my london diary index


Stock photography by Peter+Marshall at Alamy

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Freedom, justice & equality for Palestinians

Israeli Embassy, Kensington, London. Sat 30 Mar 2019

Women shout and point at the small group of Zionists who came to insult the Palestinians
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Over a thousand people protested close to the Israeli embassy on the anniversary of the start of the Great Return March protests, in which Israel has killed over 250 unarmed protesters and severely injured thousands.

The protest was on Palestinian Land Day, which remembers the unarmed protesters killed by Israel in 1976 during demonstrations about Israel’s theft of Palestinian land. It called for and end to the continuing oppression of Gaza by the Israeli government, the treatment of Palestinians as second class citizens with apartheid laws and an end to the continuing occupation of Palestinian land.

The protest, organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition, Palestinian Forum in Britain, Friends of Al- Aqsa, and Muslim Association of Britain was supported by several Jewish groups including Jewish Voice for Labour and the ultra-orthodox Neturei Karta.

There were a series of speeches on a stage in front of the entrance to Kensington Palace Gardens, the private road where the Israeli Embassy is a few yards down. Around 50 yards to the west there was an enclosure for the small group of Zionists who had come to try and shout down the pro-Palestinian protests, mainly repeating over and over "Free Gaza from Hamas!". Fortunately a decent PA system meant that the speeches were not disrupted.

After an hour or so of speeches, some of the protesters including a number of young Palestinians brought a giant Palestinian flag to hold in front of the Zionists and some angry shouting from both sides ensued, with police forming a line between the two groups. One Zionist voice louder than the rest was a man who kept shouting that there were no Palestinians in Gaza. The shouting was continuing as I left.
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Climate Protest at Barclays Bank

Brixton, London. Sat 30 Mar 2019

After protesting for around an hour outside the campaigners protested briefly inside Barclays
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Protesters call on Barclays to end funding fossil fuels including fracking which are putting the future of the planet at risk of climate catastrophe.

Over the past 5 years Barclays has invested more the $30bn in climate-wrecking fracking schemes, making it by far the worst bank in Europe. After protesting for around an hour outside, with speeches and leafleting, the protesters briefly occupied the bank and then came out to continue the protest.

This was one of over 40 protests at Barclay's branches across the country today, organised nationally by Momentum and supported by other groups who hope to get the Labour Party behind the need for urgent and radical policy change to avoid climate disaster.
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Kurds support hunger strikers

Houses of Parliament, London. Fri 29 Mar 2019

Nasir Yagiz, shown on this apron, has been on hunger strike since 21 Nov, not long after the protest began
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Kurds protest outside Parliament sending solidarity to hunger strikers in Turkey.

Hunger strikes have been going on in Turkey since 7th November against the imprisonment of members of the HDP (Peoples' Democratic Party) and the Free Women’s Congress, as well as many journalists, socialists and LGBTI+ campaigners.

HDP MP Leyla Güven has been on indefinite hunger strike for over 110 days, and was vowed to continue until death unless the isolation of Kurdish Leader Abudullah Ocalan is ended; her strike has been joined by over 160 prisoners in Turkey and by others abroad including Imam Sis in Wales. Two of those at this protest had been on hunger strike since 14th March.

Ocalan has been held in solitary confinement in a jail on a Turkish prison island since 1999, but continues to be recognised as leader by many Kurds, and to develop ideas and new approaches, including those which have been adopted in Rojava. He led the Kurds in attempting to reach a peace settlement with Turkey, but since 2015 when the peace process broke down, the Turkish Army has indiscriminately killed thousands of Kurds.

The current UK government continues its blind support for Turkey as a fellow member of NATO and has recently stepped up its efforts to prosecute people who have gone to fight with the Kurds against ISIS and against supporters of the Kurdistan Peoples Party, the PKK which it proscribed under the Terrorism Act 2000. The PKK has never been designated as a terrorist organization by the UN.
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Fridays for Future climate protest

Parliament Square, London. Fri 29 Mar 2019
'Stop F**king Our Future' and 'It's Getting Hot In Here' posters call for a climate strike
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Protesters in Parliament Square stand with posters in a school strike for climate, one of many weekly #FridaysForFuture events taking place in many cities and towns across the world.

