my london diary index


All pictures Copyright © Peter Marshall 2019, all rights reserved.
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Other sites with my pictures include
london pictures
londons industrial history
hull photos
lea valley / river lea
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my thoughts on photography.


IWGB Protest UCL outsourcing

University College, London. Tue 29 Oct 2019

Flares were set off as the IWGB and supporters began their march through UCL
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Security officers, cleaners and porters at UCL London University in the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain demand to be directly employed by UCL.

As outsourced workers they get get lower pay and far worse terms and conditions than colleagues employed by UCL, with no occupational sick pay, meagre holiday entitlement and low pensions and say UCL treats us as a second class workforce.

The protest began with a rally and IWGB members were joined by other students and staff, with UCU members, students and other trade unionists speaking in support of the IWGB. Several striking workers also spoke before the protest moved off, going into UCL and stopping briefly in the lobby where UCL founder Jeremy Bentham (1748—1832) still sits in a cupboard before going out into the UCL Quad. There were more flares and a short speech by IWGB President Henry Chango Lopez before the protesters marched on down Gower St where I left them to go home.
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St Mary's Hospital Strike For Equality

Paddington, London. Mon 28 Oct 2019
UVW members and supporters including a patient in a wheelchair parade in front of the hospital entrance
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Outsourced workers at St Mary's Hospital Paddington belonging to the Unite Voices of the World union protest noisily and dance on the first of 15 scheduled days of strikes.

Around 200 cleaners, porters and caterers, all migrants and mainly women employed by the highly profitable multinational SODEXO are paid £6-10,000 per year less than their NHS colleagues of a similar grade, get far inferior legal minimum terms and conditions, and the company has refused to meet its legal obligations to vaccinate them.

They demand equal pay, conditions and treatment to workers employed by the hospital. Workers who had been on the picket line since early morning were joined by supporters including a hospital patient in a wheelchair for a noisy lunchtime protest in front of the hospital main entrance, with chanting, short speeches about their demands and music, with the rally ending in a conga line around the barriers in front of the hospital doorway.
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Support Chilean protesters

South Bank, London. Sat 26 Oct 2019

A protester holds a list of abuses against protesters - though the numbers are now larger
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Several hundred Chileans and a few British trade unionists protested in a lively rally with speakers and music on the South Bank.

The protest was in solidarity with the huge protests in Chile which have brought Santiago to a halt calling for the resignation of President Piñera. At least 16 have been killed in the protests in Chile, where there are 20,000 police on the streets of Santiago.
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Algerians call for free elections

Algerian Embassy, London. Sat 26 Oct 2019
Women hold placards in an Algerian font at the protest
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Algerians protest outside the Algerian Embassy in London demanding free elections and a civilian government.

A presidential election has been announced for 12th December, but demonstrations continue in Algeria calling for Ahmed Gaïd Salah and other members of the former Bouteflika government to resign and for a boycott of the election.

Assange - Tell the Truth BBC

Broadcasting House, London. Sat 26 Oct 2019
Women with unicorn horns hold posters 'It wasn't Wikileaks who committed war crimes!
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Protesters called on the BBC to report the facts about Julian Assange and called for his extradition trial to be dropped as the political offences he is charged with by the US are specifically excluded by the US-UK Extradition treaty.

The protesters are appalled by his treatment in Belmarsh prison which have clearly affected his mental health, and feel that his recent court appearance was dictated by US personnel present in the court and that the judge failed to take any notice of the evidence and submissions about the case. They say the attempt to hold his next court appearance at Belmarsh which only has room for 5 members of the public is a denial of justice and that the whole trial is political and an abuse of law.
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Iraqi solidarity with Iraq protesters

Broadcasting House, London. Sat 26 Oct 2019

A woman speaks at the protest, while another holds a mask marked as a target
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Iraqis protest outside the BBC over their failure to report accurately on the brutal repression of peaceful protests in Iraq.

Many wore white face masks with a target marked on them as police and government forces are deliberately targeting peaceful protesters with live rounds, rubber bullets and tear gas. 42 are said to have died and over 2000 injured in the latest anti-government protests in Baghdad, but in a week of protests at the start of the month more than 150 died and 6,000 were injured.
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UFFC 21st remembrance procession

Westminster, London. Sat 26 Oct 2019
Banners on the march show some of those who have been killed by police, in prisons etc

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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 march slowly from Trafalgar Square to a rally on Whitehall opposite Downing St.

