my london diary index


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All pictures Copyright © Peter Marshall 2019, all rights reserved.
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Boris J is not our Prime Minister

Russell Square, London. Wed 24 Jul 2019

Boris Johnson looks down as people look up at speakers on the bus in Russell Square
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Protesters say that Boris Johnson, elected with a total vote of less than a hundred thousand people has no mandate to be our Prime Minister.

During the day there were protests outside Downing St, and in the evening a large crowd gathered for a protest party in Russell Square, where speakers included Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell who made a strong plea for a General Election. Many fear that Johnson will simply follow the orders of Donald Trump, making us a simple satellite of the USA.

I had to leave before the crowd set off for Downing St to join protesters there.
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In Honour of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Clerkenwell, London. Sun 21 Jul 2019

Three doves are released by the clergy and fly up and away in front of the statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
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A historic procession in London's Clerkenwell from St Peter's Italian Church, the annual procession in Honour of Our Lady of Mount Carmel has been taking place annually since it was given special permission in 1883.

Statues of saints are brought out from the church and carried around the area along with seven biblical floats and various walking groups including some in biblical dress and new communicants. Three doves were released as clergy joined the procession and were followed by parishioners.
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Clerkenwell, London. Sun 21 Jul 2019
People dance in the street after the procession
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Before and after the annual procession in Honour of Our Lady of Mount Carmel from St Peter's Italian Church, Warner Street down the hill behind the church has stalls selling Italian food, ices, wines and beer as well as some religious items.

The Sagra has a festival atmosphere, with music and dancing and provides a meeting place and refreshments for those who have travelled to Clerkenwell for the procession.
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No to Boris, Yes to Europe

London, UK. Sat 20 Jul 2019

Men in 'Cancel Brexit' t-shirts on the march in Piccadilly
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Thousands marched from Park Lane to a rally in Parliament Square organised by grassroots groups to urge the UK to ditch Brexit and Boris Johnson and stay in Europe.

The marchers say poll after poll shows that the public would now vote Remain, and that the leave case was full of deliberate lies that misled the voters. Leavers said it would be easy to negotiate a deal with the EU which clearly benefited Britain, as well as trade treaties with the rest of the world. They say that the kind of disastrous no-deal Brexit that Johnson and his supporters now propose was never presented to the public and few would have voted for it had it been on offer and call for a new people's vote. The UK is now a pro-EU country and should remain in full EU membership to build a cleaner, greener, safer, fairer life for all.
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Requiem for a Dead Planet at Daily Mail

Northcliffe House, London. Fri 19 Jul 2019

The XR symbol was reflected in the dark glasses of a man in suitable funereal dress
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Extinction Rebellion's 'Requiem for a Dead Planet' at Northcliffe House, home of the Daily Mail, Independent, Mail on Sunday, London Live and Evening Standard called on the media to tell the truth rather than lies about climate change.

XR say avoiding climate & ecological devastation needs the media to tell the truth and stop publishing fake science denying climate change as well as advertising and editorial material that promotes high-carbon lifestyles, whether about fashion, travel food or other consumerist content so government can take the drastic action needed.

The protest included suitable requiem music by a small group of musicians in XR Baroque, a eulogy for lost species by a priest, speeches, poems, skeletons, banners and a die-in. Fortunately the pavement in front of the entrance to Northcliffe House was sheltered from continuing often heavy rain by an overhanging porch and both protesters and photographers were able to avoid getting too wet during the protest, although some pictures were ruined by rain on lenses or condensation.
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Students march for climate

London. Fri 19 Jul 2019

Rain pours down on students waiting to march in Parliament Square
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Students and young people, some taking time off from school and others coming in their holidays, meet in pouring rain Parliament Square for the Youth Strike4Climate, demanding the government and others wake up and take the urgent action needed to avoid catastrophic climate change and species extinction.

They say either we stand up and fight for the planet or there will be no future for us. It was still raining heavily when they set off to march through London. I went with them as far as Piccadilly Circus, but by then I was getting too wet to continue.
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XR London Tax rebellion

City Hall, London. Thu 18 Jul 2019
Extinction Rebellion die-in at City Hall declares a tax strike against the Greater London Authority
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Extinction Rebellion supporters hold a rally and die-in to declare a tax strike against the Greater London Authority, withholding the GLA element of their council tax until they abandon projects which will cause environmental degradation and hasten ecological collapse.

