my london diary index


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Class War protest Rees-Mogg freak show

London Palladium, London. Tue 26 Feb 2019

'Rees Mogg', 'Mother Hysteria' and others from Class War outside the theatre
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Class War protest outside the London Palladium as fans who had paid £38 for a ticket entered to listen to Jacob Rees-Mogg.

With Jane Nicholl dressed as a nun, Mother Hysteria, and Adam Clifford as Jacob Rees Mogg they loudly asked why people had come to listen to him "spout homophobic, transphobic, racist, pro-hunting, misogynist, classist, privileged" nonsense. It was certainly a better show than anything that would take place later inside the venue, and all for free. You can read an excellent account of it on Inside Croydon.

A few of those going to the show came to shout insults at them, and after a few minutes police moved Class War to the opposite side of the road.

Later Police searched Jane Nicholl and threatened to arrest her for carrying offensive weapons after it emerged she had brought some novelty stinkbombs to the protest.
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North Woolwich

North Woolwich, London. Tue 26 Feb 2019

The footpath goes across the outer lock gate at Albert Dock Basin
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A walk mainly along the Capital Ring at North Woolwich.

I'd been meaning to return to North Woolwich for some months, and as luck would have it on the first day I found time to do so there was trouble on the DLR, with no trains running from Bank to King George V station. Instead I had to take a longer journey via Woolwich Arsenal, ending up with only half the time I needed at the location, and having to rush away only halfway through my planned walk. At least by then the trains were running again.

The weather wasn't really on my side either, though it was a very pleasant day for walking. But the sky was absolutely clear blue, making lighting very contrasty and with a huge difference between both exposure and colour temperature in sun and shade, and those clear blue skies are really a problem for panoramic images, as the picture above - with a 147 degree view - illustrates.
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Outsourced Workers at Justice ministry

Ministry of Justice, London. Tue 26 Feb 2019
UVW union members wear t-shirts 'Ministry of Injustice
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Outsourced workers marched on from the BEIS to protest outside the Ministry of Justice at lunchtime.

The protesters included mainly migrant workers who were taking part in a day of action and coordinated strike by members of the UVW, IWGB, and the BEIS PCS branch who work at the Ministry of Justice, Dept for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the University of London.

Low paid workers belonging to the United Voices of the World union at the Ministry of Justice have been campaigning for some time to get the London Living wage, but the Justice Minister has been unwilling to talk with them. They call it the Ministry of Injustice.

As well as demanding the London Living Wage they are calling for an end to outsourcing and the insecurity, discrimination and low pay it causes. The event took place on the day of a High Court challenge to extend the legal rights of the 3.3 million outsourced workers.

During the protest some of those who had already been on strike for 24 hours went back into the ministry to resume work, to cheers and hugs from those outside.
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Outsourced Workers protest at BEIS

BEIS, London. Tue 26 Feb 2019

Striking workers dance at the protest outside the BEIS
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Outsourced workers marched on from their rally in Parliament Square, to protest outside the Dept for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy in Victoria St.

The protesters were mainly migrants, taking part in a day of action and coordinated strike by members of the UVW, IWGB, and the BEIS PCS branch who work at the Ministry of Justice, Dept for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the University of London. Those striking at the BEIS included catering and security staff who are members of the PCS and are demanding the London Living Wage as well as end to outsourcing and the insecurity, discrimination and low pay it causes.

Among the speakers was Labour MP for Derby North Chris Williamson. The event took place on the day of a High Court challenge to extend the legal rights of the 3.3 million outsourced workers.
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Rally for an end to Outsourcing

Parliament Square, London. Tue 26 Feb 2019

Low-paid workers get lousy pay and conditions and bullying management from outsourcing
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Outsourced workers hold a rally opposite Parliament against outsourcing.

Workers, mainly migrants who work for the Ministry of Justice, Dept for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the University of London were on strike in a coordinated action by the UVW, IWGB, and the BEIS PCS branch demanding an end to outsourcing and the insecurity, discrimination and low pay it causes.

