my london diary index


Stock photography by Peter+Marshall at Alamy

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Against Mind's collusion with the DWP

Stratford, London. 31st October 2016

Mind’s chief executive, Paul Farmer, argues with the protesters outside the offices
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The Mental Health Resistance Network (MHRN) and Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) held a Halloween Demo at the national office of mental health charity Mind's office in Stratford against their collusion with the DWP rather than standing up for the rights of the disabled.

Mind failed to mention the effects of welfare reform, sanctions, or benefit-related deaths in its latest five-year strategy and has dropped its support for the long-running court case aimed at forcing the government to make WCA safer for people with mental health conditions.

The protesters condemned the secondment of Mind's policy and campaigns manager Tom Pollard to work as a senior policy adviser to the DWP where he was to start work the following day, and demanded the resignation of Mind’s chief executive, Paul Farmer, who came out to speak and argue with the protesters.

He insisted that Mind was still working for people with mental health problems and not for the DWP, and that Pollard's decision had been entirely a personal one in order to gain more insight into the workings of government rather than to assist them in the any discrimination against the disabled.

The protesters were not at all convinced by Farmer, and several came forward after he had finished speaking to tell how local Mind groups in Stratford, Leicester, Birmingham and elsewhere were working against the interests of those with mental health problems, often with managers who were more interested in empire building than in the welfare of benefit claimants.
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A Walk in the Olympic Park

Stratford, London. Mon 31 Oct 2016

The entrance to the Olympic Park from Westfield Stratford - one tree and no grass in view

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As I knew I had a several hours between a protest at he Czech embassy and another in Stratford, I planned to take another walk in the park at Stratford which had been the site of the 2012 London olympic games and to make some more panoramic images.

It was over a year since my previous visit, and I was rather disappointed that so little progress seems to have been made. On this visit I restricted my walk to the sourthern area, which still seemed largely an arid and alienating space composed mainly of wide empty walkways rather than a park. It has become more surrounded by tall buildings and is still hard to find, with several of the ways in still closed as building work continues.

Although it was a nice day, it wasn't ideal for photography, with far too much empty blue sky, and a low bright afternoon sun. As well as creating high contrast and cold shadow areas, when working with a 147 degree angle of view it was difficult to avoid getting the sun in the picture, with flare ruining some images.

Although I'd set out to take panoramic images, I also took some with a more restricted angle of view and rectilinear perspective which I've also put on line. The panoramic images are recorded at the same aspect ratio of 1.5:1, though I usually crop these to 16:9 or 1.9:1, enabling me to place the horizon away from the centre of the image if I want, but here I've left them at full height. They have a horizontal field of view of around 145 degrees and a vertical field of a little over 90o degrees.
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Roma protest Czech Murder

Czech embassy, London. Mon 31 Oct 2016
Roma talk with an embassy representative who has come to take their letter
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Roma living in the UK came with a Roma flag to protest at the Czech embassy in London after a young Romani man was attacked and killed by neo-Nazi skinheads as he went to buy cigarettes at a pizzeria in Žatec.

The murdered man until a year ago was living in the UK and was a second cousin of Ladislav Balaz, Chair of the Roma Labour Group and Europe Roma Network, who came to hand a letter calling for the murder to be properly investigated to a representative from the Embassy.

Most cases of murders of Roma in the Czech Republic are dismissed by police as accidents and they have already issued false stories about the victim, claiming he was mentally ill and attacked people. The Roma demand justice and equality for everyone in Czech Republic and the elimination of any double standards of justice. Several of the protesters made speeches in Czech as the letter was presented.
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Families United against Custody Deaths

London. Sat 29 Oct 2016

Janet Alder whose son Christopher was killed by police in Hull leads the procession from Trafalgar Square
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The United Families and Friends Campaign (UFFC), a coalition of those affected by deaths in police, prison and psychiatric custody held their annual Remembrance Procession, marching from Trafalgar Square to a rally opposite Downing St.

People gathered as usual from noon at Trafalgar Square. Among those present were a group of relatives of Darren Neville, a 28-year old trainee plasterer who died two months after suffering a cardiac arrest while being restrained by police at his hostel in Highbury. An inquest concluded "Police did not give sufficient consideration to the risks associated with prolonged restraint to a person suffering from acute behavioural disturbance, more specifically, the risk of death following prolonged restraint." His death is typical of many unnecessary deaths in custody, except for the fact that his inquest took place only a couple of years after his death - some are still waiting much longer, and the clarity of the verdict. More typically, in an earlier investigation the IPCC failed to find any blame attached to the police.

