my london diary index


Stock photography by Peter+Marshall at Alamy

Other sites with my pictures include
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All pictures Copyright © Peter Marshall 2017, all rights reserved.
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LSE Cleaners Victory Party

Burgess Park, London. Sat 24 Jun 2017Mildred Simpson shows off the 'Masters of Arts' certificates that were presented to the cleaners at the protest
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Cleaners at the LSE held a party in Burgess park to celebrate a successful end to 8 months of campaigning with United Voices of the Word and Justice 4 Cleaners, including 7 days of relentless strike.

Their actions have achieved parity of terms and conditions of employment with directly employed workers and they have been promised they will be brought in-house by the Spring of 2018.

During the party there were speeches by several of the cleaners and they were presented with 'Masters of Arts' certificates with First Class Honours in Justice and Dignity.

One matter was still to be settled, as the LSE and Noonan have so far not agreed to the reinstatement of Alba, who had an employment tribunal hearing set for July. The cleaners threatened to go on strike in July if she was not taken back and an agreement was reached in time to avoid a further strike.

This is a small selection of pictures that I took and those involved who want to see more can find them on Facebook.
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Withdraw US troops from Korea

US Embassy, London. Sat 24 Jun 2017
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67 years after the start of the Korean War, the UK Korean Friendship Association protested outside the US Embassy calling for the withdrawal of US troops from South Korea and an end to sanctions on the the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea.)
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Time for PR - Save Our Democracy

Parliament Square, London. Sat 24 Jun 2017
Make Votes Matter campaigners use balloons to point out the unfairness of our electoral system
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Make Votes Matter and Unlock Democracy organised a picnic and rally after the recent election demonstrated again the unfairness of our current voting system.

There were speakers from various groups including the Green Party and the Women's Equality Party and balloons were used to demonstrate the very different number of votes that each party obtained per MP elected, getting volunteers from the crowd to wear a rosette and hold them.
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Women protest DUP/Tory talks

Downing St, London. Sat 24 Jun 2017

Women were asked to wear red for the protest

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Around a thousand women joined with housing protesters for a rally at Downing St against the Tories and their talks with the DUP to provide support for the minority government.

Many protesters were in red for the blood of lives lost without access to reproductive rights, of those who lost their lives at Grenfell tower because they were considered too poor or black to need safe housing, of disabled who have died because of cuts and unfair assessments, of innocent civilians bombed overseas and by terrorists here, for the blood shed in Northern Ireland before the peace process and for the decision to gamble the rights, health and safety of LGBT+ people. As the rally ended they were joined by the UAF who had been opposing the small march by the EDF.
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Football Lads Alliance at London Bridge

London. Sat 24 Jun 2017

Millwall and West Ham fans pose with wreaths on London Bridge
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Well over a thousand supporters of the recently formed Football Lads Alliance marched to the centre of London Bridge to protest what they see as the UK government's reluctance in tackling the current extremism problem.

They marched in silence and without banners, posters or placards to a short rally and moment of silence, after which some stopped to pose with the wreaths from Millwall, Arsenal, West Ham and Portsmouth supporters left with the other tributes at the centre of London Bridge. Police had imposed conditions on the event under Section 12 and 14 of the Public Order Act, 1986, due to concerns of serious public disorder, and disruption to the community, which prevented them from marching to Borough Market.
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Anti-fascists oppose the EDL

London. Sat 24 Jun 2017

UAF gathered at Trafalgar Square on the corner of Northumberland Avenue
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Several hundred attended Unite Against Fascism's protest against the EDL, some gathering on the corner of Northumberland Avenue close to the advertised WDL meeting point at Charing Cross where only a handful of the EDL turned up, with rather more meeting at the Wetherspoons on Whitehall.

There were a few minor scuffles with EDL protesters on their way to the pub, but several hundred police kept the two groups apart, moving the UAF down to their assigned rally point on the Embankment before escorting the EDL to another location a couple of hundred yards away. After the EDL had been escorted back to the station, the UAF marched to join the women's rally at Downing St against Theresa May's collusion with the UDP to prop up her minority government.