They marched through London on the day of a High Court challenge to extend the legal rights of 3.3 million outsourced workers and held a rally opposite Parliament. The day of action had started at 8.00am at the University of London, had gone on to protest outside the Hight Court and then come to Parliament Square where I joined them.

Several Labour MPs came to express the party's support for an end to outsourcing and promised the party would legislate to end it when it came into office.
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Eton & WIndsor

Eton, Berkshire. Mon 25 Feb 2019

Noddy goes to Windsor and Pisa. I doubt my view of WIndsor Castle will appeal to the local tourist authority
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A slow wander around Eton with a stop for coffee before a pub lunch and then back to Windsor to catch the bus home. This was a family outing rather than a walk.

Windsor and Eton are both now in the borough of WIndsor and Maidenhead, though it's long past time we had a proper reorganisation of local government. Eton is of course dominated by the school founded in 1440 by King Henry VI to provide free education to 70 poor boys. A sole use to which I think it's return would be a very positive idea both for the country and the world.
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Staines & the Thames

Staines, Middx. Sun 24 Feb 2019
A long lens view downstream with the trees of St Anne's Hill, Chertsey on the skyline
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A short walk mainly beside the river a few minutes away from my home.

I needed a day off after a busy day on Saturday, and spent most of it in front of a computer working on the pictures. But in late afternoon Linda persuaded me to take a short break from work for a walk.
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Leake Street graffiti

Leake St, London. Sat 23 Feb 2019

A character on the ceiling holds a banner about the Dartford Bridge
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Leake St is a tunnel under the tracks coming out from Waterloo stationand is one of the few places in London where fraffiti is allowed and encouraged.

The whole length of the tunnel is covered in designs, most of which are soon painted over. Those on the ceililng like the example above have a longer life as it isn't so easy to paint there. Few of the designs are overtly political - the one above was I think the only example I found on this visit.
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Bolivians protests against President Morales

Parliament Square, London. Sat 23 Feb 2019

Bolivians protest again against President Morales standing for a fourth term in office
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Bolivians protest in Parliament Square against President Evo Morales, saying he is a dictator and accuse him of corruption and interfering with the court system to remain in power. Bolivia's Electoral Tribunal ruled in December that he could stand for a fourth term in office in the November 2019 elections, despite a referendum on 21st Feb 2016. which narrowly rejected changing the 2009 constitution to allow the President to serve more than two consecutive terms.
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Yellow Jackets continue protests

Westminster, London. Sat 23 Feb 2019

The right-wing Brexiteers march off from Trafalgar Square behind the 'Justice for our Boys' banner
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Right-wing pro-Brexit extremists wearing yellow jackets protested in Westminster for several hours, walking along the street and disrupting traffic, accompanied by a number of police.

They are angered by the failure to deliver Brexit and to deal with Muslim grooming gangs. The 'Justice for Our Boys' banner is for their campagin to have a young Hindu driver convicted of drunken driving who killed three young men to be tried fro murder. They assert he was carrying ot a deliberate terrorist attack, although there seems to be no evidence this was the case, and it is difficult to understand why any terrorist should target three teenage boys in Hayes rather than strike at some more profile target in a busy public place which might kill many more.

Last week police made a violent attack on their protest and made several arrests near Piccadilly Circus. I talked to another photographer who saw it who told me he had seen no reason for the attack and that a group of police had stormed in and "really laid into the protesters." Perhaps more details will emerge if any of those arrested is charged and brought to trial. The protesters claim it was a savage and unprovoked attack.

It isn't clear why , and complain about the attack on their protest by police last week when several arrests were made.
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Sudanese support non-violent uprising

Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 23 Feb 2019

The organiser of the protest comes round with dates for those taking part
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Sudanese in Trafalgar Square support the peaceful protests in Sudan which began in December calling for democracy and for President Omar Al-Bashir to step down.