The pressure from families does sometimes lead to action being taken against the police. The IPCC recently asked the Crown Prosecution Service to consider charges over the actions of three officers who were called to investigate a burglary in Newcastle-under-Lyme but tasered Adrian McDonald, a guest at a birthday party, with fatal result. And three officers involved in the killing of student Kingsley Burrel in Birmingham in 2011, where an inquest found restraint had been a factor in his death have been charged with perjury and perverting the course of justice. But probably, as in the case of the killers of Sean Rigg and so many others some way will be found to officially pervert the course of justice.

The event was held up by the police to allow the vegan march to go past first, and began an hour later than intended at 2pm after a number of speeches at Trafalgar Square.

Janet Alder led the procession from the square in front of the main banner which was carried by members of various families in the UFFC, with its message 'No More Deaths In Custody' and Marcia Rigg carried the letter they were going to deliver to Theresa May. Also at the front of the procession was the closely spaced poster with the names of 3,180 people known to have died in suspicious circumstances in custody since 1969. This year seems certain to add more than its share, with a large increase in prison suicides largely because of the cuts in prison staffing which makes carrying out their duty of care properly impossible.

Behind the various family groups with banners and placards were supporters from several Black and left groups. The march at funeral pace, with numerous short stops and a rather longer one at the memorial to the women of the Second World War, took around half an hour to cover the few hundred yards.

The march stopped at Downing St, where families and banners lined the side of the road and speakers from the family spoke in the southbound lane. I stayed for a while but had to leave before the speeches were finished shortly after a small deputation went to take their letter to Downing St.
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Vegans march for Animal Rights

London. Sat 29 Oct 2016

Many had posters or placards with messages like 'Meat is Murder'
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Hundreds of vegans marched through London to a rally in Parliament Square calling for an end to killing animals for human benefit.

The march was organised by London Vegan Actions and Surge. They called for an end to the system of exploitation and death of animals for food, fur and leather animal testing and for everyone to change to a vegan diet which would end horrific farming practices and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

As the march went past those waiting for the United Friends and Families event there were some angry shouts from both sides. Some of those waiting were clearly upset that the vegans had chosen to march at the same place and time for their annual march, and some felt that the protesters should be getting more worked up about what happens to humans than animals. There were a few vegans who shouted 'White Lives Matter' at the UFFC (and many lives that they were protesting about were white, if a majority of the protesters were black.) A few arguments broke out, with some Black vegans protesting that of course 'Black Lives Matter' but so to did the lives of animals. Some of the UFFC protest organisers went to clam things down and the marchers passed by, on their way to a rallly in Parliament Square.

Although I'd like to see all animals treated humanely, and a shift towards eating considerably less meat would make a welcome contribution to reducing global emissions, I think the world would be a much poorer place if we all took up a vegan diet. Not only would many become less healthy, as a varied diet is good for us, but animal farming is a vital part of our way of life and has largely formed our landscape. An England without sheep, cows, chickens and pigs would be a very different place, and these animals only exist because we breed them for meat and diary products.
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Bring Fracking Home to Barclays

Piccadilly Circus, London. Sat 29 Oct 2016

The 'living room' with a mother and daughter from Ryedal and the fracking rig in front of Barclays
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Protesters met at Golden Square before walking to the Barclays branch at Piccadilly Circus, wherre tjhey set up a living room outside to protest against the bank's involvement in fracking in communities across the country.

Around 50 protesters gathered in Golden Square around a mock fracking rig to practise some anti-fracking songs and chants for the protest before walking together towards Piccadilly Circus. On their way they met other protesters carrying a a sofa, table and other furnishing to the Barclays Branch.

A few protesters had gone ahead of the main group and entered the branch with hidden banners, but security guards shut the door against the main group who then proceeded to set up a 'living room' on the pavement outside while those inside held their banners up against the windows.

A mother and daughter from Rydale where fracking has been approved around their home made themselves at home on the sofa with a picture of their house and a framed sampler embroidered with the Barclays eagle and the message 'Home Fracked Home'.

Tea was served from a table at the side of the room and on the table on the carpet in front of the sofa was a vase of lilies and a teapot with a plate of specially baked biscuits with the message 'Stop Barclays Fracking' as well as leaflets explaining that this protest organised by Frack Off London and Divest London in collaboration with Frack Free Ryedale was part of a series of protests at branches of Barclays across the country against the bank which is hoping to make large profits from its investments in fracking.

A couple of police had wandered over shortly after from the other side of Piccadilly Circus shortly after the protesters arrived and had called for reinforcements. They told the protesters that they were obstructing the pavement but only made half-hearted attempts to get them to move before concentrating on ensuring that the protesters left room for shoppers to walk past without going into the road.

