my london diary index


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Halloween protest for living wage at HR Owen

South Kensington, London. Tue 31 Oct 2017
Protesters, including Jane Nicholl, stop a car attempting to drive through their road block outside H R Owen
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United Voices of the World trade union protest noisily and block the road outside the Ferrari showrooms of luxury car dealer H R Owen in South Kensington in protest called at short notice after a five hour grievance and disciplinary hearing yesterday in which the employers gave suspended cleaners Angelica Valencia and Freddy Lopez the choice - promise not to strike at Ferrari and accept your poverty wage, or find work elsewhere.

The cleaners are employed by contractors Templewood, who suspended them without pay after they voted for strike action for a living wage. H R Owen then banned them from working at their showrooms which they have cleaned for 12 years.

This and the previous protest at H R Owen in September which caused some chaos on the road in South Kensington clearly made the company see sense, perhaps because of complaints by those who live in the area, many of whom were clearly disgusted when they talked to the protesters and took leaflets that people working in on of the richest areas of London and cleaning a company making high profits from selling expensive luxury cars were so poorly paid. Shortly after this there were talks with the UVW union and a further planned protest was cancelled as a satisfactory settlement was reached.
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Pregnant Then Screwed March of the Mummies

Westminster, London. Tue 31 Oct 2017

The Mummies stopped to protest at Downing St
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Campaign group Pregnant Then Screwed march from Trafalgar Square to a rally in Parliament Square London with women wrapped in bandages as mummies, many pushing buggies or carrying young children, calling for action over pregnancy and maternity discrimination after a government commissioned report showed that every year 54,000 women, 1 in 9 of those who get pregnant get sacked.

This figure has almost doubled in the past ten years and it has been almost impossible for these victims to access justice, with less than 1% making a tribunal claim. The government have done nothing in the 14 months since the report was published.

The marchers called for the time limit for raising employment claims to be increased from three to six months for pregnant and postpartum women, for requiring companies to report how many claims for flexible working have made and granted, for six weeks paternity leave at 90% salary for fathers, subsidised childcare from six months and for the self-employed to have statutory shared parental pay.
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UFFC annual remembrance procession

Westminster, London. Sat 28 Oct 2017

People and banners on the slow march down Whitehall
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The United Families and Friends Campaign (UFFC), a coalition of of people killed by police, in prisons, in immigration detention and in secure psychiatric hospitals make their 19th annual march of remembrance at a funereal pace from Trafalgar Square to Downing St.

The slow march was followed by a rally opposite Downing St with speakers from many of the bereaved families, including those of Kingsley Burrell, Sean Rigg and Olaseni Lewis. Unlike in previous years the UFFC had decided not to send a delegation to deliver a letter to Downing St, as the response to previous letters, including last year to Theresa May have resulted in bland assurances but no action.

Police are still not being properly questioned or investigated after deaths in custody and even in those cases where inquests have decided there is a clear case the whole judicial and political system prevents any successful prosecutions. As the banner at the head of the procession stated, 'Police Have Licence to Kill'.
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March for a Safe Uxbridge Road

Ealing, London. Sat 28 Oct 2017Protesters hold a silent vigil block the junction where Claudia Manera was hit by a lorry
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People, many wheeling bicycles and including local MP Rupa Huq and several local councillors, march along the Uxbridge Rd from Ealing Town Hall after cyclist Claudia Manera died a week after a collision with a lorry being driven at the Lido Junction on October 12th.

The march stopped at the junction where she was hit and occupied it, stopping all traffic for a short silence before a rally in the adjoining park.

A message was read from her father, and there were short speeches from a London Cycling Campaign representative and one of the event organisers, as well as from Ealing Council leader Julian Bell who was loudly heckled over the council's record on making this and other roads safe; he insisted Ealing under Labour was one of the most cycle-friendly councils in the country, but clearly the feeling of those present was that a much more urgent approach was needed, particularly over Uxbridge Rd.