Al-Bashir is the only sitting president in the world wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.

The regime as reacted with excessive violence to the peaceful protest, killing over 70 protesters, injuring thousands and arresting many others without access to lawyers, family or medical treatment, and yesterday Al-Bashir appointed a new prime minister and declared a year long state of emergency.
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Stop Trump's Venezuela gold & oil grab

Bank of England. London. Sat 23 Feb 2019
Ken Livingstone supports Venezeula who enabled him to bring in cheap fares for London when mayor
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A protest outside the Bank of England calls for the bank to return the $1.3 billion of Venezuelan gold (31 tonnes) to the Venezuelan government and for an end to the US-backed attempted coup.

Right-wing opposition leader Juan Guaido, illegitimately recognised by our government as President, has written to Theresa May calling for the funds to be sent to him.

Among the speakers were former London Mayor Ken Livingstone and Kate Hudson of CND.
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Against political trial of Catalan leaders

Piccadilly Circus, London. Sat 16 Feb 2019
Campaigners hold up Catalan flags in front of Eros and call for Freedom!
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Catalan campaigners gathered at Piccadilly Circus to protest against the show trail taking place in Spain of Catalan leaders.

They say that innocent people are being held in jail and subjected to trial on fake charges of violence.
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Reclaim Love 2019 street party

Piccadilly Circus, London. Sat 16 Feb 2019
Venus and me under the statue of Eros
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The 16th 'Reclaim Love' free Valentine's Day street party takes place around the statue of Eros in Piccadilly Circus, with drumming, music, dancing poetry to celebrate love.

The event, which was founded by poet Venus CuMara, aims to reclaim love as a manifestation of the human spirit from the sleazy commercialisation which has taken over Valentine's Day as a festival of profit.

Now organised by Alex Akal, everyone was delighted that Venus, despite suffering from cancer which is spreading through her body, was able to take part and speak about her message of love.
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End BP sponsorship at British Museum

British Museum, London. Sat 16 Feb 2019

A human chain around the Great Hall displayed a banner against BP's activities destroying the planet
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London, UK. 16th February 2019. Campaign group BP or Not BP perform a short theatrical presentation in the Assyrian galleries of the British Museum on the 16th anniversary of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Dressed as BP executives they boast how their small contribution to the museum funds generates so much positive publicity for BP, and urge the museum to end BP sponsorship, which covers up their polluting activities which cause climate change and their neocolonial complicity in the Iraq war to open up Iraqi oil reserves. Among the museum's collection are looted antiquities from Iran which helped fund ISIS. Several hundred black-clad supporters shouted, sang and and held banners around the Great Hall of the museum.



Bring Goldsmith's Security In-House

Goldsmiths University, New Cross, London. Thu 14 Feb 2019
General Secretary of the IWGB, Jason Moyer-Lee speaks inside a dining area
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The IWGB union and students launched their campaign for Goldsmiths, University of London, to directly employ its security officers, with a protest outside and inside the university buildings. The protest, on St Valentines Day, called on the university to show its workers some love.

Currently they are employed by CIS Security Ltd on low pay and minimal conditions of service, and CIS routinely flouts its legal responsibilities on statutory sick pay and holidays.

After a rally in front of the main building, the protesters walked inside and were applauded when they addressed groups lunching in several areas before going to briefly stop traffic by sitting down in New Cross Road outside the management offices in the former Deptford Town Hall.

They then walked back into the university campus, briefly occuping the foyer of the Ben Pimlott Building, before walking back to the front of the main building for a final rally. Protests will continue untill the university recognises both the IWGB and their responsibility for people who work on their site and engage in the meaningful talks needed to resolve the dispute.
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Pro-EU campaigners and Brexiteers

Houses of Parliament, London. Wed 13 Feb 2019
Steven Bray holds out a hand as a Brexiteer comes to film him
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Daily protests by stop Brexit group SODEM (Stand of Defiance European Movement) continue outside Parliament.