They demand the GLA stop all infrastructure projects polluting Londonís air and invest in measures to cut carbon emissions and encourage healthier lifestyles and empower a citizenís assembly to re-write the London Plan.
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GLIAS 50th anniversary walk

Tower Bridge to Rotherhithe. Wed 17 Jul 2019

St Saviour's Dock from Dockhead
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One of the events put on the Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society to celebrate 50 years of existence was an IA walk from Tower Bridge to Rotherhithe.

I've been a member of GLIAS since the late 1970s and in the past have gone on many of the industrial archaeology walks they organise, and carried out a very little of the serious recording work they have done over the years. The members have included many people who have done much to record and sometimes protect our industrial history, something which now, due to efforts of them and similar groups is now taken much more seriously, though much is still being lost.

Back in the 1980s GLIAS produced a number of Industrial Archaeology walk leaflets which sold for a few pence, some in large numbers, to a more general public. I think the first covered a walk from Tower Hill to Rotherhithe and this anniversary event retraced its steps, led by one of the two original authors, Prof David Perrett, now Chairman and Vice-President of GLIAS.

It's a walk I've made on various occasions and in both directions, but as always it was interesting to hear from him and others on the significance of some aspects that I would have passed by without noticing and certainly not understanding.

I was also able to enlighten him about the vibrant artistic scene in Butler's Wharf in the 1970s, where altogether seven of the warehouses were in use by artists at some time between 1970 and 1981. In particular the studios at 2B Butler's Wharf were a key venue for early UK video art and performance art, with a long list of artists, the web site listing the following:

David Critchley, Fran Cotell, Ingrid Kerma, Richard Wilson, William Raban, Hannah Collins, George Blacklock, Pete Webster, Maurice Agis, Keith Bowler, Derek Jarman, Anne Bean, Andrew Logan, The X6 Dance Collective, Mikey Cuddihy, Simon Read, John Kippin, Belinda Williams, Martin Hearne, Kevin Atherton, Mick Duckworth, Steve James, Dave Hanson, Alan Stott, Kieran Lyons, Alison Winckle.

There is a more detailed history in a PDF on Southwark Notes which gives a partial list with rather more names. Many of the artists were also illegally living in their studios which they had on leases with no security of tenure, and following a fire in one of the buildings in 1979 they were given notice to quit when the authorities demanded the owners made the buildings safe. Some went on to found Chisenhale Studios and the Chisenhale Dance Space, while others such as my friend Michael Heindorff found empty furniture workshops and other premises in Shoreditch and Hackney.
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St John's Wood - Paddington Basin

Regent's Canal, London. Wed 17 Jul 2019

A footbridge and the A40 Westway cross the canal close to Paddington
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I'd gone to London to meet friends but rail chaos had prevented them from getting there, and instead I decided to walk and photograph the canal from St John's Wood past Little Venice and into Paddington Basin before having a meal and going to an evening event.

Almost all of the pictures I took were panoramic, with a horizontal angle of view of over 140 degrees and a vertical angle of around 90 degrees, They are shown here with the full frame 4:3 aspect ratio though often they are made with the intention of cropping to a more panoramic format (such as 1.9:1); some show some of my fingers at the bottom right, as it is all too easy to get them in the frame. To show the extreme angle of view the pictures have to use a different perspective to the normal rectilinear view. A cylindrical perspective retains verticals as straight lines but allows others to curve.

I also made a few images with a rectilinear ultra-wide lens.
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Extinction Rebellion Waterloo

Waterloo, London. Wed 17 Jul 2019

The yacht Polly Higgins was opposite the Old Vic across the road from the camp
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I had come up to London to meet friends and called in at the Summer Uprising camp in Waterloo Millennium Gardens on my way.

The blue yacht, named after Polly Higgins, the barrister who fought for an ecocide law was on the corner close to the gardens in front of the Old Vic, where there is a wide area of pavement. Various people were climbing up and performing, drawing attention of people coming along the street.

The camp itself was rather less visible - behind the trees around the edge of the park at the right of the picture above. Inside there was the camping area, a performance stage and various workshop areas. I walked around for a while, listening and taking pictures and then had to leave to go to our meeting place.