In the past five years two pedestrians and two cyclists have been killed on this road, 46 people have been seriously injured and around 300 received other injuries. The campaigners call on Transport for London and Ealing Council to review the hazardous environment along the road and to make it safe for all pedestrians and cyclists.
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30th Birthday cake for London City Airport

London City Airport, London. Thu 26 Oct 2017
John Stewart hands the cake to a young boy who will deliver it to the Airport
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Campaigners dressed as bakers delivered a birthday cake to London City Airport on its 30th anniversary demanding they retain the cap on flights, have no further expansion and end the use of concentrated flight paths.

When permission was given for the airport to operate in a crowded part of east London it was on condition that the number of flights would be very limited and that these would use ultra-quiet turboprops designed for short landing and take-off.

There are now many more flights, many made by extremely noisy jets, causing extreme nuisance under the flight paths. The demonstration was met by London City Airport's Director of Public Affairs Liam McKay who took the cake and invited the protesters in for tea or coffee and to eat a slice of the cake. He said that he welcomed the dialogue with local residents.
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Grenfell protest celebrates Russian Revolution

Kensington & Chelsea Town Hall, London. Wed 25 Oct 2017
Class War, RCG and Justice4Grenfell supporters on the Town Hall steps
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Class War protested with others outside the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea council meeting taking place on the exact 100th anniversary of the storming of the Winter Palace by anarchist red guards at the start of the Russian revolution.

They call Kensington & Chelsea council a "corrupt murdering feudal elite" which has totally lost the trust of the Grenfell residents and are promoting the setting up of a People's Republic of North Kensington (PRNK) which will declare independence on October 31st.

Class War has strong links with the area; Ian Bone is a former resident of Grenfell Tower and the first issues of the Class War magazine were produced there in the 1980s.
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Guardians of the Forest - COP 23

Parliament Square, London. Tue 24 Oct 2017
A woman holds a picture of a parrot as she speaks about the need to protect forests
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Guardians of the Forest, indigenous leaders from Latin America, Indonesia and Africa, hold a rally in Parliament Square to commemorate those who have lost their lives defending the forests against mining, the cutting down of forests for palm oil production and other crops and other threats to the forests and those who live in them.

The Guardians held up pictures of a few of the many who have been murdered for the profit of unscrupulous companies - including many which are listed on stock exchanges in London and elsewhere. Whole tribes have been forcibly removed from their homes and their rights to the land they have lived in for many generations ignored.

Indigenous peoples want their rights to be recognised and an end to the destruction of forests which they have maintained them for hundreds or thousands of years and which play a vital role in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and producing oxygen. The Guardians of the Forest visited London on their way to the COP23 UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn where they will argue that the continuing maintenance of the forests by their indigenous inhabitants is vital in the fight against climate change, and that the clearance and devastation has to be stopped.
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Safe Passage for the Children of Calais

Old Palace Yard, Westminster, London. Tue 24 Oct 2017

Choose Love - Help Refugees - campaigners introduce themselves to those around them
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Safe Passage held a rally outside Parliament before lobbying MPs on the anniversary of the destruction of the Calais Jungle. They praised the Government for transferring 750 child refugees from France to London but demand they help the hundreds of refugees still living in Calais, many sleeping rough in terrible conditions.

They urge the government to provide safe and legal routes for the children in Calais, many of whom are entitled to come here to be reunited with their family and to fill the remaining 280 places allocated under the Dubs law but not yet filled 18 months after Parliament passed the law. They want the Home office to station an official in France to aid with these transfers and to work with the French to proved safe accommodation for all refugee children.
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Stop Robbing the Homeless

Kentish Town Police Station, London. Sat 21 Oct 2017

Campaigners wait to hand themselves in with tents at the police station
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Protesters carrying tents went into Kentish Town Police Station and asked to be arrested for the offence of carrying illegal items. Police refused to arrest them.