The protest was still continuing when I left to go to my next event.
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Cockroaches at Theori Housing Management

Walthamstow, London. Fri 28 Oct 2016

Focus E15 and their cockroaches try to enter the offices of Theori Housing Management
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Boundary House Residents and Focus E15 marched from Walthamstow Central station with two giant 'cockroaches' to a Halloween-themed protest outside the Walthamstow offices of Theori Housing Management, a company used by many London councils including Waltham Forest and Newham to manage properties which house vulnerable people.

The campaigners say rooms in Boundary House, a hostel in Welwyn Garden City have leaking roofs and mould on the walls, are infested with cockroaches, have upper floor windows that children could easily fall out of and dangerous faulty appliances. Several residents and former residents of Boundary House were at the protest, but others are scared or cannot afford to travel - the return off-peak adult rail fare is almost £15. This and the time it takes make it almost impossible for those with jobs in London to continue to work.

Residents who make complaints are hung up on, placed on hold for hours and called liars, ignored, insulted and patronised. The campaigners call on boroughs to stop using companies like Theori who provide sub-standard housing and fail to keep it in good order, and say councils should house Londoners in London where they have schools, friends and jobs.

Haringey Housing Action Group were also at the protest ands say they "also have experience of poor hostel accommodation, provided by Haringey Council, and we know how hard it is try to go about your daily activities – going to work, taking kids to school – when you are living in cramped conditions, with little or no cooking facilities. But having a 30-mile journey to make every day, on a low income, would make it almost impossible to do anything but the most basic activities."

Waltham Forest Council adopt what can only be called the 'Nelson' approach, refusing to see any of the problems at Boundary House and similar properties. Housing departments are hard-pressed by anti-social government policies and cuts in funding, but this is no excuse for their failure to provide decent accomodation - and certainly not for using management companies that fail to provide decent housing and proper customer service. It isn't about money but about competence, and about a lack of care for those most in need in the community, the people that councils and mayors like Newham's Robin Wales are on record as saying should not be living in the borough, where vast luxury housing developments are welcome, but social housing is hardly on the agenda.

Focus E15 point to the Carpenters Estate in Newham, where hundreds of properties in better condition than Boundary House have been empty and boarded up for ten years or more as the council has explored various schemes to sell off what was a popular estate. They say Newham has taken out ill-advised loans which have resulted in incredible repayments of interest.
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Masked protest against Soho raids

Home Office, London. Mon 24 Oct 2016

Raids and closing down flats are putting sex workers lives at risk - to enable gentrification of Soho
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Protesters at the Home Office after last Thursday's police raids in Soho and Chinatown call for an end to these raids on premises which they say endanger sex workers, forcing them to leave safe places of work and go onto the streets.

Police arrested 18 people, removing 12 on immigration grounds and charging four women and a man with controlling prostitution and took away £35,000. The raids targeted flats opposite already gentrified areas, and closure notices were issued allowing insufficient time for them to be challenged in court.

Many Soho residents accuse the police of being in collusion with Westminster Council and Soho Estates in land grabs to gentrify the area, removing one of its oldest professions.

The protest was attended by sex workers and their supporters, with some of them wearing maskseither to hide their identity or in solidarity with the sex workers.
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Give back Cooman's Shield

British Museum, London. Sat 22 Oct 2016
Rodney Kelly stands in front of the shield taken by Captain Cook from his warrior ancestor
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Rodney Kelly, a sixth-generation descendant of the Gweagal warrior Cooman shot in the leg by Captain Cook and his crew at their first landing in Australia at Botany Bay in 1770 spoke in front of his ancestor's shield in the British Museum.

He was accompanied by Vincent Forrester, Australian Aborigine artist and activist and Australian Aborigine activist Roxley Foley who are campaigning with him for the the return of the shield as well as spears held in a Cambridge University museum to a new museum to be opened in Sydney on the 250th anniversary of Cook's visit celebrating the history of the country's original inhabitants, where it can be properly conserved, displayed and contextualised.

The shield is currently kept in a glass case in the former King's Library and was examined carefully through the glass. It has been lent in recent years for an exhibition in Australia but the campaigners would like to to be permanently returned, as it is a vital part of their heritage and history. It would form the centrepiece of the new Sydney museum.

They are also worried that the shield is not being properly conserved, and it appears to have deteriorated since it was photographed for the exhibition in Australia; they fear some of the vital ochre colouring has been lost. The shield has a hole at its centre which is speculated to have been made by the musket ball which wounded Cooman in the leg. It isn't known whether the wound proved fatal, but the chances of recovery from major wounds at the time were poor.