Although thousands have died under suspicious circumstances since 1990, not one of those responsible have been convicted of murder or manslaughter. This was the 21st annual procession by the UFFC, and included many from families whose loved ones have been killed. Members of a number of the families spoke at the rally on Whitehall, and as in previous years, a deputation went in to take a letter to the prime minister calling for justice for the many dead.
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End Family Courts aiding violent fathers

Parliament Square, London. Sat 26 Oct 2019

A banner calls for support for mums and nans to look after children rather than them being taken away
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A rally in Parliament Square calls for the Domestic Abuse Bill 2019 to be strengthened.

The protesters want courts not to allow violent and abusive fathers to contact children and for courts to accept evidence from all sources, including taking children's allegations of sexual abuse seriously. Legal Aid should be restored for all family cases, the courts should be open to public scrutiny and abused women should be protected and given resources to stay together with their children.

They say mothers and other family should be supported to look after children rather than have social workers take them away and put them into care, often because mothers are poor, made homeless or otherwise not given support.
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Against compulsory relationship education

Parliament Square, London. Sat 26 Oct 2019
A masked protester holds a transgender flag at the front of the protest
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People protest in Parliament Square against teaching material which reflects modern society, including same-sex couples and parents.

They say religious beliefs should allow parents to opt their children out of lessons as their objections should override equality laws. One woman stood in front of the protest with a transgender flag, which confusingly appears also to be the colours used by the OCOFOR movement (Our Children Our Faith Our Right).
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Catalans say release Political Prisoners

Piccadilly Circus, London. Sat 26 Oct 2019
A man with a Catalan scarf is surrounded by posters showing the imprisoned leaders
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Catalans protest at Piccadilly Circus calling for the release of Catalan leaders given lengthy jail sentences by the Spanish court for holding an independence referendum.

Protests against the sentences in Catalonia have been met by violence from thousands of Spanish police sent into the area.
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Lumsdale & Matlock

Matlock, Derbyshire. Wed 23 Oct 2019

Water from the Bentley Brook powered the early days of the industrial revolution
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A short walk from Matlock up Lumsdale and then across and down back to Matlock.

We walked out of Matlock on the Alfreton Road and took a footpath to Lumsdale, walking up beside the Bentley Brook, a small stream which apparently never dries up, walking by the ruins of the small mills that it once powered. I'd walked up here last December, but Linda had missed that walk.

Having reached the remains of the top dam we went down Asker Lane to the Duke of Wellington pub on the Chesterfield Road for lunch, then going along Wellington St, up a narrow footpath to Cavendish St and coming back down on another path to go down Rutland St and Bank Road to Matlock Bridge.

At the top of Rutland St is the former tram depot. Cable hauled trams running in pairs, one going up and the other down were powered by a steam engine and boiler in the depot. They took passengers three-quarters of a mile from Crown Square, near to the railway station 300 ft up the steep hill of Bank Road and Rutland St towards the Hydros close to the top of the hill, the largest of which, Smedley's Hydro, is now the Derbyshire County Council Offices. The tramway, fare 2d up and 1d down, opened in 1893 and closed in 1927, being replaced by a bus service.
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Matlock Town Walk

Matlock, Derbyshire. Mon 21 Oct 2019

One of a pair of Devils on the entrance to the former Methodist Sunday school
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Linda and I had to go to Matlock for a few days to look after grandchildren

On Monday we walked with them to school, and on the way back from there I took a few pictures, then later went for a walk on the road up the hill we could see from our bedroom window, Bank Road, a steep street that goes up from Crown Square close to the bridge over the River Derwent to the Derbyshire County Council offices in the former Smedley's Hydro (and continues up the hill as Rutland St.)