Their action was a protest against the campaign by Camden Council and the Metropolitan Police who have been removing and stealing tents from homeless people 'in the interest of public safety'.

The campaigners say this is inhumane and clearly threatens the lives of homeless people in the borough, that the police action is theft, and that the council should be helping the homeless and not attempting to kill them though exposure to the elements. Despite evidence that this has been happening in the borough, both council and police denied it to the press.
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Class War levitate the Daily Mail

Kensington, London. Sat 21 Oct 2017

Security at the Daily Mail try to prevent the levitation - one points at a crack in the pavement
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Inspired by their success at the town hall, Class War's Levitation Brigade then moved on to Northcliffe House, the home of the Daily Mail.

Security staff there reacted angrily to Class War calling out the demon of Paul Dacre and their attempt to raise the building by over 70 metres, perhaps fearing it might damage the Rolls-Royce parked outside, but the levitation ceremony went ahead despite considerable interference.
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Class War levitate Kensington Town Hall

Kensington Town Hall, London. Sat 21 Oct 2017

Adam waves his tassels to celebrate the levitation
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On the 50th anniversary of the Yippee levitation of the Pentagon during anti-Vietnam War protests, Class War's Ian Bone and shaman Jimmy Kunt (aka Adam Clifford) celebrate by attempting a similar feat at Kensington Town Hall.

Standing on the steps of the entrance to the town hall of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the council responsible for the disastrous fire at Grenfell Tower, Adam called out the demons of councillors including Nicholas Paget-Brown, Rock Feilding-Mellen & Elizabeth Campbell and attempted to levitate the town hall to a height of over 70 metres. “Out, demons, out! Out, demons, out!

A security officer told them that they couldn't do that here, but they told her it wasn't possible to stop a levitation or exorcism and the ceremony went ahead.

Afterwards Ian Bone repeated a well-known quote from 1967 "You mean you didn't see it, man?"
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March in Solidarity with Catalonia

London. Sat 21 Oct 2017

Catalans, some with shirts with 'Si' and independence flags at Eros in Piccadilly Circus
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Several hundred people, many carrying Catalan flags supporting independence met at Piccadilly Circus to march through London to show their support for Catalonia.

They demanded the immediate release of the political prisoners Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez, the of the repression and start of dialogue to accept the electoral mandate of the Catalan Referendum. They want the UK Government to condemn the violence towards civilians during the referendum vote in Catalonia and to support the democratic solution. I left the march in Parliament Square to go to another event.
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Floral tributes still on Westminster Bridge

Westminster Bridge, London. Thu 19 Oct 2017

Flowers laid ten days earlier by football supporters
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The floral tributes left by members of the Football Lads Alliance on Westminster Bridge twelve days ago on 7th October are still there, although now rather the worse for wear.

I had meant to photograph them at the end of the rally, but forgot to do so in my hurry to catch a train, and hadn't passed them again before. Until recently those left by people in the immediate aftermath of the Westminster attack on 22 March 2017 were still on the lamp posts, but these have now all gone.
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Stay in Europe

Houses of Parliament, London. Thu 19 Oct 2017

Campaigners hold European flags and one wears a 'Stop Brexit' hat
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A dogged group of campaigners opposed to leaving Europe continue their regular protests in front of the Houses of Parliament.

They tell me that we can still stop Brexit, but it is hard to see how this could happen now, though anything is possible given the current state of politics in this country. more pictures

BHP AGM Solidarity Demonstration

Westminster, London. Thu 19 Oct 2017
Protesters apologise profusely and move Cerrjon villages out of the way of a man they think is a BHP shareholder
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A picket outside the BHP global mining giant's AGM in Westminster includes community representatives from Arizona, USA, Cerrejon, Colombia and Minas Gerais, Brazil opposed to BHP's mining activities which are causing social and environmental destruction in these areas.