Among those opposing the EDL were a group of four dressed as clowns who clowned around mainly making fun of the police, who handed them the same leaflet detailing the conditions imposed on the UAF under Section 12 and 14 of the Public Order Act, 1986, due to concerns of serious public disorder, and disruption to the community.
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EDL march against terror

London. Sat 24 Jun 2017

EDL come out of the pub and move to the march surrounded by police
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EDL protesters met up at the Wetherspoons pub on Whitehall. Later police escorted them to Charing Cross and down a back street to the Embankment where they were to hold a rally.

Earlier police had moved several hundred anti-fascist counter-protesters organised by UAF from their route down to a separate area of the Embankment a short distance away where they continued to protest noisily against the EDL until the police escorted them back to Charing Cross station.

Both EDL and UAF had conditions for their protests imposed on them under Section 12 and 14 of the Public Order Act, 1986, due to concerns of serious public disorder, and disruption to the community.
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London University Security officers

Senate House, University of London. Thu 22 Jun 2017

The protesters kept up a deafening noise outside the Senate House as people went in to the open evening
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University of London Security Officers who are members of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) were on strike demanding talks with the university and contracting firm Cordant over the restoration of pay differentials.

The IWGB picket had been at Senate House all day from 6am and left at the end of the day to join for a rally with SOAS Justice 4 Works campaign. At the end of the rally they marched with students and supporters from the rally, including the SOAS samba band and a number of UCU members for a noisy protest at the entrance to the Senate House where an an open evening was taking place.

Security Officers jobs were outsourced in the early 2000s and they are currently employed by Cordant. When they gained the London Living Wage in 2011 they were promised that pay differentials would be maintained, but since then they have been reduced by 25%.

Earlier this year they approached the University management asking for talks over pay. The university at first agreed to talks, but then cancelled them, saying their pay was no business of the university.

Four days of strike in April-May caused massive disruption but failed to get an offer to talk, so they have again gone on strike. Other outsourced university staff affected are also balloting for strike action.
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SOAS J4W & IWGB Security Workers Rally

SOAS, Univ of London. Thu 22 Jun 2017

The doors of SOAS are locked as protesters try to walk inside
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SOAS Justice for Workers campaign, some of whom are occupying the SOAS directorate on the first floor of the main SOAS building held a rally outside the occupation. They were joined by striking UoL Security Workers and together briefly occupied the doorway area of the building.

The occupation began after catering staff heard from employer EliorUK that the main building refectory was to close and workers there would be made redundant. They demand there should be no cuts, no closures and no redundancies and that all workers at SOAS should have fair contracts offering equal sick pay, holiday pay, with zero-hours contracts being replaced and outsourced workers brought in-house.

They campaign also want a proper consultation with staff and students over the refectory and catering services and for the agreement for catering staff agreed with Unison to be implemented - some are now owed up to £4000 in unpaid wages. They call for a public apology by management to the workers involved and an undertaking there will be no legal or disciplinary action against students taking part in the occupation.
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'Day of Rage' march for Grenfell

Shepherds Bush to Parliament, London. Wed 21st June 2017
There were very few on the protest wearing masks, but all were angry at government and RBKC
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Movement for Justice's 'Day of Rage' march was perhaps unfortunately named, allowing the right-wing media to indulge in a fantasy extravaganza imagining violent insurrection about Movement for Justice which has a long history of peaceful but active protests mainly aimed at the UK's iniquitous and illegal treatment of refugees and asylum seekers.

But there is now a great deal of entirely justified rage over the systemic failure to care about the provision of safe social housing which resulted in the deaths of well over a hundred people burnt alive in Grenfell Tower and which still threatens many others.

Many of the dead at Grenfell were asylum seekers and refugees, and were undocumented and not recorded as residents on any official lists. The marchers assured Grenfell residents who came to the start of the march that the predictions of violence were simply media inventions and that this was intended as a powerful but peaceful protest, and those residents present thanked the marchers for their solidarity and a number joined the several hundreds on the march as it set off to Parliament.

Police tried to stop the protesters as the ran across Whitehall towards Downing St, where a line of police stood in front of the barriers. People from the organising group quickly ran to form a line between police and protesters and urge them to move on to Parliament Square, but many wanted to stay and vent their feelings towards the Prime Minister. After a few minutes MfJ set up a small rally in the centre of Whitehall, pulling people away from the gates, and after several speeches the crowd were asked if they now wanted to move on, and most agreed to do so.