After a lengthy session in front of the shield with his companions and other Australian Aborigines visiting London to oppose oil exploration in the Great Australian Bight, the group moved into the Great Hall, where they looked at the catalogue of the Australian show in the bookshop before Bunna Lawrie, one of the leading figures in the fight to halt offshore drilling gave an impromptu performance, singing to his guitar and speaking briefly. The two groups then went onto the Museum steps for photographs with their banners.

A few days later the group went back to the Museum as arranged to speak to the managers abour the return of the shield. Unfortunately they were told that the British Museum would not consider returning the shield or any other objects in their collection.
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Great Australian Bight Alliance

British Museum, London. Sat 22 Oct 2016

Australian Aborigine musician and activist Bunny Lawrie sings and plays in the British Museum
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Bunna Lawrie, an indigenous Australian Mirning elder, musician and a leading figure in the fight which led to BP recently halting plans for offshore oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight came to the BP sponsored British Museum to sing and tell the story of their victory over BP and the continuing fight to stop drilling by BP's partner Statoil and others.

He played, sang and spoke briefly in an impromptu performance in the Great Hall before posing on the museum steps with other campaigners outside, including fellow Australian aborigines here to discuss the return of tribal artefacts held by the museum.
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Student Rent Strike protest

Holborn, London. Wed 19 Oct 2016
Students occupy the offices of FTSE 250 company Unite Students in Holborn
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Students met in Russell Square and discussed student housing, once largely an at-cost service by universities, but increasingly big business for private developers before marching behind the #RENTSTRIKE banner to briefly occupy the nearby office of Unite Students, a FTSE 250 company housing around 50,000 students in the UK.

The protest was part of a nationwide series as investors and developers were discussing the rich profits to be made from students at the MIPIM conference. Many of the large new blocks of student housing have flats with rents larger than the entire student loan, higher than all but students from very wealthy families can afford, and are largely for letting to rich overseas students studying here.
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AxeDrax protest against Biomass & Coal

Westminster, London. Wed 19 Oct 2016
One of the campaigners was dressed as a cooling tower
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On the International Day of Action on Biomass, protesters from the AxeDrax campaign outside the new Dept of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) urge the government to acknowledge the scientific research that shows that producing electricity from Biofuels is harmful to the climate, forests, biodiversity and people and remove the subsidy which encourages its use.

The protest was hosted by Biofuel Watch and London Biomassiv,e an active group organising locally on bioenergy issues in London. As well as the cooling tower and a number of banners this was also another outing for the Draxosaurus dinosaur. Drax gets around £600m a year which campaigners say should be spent on demand reduction and on real low-carbon renewables.

A Colombian woman spoke about the calamitous effect of open-cast coal-mining at the giant open-pit Cerrejón coal mine in La Guajira, northern Colombia. jointly owned by Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Glencore Xstrata. The mine is in Wayúu indigenous territory and the local people were not consulted when mining began 30 years ago. Their land was simply seized and communities forcibly displaced in violation of their constitutional land rights and there was no proper compensation. Pollution and dust from the coal mine continues to contaminate the air and water supplies badly affecting traditional lifestyles; soil pollution leads to failed crops, and fishing areas have been contaminated.
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Bring Calais refugee children here now

Westminster, London. Sat 15 Oct 2016
The people welcome refugees, but our government has decided to let them die rather than come here

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Protesters opposite Parliament kept up the pressure on the government to urgently bring the 1022 children in the Calais camp to the UK, enacting the Dubs amendment, over which they say the government is deliberately dragging its feet.

When part of the camp was demolished in February many of the children there went missing and the same thing was expected to happen - and did - when the French government demolished the camp and dispersed those there to sites across France.

As on other issues, the Tory government has shown it unwilling to act when Parliament or the courts have said they should. Government actions are dominated by the obsession of the right-wing press with immigrant numbers and they are determined to take as few refugees as possible.

There seems to be very little chance that even the very low targets set by David Cameron will be reached, with the government showing a cynical disregard for the plight of Syrian and other refugees, here because of a civil war for which the UK and the USA bear much of the responsibility.
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CETA Street stall & Banner drop

Hampstead & Westminster, London. Sat 15 Oct 2016

A breeze made it hard to keep the banner hanging down and legible

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London Action Network held a street stall in Hampstead and later dropped a banner from Westminster Bridge warning against the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) being negotiated in secret between the EU and Canada which they claim poses a major threat to our democracy, public services and the environment.

They say it would allow companies to sue governments who want to bring in legislation that might damage company profits, and stop green policies against climate change, affect workers rights, minimum wages, health and safety legislation and any actions that might stop privatisation of the NHS and other public services.