The Samarco Dam disaster in Brazil has polluted huge areas, 25 communities are being forcibly evicted to enable BHP's huge expansion plans for the Cerrejon coalfield in Colombia which supplies a third of UK burnt coal, and BHP want to mine copper in the bio-diverse Ecuadorian forest of Intag as well as in Arizona, USA on land sacred to the San Carlos Apache Tribe in a nature reserve at the Resolution Copper Mine.

The protesters laid a map of the Cerrejon area with villages on it where people were entering for the AGM, moving it with apologies and scattering the villages as shareholders walked to the meeting. Campaigners from the three areas together with those from the UK went into the AGM as shareholders to make their demands.
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Zimbabwe democracy vigil celebrates 15 years

Zimbabwe Embassy, London. Sat 14 Oct 2017

The cake celebrating 15 years of vigils for democracy is cut
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The Zimbabwe democracy and human rights vigil celebrated 15 years of weekly vigils - around 780 in total- outside the Zimbabwe Embassy on the Strand since October 2002 with a special rally and cakes.

Their first vigil was held on 12th October 2012 and they intend to continue to protest until there are free and fair elections and an end the human rights abuses of the Mugabe regime. Their vigils are in solidarity with courageous and inspiring human rights defenders in Zimbabwe who risk life and liberty to demand democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

The vigil was attended by several who had been at that first vigil in 2002 including human rights activist Peter Tatchell who was badly beaten when he attempted a citizen's arrest on Mugabe in Brussels in 2001, and he cut the celebratory cake with others from the vigil.
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Class War return to Ripper "Museum"

London. Sat 14 Oct 2017

Jane Nicholl of Class War wields an inflatable hammer outside the tourist shop
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Class war protested peacefully with London 4th Wave Feminists outside the so-called "museum' in Cable St displaying exhibits glorifying the brutal series of 19th century murders and exhibiting materials relating to the death of working class women.

They complain that Tower Hamlets council has not enforced the planning decisions against the "museum" which was only given planning permission under the pretence it would celebrate the history of women in the East End and symbolically attacked the tourist shop and its illegal metal shutters and signage with plastic inflatable hammers. When police arrived they tried to get Class War to protest some distance from the shop without success.

One woman read a message from a descendant of one of the victims condemning the voyeuristic exploitation of her in the displays, and movingly told what was known about the unfortunate victims, reminding us that they were real people, with members of their families still living, and should not be exploited in this way.

The whole Ripperology industry celebrates violence against women, and there is no real mystery; police at the time abandoned their investigation when a suspect they were convinced was the killer committed suicide.
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Little Social don't break the cultural boycott

Mayfair, London. Sat 14 Oct 2017

'No Amount of Garnish Can Hide Apartheid War Crimes'
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Human rights group Inminds protests outside Jason Atherton's Little Social Mayfair restaurant, calling on him and head chef Cary Dockerty not to break the Palestinian call for a cultural boycott of Israel by participating in Brand Israel culinary event 'Round Tables' in Tel Aviv in November 2017.

They say the event is a part of the Israeli government's Public Relations efforts to distract from its policies of occupation and apartheid by bringing international prestige to Israel’s culinary scene and is sponsored by Dan Hotels who have a branch built on stolen Palestinian land in occupied East Jerusalem.

The protest was opposed by a small group with Israeli flags, one of whom who had spent some time in Israel and studied there told me that all of the banners at the event were full of lies, and that Israel's totally disproportionate attacks on Gaza were a legitimate response to Palestinian rocket attacks. more pictures

Cyclists Kensington Vigil & Die In

Kensington & Chelsea Town Hall, London. Thu 12 Oct 2017
The die-in after the killing by a HGV of a 36 year old woman cyclist at Chelsea Bridge
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Die-In vigil and protest by Stop Killing Cyclists outside Kensington & Chelsea Town Hall after the killing by a HGV of a young 36 year old woman at Chelsea Bridge last week, the second cyclist killed by a HGV in the borough this year.