OUtside the Houses of Parliament, most of the crowd of protesters halted on the street, blocking it to traffic with a noisy, spontaneous and chaotic protest. Eventually the protesters began to drift away onto the square and when most had left the street I decided it was time to go home.
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Al Quds march

BBC to US Embassy, London. Sun 18 Jun 2017

Among the many 'Boycott Israel' flags were a few flags for Hezbollah as a political organisation
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The annual Al Quds (Jerusalem) Day march in London was attended by several thousand from all over the country. Organised by Quds committee with the Islamic Human Rights Commission and supported by various groups including the Stop the War Coalition, Muslim Association of Britain and Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods was led by Imams and Neturei Karta anti-Zionist Jews, it called for 'Freedom for Palestine', and for all oppressed people's across the world, and for a boycott of Israel.

As usual in attracted opposition from Zionist groups, with a rally being held close to the US Embassy where the march was to end with its own rally. There were protests along the route by a small group carrying Israeli flags who claim the event supports terrorism by carrying Hezbollah flags. There were more than in previous years, most of which carried the message that they indicated support for Hezbollah as a political organisation rather than its military wing.

Hezbollah uses one flag, and because it is the flag of a Lebanese political party it is not illegal to fly it in this country. But as many on the march reminded the protesters, Zionists are in no position to complain about terrorists. The nation of Israel was founded in terrorism against the British mandate and is still in breach of international law in its oppression of the Palestinian people

The march had to stop for some minutes at Oxford Circus because of the Zionist protesters. I left as they started to go down Oxford St towards the US Embassy with police moving the Zionists on in front of them. A larger protest against them had been planned by the Zionist Federation and others close to the Embassy.
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Zionists protest Al Quds Day March

Oxford Circus, London, UK. 18th June 2017

Zionist protesters with Israeli flags block Regent St at Oxford Circus
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A handful of protesters had stood across the road and shouted insults at the Al Quds march as it formed up close to the BBC. As the march came close to Oxford Circus, around 30 Zionists holding Israeli flags moved to block the road.

The marchers stopped, commenting that not being content with occupying Palestine, Zionists now wanted to occupy Regent St, and waited patiently for police to clear the road.

When police were very slow to do so, the marchers sat down in the road and held their planned minute of silence for Grenfell Tower before getting up and telling police, who by now had moved the Zionists a few yards further along the march route that if police didn't clear the road they would take the march - very much a family event - through them.

Police slowly got the Zionists moving along the street with the Al Quds marchers following behind. I left the march at this point and went home.
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Brian Haw remembered

Parliament Square, London. Sun 18 Jun 2017

Brian Haw's peace camp was here for over 10 years
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On the sixth anniversary of his death, some of those who had known and supported Brian Haw held a vigil in his memory at the site of his courageous 10 year long political stand in Parliament Square.

The event was organised by Veterans for Peace, a voluntary ex-services organisation who say that war is not the solution to the problems we face in the 21st century and call on everyone to reject the 'War System' that accepts war and the preparation for war as a means to achieve status, power and wealth.
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Ted Knight speaks for Central Hill

Central Hill Estate, London. Sun 18 Jun 2017

One of the estate's original residents comes to talk with me as I take pictures
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Ted Knight, former leader of Lambeth Council, spoke in support of the campaign to save the Central Hill Estate, passed for demolition by the council despite the almost unanimous vote of residents for plans to refurbish rather than demolish and the plans by Architects for Social Housing which would achieve the increase in density desired without demolition.

I arrived early at Central Hill to take another walk around one of London's finest council estates and to take a few more pictures. A woman who had seen me from her window came out to talk with me, telling me she was still living in the house she had moved into when it was first built, and how much she had loved living here. She was very worried about possibly having to move if Lambeth Council's plans go ahead. We talked for a few minutes about how her family had grown up here and she praised the quality of her home and also the community on the estate, telling me that the house was still in fine condition and had never needed any repairs.

Looking at the other homes around I could see that some had minor improvements from the original - such as double glazing, though her's still had the original window frames. But all over the estate the buildings look in good condition, although in some cases the balconies and paths etc had been badly patched up by the council. But I was in danger of missing the start of Ted Knights talk or I would have talked more with her and taken more pictures.

Knight recalled how under borough architect Ted Hollamby the estate was planned as a living community and was remarkably successful, with a number of original residents from the 1970s still living there and wanting to continue to do so. At that time he said that Labour believed that nothing was too good for the working people and the estate was built to high specifications and is still in sound condition. A deliberate process of managed neglect - like that which had resulted in the Grenfell Tower disaster had - had been carried out by Lambeth Council to legitimise its demolition. He promised to try to persuade Jeremy Corbyn to change the party's policies where Labour councils like Lambeth are only interested in realising asset values and not in building homes for working class communities.