The deal was signed a few days later, but has still to be ratified, and campaigners are hopeful that the popular opposition in Europe will prevent this happening.
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Picturehouse strike for Living Wage

Hackney, London. Sat 15 Oct 2016

Ritzy workers give their solidarity with some strike songs
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Striking staff at Hackney Picturehouse met with supporters at Hackney Town Hall opposite the cinema before marching across the road to protest in front of the cinema demanding management pay them a living wage, give adequate sick pay, maternity and paternity pay and recognise their chosen trade union BECTU.

Picturehouse is owned by Cineworld, whose 2015 profits were £81.3m after tax, and the group insists that workers are represented by the Picturehouse Staff Forum rather than a trade union. The protest was supported by workers from Brixton Ritzy, also on strike, the NSSN and others.
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Justice for LSE cleaners

LSE, London. Fri 14 Oct 2016

Alba who has been unfairly sacked spoke at the protest
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Cleaners at the London School of Economics, backed by LSE students, demanded the reinstatement of Alba, one of the longest serving members of the cleaning team at the LSE, sacked by new cleaning contractors Noonan.

They say her sacking is unfair and breaks employment laws and that she has been discriminated against for being Latin American. The cleaners who have become members of the United Voices of the World and recently launched a 'Justice for Cleaners' campaign say LSE management has failed in not requiring Noonan act fairly towards staff.

The protest was the first in a series of protests which as well as demanding that Alba get her job back are also demanding that the cleaners are treated with dignity, respect and given the same terms and conditions of employment as in-house staff.

The protesters met outside the Saw Swee Hock Student Centre on the LSE campus and after a short meeting set off for Kingsway House on the corner of Kingsway and Aldwych, an LSE building where the cleaning contractors have their office. Security there prevented them entering and they held a long and very noisy protest on the pavement outside.
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Stop murders in the Philippines

London. Thu 13 Oct 2016

Protesters with flowers and the message 'Stop Killing' outside the embassy
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Protesters from Act Up London met in Trafalgar Square to march carrying white flowers to the Philippine Embassy to deliver a letter to the Philippines Ambassador calling for Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte to end his repeated calls for police and public to kill those who use and deal drugs and withdraw his promise there will be no prosecutions for these extra-judicial killings.

Since he came to power at the end of June there have been over 3800 such unlawful killings on the streets by police and vigilantes. Some are thought to have been denounced as drug users to settle other vendettas, others have simply been caught in crossfire and there are fears that some users of legal drugs for medical conditions may also have been targeted.

Previously when Duterte was Mayor of Davao City he was alleged to have been involved in supporting the Davao Death Squad, a vigilante group which carried out extra-judicial killings of hundreds of street children, petty criminals and drug users. In August the UN called for an end to the killings. UN Special Rapporteur on summary executions Agnes Callamard stated that Duterte had given the public a "license to kill" - and his response was to threaten to leave the UN, though later this threat was retracted.

After protesting outside the embassy for around half an hour, two people went inside with a letter for the ambassador, which was accepted by a member of his staff. The protesters then laid their white flowers on the embassy doorstep before leaving.
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Black bloc rally at the Cable St Mural

Cable St, London. Sun 9 Oct 2016
Anarchists and anti-fascists, not been invited to speak in the rally, held their own in front of the mural
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Rather than go into St George's Gardens and join the packed crowd that was listening to speeches, many of the anarchists stayed in front of the mural at its entrance, where they held a separate rally. Many felt that their should have been some anarchist speakers at the main rally, as the battle of Cable St was essentially an anarchist event, opposed by the official left who dominated the speakers at the rally.

I arrived at St George's Gardens, next to the Cable St mural a hundred yards or so ahead of the march, and was able to take a picture of the mural with no one in front of it before Class War arrived and took up position.

Martin Wright gave an excellent speech, and as the only speaker he was not rushed for time and was able to go into the event in some detail. Towards the end it did become difficult to concentrate as the Italian communists and anti-fascist groups began a noisy rally with chants and flares.

At one point some of the organisers came to ask people to quieten down as one of the few remaining people who had been at the 1936 battle, Communist Party member Max Levitas, now 101, was about to speak. He spoke in rather less organised fashion back in 1936 during the battle, and I've heard him speak several times in more recent years - and congratulated him on his 100th last year when I met him at a protest in Whitechapel.

Although this year his age was certainly showing - he spoke sitting down - but his voice and his determination were still strong and evident. The crowd in front of the stage was too dense for me to get near, but by standing on tiptoe and using a long telephoto between heads I managed to take a few pictures.

When he had finished speaking I made my way slowly back through the crowd to the mural, where the separate celebrations were still proceeding. Later there was music and people danced to it, but people were beginning to drift away. As we left to make for the pub, Jane Nicholl of Class War went over to a table where the SWP had set up and started a little argument, annoyed that they had set up a stall at what had essentially been an anarchist and anti-fascist event.