There I found I was the only one in the group of four who had managed to make it, as public transport in south London was in meltdown after a line-side fire had burnt though signal cabling,putting Waterloo and Clapham Junction out of action - it took around 18 hours to get the trains back running. My train had stopped at Richmond and we had all been advised to take the underground from there, and in the evening I still had to return on the underground to Hatton Cross and take a bus from there.
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XR Summer Uprising procession

London. Mon 15 Jul 2019

The pink dodo on Waterloo Bridge in the middle of the marchers
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After occupying the road in front of the Royal Courts of Justice all day, Extinction Rebellion process to their site for the next three days at Waterloo Millennium Green.

As well as protesters with banners, there was a giant pink dodo, and at the rear of the procession the yacht Polly Higgins, named for the environmental lawyer who fought for years for a law against ecocide and died this April.

The march stopped on Waterloo Bridge and people sat for some minutes in a protest against the violence shown to the protesters by police when making arrests when the bridge was occupied in April and made into a Garden Bridge before moving on towards Waterloo.

There seemed to be another holdup as the march reached the Waterloo Road, and after taking a few more pictures of the marchers I left and caught a train at Waterloo Station
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XR call for Ecocide Law

Royal Courts of Justice, London. Mon 15 Jul 2019

The yacht Polly Higgins with the message 'Act Now' in front of the Royal Courts of Justice

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Extinction Rebellion begins another series of protests in five major cities against the criminal inaction by the government on climate and ecological collapse.

The main theme of the protest was to call for a law making ecocide a criminal offence. The protesters brought a yacht named after Polly Higgins who fought for years for an Ecocide Law to the Royal Courts of Justice and continued her fight blocking the Strand all day with performances, discussions, speeches, music and ceremonies in front of the yacht.
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BEIS workers begin indefinite strike

BEIS, London. Mon 15 Jul 2019
There was a cake with candles for the third anniversary of the fight to get proper conditions at BEIS
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PCS members who work as cleaners and catering workers at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) walk out at the start of the first ever indefinite strike at a government ministry, demanding the London Living Wage and to be directly employed by the department rather than outsourcing companies ISS and Aramark.

They got a rousing reception from a crowd of around 100 with speeches from PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka, other leading trade unionists, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, Labour MP Mary Glindon and one of the strikers.
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East London Extinction Rebellion March

Hackney, London. Sat 13 Jul 2019

People carry the 'Rebel For Life' banner, flags and skeletons on the march
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Extinction Rebellion march from Hackney Downs to London Fields through central Hackney as a reminder of the urgent action needed to avoid global extinction.

Before the march there was a dance performance and meditation on the coming climate catastrophe. Behind the main banner Dan Spanner's band played for a traditional New Orleans funeral and was followed by giant skeletons representing animals already extinct or under threat, a coffin, giant bees, people with flags and a samba band.

I left the march just after it passed Hackney Town Hall on its way to the rest of the East London Uprising events taking place in London Fields.
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Vegan for Life Parade

Leicester Square, London. Sat 13 Jul 2019

As well as the chicken there was a large inflatable cow
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People meet at Leicester Square for The Vegan For Life Parade, a fun parade through central London to promote a vegan lifestyle. There were several huge blow -up animals, as well as posters and banners.

I had to leave before the parade started.
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Belgian Army Cenotaph Parade

Whitehall, London. Sat 13 Jul 2019

Belgian army in Whitehall as wreaths are laid
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Something rather odd was happening in Whitehall as I walked down, and though I seldom bother with military celebrations I did stop and take a few pictures. We do have quite a few parades at the Cenotaph, but most of those taking part wore some decidedly foreign-looking uniforms, some of which had the word BELGIUM on their chests.

Apparently Belgium is the only foreign country allowed to parade armed troops in uniform along Whitehall, and every year close to Belgian National Day (21 July) they have a parade with wreath laying at the Cenotaph, a parade at Horse Guards, a reception at Wellington Barracks and lunch for special guests with the Belgian Ambassador. This year it seemed to be happening a week earlier than usual.

King Albert I of Belgium was a keen climber who died after falling down a Belgian mountain in February 1934. He was climbing solo and the reason for his fall was never established, though conspiracy theorists had a field day. King George V, his uncle, decided in his honour and as a recognition of the contribution of the Belgian army in the Great War to award them the unique privilege of this yearly parade in Whitehall.
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IWGB welcome new Vice Chancellor

Senate House, University of London. Fri 12 Jul 2019
Protesters move into the yard in front of Senate House despite security attempts to stop them
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The exploited outsourced workers at the University of London protested outside Senate House after their attempts to meet the new Vice-Chancellor Wendy Thomson failed, with no reply to their request.