The meeting was poorly attended with just a handful of the campaigners from the estate and other friends, but a survey around the estate carried out by the residents has revealed a very different picture to the figures published by the council about the feelings of those who live there, with a very high percentage of both tenants and leaseholders wanting to remain on the estate and opposed to demolition. Lambeth council's response to the feedback that it has got from residents on the estate has been to remove the estate representatives from the consultative body.

The residents and architects advising them also say that the figures for refurbishment of the homes here given by the council are ridiculously inflated, and that the scheme they propose for limited infill of the site rather than demolition and rebuild would be a much cheaper solution that would involve far less disruption to the families who live here and also result in the retention of much-needed social housing. New build schemes on other London council estates have often promised social housing but have usually produced only a small fraction of what was originally promised.

There appears to be only one problem with the alternative scheme proposed by Architects for Social Housing - it would not generate excessive profits for the developers.
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Class War protest Grenfell Murders

Downing St, London. Sat 17 Jun 2017

Class War protest with a banner and posters in front of Downing St
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Class War came with posters calling for revenge over the Grenfell fire and calling for action by the people rather than waiting for a whitewashing public inquiry to report.

Grenfell was an open declaration of class war by the wealthy elite against the working class, and Grenfell Tower was where Ian Bone first lived in London and where the first issues of the Class War magazine were written. He and others in Class War knew at least one of the residents of the tower.

They took it in turns to stand in front of the gates to Downing St with the banner with a quotation from the US activist, labour organizer, radical socialist and anarchist Lucy Parsons (ca 1853-1942), who fought against racism and for the rights of workers and for freedom of speech from her early years until her death, " We must devastate the avenues where the wealthy live."
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No Tory DUP Coalition of Chaos

Downing St, London. Sat 17 Jun 2017

Some had come to protest about Theresa May and Gavin Barwell's complicity in the Grenfell outrage
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Protesters came to Downing St to oppose a Tory alliance with the homophobic, climate-change denying, anti-choice DUP and called on Theresa May to resign.

Mostly made up of vocal supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, buoyed up by the election results which showed him to be eminently electable, there were speeches by Labour MPs Marsha De Cordova who gained Battersea from the Conservatives, Rupa Huq who greatly increased her tiny majority and Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner.

Others, including several from Northern Ireland spoke in more detail about the DUP, as a party intrinsically linked with Protestant terrorist groups and dominated by a homophobic church which represents a tiny minority of the Northern Irish population. They included Northern Irish women campaigning for abortion and other women's rights enjoyed by women in the UK. DPAC spoke about the Tory assault on the disabled, and there were various others.
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North Kensington, London. Sat 17 Jun 2017
Grenfell Tower from beside Notting Hill Methodist Church
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Shock, anger, grief were some of the emotions I felt on hearing about the fire at Grenfell Tower, and the terrible stories of those trapped in the inferno. But knowing that the area would be swamped by the media I made a conscious decision not to add to the pressure on the survivors and the local residents who were traumatised by what they had seen and heard. And I felt others could do what needed to be done better than me.

It wasn't until the following Saturday that I went to see for myself and to spend some time looking at the scene. Others were walking the same way as I was, many carrying flowers on their way to pay their respects to the dead, to say a few prayers and to cry a few tears. I wasn't really going to take photographs, though I did later file just a few of the images here. They were made with respect and I hope will not upset any of those affected by the outrage of Grenfell.

Posters on lamp posts, walls and noticeboards display the poignant images of those missing from the disastrous fire in the tower block which had been clad with flammable material, and had no working fire alarm system. The whole area around the tower was still cordoned off, but the grisly blackened hulk of Grenfell Tower dominates.

Outside the Methodist Church an area has been set aside for candles, tributes and flowers for those dead and missing, now presumed dead, whose numbers are now thought to be over 80 and possibly significantly more. There were thought to be a number of asylum seekers and undocumented people living in the tower who were not included on any official records.