A handful of extremist pro-Brexit protesters continued to harass Steven Bray and some other SODEM campaigners, trailing them around, shouting insults and photographing them while complaining that the police who tried to keep the two groups apart were favouring the well-behaved SODEM, who today included a group of supporters from Yorkshire.
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Workers strike at Business ministry

BEIS, Westminster, London. Wed 13 Feb 2019

Protesters outside the Dept for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
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Low-paid workers at the Dept of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) strike and protest for the London Living Wage and an end to the scandal of outsourcing.

Although they work inside the government ministry, cleaners, security and caterers are employed by Engie and Aramark on pay and conditions the civil service would be ashamed to offer.

The PCS and UVW unions are campaigning together in all government ministries to end this injustice. The protest was organised by the PCS, BEIS London and South union branch the workers belong to, with the support of the United Voices of the World.

The workers say Minister Greg Clark is starving them to feed the profits of the outsourcing companies and refusing to stand up for people whose work is vital to te ministry. A placard showed Clark with a speech bubble 'Let Them Eat Cake' and the workers offered cakes to people entering or leaving BEIS, asking for donations to union funds.

As usual where the UVW are involved, the protest was a noisy one, with much dancing to a sound system as well as chanting and short speeches.
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UPHD drivers protest unfair congestion charge

London Bridge, London, UK. Mon 11 Feb 2019

A crowd of drivers presses up to the entrance to City Hall

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Private hire drivers protest against TfL making them pay the congestion charge which discriminates unfairly against them as black cabs will remain exempt from paying.

They drivers belong to the UPHA, United Private Hire Drivers, which is a part of the IWGB, International Workers Union of Great Britain, and include many Bangladeshi heritage drivers in the British Bangladesh Minicab Drivers Association, the Minicab Drivers Associaiton and the Somali All Pivate Hire Drivers, SAPHD. They accuse TfL of discriminating against private hire drivers in requiring them to pay the congestion carge as Licenced Taxis - 'black cabs' - will remain exempt.

Because private hire drivers are largely from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups while black cab drivers are almost entirely white the UPHD is threatening TfL with court action under race discrimation law.

After blocking both carriageways of London Bridge by parking their vehicles on it they marched to the City side of the bridge then returned for a short rally at the centre before marching to a noisy protest at City Hall. From there they went to Tower Bridge, but stewards persuaded them not to block this and they began to march back to their cars.
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Kashmir Awami Party call for Freedom

India House, London, UK. Mon 11 Feb 2019

A woman holds a picture of Maqbool Bhat calling for the release of his remains
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A second protest on the anniversary 35th anniversary of the hanging by India of Maqbool Bhat Shaheed in 1984 by the Jammu Kashmir National Awami Party UK called for the release of his remains and for independence for Kashmir.
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Kashmiris call for freedom from India

India House, London, UK. Mon 11 Feb 2019

A man takes off his shirt to protest for freedom in Kashmir
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Kashmiris protest for freedom and justice at the Indian High Commission on the 35th anniversary of the hanging by India of Maqbool Bhat Shaheed in 1984.

India has over 800,000 troops in Kashmir, who shoot to kill, torture, rape and burn homes with impunity. Since 1988 India has killed over 100,000 Kashmiris and independent human rights observers are barred from entering the country. The protest was hosted by the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front.
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People's Trial of the Home Office

Home Office, London. Mon 11 Feb 2019
The judges watch from their table
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End Deportations and other groups outraged by the callous hostile environment of the Home Office in the detention, deportation, asylum and border regime and the trial of the Stansted 15 as terrorists for peacefully resisting the violent, racist, colonial, broken asylum, detention and deportation regime stage a mock trial outside the Home Office

There were testimonies from individuals, groups and campaigns about suffering under the vicious system of rigged justice, indefinite detention, ill-treatment and arbitrary arrest and deportation. Two judges watched from their bench and those attending were members of the jury; I left before the verdict, but it was never in doubt.
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Extinction Rebellion Hackney Street Party

Kingsland High St, Dalston, London. Sat 9 Feb 2019

'Toxic Media Fosters Racism' banner and one of the main 'Rebel For Life' banners in the road
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Extinction Rebellion which is in open Rebellion against the UK Government for its criminal inaction in the face of impending climate and ecological collapse held a street party blocking the A10 Kingsland High St in Dalston.