These protests were inspired by the action of 15-year old Greta Thunberg who instead of going back to school at the end of the Summer break in August protested outside the Swedish Parliament, breaking the law to start the School Strike For Climate.
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Brexiteers protest Betrayal

Parliament Square, London. Fri 29 Mar 2019

'Clean out the Augean Stables' was doubtless the kind of snappy slogan that would appeal to Rees-Mogg
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Brexiteers came to Parliament Square to protest against the UK's failure to leave the EU today, the original deadline from Article 50.

They held posters and banners and chanted slogans and blocked the road in front of Parliament at lunchtime. Later they were joined by a 'Leave Means Leave march with two Orange marching bands.

People crowded around the entrance to Parliament, questioning the few MPs who walked through the crowd. Some stopped briefly to talk with them, while others rushed past. There was some noisy shouting and abusive comments, but little real harassment.

Only a few Remain supporters came to the square, and while I was there were largely ignored by the Brexiteers. They included #EUsupergirl Madeleina Kay dressed as Britannia and the atmosphere was generally calm. I still felt weak and tired and left before further marches of DFLA and Tommy Robinson supporters were due to arrive.
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Vigil and protest for Christchurch victims

News Corp UK, London. Mon 18 Mar 2019
Lighting candles in memory of those killed in Christchurch whose names were remembered
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Hundreds attend a vigil and protest outside News Corp UK at London Bridge to show solidarity with the victims of the two attacks on mosques in Christchurch and with Muslims under threat elsewhere in the world.

Increasing numbers of Islamophobic incidents are taking place in the USA, Nigeria, Palestine, China and the UK, fueled by extreme right groups who are encouraged and emboldened by Islamophobic articles in newspapers, across the whole of the right-wing UK press, but particularly The Sun and other Murdoch titles worldwide who have engaged in a long campaign of demonisation of Muslims, and on our major broadcast media as well as on social media. The protest took place outside the UK offices of the Murdoch press.

They are given sustenance by our racist UK government policies including the scapegoating and persecution of immigrants though the 'hostile environment' and the 'Prevent' programme which has failed to work with the community.

The names of those who were killed in Christchurch were read, with friends and relatives of some of them making short statements in memory of them.
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8th Anniversary of the Syrian Revolution

London. Sat 16 Mar 2019

Syrians keep up their spirited chanting as they go down a very windy Oxford St
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Syrians opposed to the Assad regime marched through London from Paddington Green to a rally in Whitehall on the 8th anniversary of the start of the Syrian revolution,

They say NO to Assad, NO to extremists, NO to forced displacement, NO to war crimes and NO to foreign occupation. They want a peaceful, democratic Syria. Many carried free Syrian flags, including a group with a giant flag, and others had placards denouncing the Assad regime.

I met them as they approached Marble Arch and marched with them along Oxford St more pictures

No to Racism, No to Fascism

London, UK. 16th March 2019
People hold large placards naming prominent racists around the world
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Thousands march through London from Park Lane on UN Anti-Racism day to say 'No to Racism, No to Fascism' and that 'Refugees Are Welcome Here', to show solidarity with the victims of racist attacks and oppose Islamophobic hate crimes and racist policies in the UK and elsewhere.

The event gained an extra significance after the previous day's Christchurch mosque attack. There were speeches in Park Lane before the marchers set off on their way to a rally in Whitehall.

Marches and rallies also took place in other cities around the world including Glasgow and Cardiff.
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Remember Fukushima 8 years On

Piccadilly, London. Sat 16 Mar 2019

Protesters meet at the Japanese Embassy to march to a rally at Parliament
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Anti-nuclear campaigners met outside the Japanese Embassy on the eight anniversary of the meltdown of three nuclear reactors at Fukushima.

Little progress has been made on cleaning up the site and large amounts of radioactive material are still being released.

50,000 people are still refugees and many are being given no alternative but to move back into areas still heavily contaminated. The clean-up is proving much more difficult than anticipated.