We don't need an inquiry to tell us what happened - the various defects that came together are only too obvious, as a number of fire safety experts are concerned. Someone authorised the use of cheap cladding that contained flammable foam, someone let that cladding be applied without fire breaks to save money, Someone approved those unsafe gas lines, someone employed a consultant so the building didn't get proper fire inspections and so on. Over the years people at Kensington & Chelsea Council (and the TMO they set up) turned an inherently safe building into a firetrap waiting to happen, because to them it was a place where people they didn't see as people, just numbers who were a burden on the housing department.

Of course it was just the RBK&C. There were the various government ministers and others responsible for setting standards that let inherently unsafe materials pass - which when tested after Grenfell have given a 100% failure rate. The ministers who dismantled and privatised safety inspections, relaxed and got rid of safety regulations, failed to implement the lessons learned from earlier fires and so on, most but not all of them under the previous Tory government. And all those pressure groups and 'think tanks' pushing the ideas of deregulation, of removing what they called 'red tape', the protections that would have saved the lives of those who died.

The victims of Grenfell - certainly a case of mass corporate manslaughter if not murder - deserve justice. They died because they were poor and in council housing and those in authority and the greedy super-rich didn't think they deserved proper care and decent standards. They deserve justice - and that means fines and imprisonment for those responsible as well as changes in the way that we run things.
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Justice for Grenfell Downing St protest

Downing St, London. Fri 16 Jun 2017

Moyra Samuels, a teacher at a school close to Grenfell Tower, speaks outside the gates of Downing St
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Over a thousand protesters marched to Downing St and pushing past police who tried to move them to the pavement opposite held a noisy rally in front of the gates,

There were speakers from the North Kensington community, housing activists, residents from other tower blocks and Stand Up to Racism. They called for the resignation of Theresa May and her aide Gavin Barwell who as housing minister had failed to implement the changes in regulations recommended after the previous London tower block fire disaster.

After a rally there they left to march for further protests at the BBC and elsewhere, but I left them at Trafalgar Square.
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Justice for Grenfell Ministry protest

Dept for Communities & Local Gov't, London. Fri 16 Jun 2017

People listen as Tanya Murat of Southwark Defend Council Housing speaks outside the Home Office
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Around a thousand protesters met outside the Department for Communities and Local Government calling for urgent action to identify those responsible for the unsafe state of Grenfell Tower which led to the horrific fire in which over 150 people were burnt to death.

Speakers included Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union General Secretary, local residents who had witnessed the deaths, housing activists who have long called for social housing to meet the same safety standards as private developments and Stand Up to Racism, and there was a silence in solidarity with the dead and injured.

After the rally they marched to Downing St, demanding the resignation of Theresa May and former housing minister Gavin Barwell who failed to implement the recommendations made after a previous London fire disaster.
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London Co-operative Housing Group report

Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London. Wed 14 Jun 2017

The report is called Co-operate Not Speculate; London's Councils are more interest in realising asset values
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Members of the London Co-operative Housing Group had brought copies of their new report 'Co-operate Not Speculate' to photograph outside the London Real Estate Forum.

Their report calls on Local councils, the Mayor and the GLA, and organisations like TfL, Network Rail and the London Canal & River Trust to work with community builders and co-ops who can provide genuinely affordable properties rather than with property developers who are making high profits.

Although projects with developers realise the market value of the land they do not provide the homes needed for ordinary Londoners nor deliver the long-term financial value and stable communities that only permanent low rent housing can provide.
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Stop demolishing council estates

Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London. Wed 14 Jun 2017
Class War hold up posters outside the London Real Estate Forum
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Campaigners, including members of Class War and the Revolutionary Communist Group concerned over London's housing problems protest noisily in Mayfair outside the London Real Estate Forum.

They complained at the scandal of London councils, mainly Labour controlled, speaking at the event and increasingly conspiring with estate agents and property developers to sell public land and transform estates which now house those on low incomes into homes for the wealthy and investments often kept empty for overseas investors.

They also point to the cosy 'revolving door' with many councillors and officers who cooperate with the developers ending up in lucrative jobs with them or in companies set up by councils, as well as enjoying gifts and hospitality.

They say councils are driving ordinary Londoners out of the capital and of failing in their duty to ensure safe and decent housing. They demand social housing not social cleansing.
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May has to go! march

Downing St, London, UK. 10th June 2017
People make gestures towards No 10 Downing St
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After the rally celebrating the Corbyn's leadership and performance in the General Election, most of those present walk to Downing St to celebrate anti-racism and multiculturalism and against all bigotry.