Meeting in front of Dalston Kingsland station and in the entrance ot Ridley Road market, they protested briefly and musicallyin front of a shopping mall before moving into the road which they blocked for two hours with speeches, music and spoken word performances, t-shirt printing, face painting and free food, with dancing to a samba band.

Police stopped traffic and arranged diversions on other local roads for the event, at the end of which the protesters marched a short distance up the road and then returned to continue the protest in Gillett Square.
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Bank of England return Venezuela's Gold

Bank of England, London. Thu 7 Feb 2019

Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone at the protest
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A picket organised by the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign called on the Bank of England to return the $1.3 billion of Venezuelan gold (31 tonnes) to the Venezuelan government.

Right-wing opposition leader Juan Guaido, illegitimately recognised by our government as President, has written to Theresa May calling for the funds to be sent to him. Labour MP Chris Williamson spoke at the protest.
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Aylesbury residents protest lack of heating

Aylesbury Estate, Southwark, London. Mon 4 Feb 2019

Aysen Dennis tried to get answers from the people inside the Housing Office
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Residents from Southwark Council's Aylesbury Estate protested outside the area housing office over frequent heating and hot water outages.

Some have been without heat in their flats for six months due to failures in the council's services, but all have been affected by frequent breakdowns in the district heating system, which they say the council are deliberately failing to fix promptly.

The tenants are left with only electric heaters which in recent freezing days are totally inadequate and are hugely expensive to run. One woman spoke about putting £20 on the key for her prepayment meter and finding it had almost all been used 24 hours later. She couldn't afford to both heat the home and feed her kids.

They say Southwark council have been purposefully neglecting these well built homes to justify the demolition of the estate and bully the residents out against a ballot result which called for refurbishment rather than demolition.
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Tamils protest on Sri Lanka Independence Day

Lancaster Gate, London. Mon 4 Feb 2019

Tamils complain of genocide in Sri Lanka and campaign for a Tamil nation
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Tamils protested outside the Sri Lanka High Commission, saying that Independence day was a black day for Tamils in Sri Lanka, who have ever since suffered discrimination and oppression by the Sinhalese majority.

They demand the release of all political prisoners, an independent war crimes commission, information on the missing people and return of occupied land ad call for the right to self-determination of the Tamil population. They supported protesters in Sri Lanka who are protesting and fasting for the release of their land.
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Staines walk

Staines, Spelthorne. Sun 3 Feb 2019

The former Staines to West Drayton branch line under the Staines bypass
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A fairly short walk on a Sunday afternoon up Moor Lane and on to Staines Moor.

I've now lived in Staines for 45 years, and it's hard to find anywhere new to walk from our house, but this was a walk I've only done once or twice before. The land along the former Western region line from West Drayton to Staines West is fenced off where it runs close to Moor Lane just beyond the bypass, but not beside where the line used to cross the Wraysbury River. And there is almost always a gap in the fence where Staines youths come through to decorate the railway bridge with graffiti.

Further on we should have been able to get onto Staines Moor by a footpath, but the railway crossing over the still working line to Windsor has been closed. The railway would like to close all such crossings, and have closed another popular foot crossing which joined the two parts of Shortwood Common to the east of Staines, much to my annoyance as I used it fairly frequently. They seem to be able to do this with impunity.