It's a street that contains many of Matlock's more notable buildings, mostly dating from the late Victorian and Edwardian period, when the town expanded greatly largely because of the many hydros which attracted visitors to stay and take the waters. Smedley's, the largest, was built in 1853, four years after the railway came to the town (and 10 before the line went on to Manchester.) I'd learnt a lot about the history of the town from the walls of the Wetherspoons on an earlier visit, most of which I've now confirmed from other sources, notably Wikipedia, which has an fairly detailed description of this small town. I didn't have time to follow the town walks, which contain rather more information.
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Cuba leads on climate say RCG

Oxford St. Sat 19 Oct 2019
The book stall and paper sellers at Oxford Circus before the rain
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The Revolutionary Communist Group hold a street stall at Oxford Circus before going on a rolling picket protesting outside businesses on Oxford St.

The RCG say Cuba leads the world in cutting carbon emissions, now around 1/5th of UK levels per person. While capitalist production leads to extinction, in Cuba, despite punitive US sanctions, socialist planning has greatly increased the well-being of the people through sustainable measures including organic agriculture, reforestation, energy efficiency and renewable energy and investment in education and health.

A surprising number of people took their leaflet and stopped briefly to read them and watch the protest and a few actually bought copies of their 'Fight Capitalism! Fight Imperialism!' newspaper (which usually has more interesting and better written articles than other left-wing papers.) I sat on a convenient pillar next to the crossing and watched them, resting and taking pictures, and was sorry when they moved off down Oxford St.

I went with them and took pictures outside several shops with a high carbon footprint, including phone store EE, fashion store Zara and Boots, as well as at the Brazilian consulate in Vere St. At each location there were one or two speeches about the organisations particular contribution to climate disaster as well as some noisy chanting of slogans.

There had been some light showers but as we reached Zara there was torrential rain and the protesters were getting very wet. I was able to spend some time sheltering in doorways, but after the next couple of stops was pretty wet and my cameras were beginning to get wet too. I decided it was time to leave and took the tube from Bond St. The RCG continued their protest, ending outside the Esso garage on Park Lane. They write: "Esso is owned by ExxonMobil, the US oil and gas giant, which is suing Cuba by using criminal US blockade legislation. It is fitting that ExxonMobil, the second biggest polluter in history, is attacking Cuba, which leads the world in sustainable development."
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March for a People's Vote

London. Sat 19 Oct 2019

One protester was carrying a giant dummy with a EU scarf and globe on the march
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A huge crowd, estimated by some at over a million,meets at Park Lane for the People's Choice march calling for a referendum on the Brexit deal negotiated by Boris Johnson.

They say that now we know more about what Brexit would mean the public must be asked to make an informed choice on whether to leave Europe. Many made clear their desire to stay in EU which they say is a far better deal than Johnson has negotiated and that they did not trust the Tories not to pursue a 'no deal' exit if allowed to go ahead.

After photographing in the crowds on Park Lane and some of the speakers at a left block rally for over an hour I found that the march had begun earlier than expected, and rushed to Piccadilly to try and catch up with the front of it, but by then it was well in the distance. I stayed for another hour photographing marchers as they went past me before but there was still no end of the march in sight when I walked away as Green Park Station was closed due to overcrowding. Some of the protesters had also marched by a different route, going down Constitution Hill to try to get to the rally in time.
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Windsor, Berkshire. Thu 17 Oct 2019

There are an awful lot of Swans in the Thames at Windsor, but no Duck tours today
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We went to Windsor to celebrate a birthday and were disappointed when our trip on a 'Duck' was cancelled as the river was too fast-flowing.

Instead we went to the Windsor Museum and had a tour of the building before going on to the Chinese Restaurant for the meal we had booked. It made a pleasant enough day out.

Ducks get their name from their General Motors manufacturing code (D for 1942, U for amphibious, K is all-wheel drive and W for dual rear wheels) making them DUKW, and they were first used during the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943. Over 21,000 were produced before manufacturing ceased in 1945.

The original Ducks were never suitable for rough conditions and there have been a number of accidents in which tourists have been killed using them - and there were some disasters on D-Day as the waves on Omaha beach were too much for them to cope with when heavily loaded. Modern replicas are considerably safer.