In particular the urged on Theresa May not to make any pact with the DUP with their close links to paramilitary terrorists and disregard for human rights. They crowded around the gates of Downing St shouting slogans before marching to Trafalgar Square and then back down Whitehall to Parliament Square where I left them.
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May has to go! rally

Parliament Square, London, UK. 10th June 2017

People shout slogans calling for May to go and supporting Jeremy Corbyn
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A rally in Parliament Square with speeches, music and dancing celebrates the remarkable performance against all the odds made by Labour led by Jeremy Corbyn in the General Election.

Speakers called for support for him inside and outside the Labour Party and for the fight for Labour values to continue and for all Labour MPs to get behind a leader who has shown he can grow the Labour vote. They said Theresa May has to go, and expressed disgust at her making a pact with the far right DUP with its bigotry and close connection with paramilitary terrorism. But it was very hot and I found most of the speakers were in rather predictable ruts.
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Irish Abortion Rights

Parliament Square, London, UK. 10th June 2017
A gay couple celebrate after kissing in front of the abortion rights banner
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Shocked by the news that Theresa May is to govern with the help of the DUP, the London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign protest in Parliament Square against the bigoted views they hold against abortion, women's rights and gay rights.

The DUP has consistently obstructed basic human rights in Northern Ireland, where women can still face life imprisonment for abortion, is opposed to gay rights, believes in creationism and opposes the idea of evolution and has close links with Protestant paramilitary terrorists.
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Protests follow Hung Parliament Vote

Westminster, London. Fri 9 Jun 2017
Class War hold up posters outside the media village on College Green
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After election results showed that no party had a majority, a few protesters came to Westminster to demand that Theresa May resign or make points about Brexit.

I had expected there to be more people and more protests on the day that we woke up to hear that although the Tory Party still had more MPs than any other party they had lost their absolute majority, with Labour under Jeremy Corbyn performing much better than the pundits and most opinion polls had predicted. But perhaps too many had been up until the early morning listening to the results as they were announced rather than having the sense to go to bed and get a proper night's sleep.

Avaaz had brought a person with a large caricature head Of Theresa May to Downing St to pose in front of a banner 'The People Have Spoken' and lay white roses in front of a gravestone with the message 'Hard Brexit R.I.P 2016-2017'. There were a few other protesters there too. And at College Green a couple of Class War activists, Ian Bone and Sid Skill had come to barrack from the sidelines the MPs and journalists carrying out interviews in the media village there. Apart from them and a few other individuals, Westminster seemed strangely empty.

In the election, the Tories were saved from a more ignominious defeat by the relatively poor performance of the SNP, expected after their landslide victory in Scotland in 2015. Had Scottish Labour got behind Corbyn they might have benefited from this, but instead it was the Conservatives who were revived from their almost complete death in the 2015 election there.

Theresa May announced she was intending to stay on and try and govern as a minority government, relying on votes from the Ulster protestant extremist DUP party, linked to loyalist paramilitaries. Eventually - with the aid of a £2 billion bribe - she did get them to agree to support her - in what soon became known as a 'bung' parliament.
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Street Theatre against LSE Inequality

LSE, London. Wed 7 Jun 2017

Some of the cast of the short play - including a man playing the LSE director look at the script

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'Life Not Money at the LSE' staged a street theatre protest supporting London School of Economics cleaners who have taken a series of weekly strikes for equality.

The cleaners complain that the LSE and employers Noonan treat them as second-class citizens, refusing to recognise their union the United Voices of the World and giving them low pay and grossly inferior conditions to directly employed staff.

Two people sprayed a chalk slogans on the road while others alternated chanting 'London School of Exploitation' in various silly voices with loud blowing of vuvuzelas, creating a very strange and alien atmosphere which made many stop and listen, including those taking their lunch break at the nearby pub.

The campaigners then performed a short play in which a character playing the LSE director tore the shirts off the backs of several cleaners and boasted about his huge and rapidly rising salary, while a student and a lecturer made excuses about not intervening, with the performance ending with the 'director' being showered with streamers and tinsel.
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DPAC Trash The Tories in Maidenhead

Maidenhead, Berks. Sat 3 Jun 2017
Paula points her finger at the officer who is threatening to arrest her
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Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) protested in Theresa May’s constituency against the Tory government, the first in the world to be found guilty of the grave and systematic violations of disabled people's human rights by the UN.