The closed crossing added over a mile to our walk, taking us to a bridleway which runs beside the motorway before we reached another path onto Staines Moor, and by the time we reached this it was beginning to get dark, and I'd stopped taking pictures. Even in the dark it would be hard to get lost, with a line of pylons across the moor and four bright red lights on the cranes on a building site in the centre of the town.

We went through another bridge under the bypass, rather wider as it has both a footpath and a cattle track, which is also decorated, but with officially approved painting about Staines which lacks vitality, more a Chamber of Commerce/Primary School production.

Fortunately the rail crossing that leads to the path beside the Wraysbury River to the centre of Staines has not yet been closed and we made our way back home.
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Canada Goose

Regent St, London. Sat 2 Feb 2019
A protester holds a large coyote on the pavement facing Canada Goose
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Protests continue outside the Regent St flagship Canada Goose store against the cruel methods used in trapping animals for fur and plucking feathers for down.

The protesters say animals caught in traps are left for days to die slowly and painfully, with some gnawing through their own bones in an attempt to free themselves, and that ducks and geese are plunged into boiling water and their feathers then pulled out while they are still alive,

The protests continue both at weekends and during the week, and many people passing stopped to take the leaflets and briefly watch the videos some protesters were displaying, but there were still customers going inside the store and buying the products despite the cruelty involved in producing them.
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Sudanese support the uprising

Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 2 Feb 2019
People stand with banners and flags on the North Terrace
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Sudanese in Trafalgar Square support the peaceful protests in Sudan which began in December calling on President Omar Al-Bashir to step down.

He is the only sitting president wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. Protests, which began on December 19th, are continuing in towns and cities , including in Omduran where the regime in Sudan reacted with excessive violence to a peaceful protest. So far 51 protesters have been killed. thousands injured and many arrested and held without access to lawyers, family or medical treatment.
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Yellow Jackets in Westminster

Whitehall, London. Sat 2 Feb 2019

A man holds a placard complaining about biased reporting from the BBC and Sky News
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People wearing yellow jackets protested in Whitehall and around Parliament for several hours, walking along the street and disrupting traffic, accompanied by a large force of police.

They are angered by the failure to deliver Brexit and the failure to deal with Muslim grooming gangs. While protesting opposite Downing St, police began to harass bikers on the protest and there were some angry scenes until police withdrew, after which the protesters moved on to Parliament Square.
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Hands Off Venezuela

BBC, London. Sat 2 Feb 2019

Protesters face the BBC and call for them to report accurately on the situation
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Protesters call on the BBC to report fairly on the situation in Venezuela, where a US-backed coup is attempting to replace President Maduro, elected in a free and fair election in one of the most transparent and advanced electronic voting systems in the world.

Speakers accuse the BBC of parroting US propaganda and of failing to report the huge effect of US actions against the country which they say along with low oil world prices are the major cause of the economic problems the BBC blames on Morales and his highly successful social programme.

They see the US poised to invade the country in support of the right-wing politician who has appointed himself as interim president.
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London Images

February 2019

London gets some snow in February

February was in some ways a strange month for me, and I took rather more pictures than usual as I moved around the city, including several protests where I only made a single image before moving on, of a Bangladeshi protest about the imprisonment of the opposition leader, taxi-drivers defending their privilege and Zimbabweans at their weekly protest against their government outside the High Commission in the Strand.

Building work continues at Nine Elms and Vauxhall, and I go past it almost every time I come up to London. I also seem to have gone up and down Regent St too often on a bus (including Waterloo Palce, Oxford Circus and Haymarket), as well as from Waterloo and the Strand, along Fleet St and Ludgate Hill towards Bank. And a picture or too from Whitehall and Trafalgar Square - including London getting an extra dose of snow from men who came in a van. There had been a slight sprinkling before they arrived, but most had disappeared.

Rather less usually, I took a walk around the centre of Walthamstow, and between tube and bus at the Elephant. And visited Peckham and New Cross.
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