Campaigners say nuclear power is unsafe and there should be no new nuclear plants but a much more rapid shift to renewables. There are bound to be more accidents but even without them nuclear plants have a limited lifetime and there are still no safe methods of decommissioning them, with radiation remaining at hazardous levels for hundreds or thousands of years.
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No more deaths on our streets

Downing St, London. Fri 15 Mar 2019

One death is one too many reads the main banner at the event
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A vigil by Streets Kitchen, DPAC and other groups mourned the many deaths of homeless people on our streets, 799 in the last 18 months.

Hundreds die each year because of lack of shelter, at least one person every day, a shameful indictment of the failure of national and local government to provide the care it should for citizens.

Government cuts since 2010 have led to a huge increase in the number of homeless on our streets and to deaths. In a country as rich as hours with so many empty buildings no one should be homeless. Candles were set out and the 367 names that are known of those who have died were read, followed by a period of silence.

The event was organised by people and groups working with homeless people including a number who are or have been homeless. The groups included Streets Kitchen, Jamming for change, DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts), Museum of Homelessness, The Outside Project, London and March with the homeless.
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London Schools Climate Strike

Westminster, London. Fri 15 Mar 2019
A young protester speaks from the Victoria Memorial
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Several thousand school students took part in the Big School Strike for the Future calling for government to take urgent action to avoid climate disaster.

They met for a short rally in Parliament Square and then marched to protest outside Buckingham Palace. Police tried to stop them at the end of the Mall, but they walked around the cordon to protest on the Victoria Memorial before returning to Parliament Square.

Some went on to march across Westminster Bridge and further south of the river, and I left them on Stamford St.
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Million Women March against male violence

Oxford St, London. Sat 9 Mar 2019
Several thousand women marched down Oxford St in a women-only march
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Several thousand women, girls and children in the Million Women March, an all-women march against male violence, meet and march down Oxford St and march to a rally in Trafalgar Square.

The theme of this years march was 'Never Forgotten' and it remembered the more than a hundred women killed by men each year in the UK, mainly by partners or ex-partners.

There was a strong representation by women from our diverse ethnic communities, concerned about male violence both here and in their countries of origin. In the UK 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence at some point in their lives and one incident is reported to police every minute.
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Blood of Our Children - XR

Downing St, London. Sat 9 Mar 2019

Extinction Rebellion activists hoped to be arrested for pouring fake blood on Whitehall
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Extinction Rebellion converged from two directions on Downing St in silent processions, each led by children carrying posters with the message ‘Our Future, Our Blood’ and a person ringing a bell.

The children were followed by a people in a single file carrying buckets of fake blood prepared to be arrested to draw attention to the need for urgent action to avoid the otherwise inevitable extinction of life on Earth, followed by other XR supporters.

Those with buckets then formed a large half circle in the middle of Whitehall, and when the bells stopped ringing, walked forward in three waves to pour the blood onto the roadway, retuning to sit down and await arrest.

Police watched carefully but took no action. There were a number of short speeches from young people, including some very impressive 10 and 11 year-olds, before I left, but no arrests.
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Women's Strike Red Feminist March

Bank of England, London. Fri 8 Mar 2019
The march took place in steady rain but that failed to dampen the "red feminist energy"
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Several thousand feminists of all genders, many dressed in red, met outside the Bank of England on International Women's Day, making the point that "it is our labour that keeps the world turning and profits flowing."

The Women's Strike Assembly had called for a "tidal wave of red feminist energy and righteous rage" at the end of the Women's Strike day. After speeches they marched towards Soho, where sex workers were taking part in an evening strike in Leicester Square.

The Women's Strike Assembly organises against racist agendas and far-right attempts to foment racism, and organises exploited migrant workers in the service industries. The demonstration was in solidarity with women around the world, particularly in Brazil, Poland, Kurdistan, Turkey, Palestine and Ireland.

By the time we got to Aldwych on the march, my cameras were wet and I was cold and hungry, and I ran to get a bus to the station, leaving the march to continue to Soho.
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Camden Panoramas

Camden Market, London. Fri 8 Mar 2019

The towpath here was closed and it started to rain more heavily
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The weather forecast had not mentioned rain and I decided I had time to take a few pictures for a project on London's canals I hope to show next year.

