold short protest in the foyer over their dispute with
cleaning contractors MITIE over victimisation, trade union recognition and
working conditions. After around five minutes, they left quietly and dispersed.
The IWGB is a small, independent, grass roots union which is determined to
represent its members interests. Protests such as this would be unnecessary
if the employers recognised the rights of this officially registered trade
union to represent its members. Currently MITIE recognises another trade union
which has few if any members at this workplace - and our defective trade union
legislation enables it legally to do so. Relations would also be greatly improved
if the Royal Opera House employed its cleaners directly rather than using
a contracting firm.
IWGB protest at Deloitte
City of London. Fri 7 Nov 2014
City of London Police officer grabs hold of IWGB leader Alberto Durango and
tries to stop him protesting
The Independent Workers of Great Britain trade union (IWGB) representing
cleaners employed in Deloitte's City offices by services contractor SERCO
held a noisy protest at four of their locations around Shoe Lane over the
suspension two workers for taking part in protests and about working conditions
and staff shortages which have results in many having back problems and suffering
medically from stress.
The workers met on Fleet Street before marching to the first of the offices,
hoping to take security there by surprise, but they were ready and waiting
as the cleaners arrived, and they could only play their drums, blow their
horns and whistles, shout slogans and wave their flags in the courtyard outside.
The unfurled a large banner with the message 'Solidarity. We Are Performing
Security just kept ahead of them as they went on to make their presence and
their grievances felt and heard at the other three nearby Deloitte Offices.
As they stood outside the third of these, with IWGB union leader Alberto Durango
speaking, an officer from the City of London Police came and grabbed hold
of him, attempting to stop him protesting. Durango twisted away and angry
union members surrounded the two men, telling the officer that they had a
right to lawful protest.
Eventually he backed down and the protest continued, going on to a fourth
office building, where after a few minutes the protest ended, with the union
members marching back to Fleet St.
Trafalgar Square Poppy Memorial
Trafalgar Square, London. Fri 7 Nov 2014
Poppies blow around an idealised sculpture of an 'unknown
Mark Humphrey's brass 'Every Man Remembered' has a statue of a soldier
standing on a block of Somme limestone in a perspex case, with poppies around
his feet and in his arms; every 5 minutes poppies are blown in the air around
The sculpture was unveiled earlier in the day and is there for the Remembrance
Day activities on Sunday, and I assumed it was intended to remain their for
the actual Armistice Day the following Tuesday.
You can read some of my thoughts about this work with its bland and idealised
image of an unknown soldier in Remembering
the Dead on >Re:PHOTO. While the solders, sailors and airmen on some
of our better war memorials remind us that it was real people who fought and
died in what was essentially a family quarrel over the pride of European royalty,
this figure reminded me more of statues of the Buddha.
if we want to truly remember and honour the sacrifice then rather than statues
like this we might have those that show - in Seigfried Sassoon's words - 'Young
faces bleared with blood, Sucked down into the mud'. In the >Re:PHOTO
piece I linked to a fine
article by Paul Mason, on the almost completely ignored story of how the
First World War actually ended, when German sailors, soldiers and workers
refused to fight.
Taiji Dolphin slaughter protest
Japanese Embassy, London. Fri 7 Nov 2014
A protester on stilts with a dolphin fan outside the
A large protest at the Japanese embassy called on Japan to halt the annual
slaughter of 20,000 dolphins, porpoises and small whales each year in Taiji
Cove, which began around 40 years ago.
When I arrived, half an hour or so after the start of the long protest, there
was a crowd of several hundred behind barriers on the narrow pavement on the
opposite side of the road from the embassy. More were arriving all the time
I was there, and by the time I left, they were on both sides of the road and
on the wide central strip of pavement between the two carriageways.
As well as the large numbers involved, the protest was remarkable for the
number of hand drawn posters and placards, as well as some 3D artworks. Many
of those present accepted the offer of having their hands covered in red paint
to represent the blood of the dolphins, which turns the water in the bay red
during the slaughter.