They are group about which many on the left have deep suspicions, always trying to take over movements and always having the money to produce large numbers of placards for events, as well as a newspaper that surely nobody ever buys except the members themselves. Many feel that it was their control of 'Stop The War' that prevented the movement taking the decisive actions that could have actually stopped Blair going to war after the demonstration of February 2003 and others around the country had shown overwhelming support and have not forgiven them, while for others their failure to deal properly with complaints of sexual harassment was the final straw.
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Battle of Cable Street 80 March

Cable St, London. Sun 9 Oct 2016

Children march in the Great Yiddish Parade near the front of the march
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The march from the rally at Altab Ali Park in Whitechapel to another at Cable St in the park adjoining the memorial mural was rather more tame, sticking to the pavement and cycle route rather than taking the street.

I went on with those at the front of the march, knowing that Class War would be meeting in front of the mural, and missed seeing the main block of anarchist groups at the rear of the march who took the view that it was incomprehensible that a march celebrating a great resistance against the police should follow police directions, and defied march stewards and police by marching along the road and bringing traffic to a stop.
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Battle of Cable Street 80 Rally

Altab Ali Park, London. Sun 9 Oct 2016
Some dressed 1930s-style for the event
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A march and rally in East London celebrated the 'Battle of Cable St' in 1936, when the people of the area, mainly Jewish and Irish, ignored the pleading of the Labour Party and others and came in their thousands united as a community to fight the police who were trying to force a route for Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists.

The rally before the march as in Altab Ali Park wasn't that interesting, although TUC General Secretary Forces O'Grady made a good speech, and there were others too. But I think virtually everyone was standing around thinking 'let's get on with the march'. There were a few people there who had dressed in 1930s style, and a large contingent of anarchist groups.

We also got told a little about the history, though perhaps not quite enough. Probably many of those present already knew that the battle wasn't fought by the political parties - Labour told people to stay away and urged them to protest in Hyde Park, while the official communist party opposed any opposition on the streets until almost the last minute, when it was pretty clear it was going to happen anyway.

It was the community that came out onto the streets. People from the mainly Jewish areas of the East End, trade unionists, communist rank and file and Irish dock workers. Men and women in a grass roots movement opposed to Mosley, people who knew that they would be the victims if he came to power. And of course the battle was not against Mosley, but against the police.

Of course there were communists and socialists among those who came out on the streets, and some who played a leading role. But it was essentially a victory for the working class left, for the anarchists and for many without political affiliations who came together spontaneously to defend their place and their people.

It wasn't a great defeat for Mosley and his National Socialists; they actually became more active in the East End after it, and areas such as Bethnal Green remained strongly supporting the Nazis. There was an even larger 'battle' the following year in Bermondsey. But Cable Street was undoubtedly an important event for the left, and one that has come to be associated with a much greater battle of the era, the Spanish Civil War. Cable Street radicialised many on the left.
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Iranian vigil on Anniversary of 1988 Massacre

Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 8 Oct 2016
The vigil took place in front of a huge hoarding at the National Gallery
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Activists of the Iranian People's Fadaee Guerrillas in London and the Democratic Anti-imperialist Organisations of Iranians in Britain held a vigil in Trafalgar Square on the 27th anniversary of the massacre of an estimated 18,000 political prisoners held in Iranian jails by the Iranian regime following its defeat in the Iraq/Iran war in the Summer of 1988.

The 3 months of killing by the Iranian regime of communists, progressives, patriotic activists and intellectuals of all ages ended at the beginning of October 1988 but details only began to emerge years later and the exact numbers are still not known.
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Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 8 Oct 2016

The image facing Whitehall shows Nelson's death and includes a black face at extreme left
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While waiting for a protest that didn't happen - despite quite a few people saying on Facebook they would attend - I wandered around Trafalgar Square and took a few pictures.

I was interested in particular in the four 18 ft square bas-reliefs which were added to the column around 1850, a few years after Nelson made it up there 38 years after his 1805 death at Trafalgar in 1843. It took a while as though the 5 panels were supposed to be cast in brass from captured French cannon, one led to a court case with the makers being jailed for having added some much cheaper iron and it had to be completed by others. The builders of the column also got away with fraud, as when it was restored in 2006 it was found to be 16 ft shorter than it should have been.

The lions also caused some problems, with the sculptor who had originally been chosen to carve them from granite turning down the job after a disagreement with the architect. It took years for them to be re-commissioned in bronze from Sir Edwin Landseer and Baron Marochetti and they were only added in 1867. And like most large projects while the costs were intended to be covered by private finance (or rather public subscription) the government had to step in and cover much of the cost.