Kensington & Chelsea is one of the worst London boroughs in opposing plans for protected cycle lanes, bus-stop cycle by-passes and 20mph speed limits and have failed to build even a single metre of protected cycle lane, forcing cyclists including children and pensioners to share the roads with HGVs and buses.

The protest demanded the council end its disgraceful opposition to safer cycling schemes, that TfL redesign the Chelsea Bridge junction where 36 accidents were reported last year to meet 'Go Dutch' standards and that the Transport minister introduce the long demanded regulations for safer HGV design, legislate urgently to get unsafe HGVs off our roads, and issue the commencement order allowing TfL to fine lorries and other vehicles that illegally drive into mandatory cycle lanes.
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Prime Minister, Please Sentence

Downing St, London. Thu 12 Oct 2017
Large sheets of writing opposite Downing St
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A well-prepared protest that I rushed past on my way to catch the Underground opposite Downing St.

However, it remains an enigma to me what this protest was about, though it appears to involve a family from Halton who have been bullied, humiliated and Harassed by AMEC and others, and a trial in Manchester High Court in July 2014 at which it is claimed AMEC "Promised to tell lies, the whole lies and nothing but the lies, so help them God'. And a web site no longer on line.
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Roadblocks against Air Pollution

Trafalgar Square, London. Thu 12 Oct 2017

Campaigners hold up the banner in Trafalgar Square
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'Stop Killing Londoners: Cut Air Pollution' campaigners pose in Trafalgar Square on a day of protests in some of London's most polluted streets.

Earlier they had briefly blocked Tower Bridge in the morning rush hour. Their series of protests took place as the London Assembly debated air quality measures and sent them the message that the 10,000 early deaths of Londoners is a health emergency and that the politicians need to prioritise the lives of Londoners over the special interests of the car and oil companies.
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Stand Up To Racism and the FLA

Downing St, London. Sat 7 Oct 2017

A man rips up one of the leaflets from Stand Up To Racism

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Stand Up to Racism met opposite Downing St to be there while the Football Lads Alliance was marching past, calling for everyone to Stand together and say 'No to racism & Islamophobia, Football for All'.

Although I was criticised by them for describing this as a counter-demonstration, it quite clearly was meant as such, although they were careful not to call the marchers racists. I went there before the march arrived and found a small counter-demonstration had assembled opposite Downing St to hold banners against racism and Islamophobia, and then returned to the Football Lads March, which by then was just approaching Trafalgar Square and came down Whitehall with them. Clearly the marchers felt they were being called racists by Stand Up to Racism and shouted abuse at them.

A few from Stand Up to Racism stood between police lining the kerb were handing out a flier 'Some questions for the leaders of the FLA', which asked them to take steps to ensure their movement was not taken over by racists. Although the FLA strongly denies accusations that they are racist and against Muslims in general, there were many former supporters of far-right groups such as the EDL among those marching.

As the FLA marched past, a number of individuals came to shout abuse at those handing out the fliers, threatening them and me and photographers. One man pulled all of the fliers one person was holding and threw them onto the pavement while others took them and tore them up, though a few took them and started to read them.

Some of the FLA attempted to stop the abuse and threats, and police pushed a number of marchers back into the crowd attempting to keep order. But a large group of the marchers stopped and clearly wanted to take on the counter-protest. There were a few minor scuffles as police tried to keep them away and at least one photographer was assaulted before police reinforcements arrived and eventually persuaded the last FLA marchers to move on towards Westminster Bridge, where the wreaths some were carrying were to be laid.

By this time I'd had enough of the FLA, and sat down in Parliament Square to eat my sandwiches as a late lunch. I could see the crowd, now down to perhaps a couple of thousand, on Westminster Bridge, but couldn't be bothered to try and join them. There were quite a few of the marchers standing around me in small groups who had also had enough, having walked from Park Lane.
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Football Lads Alliance March

Park Lane to Westminster Bridge, London. Sat 7 Oct 2017
A leeds United fan holds up a message 'Together we are stronger'
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Football Lads Alliance and Veterans Against Terrorism marched from Park Lane to Westminster Bridge to lay wreaths representing clubs large and small around the country.