The Thames was pretty calm, but fast-flowing, and even the swans were having great difficulties going upstream. Original Ducks had a top speed in water of 5 mph and would have found it hard going. Those operating at Windsor are purpose-built replicas that meet modern safety standards - and I suppose it is reassuring that when the captain decides the river is unsafe the tour is cancelled.
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XR demands Murdoch tell the truth

London Bridge, London, UK. Wed 16 Oct 2019
The Shard towers above the XR 'Red Brigade' mime troupe at this protest at London Bridge
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Extinction Rebellion hold a vigil at Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp HQ at London Bridge demanding that his papers tell the truth about the climate crisis.

To the surprise of XR, this protest on the private area in front of the offices turned out to be legal as the blanket ban imposed by the Metropolitan Police on protests by XR across London only applies to public places.

Speakers called on the press to end its support of fossil fuel extraction, climate deniers and unnecessary consumerism and instead actively promote lifestyle changes to combat the climate emergency. The Murdoch press has a particularly bad record of climate denial.
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XR defies protest ban

Trafalgar Square, London, UK. Wed 16 Oct 2019People including the 'Red Brigade' mime troupe raise their hands in response to one of the speakers
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An emergency protest in Trafalgar Square defends civil liberties and the right to protest.

Extinction Rebellion called the protest after London Police ruled that even two people standing anywhere in London advocating action on climate change is an illegal assembly, and Monday's Queen's speech lacked any response to the Climate & Ecological Emergency.

Police came and warned some of those sitting in the square before the start of the event that they were committing an offence and might be arrested, but I saw no actual arrests, though police did come and take away a tent from one man as carrying camping equipment is banned under laws made against Brian Haw's protest and Occupy.

Among those who spoke during the event were XR's Rupert Read and Donnachadh McCarthy, George Monbiot, Julia Steinberger, Professor of Ecological Economics and one of the authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 6th Assessment Report, Science journalist Dr Emily Grossman, Green Party MEP Ellie Chowns who was arrested defending the right to peaceful public protest in Trafalgar Square on Monday, former police Chief Superintendent Rob Cooper, Green Party London Assembly Member Caroline Russell, War on Want Executive Director Asad Rehman and Friends Of The Earth Chief Executive Craig Bennett. At the end of Bennett's speech he was challenged by McCarthy over not failing to ask Friends of the Earth members to support Extinction Rebellion.

In his speech during the protest, George Monbiot talked about his resolve to get arrested and invited others to join him after the protest and XR General Meeting which was to follow it ended, when he intended to walk into the road in Whitehall and sit down.

The XR 'Red Brigade' made a spectacular entrance during the speeches, making their way slowly up through the crowd to stand at the top of the steps where they remained for some time responding to the occasion.

He carried out this intention and was arrested by police along with a number of others including the Green Party Mayor of Woodbridge Eamonn O'Nolan who had worn his Mayoral robes for the event.
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Protest defends freedom of speech

Trafalgar Square, London. Tue 15 Oct 2019
A police officer watches as Sian Berry speaks and MEPs Gina Dowding & Molly Scott Cato hold posters
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Following the police ban on any XR protests anywhere in Greater London under Section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986 a protest led by the Green Party took place in Trafalgar Square.

Politicians and others were appalled at the behaviour of the police, both in their expulsion of the protesters from Trafalgar Square late on Monday after they had earlier been told by police they could protest there, and at the draconian imposition of a ban against protests by the group across the whole of London imposed by police. This included a ban on two or more people coming together anywhere in London, who would form an illegal assembly.

A group of protesters gathered on the steps in the square and then walked slowly towards Nelson's column, returning and repeating this before a number of speeches were made on the steps. Police watched and as the first woman started speaking,and two 'Liaison Officers' came and appeared to be trying to intimidate her. Others gathered around her in support.

Among those who spoke were Labour MP David Drew, Green Party co-leader Sian Berry, peace activist Angie Zelter and Extinction Rebellion's Rupert Read as well as three British Green MEPs and an Irish and German MEP. They accused the police of abusing the law and denying freedom of speech and questioned the legality of the police ban. We heard that XR had begun a legal challenge of the Section 14 order.

By the end of the protest they had been joined by over a hundred XR protesters who sat quietly on the steps, some with posters. While I was there the police had made no arrests despite the Section 14 Order clearly having been breached.
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XR No Food No Future protest

Millbank, London. Tue 15 Oct 2019

Police drag a man off the road at the Millbank roundabout
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People came to protest at the roundabout opposite MI5's HQ on Millbank despite a police ban.