The four giant reliefs each show one of Nelson's great victories, the Battle of the Nile, the Battle of Cape St Vincent, the Battle of Copenhagen and the Battle of Trafalgar. There are some clues as to which is which.

I also photographed a small group of Dutch bikers making their way around the square, without bikes.
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Brixton Arches & More

Brixton, London. Sat 8 Oct 2016
Closing Party this Saturday Night
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Some images of Brixton Arches, where local businesses, some which have operated there for longer than I can remember, are being forced out by Network Rail with the cooperation of Lambeth Council. A few have found new premises in the area, but others have simply closed down.

There has been great local support for the campaign to keep these businesses going, and a few have decided to fight the council. Network Rail intend to refurbish the arches and will then re-let them at three or more times the current rents, which will mean the distinctive local businesses being replaced by chains which can be found on every high street across the country.

I've previously photographed protests about the Arches, and also some of the splendid artwork on the shutters and on the boarding of some of the closed properties, some of which has apparently offended the council and has been removed.

I also photographed some other properties in Brixton, including several on Acre Lane as I walked past. There is also a picture of the mural Big Splash, painted in 1985 by Christine Thomas and still looking well (details on this site), though I doubt if anything like this ever existed on Brixton's river, the Effra.
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Stand Up to Lambeth March

Brixton, London. Sat 8 Oct 2016

Lambeth Labour on Acre Lane
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Speeches at the rally in Windrush Square continued after the time when the march had been intended to leave, and some were getting impatient, but eventually most of those present lined up behind the main banner and the march moved off.

It had only got across the road when it came to a partial halt at Lambeth Town Hall, where some stopped, including the 4-headed monster depicting Lambeth's villains, Lambeth Labour leader Lib Peck, Cabinet Member for Housing Cllr Matthew Bennett, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Business and Culture Jack Hopkins and Sue Foster, Strategic Director, Neighbourhoods and Growth. A lot of glitter, mainly purple, was thrown around before everyone left to join the march which was slowly proceeding up Acre Lane towards Clapham.

I walked with the march roughly halfway to Clapham Common before turning around and going back to Brixton. A Lambeth employee was cleaning up the steps as I walked past.
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Stand Up to Lambeth Council

Windrush Square, Brixton, London. Sat 8 Oct 2016
Rapper Potent Whisper with the Andrew Cooper's four Lambeth villains
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Campaigners in Lambeth, the most unequal borough in the whole of England and Wales, meet in Brixton to march to a picnic on Clapham Common launching a series of events against the policies of the council, calling on it to stop demolishing council estates, closing libraries and driving out local businesses with the closure of the Brixton Arches.

They accuse the Labour council of financial waste and "destroying our communities, racial and social inequality" and "stealing the people of Lambeth's future." The borough's motto is Spectemur Agendo, Let us be judged by our acts, and many in Lambeth have judged the council and found it guilty of selling out its people.

The Labour party runs Lambeth, with around 60 councillors to three Conservatives and a single Green Party councillor. The council is dominated by right-wing Labour members and has many links with property developers, estate agents and others, and seems determined to follow policies which are not in the interests of the people of Southwark, closing libraries, ending many vital services and getting rid of council estates and the people who live there.

The protest was planned to be 'family friendly', a 'big, pink, determined' event to 'Stand Up To Lambeth Council' and oppose its "destruction of services, homes, jobs and the rights of residents." It thus came as rather a surprise to see a stall in the square for Lambeth Labour, and some of the protesters expressed their feelings so clearly that police moved in to protect it. The stall remained despite the event organisers asking them to leave as their presence was entirely inappropriate as they supported the local party and refused to have any of the event flyers criticising it on the stall.

There was a group from Lambeth Momentum at the rally and on the march, and although they said they supported the event, in later comments to the press some of them seemed to deny this, perhaps worried about the witch hunts that have been taking place in the Labour Party recently.

Also present were a small brass band, a large four-headed monster made by Andrew Cooper with the faces of Lambeth Labour leader Lib Peck, Cabinet Member for Housing Cllr Matthew Bennett, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Business and Culture Jack Hopkins and Sue Foster, Strategic Director, Neighbourhoods and Growth, seen to be the four major villains by Lambeth residents.

There were a number of speeches at the rally and then people formed up to march to Clapham Common for a picnic.
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ASH protest Stirling Prize

RIBA, Portland Place, London. Thu 6 Oct 2016

Protesters wear masks of RIBA President Elect Ben Derbyshire who was awarded the Foot In Mouth Award
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Campaigners at RIBA as people arrived for the Stirling Prize award pointed out that one of the short-listed projects, Trafalgar Place, was built on the demolished Heygate Estate, which was 'stolen from the people' with hundreds of social housing tenants and leaseholders being evicted and the site sold at one tenth of its value to the developers.