Among those present was Ric O' Barry, founder of the Dolphin Project and
the maker of the film 'The Cove' which has shown the shocking reality of the
dolphin slaughter to audiences around the world. Many of those present came
to talk to him and to be photographed standing with him. Accompanying him
was a stilt-walker in Japanese costume long red scarves on each wrist, a dolphin
fan in one hand and a placard in the other.
Fukushima Nuclear Protest
Japanese Embassy, London. Fri 7 N ov 2014
A Japanese anti-nuclear protest offers a leaflet to
a man passing the Japanese Embassy, who refuses
A small group of Japanese and English protesters handed out bi-lingual Japanese/English
flyers outside the Japanese embassy in their regular weekly protest over Fukushima
and the continuing danger from radioactive leaks from the site.
The want an end to the building of nuclear power stations worldwide because
of the safety risks that Fukushima has highlighted, and for a proper investigation
of the failures of TEPCO, the owners of the Fukushima power plant in running
the plant and reporting and tackling the catastrophe.
As on other Fridays, after protesting for an hour or so outside the Japanese
embassy they left, on their way to carry out a further protest outside the
London offices of TEPCO in Berkeley Square.
Brent Housing Sit-in
South Kilburn Housing Office, London. Fri 7 Nov 2014
Protesters with placards hold a discussion in the waiting
area of the Housing Office
Protesters sat in the South Kilburn Housing Office calling for Brent to end
selling properties to overseas investors while rehousing local residents outside
the area. They accuse them of social cleansing and say people need to be put
A staff member came and asked the protesters to continue the protest outside
as it was interfering with work, but the protesters told her they were not
stopping anyone from coming to appointments or calling in at the office, and
questioned her for supporting the council's policies which were failing to
meet the needs of local people in favour of wealthy foreigners with no connection
The few minutes of shouting slogans at the start of the protest might have
made any interviews then taking place in the building difficult, but after
that the protesters were holding a discussion of the issues which would have
caused no problems. Several people who came in to see staff in the office
came to talk with the protesters and expressed agreement with their views.
Two police officers arrived and talked with the office staff and then with
the protesters. The room in which the protest was taking place was described
on a board outside as a "Community Resource Centre" and they could
see no problem with the way that is was currently being used by members of
the community and so long as they behaved reasonably the police did not want
to be involved.
I left after around an hour while the protest and discussion was still continuing,
with one or two more people coming to join it as I left.
Guy Fawkes 'Anonymous' Million Mask March
Parliament Square, London. Wed 5 Nov 2014
'Anonymous' figure with a poster 'We will not be silenced'
on an empty police van in front of Big Ben
The world wide Million Mask March against austerity, the corporate takeover
of government and the abuse of power in London set off from Trafalgar Square,
marching to Parliament Square where I joined them.
The march of hundreds of people were met by a mass of barriers around the
square with large groups of riot police threatening them. The marchers called
on the massed riot police to put their batons away and join their Guy Fawkes
party without success. They marched around the square and then left in several
directions, some heading for Buckingham Palace. I decided I'd had enough of
taking pictures in the dark and went home.
Poor Doors Guy Fawkes burn Boris
One Commercial St, Aldgate, London. Wed 5 Nov 2014
Protesters dancing with Class War Banners are lit up
by the flames of the burning Boris
A guy with a Boris Johnson mask was set on fire at Class War's weekly
protest outside the rich door to in Aldgate and several flares were set off.
Police made an arrest, provoking a struggle between police and protesters
and a second arrest.
Many of the protesters gathered in a nearby pub with an effigy of Boris Johnson
(BJ) before the protest, before going out onto the street at the mouth of
the alley leading to Freedom bookshop. They then got out banners and walked
along with BJ towards One Commercial St. On the way someone placed an orange
flare into BJ's top pocket which livened things up, but had come to an end
before we reached the rich door.
Boycott Hewlett Packard - Sustainable Brands
Lancaster London Hotel, London. Wed 5 Nov 2014
Campaigners with Palestinian flags outside the Lancaster London Hotel at Lancaster
Palestinian campaigners contested Hewlett-Packard's claim to create "a
better future for everyone" at the Sustainable Brands conference which
HP sponsor, because of their IT support for Israeli forces who killed 521
Palestinian children in the attack on Gaza.