The Met police had banned any XR protests anywhere in Greater London under Section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986, but people still came to protest outside MI5 on Millbank over predicted future food shortages. Police searched activists and made an arrest when one man sat down in the road. Activists were still arriving as I had to leave.

Although traffic was still flowing across Lambeth Bridge, there were police lines across the pavement and pedestrians were stopped from walking across the bridge unless they could show suitable ID. I photographed a man showing his passport to cross the bridge. Had anyone wanted to cross they could simply have caught a bus as traffic was not stopped.

Before I left I was stopped by police from going down Millbank to where a larger group of protesters was gathering in the area a little to the south. Instead I left in the opposite direction as I knew a protest was about to take place in Trafalgar Square and I wanted to be there.

I didn't manage to get back there later, but read reports that a protest had taken place.
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Rally supports Bolivia's Evo Morales

Trafalgar Square, London. Sun 13 Oct 2019
Bolivian dancers from London support President Evo Morales
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Bolivians held a lively rally with music and dancers in support of President Evo Morales, who was seeking a fourth term in elections on 20 October.

Morales, the first Indigenous president, and his Movement for Socialism (MAS) have greatly reduced poverty, cut the influence of the USA and multinational companies and made Bolivia a model of economic growth. Opponents say he failed to act quickly enough to combat recent forest fires.

The Bolivian system for the presidential election begins with a first round of voting, where a win requires either over 50% of the total vote, or over 40% with a lead of at least 10% over the next candidate. Moreno at 47% had a narrow victory as he was around 10.5% ahead of the second place candidate. The result was questioned by the opposition and some foreign governments including the US, and there were protests in Bolivia calling for the second round to be held. Morales has warned that a coup d'état is being planned against his government.
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Against Ecuadorian President Moreno

Trafalgar Square, London. Sun 13 Oct 2019
The protesters hold hands on the chests for the Ecuadorian National Anthem
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Protesters in Trafalgar Square called for the resignation of President Lenin Moreno who they say is their worst president ever.

Indigenous groups in Ecuador have been protesting for two weeks against leaving much of the capital in chaos after he announced an end to fuel subsidies, part of a series of public spending cuts imposed to get a £3.4bn load from the IMF and talks were taking place in Quito today between the indigenous umbrella group CONAIE and the government.

Many at the London protest held posters with the message in Spanish "we are all indigenous" or saying they had indigenous blood. After the speeches at the end of the protest the Ecuadorian National Anthem was played, with those present standing to attention and holding their hands over their hearts.

The following day Moreno announced the withdrawal of the International Monetary Fund-backed package, Decree 883, that led to the sharp rise in fuel costs and agreed to work with CONAIE to develop measures to cut government spending, increase revenue and reduce Ecuador’s budget deficits.
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Solidarity with Rojava - Kurdish Syria

London. Sun 13 Oct 2019
Flares were set off as the march went down Haymarket
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Kurds meet outside the BBC to oppose the Turkish invasion of Rojava, Kurdish Syria. After a rally with speeches from a Kurdish mayor, other Kurds and UK trade unionists before they marched through London in protest against the Turkish invasion of Rojava.

Kurds see the Turkish offensive, given the green light by President Trump when he announced the US withdrawal, as an attempt to free ISIS fighters and to ethnically cleanse Kurds from Rojava, the most peaceful area of Syria, a Kurdish-led democracy dedicated to equality, the liberation of women and ecological justice. It follows the invasion, occupation and ethnic cleansing of Afrin in north-western Syria in January 2018 and threatens the stability of the region.

ISIS was defeated by the Syrian Democratic Forces, mainly the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units, YPG and YPJ, and with the aid of US air power. Turkey bought oil from ISIS and facilitated the smuggling of oil to be sold to finance its operations, and it made use of former ISIS fighters in its invasion of Afrin.

The Turkish occupation of North-East Syria puts all its people at risk, not just the majority Kurds but the minorities protected under the constitution of Rojava, including including Arabs, Armenians, Chechens, Turkmen, Syriac, Assyrian and Khaldean Christians and Yezidi.