But it was spitting with rain and the sky was very grey when I arrived and Camden lock - and the stretch of canal towpath I had planned to walk was closed. I took a few pictures where I could but the rain came on more persistently, making it impossible to keep the lens free from raindrops, and I gave up.
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Global Women's Strike

Royal Courts of Justice, London. Fri 8 Mar 2019

At the end of the rally the campaigners briefly blocked the road outside the court
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The International Women's Strike on International Women’s Day began in 2000, and today women met outside the High Court to protest against destitution, detention, deportation, benefit cuts, sexism, racism and other discrimination, criminalisation, pollution and in particular the state use of Family Courts to take children from their mothers.

As well as the Global Women's Strike, many other women spoke, including anti-fracking Nana Tina Louise Rothery, DPAC's Paula Peters, a speaker from the English Collective of Prostitutes and two speakers from Extinction Rebellion.

After many speeches, poems and a couple of songs written for the event everyone walked backwards and forward across the zebra crossing for a few minutes.
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Graffiti at Leake St

Leake St, London. Sat 2 Mar 2019

'I don't care about you' says a huge Theresa on the wall
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I'd just missed a train and decided to take another look at the changing display at Leake St.

Quite a lot of painting was going on and there were some new works I hadn't photographed last month.
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Yellow Vests applaud Kurdish protesters

Downing St, London. Sat 2 Mar 2019
One of the yellow vest group shakes hands with a Kurdish protester
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Kurdish protesters marching against Turkish oppression and to show solidarity with hunger strikers were greeted with prolonged applause by Yellow Vest UK protesters as they arrived at Downing St.

The Kurds were congratulated for standing up for their rights, although politically the two groups are poles apart, and some of those wearing yellow vests appeared to find their leaflet hard to read.

Some wearing yellow vests came up to speak with the Kurds, and shook the hands of the UK hunger strikers, though some Kurds refused to shake hands with the right-wing protesters. After a few minutes the yellow vested protesters who are protesting against Parliament's failure to deliver a no-deal Brexit and at the censorship of right wing extremists on Facebook and to fight for Brexit marched away towards Trafalgar Square.
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Rally supports Kurdish hunger strikers

Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 2 Mar 2019
The Kurds begin their march to Downing St from Trafalgar Square
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Gik-Der Turkish/Kurdish cultural association and Socialist Womens Union SKB sent solidarity to those on hunger strike in Turkey and elsewhere with a rally in Trafalgar Square which included some on hunger strike for several days in sympathy.

The hunger strikes are against the imprisonment of members of the HDP (Peoples' Democratic Party) and the Free Women’s Congress, as well as many journalists, socialists and LGBTI+ campaigners and call for the release of Kurdish political prisoners. A large banner showed HDP MP Leyla Güven who has been on indefinite hunger strike for over 110 days, and has vowed to continue until death unless the isolation of Kurdish Leader Abudullah Ocalan is ended. Her strike has been joined by over 160 prisoners in Turkey and by others abroad including Imam Sis in Wales.

Since 2015 when the peace process broke down, the Turkish Army has indiscriminately killed thousands of Kurds, and the situation is worsening for Kurds, as Erdogan increasingly Islamises the country and threatens to attack Kurds who have been fighting ISIS (Da'esh) in Syria as the US withdraws its troops from the area.

Turkey (and Israel) are widely believed to have supported ISIS and the oil smuggling which supported them financially while sometimes joining in the Western condemnation of them, and the Turkish invasion of Afrin was supported by ISIS supporting Islamist fighters.

At the end of the rally the Kurds marched down Whitehall for a further rally opposite Downing St, where they were surprised to greeted with applause by a group of extreme right Brexiteers wearing yellow vests.
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Sudanese support the non-violent uprising

Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 2 Mar 2019
One of the organisers speaks, draped in a Sudanese flag
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Sudanese in Trafalgar Square protest again in support of the peaceful protests in Sudan which began in December calling for democracy and for President Omar Al-Bashir to step down.

Bashir is the only sitting president of any state wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. The regime has reacted with excessive violence to the peaceful protests in Sudan, killing over 70 protesters, injuring thousands and arresting many others and holding them without access to lawyers, family or medical treatment. Yesterday Al-Bashir appointed a new prime minister and declared a year long state of emergency.
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Algerians say no 5th term for Bouteflika

London. Sat 2 Mar 2019
Marchers shout as they go up Regent St
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Hundreds of Algerians marched through London calling for calling for President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to not run for a 5th five year term in the April 18th election and demanding a change in the regime and system of government.