Instead of talking with the IWGB union about their demand for all the workers to be taken into direct employment without delay the University has been spending large amounts on buying in extra security staff.

After a rally at the main gates and protesting outside Student Central (the former University of London Union) the protesters returned to the gates of Senate House. Some then went in through a side entrance only blocked by flimsy barriers where the extra security failed to stop them, leaving the main gate clear for others to come in and join them in protesting at the base of Senate House.
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XR East London marches for clean air

Bethnal Green, London. Fri 12 Jul 2019

The XR banner 'Life Or Death' as the march pauses briefly on its way to Hackney
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Extinction Rebellion East London marched from Bethnal Green to Hackney behind a banner 'The Air That We Grieve', calling for a rapid end to the use of fossil fuels.

As well as causing the climate crisis, coal, petrol and fuel oils pollute the air with toxic chemicals and particulates which cause lung diseases and lead to thousands of early deaths in London. The march to a childrens' assembly was a part of the East London Uprising weekend of play, protest and education.

I left the march as it moved into Hackney, on its way to Hackney Town Hall.
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IWGB demand living wage at Mayfair club

LouLou's, Mayfair, London. Thu 11 Jul 2019

IWGB members and supporters picket the private club
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IWGB Cleaners and Facilities Branch picket and protest at exclusive Mayfair private club LouLou's for kitchen porters working there to be paid a real living wage, treated with dignity, respect and given decent terms and conditions including proper sick pay, holidays and pension contributions.

Recently outsourced to ACT they want to be returned to direct employment. Staff escorted wealthy clients of the £1800 a year club past the picket and police arrested two protesters.

The club is owned by a man who has made large contributions to right wing political groups, and the response so far to the union's demands has been to employ large numbers of security staff against the protesters. The security staff, none of whom had their licences visible, attempted to stop the protesters handing out fliers to people entering the club and pushed the protesters at times rather violently. The also tried hard to stand in my way when I was taking pictures, but did not touch me.

Some of the protesters were warned by police when the objected to being pushed around by the security staff, and there were two arrests of protesters following angry scenes. None of the security staff were warned by police or arrested.
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Bring Back unlawfully deported 'PN'

Home Office, London. Wed 10 Jul 2019
Protesters at the Home Office call for an end to deportations and for detention centres to be shut down
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Protesters at the Home Office demand they drop attempts to appeal a High Court ruling they must bring back Ugandan lesbian 'PN' deported in 2013 under now unlawful fast track procedure for a fair appeal on her asylum case.

PN has been in hiding in Uganda fearing for her life since her deportation. Movement for Justice say the Home Office's actions contradict their stated support for LGBT rights and accuse them of 'pinkwashing' through high-profile participation in Pride and Black Pride events.

The protest was organised by Movement for Justice who have been leaders in the fight to end the racist hostile environment and culture of disbelief by the Home Office of those claiming asylum, and have worked with people held prisoner in our asylum detention centres to stop deportations, as well as organising protests at the asylum prisons. Most of those who spoke at the event and many others were people who had been held in asylum detention.
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London's Sinister Arms Trade

Westminster, London. Sat 6 Jul 2019
One of the tour leaders holds up a blue plaque for the Royal endorsement of torture & repression in Yemen
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The London Campaign Against Arms Trade led a walking tour around the Westminster offices of some of the world's largest arms dealers.

They have London offices as London which is a global hub of the international arms trade, thanks in part to the DSEI arms fair held here every two years, and being in Westminster gives them easy access to the UK government. The tour visited the offices of Boeing, G4S, Rolls Royce, BAE, Lockheed Martin and Northop Grumman, stopping at each for a brief summary of their weapons production and sales, and in particular their contribution to major wars such as that taking palace in Yemen, and each site was awarded a 'blue plaque' highlighting some of their crimes.

A lengthy stop in front of Buckingham Palace looked at the role of the royal family, particularly Prince Andrew, in arms sales to corrupt regimes. British arms are playing an important part in killing people in Yemen and have been used in all major wars this century. The blue plaque (with a small spelling error) was left on the Victoria Memorial in front of the place and marked the Royal Family's complicity in the torture and repression in Bahrain.
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Pride is a Protest

Regent's Park, London. Sat 6 Jul 2019
Marchers supporting the African Rainbow Family and migrants arrive at Regent's Park
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Some people had gathered in Regent's Park to wait for their time to join the Pride Parade while others came to form a Queer Liberation March in protest against the increasing corporate nature of Pride by marching at the end of the official parade.