HP's IT support also runs the Israeli prisons, where young Palestinian boys
as well as other prisoners have been kept for long periods in solitary confinement
and tortured. Many Palestinians are locked up in 'administrative confinement'
without any proper charges or trial.
A group of protesters stood outside the hotel where the conference was
taking place, handing out flyers to people going in or out of the hotel as
well as those walking past, and several people spoke about the HP's deep involvement
in Israeli war crimes and persecution of Palestinian.
Global Solidarity With Kobane
Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 1 Nov 2014
Women with Kurdish Workers Party flags
Thousands came to a Trafalgar Square rally for the defenders of Kobane against
ISIS and for the remarkable democratic revolution of Rojava, calling for aid
for the Kurdish fighters and refugees, legitimisation of the PKK and the release
of Ocalan. The protest was part of a Global day of solidarity with the YPG
(People's Defense Units) and the women of the YPJ fighting against ISIS at
The protest was organised by the Kurdish People’s Assembly and Peace
in Kurdistan Campaign in cooperation with Kurdistan National Congress (KNK),
Roj Women Assembly and Free Youth Movement and community organisations, and
was also supported by some left and human rights groups. Among the speakers
were Margaret Owen OBE, human rights lawyer and adviser to the Kurdish
Human Rights Project (KHRP) and Peace in Kurdistan (PIK), Jean Lambert,
Green Party MEP for London, Mark Thomas, Peter Tatchell
and Father Joe Ryan, a Catholic priest from Haringey where many of
London's Kurds live, as well as representatives of various Kurdish groups.
As well as speaking about the fight and the need to support the Kurds in
their struggle, many speakers criticised Turkey for their support of ISIS,
and their refusal to let Turkish Kurds join in the fight. Turkey is accused
of letting fighters cross its border to join ISIS and also of facilitating
the smuggling operations that support ISIS financially as a continuation of
its long discrimination and attempts to subdue opposition from Kurds living
Many see the model constitution adopted in the Rojava, the de facto autonomous
Kurdish majority region in northern and north-eastern Syria as an important
democratic development, especially for its pluralism, democratic participation
and protection of fundamental human rights and liberties.
Revolution Banner Drop
Waterloo Bridge and Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 1 Nov 2014
Protesters hold the 'Revolution' banner on Waterloo
Bridge - later they took it to Trafalgar Square
Protesters from 'Anonymous' in Guy Fawkes masks held up a banner with the
message 'REVOLUTION' on Waterloo Bridge and the Kobane demonstration in Trafalgar
Square, handing out flyers for the Nov 5th 'March Against Government Corruption'
Against acid attacks on Iranian women
Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 1 Nov 2014
A woman, her head and face bandaged holds a sign 'This
is not for Halloween...'
The 8th March Women's Organisation (Iran - Afghanistan) protested in Trafalgar
Square against acid attacks on women who do not wear a veil in Iran. Attacks
by gangs encouraged by the regime to enforce strict Islamic rules have left
many women scarred and blinded.
PETA World Vegan Day Naked Protest
Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 1 Nov 2014
were rather fewer than 255 protesters, but it was still an impressive show
A World Vegan Day protest by PETA dramatised the 255 animals killed for
food in the UK every second by a similar number of people lying near naked
or nearly naked and smeared with fake blood on a tarpaulin.
Many animals farmed for our consumption are kept in crowded and cruel conditions
and are killed in painful and terrifying ways. Many are also treated with
hormones, antibiotics and other chemicals that can be dangerous to both the
animals and to those of us who eat them, and the overuse of antibiotics threatens
to produce drug-resistant mutations that pose a threat to human life.
Some of the posters at this protest read 'Choose Life: Chose Vegan',
but a vegan economy would have little place for animals. PETA believe "Animals
are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse
in any other way". I'd be happier to see fewer animals being farmed
and slaughtered in an ethical and humane manner - and be prepared to eat less
meat and to pay a fair price for it.
Nature isn't vegetarian, and certainly not vegan, though of course some species
are herbivores. But others are carnivorous or omnivores, and I can see no
problem in our own species eating meat or fish though I would like to see
all of the current cruel practices involved in producing food for us outlawed.
Eating foie gras should definitely be made a crime!
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