The cuts the Tories have made since 2010 have had 9 times the impact on disabled people as on any other group, 19 times more for those with the highest support needs.

DPAC say Tory polices are heartless and are starving, isolating and ultimately killing the disabled and that they regard them as unproductive members of society - though they axed the Independent Living Fund which did enable many to make a real contribution. A UN investigation which found the UK guilty of grave and systematic violations of disabled people's human rights was rejected by the Conservative government.

The protesters marched from the station to protest on the high street with a straw effigy of 'Theresa May - Weak and Wobbly' and the message 'Cuts Kill'. After a hour of protest with speeches, chanting and handing out fliers calling on Maidenhead voters to vote for anyone but Theresa May they returned to the station.

It looked as if the protest had finished, and I think some of the photographers who had taken the train from London had left to travel back. But I though it unlikely that DPAC would leave without some further action. Most of the police had also left but they soon returned when DPAC moved onto one of the busiest roads into the town, blocking it for around 15 minutes before police finally persuaded them to move.

There was a lengthy argument between police and a man who identified himself as General William Taggart of the NCA and was claiming a military privilege which gave him a right to block roads in times of national emergencies such as these. He founded the Reading-based New Cyber Army in 2006, though on Facebook he states "We originally were around in one form or another since the 80's" to "to help represent the little guy against the onslaught of the corporate indifference to consumers and consumer rights."

The police then turned to argue with Paula Peters of DPAC, and told her that she would be arrested if she did not move off the road. She argued for some minutes with the officer in charge and then moved her mobility scooter slowly to the pavement.

Police started to move those protesters still on the pavement with the banner showing the around a hundred names of those killed by benefit cuts and the protest seemed to be finishing, so I caught the bus back to Windsor rather than hang around for an hour or two for the next one. Bus services are infrequent in these areas a little way from London.
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LSE Cleaners strike Day 7

LSE, London. Fri 2 Jun 2017
A smoke flare adds a little colour to the end of the rally
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The United Voices of the World Cleaners end the seventh day of their strike for equal treatment at the London School of Economics with a rally showing their determination to continue the struggle.

The LSE management had made them an offer some days ago, but withdrew it after the cleaners accepted it and the dispute appears to be widening, with students, workers from other institutions and other unions including the UCU coming to express their solidarity.

There was poetry from Poets on the Picket Line as well as dancing and some high-energy chanting
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Liar, Liar protest at BBC

Broadcasting House, London. Fri 2 Jun 2017

'I am a threat' says the banner about Theresa May
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Protesters came to the BBC to protest against their refusal to play Captain Ska's "Liar Liar GE2017" in the Radio One Chart Show despite announcing that it hard reached No 4 in the chart.

The track is a scathing attack on the Conservative's record in office, highlighting food banks, the NHS crisis, education funding crisis and a drop in living standards and the BBC say the law requires it to be impartial in the election period.

The record's promoter, The People's Campaign Against Austerity point out that the BBC coverage "has been anything but impartial throughout the election campaign with a constant bias in favour of the Conservatives." I suspect that a thorough academic study of the corporations output will back this up, though probably also finding that the bias was rather less than usual. It does seem to be a necessary qualification to work as a political commentator on the BBC to have been an active member of the Young Conservatives and to have an essentially right-wing viewpoint and a Westminster-centric perspective, as well as a penchant for making snide comments about anyone on the left.

The band arrived after I left and gave a live performance or 'Liar, Liar' on the stage facing the BBC, who I think ignored the whole thing - as they do most protests.
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LSE Cleaners strike for equality

LSE, London. Thu 1 Jun 2017

Cleaners blow vuvuzelas at the rally outside the LSE students union
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London School of Economics cleaners rally on the 6th day of their strike calling for the same terms and conditions - annual leave, sick pay and other benefits - as directly employed workers and to be treated with dignity and respect.

Cleaners are employed for the LSE by cleaning contractor Noonan and almost all are members of the United Voices of the World union. After 8 months of their campaign for equality the LSE have only offered derisory concessions and are refusing to recognise the UVW and and hold sensible talks with them, or to reinstate a sacked worker. At the end of a long day of picketing they intended to relax with a Zumba class on the picket line.
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London Images

London, June 2017

This months images from my travels around London includes a bus ride in South London
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