Some LGBT groups can no longer afford the fees to take part in the official march and many feel it vital to get back closer to the origins of Pride, which began with the Stonewall riots 50 years ago led by trans women of colour.

I left to photograph another event after it was announced they would be waiting for several hours before they could march, intending to return but I didn't make it. They did eventually manage to march at the end of the official parade, but had to force their way past Pride stewards. Police tried at first to stop them but eventually decided they had to be allowed to march.
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Give Me Five days

Downing St, London. Fri 5 Jul 2019

Children protest against being let out of school an extra half day a week
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Children, teachers and parents from across the country marched from Parliament Square to Downing Street to demand they get enough money to keep open five days a week.

Budget cuts mean many are now forced to close at lunchtime on Fridays to keep within their budgets. They were accompanied by Labour MP Jess Phillips. I found it hard to believe that children were protesting about getting an extra half day off school each week - at their age I would have thought it a great idea.
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Protest French police attack on XR

French Embassy, London. Fri 5 Jul 2019

A man plays the role of a French cop and sprays the seated protesters - but only with water
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Extinction Rebellion protest at the French Embassy in solidarity with XR France protesters who were brutally attacked by police during a peaceful protest on a Paris bridge.

XR protesters sat down on the road in front of the embassy to hear an eyewitness describe the attack on peaceful protesters sitting on the roadway on the Pont de Sully. Police pepper-sprayed the faces of sitting protesters at close range causing burns, pulling sunglasses from one to spray directly into eyes, and injured some by dragging forcefully across the road. Video of the incident shocked many around the world.

The protesters learnt several French XR songs and chants and sang these as the attack was re-enacted by people in white suits using water sprays. Unlike the pepper spray, the cold water was very welcome in the heat.
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XR Carmenís Carbon Procession

Westminster, London. Tue 2 Jul 2019

Carmen leads the XR Carbon Procession at Hyde Park Corner
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A procession by Extinction Rebellion performs outside the offices oil companies in the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) urging them to abandon the pretence they can combat global warming without a huge cut in oil production.

The protest was on the day that BP were sponsoring a Royal Opera House performance of Carmen to be relayed to 13 BP big screens in UK cities and starred Carmen speaking, a fine opera singer performing with a group of musicians and XR drummers and a team marking the companies as crime scenes. Between the performances the group walked in silence apart from the drummers.

The procession gathered at Ebury Bridge and made its first stop outside the nearby offices of Italian petroleum company ENI. The next performance was on a busy street corner in Eccleston Square before moving on to the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) close to Victoria Station. After resting briefly in Hyde Park they went on to perform outside petroleum company Saudi Aramco in 10 Portman Square.

I left them there although they had several other planned performances before the tour was to end outside BP in St James's Square, after which they planned to protest close to the giant screen in Trafalgar Square demanding that the Royal Opera House end their greenwashing sponsorship by BP.
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End Inhuman Electroshock treatment

London. Mon 1 Jul 2019
One of the protesters was dressed as a maniac doctor, Doctor Psycho
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The Citizens Commission on Human Rights, (CCHR) a part of the Church of Scientology, marched from Tower Bridge to the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) calling for a ban on Electroconvulsive Therapy which they call Electroshock treatment.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is still used in around 80 clinics in the UK accredited by the RCP, who say it is an effective treatment for depression, severe mania and catatonia. Despite safeguards and developments to make the treatment safer, ECT remains controversial; its positive short-term effects are often subject to regression and it often causes loss of memory and intellectual ability.

Many patients and families of patients claim it has destroyed lives and in the past members of my own family were adversely affected. The CCHR are an unreliable organisation which has made many false medical claims about autism and other conditions and is resolutely opposed to psychiatry, but ECT certainly needs greater scrutiny and more rigorous medical trials.

'Mind' comment that "Peopleís experience of ECT varies enormously. Some people find it the most useful treatment they have had, and would ask for it again if they needed treatment for depression. Others feel violated by it, and would do anything to avoid having it again."
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London Images

July 2019

Bell Lane Creek, River Wandle from the train
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Pictures as usual from my various travels around London, some taken from buses and trains.
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