The Kurds have now been forced to make an alliance with the Syrian regime of President Assad and the Russian forces to defend their territory against Turkey which puts their continued existence as an autonomous region of Syria at risk.

XR Strength in Grief Procession

London. Sat 12 Oct 2019

Women from the Global Women's Strike listen to speeches
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After a rally at Marble Arch thousands marched from Marble Arch to Russell Square.

The funeral procession was led by XR's Red Brigade with skeletons, a jazz funeral band and many people finding ways to express their profound grief at the extinction of species taking place due to global warming and which threatens the future of human life.

The march took place on the Day of Indigenous Resistance on the anniversary of Colombus's landing in the Americas. There were speakers at Marble Arch from the Global Women's Strike and others who spoke about the climate crisis which is already killing thousands in the Global South as well as others who spoke on the power of grief.
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Brexit unfair for EU citizens

Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 12 Oct 2019
One woman had both EU and UK flags on her cheeks
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Some of the 3 million EU citizens residents in the UK came to an event organised by the 3million organisation to express their love for the UK and to remind the Prime Minister of his broken promise made to them on 1 June 2016.

Vote Leave promised "There will be no change for EU citizens already lawfully resident in the UK. EU citizens will automatically be granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK and will be treated no less favourably than they are at present."

Clearly that promise has not been kept, and the government settlement scheme is full of flaws and many who have applied have not been granted settled status. Government minister Brandon Lewis has stated that those who have failed to gain settled status are at risk of deportation.

They protesters wore ponchos in the blue and yellow of the European flag. They held up copies of Vote Leave's broken promise and tore it up.
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Trade Unionists join the Rebellion

Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 12 Oct 2019
Ian Hodson, National President of the Baker's Union BFAWU speaking
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Trade unionists hold a rally in Trafalgar Square in the rain to show their solidarity with Extinction Rebellion and the school climate strikers.

They recognise that the Climate and Ecological Emergency means that the very future of life on this planet is at stake and we need to take radical action without delay to avoid catastrophe. Among the speakers was Ian Hodson, National President of the Baker's Union BFAWU. After the rally they were to march to join the main Extinction Rebellion March in Grief.
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Brick Lane Night

Brick Lane, London. Wed 9 Oct 2019

Brick Lane is still busy at night
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I'd been at a book launch taking place on Brick Lane, and after the free drinks ran out came out onto the street to walk down to Aldgate East.

I'd been taking pictures at events most of the day, and had taken a few at the launch in the gloomily lit bar where the launch was taking place, so still had a camera around my neck. Although there were a few dark spots, most of Brick Lane was significantly better lit, particularly from the lights of the many restaurants and other shops along much of its length, and I stopped occasionally to make an exposure.
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Bangladeshi students protest campus violence

Trafalgar Square, London. Wed 9 Oct 2019

Students call for an end to the violence in Bangladesh's universities
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Bangladeshi students demand an end to violence on campus in Bangladesh universities.

They want a ban on the Bangladesh Chhatra League, the student wing of the Awami League, the party of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, following the beating to death of student Abrar Fahad by BCL leaders at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology on 7 Oct 2019. BCL activists were convicted of the murder of tailor Biswajit Das in 2012 and led violent attacks on students protesting for quota reform and road safety in 2018.
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Extinction Rebellion Day 3

London. Wed 9 Oct 2019

Neil Goodwin as Charlie X spies a climate crisis
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Extinction Rebellion's International Rebellion occupation in Westminster continues into a third day.

Police continued forcing them off some locations, trashing some tents and making more arrests, but there was still no traffic in key locations and workshops and other events continued. XR demand the government tell the truth about the climate and ecological emergency, act to halt biodiversity loss, reduced emissions to net zero and create and be led by a Citizens Assembly.
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Biofuel Watch - Axe Drax at BEIS

BEIS, London. Wed 9 Oct 2019

Mayer Hillman, 88 year old Senior Fellow Emeritus at the Policy Studies Institute speaks
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Protesters at the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) call for an end to the subsidies given to fossil fuels and biomass which produce climate destroying carbon dioxide.