The march had been called a silent march, and some at least set out from Park Lane and down Piccadilly in silence but it was already quite loud as it came to Trafalgar Square, where it was joined by a group of a couple of hundred Gurkhas, many wearing their medals.

The Gurkhas marched in front for a few yards, but were then overtaken by some of the organisers and fans, including FLA founder John Meighan and Phil Campion former SAS Special Ops from SOFREP (Special Operations Forces Situation Report), a pro-military information site run by veterans, both of whom had made Islamophobic speeches at the Park Lane rally.

On Whitehall the march became very noisy, even before it reached the small group of anti-racists, and despite several hundred having joined it at Trafalgar Square it seemed rather smaller than when it left Park Lane, with perhaps only a couple of thousand actually reaching Westminster Bridge.
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Football Lads Alliance Rally

Park Lane, London. Sat 7 Oct 2017

Veterans Against Terrorism and football supporters with wreaths at the rally in Park Lane
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Football Lads Alliance and Veterans Against Terrorism rally in Park Lane before marching to Westminster Bridge with wreaths representing clubs large and small around the country.

It was a large rally, filling densely a relatively short length of one side of Park Lane, with perhaps 5,000 people, but very much smaller than some other marches that have met here such as that in support of refugees. They were protesting against the recent terror attacks in the UK and Europe, remembering the victims and calling on government to take decisive action against the extremist threat, including locking up all terrorist suspects and deporting those of foreign origin.

The organisers emphasize that they are opposed to all extremism and racism, but speaker suggested that many thousands of Muslims were Islamist extremists and should be locked up, and there was a huge outcry when the name of Diane Abbott was mentioned, with a loud shout from behind me that she should be raped. It was hard to avoid the impression that it was a meeting to stir up Islamophobia, and there seemed to be a total lack of sympathy with refugees fleeing their countries to seek asylum here.

On my way to the rally I'd walked past several pubs where supporters of the FLA were drinking, with small crowds on the pavement outside. Several people had shouted comments at me, and I recognised others from EDL, Britain First and other extreme right events I've photographed. I think few of these people left the pub to go and hear the speeches, preferring to keep drinking and join the march when it started.
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Silent Vigil for Elephants and Rhinos

Parliament Square, London. Sat 7 Oct 2017

A campaigner holds a mock elephant tusk and has a t-shirt 'Only a Rhino Needs its Horn
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People stand in a diamond formation dressed in t-shirts against the ivory trade with some holding mock elephant tusks or rhino horns in a half hour long silent protest in Parliament Square as an event in the annual Global March for Elephants and Rhinos (GMFER) taking place around the world.

Speakers after this vigil called on the UK government to bring in a full ban on ivory and end the trade by antiques dealers in Britain that plays a major role in keeping ivory markets open and driving the poaching that threatens to make elephants and rhinos extinct.
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Stop Killing Londoners with traffic fumes

London. Thu 5 Oct 2017

Protesters with banners block Piccadilly Circus
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Campaigners blocked two of London's busiest junctions, Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus, for brief protests against the dangerous level of air pollution in London, explaining to motorists and pedestrians that NO2 and particulates from traffic fumes lead to thousands of premature deaths in London each year as well as much chronic suffering from lung diseases and breathing problems.

This was the 6th in a series of peaceful and creative direct actions by the group 'Stop Killing Londoner' who say they will continue to protest until the Mayor and TfL take effective action to cut air pollution levels.
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London Images

London, October 2017

Kentish Town
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Pictures this month include some from a stroll around Kentish Town while waiting for a protest, as well as others taken from the buses and trains on my travels around London.
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