They held their own ceremony outside, and after a number of speeches awarded the Architects for Social Housing 'O J Simpson Award for getting away with murder' to drMM Architects for this project, the first phase of Lend Lease’s £1.5 billion Elephant & Castle redevelopment.

The only contestant for the Ben Derbyshire Foot In Mouth Award was RIBA President Elect Ben Derbyshire, but there were five totally ridiculous statements by him about social housing for those present to vote on before he was announced winner. Neither he nor drMM architects came to collect their prizes, which was perhaps just as well as ASH had only prepared a single prize.

Prominent among the protesters were those from the Aylesbury estate, next door to Heygate, where Labour run Southwark Council are now attempting a similar act of 'social cleansing', replacing social housing by properties for the wealthy and overseas investors. Their treatment of leaseholders has been so bad that the COnservative housing minister shortly before this protest turned down a compulsory purchase order they had made against the remaining leaseholders in one section of the estate as being grossly unfair and a breach of their human rights.
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Limehouse, Bow Creek & Silvertown

London. Thu 6 Oct 2016
A new bridge over Bow Creek leads from Canning Town station to London City Island
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It was a beautiful day and I took the DLR from Bank to West India Dock, taking a few pictures though the window on my way.

From their I walked across the Lower Lea Crossing and then along Silvertown Way to West Silvertown, where the DLR back to Canning Town again provided some views.

At Canning Town, the exit to the riverside walk was at last open. I've been waiting for this since the walk was first constructed, I think back in the 1990s, but it has only opened recently. I didn't have enough time to explore the area as fully as I would have liked, and will certainly return when London City Island is properly open.

And perhaps one day when the 'Leaway' (yes, the finally saw sense and abandoned the idea of calling it the Fatwalk) is open to walk all the way from Trinity Buoy Wharf to Stratford (perhaps one daythe path by the river around Three Mills Studio will reopen too?)
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Cleaners demand 'End Nepotism'

155 Moorgate, London. Thu 6 Oct 2016

A police officer arrives and calls for assistance
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The Independent Workers Union CAIWU occupied the lobby of Mace's headquarters building in Moorgate at lunchtime protesting noisily against cleaning contractor Dall Cleaning Services.

Inside they took care not to block people coming in and out of the offices, while keeping up a high level of noise with plastic horns and chants, and CAIWU General Secretary Alberto Durango let everyone know what was happening through the megaphone. They made no attempt to go further into the building but ignored the building security staff. After a little over 15 minutes, a City of London police officer arrived, and talked to security and tried to talk to Alberto, but it was too noisy for him to be heard.

He radioed for assistance and shortly after was joined by several colleagues, and as they arrived the protesters walked out of the building and joined others who had been standing outside with the new CAIWU banner and handing out leaflets on the street. The cleaners continued to protest noisily on the pavement in front of the offices for another 20 minutes, before ending with a short speech by Alberto aimed at Mace and Dall Cleaning Services, warning them to expect further protests without warning until they addressed the cleaners' grievances, ending as usual "We'll be back! And that's a fact!"

The CAIWI says that the building's cleaning supervisor roster is made up of five members of the same family, claim that Dall recently promised cleaners the London Living Wage and promptly reduced the working conditions and that they also dismissed two cleaners without notice or proper procedures.
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Heathrow flashmob against airport expansion

Heathrow, London. Sat 1 Oct 2016

Some travellers came to the die-in with the message 'Stop Airport Expansion' inside their suitcases
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As part of a global wave of resistance to airport expansion on environmental and social grounds, several hundred protesters stage a flash mob protest inside Terminal 2 at Heathrow, beginning with a die in, with 'frequent fliers stepping over their dead bodies and luggage to a champagne fast track check-in desk, followed by songs and dances.

Airport security were obviously expecting the protest, although the actual location was only shared with most of those taking part when they arrived at Hatton Cross Station. They stood around the area where the protest was taking place and watched, stopping some protesters from going further in from the check in area towards the security zone but otherwise making no attempt to interfere with the protest.

The #StayGrounded protest was organised by Reclaim The Power, who also staged a 'red line' protest by cyclists at the airport at the same time. This appeared to have met with more opposition by police, and there were wide diversions in the area around the airport, with my bus home having to make a lengthy journey via the M25 rather than the normal short trip along the A4 on its way to Terminal 5.
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London Images

London, October 2016

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I don't seem to have taken many pictures while travelling around this month, just a handful. One at Heathrow, a few of a rainbow in Staines, the image above and a few more of the new US EMbassy at Nine Elms.
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