Bouteflika, 82 today, has had various health issues and has seldom appeared in public since a stroke in 2013 and is the figurehead of a repressive and corrupt regime. The country has made around 20 trillion dollars from oil over the last 20 years and large amounts are unaccounted for, and unemployment among those under the average age of 27 is 30%.

Peaceful protests in the capital Algiers and other cities on 22nd February were met with tear gas and police brutality. In London, police appeared unaware of the march, but I had to leave before it reached the embassy.
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Scrap Universal Credit

Parliament Square, London. Fri 1 Mar 2019

Taxi drivers pose with a woman protesting against Universal Credit which is killing disabled people
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Protesters in Parliament Square, including two in wheelchairs, called for an end to Universal Credit, which is causing widespread hardship and extreme poverty, particularly for disabled people.

A small gravestone recorded the 12,980 deaths within six weeks of being found fit for work and the 120,000 early deaths from the Tory cuts since 2010.

Universal Credit replaces JSA, Income Support, ESA, Housing Benefit, Tax Credits and Working Tax Credits and aims to slash the Social Security bill, making millions of citizens worse off. Many are also sanctioned for trivial reasons forcing them to live on virtually nothing and delays in payment have resulted in many becoming homeless.

The protest called for an end to in-work poverty, with employers paying a decent wage and a stronger safety net to protect families, young people and the disabled.
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End Japanese dolphin slaughter

Parliament Square, London. Fri 1 Mar 2019
Taiji, the world is watching says a placard as protesters begin a march to the Japanese embassy
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People, some with model dolphins of various sizes and hand-painted posters, gather in Parliament Square to march to the Japanese embassy in protest against the continuing annual slaughter of dolphins in Taiji cove.

The animals are herded into the cove by fishermen in small boats and attacked with knives and poles, their blood turning the water red. Others are captured and sold to perform for the public in aquaria, a cruel practice the protesters want stopped.
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Black Cab Drivers blockade

Parliament Square, London. Fri 1 Mar 2019

Drivers parked their cabs around Parliament Square, blocking the road
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Licensed taxis blocked Parliament Square demanding to be allowed to use bus lanes and all roads in London, including Bank junction, Tottenham Court Rd and Tooley St.

They say they are the safest transport option in London and are the only 'on demand' door to door 100% wheelchair accessible transport service and receive no public subsidy. Others say they are a major cause of congestion and pollution in the city. This protest took place on the same day as the IWGB union began legal action against the London Mayor over his proposal to levy the congestion charge on minicabs drivers who are 94% BAME, but not on the almost entirely white taxi drivers.
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Weekly climate protest

Parliament Square, London. Fri 1 Mar 2019

Protesters hold up posters facing the Houses of Parliament
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Protesters in Parliament Square stand with posters in a school strike for climate, one of many weekly #FridaysForFuture events taking place in many cities and towns across the world.

The events are inspired by the action of 15-year old Greta Thunberg who instead of going back to school at the end of the Summer break in August protested outside the Swedish Parliament, breaking the law to start the School Strike For Climate.
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Plastics protests in London

London. Fri 1 Mar 2019
A giant bottle made up a plastic bottles at the DEFRA entrance (now sharing with the Home Office)
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A giant plastic bottle made up of plastic bottles outside the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and a lone protesters outside Parliament both called for an end to the enormous volume of plastic waste, much dumped to pollute the sea or buried in landfill.

Campaigners want all plastic containers to be recyclable and for a deposit to be levied on all drink bottles to encourage re-cycling. Standardisation of containers and a move back to reusable bottles and jars - like glass milk bottles -is even better than recycling.
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London Images

March 2019

'Be Brave - We Don't Have to Do This' - and the t-shirt reads '27 Days remain'
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As usual pictures from the train as I come into London , mainly from Nine Elms, along with others walking along Whitehall and on buses going across Waterloo Bridge and towards Holborn and the City and a few assorted others, including 3 from Brixton.
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