They call for the closure of Drax power station which burns wood pellets and coal, producing huge amounts of carbon while taking £2 million a day in 'renewable' subsidies paid from our electricity bills and has plans for expansion to also become the UK's largest gas-fired power station.
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All Rise For Climate Justice

Royal Courts of Justice, London. Wed 9 Oct 2019

Blind Justice with scales and the Lawyers' Declaration of Rebellion
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As a part of Extinction Rebellion’s International Rebellion, Lawyers for XR read a declaration of rebellion against a legal system which is failing in its ultimate purpose of protecting and enriching life.

They call for deep and urgent changes in our legal system to deal with climate justice and ecological collapse and provide true justice for all, rather than privileging the rich and powerful individuals and corporations who are destroying our planet.
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Stirling Prize for Architecture

Camden, London. Tue 8 Oct 2019

While those attending the Stirling Prize got free champagne the protesters enjoyed a glass of Cava
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Architects for Social Housing (ASH) protested outside the Royal Institute of British Architects awards ceremony for the Stirling Prize.

Speakers from ASH and Focus E15 condemning architects for social cleansing, council estate demolition and housing privatisation and calling on architects to end wanton environmentally disastrous demolitions and to serve the needs of citizens with socially beneficial, financially viable and environmentally sustainable architecture rather than corporate profits.

A number of architects came up to talk with Simon Elmer of ASH and Oliver Wainwright, the Guardian's architecture and design critic came to talk to the ASH protesters on his way into the awards and spoke briefly. Other architects rushed past trying to avoid the protest and one woman came up to shout abuse and assault Elmer.

The winning entry, widely lauded in the press as marking a new era in social housing is not as Elmer points out actually council housing, but built by the Norwich Regeneration Company, a commercial venture owned by Norwich council and will not be offering secure council tenancies, with nothing to stop the company raising the service charges or converting the social rent homes to 'affordable rent's in the future as he says so many housing associations are currently doing. It is also not clear how many of the homes are for social rent, though probably fewer than the one third in the original proposal. Also not mentioned in the press is the fact that council houses were demolished to build the scheme.

It particularly angered ASH that as well as being nominated for (and winning) the Stirling Prize Goldsmith Street was also nominated (and won) the new Neave Brown Award, supposedly honouring the recently deceased champion and architect of council housing at the Dunboyne Road Estate (formerly known as Fleet Road) and Alexandra Road Estate both in Camden - like all his UK works listed. To ASH this is an insult to the great man. The only thing that can be said in its favour is that the other nominated schemes would have been an even worse insult had they won.

Unfortunately the event began rather late, when early arrivals for the free champagne at this very expensive event had already made their way inside. By the time it really got under way the light was falling and I left tired after a long day before many of the protesters arrived.
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1000 Trees at Parliament

Westminster, London. Tue 8 Oct 2019

Conservative MP for Wells James Heappey, PPS to Boris Johnson collects his Hornbeam
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Campaigners had brought 1000 native trees in pots to Old Palace Yard labelled with the names of MPs, world leaders and others, inviting them and collect their tree.

The symbolic action called on the government and MPs to plant billions of trees across the UK, and support the planting of trillions more around the world. Trees are the most effective method of carbon capture known, but a trillion new trees would only capture the last 10 years of global emissions.

A surprisingly large number of MPs did come and collect their threes, though I only saw three or four of them on the two short visits I paid to the scene. The trees that were unclaimed at the end of the protest were taken away to be planted in the West Country.
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Extinction Rebellion continues

Westminster, London. Tue 8 Oct 2019

As well as the 'Red Rebels' there were now 'Green Rebels' performing
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Extinction Rebellion's International Rebellion occupation in Westminster continues.

I made a tour of most of the locations that XR had occupied on the previous day. Police had managed to remove them from the Horseferry Road roundabout with Millbank at the west end of Lambeth Bridge and had made rather more arrests, but there was still no traffic in key locations and workshops and other events continued.

There seemed to be considerably more police than on the previous day, and there were larger groups moving determinedly along some streets and it seemed clear that they were going to make an effort to clear some of the sites. The police were telling people that if they wished to continue to protest they had to move to Trafalgar Square, but many were reluctant to do so.

The weather was turning against the protest too, and in the afternoon on Whitehall as a heavy downpour began a line of police walked up to surround the gazebos that had been serving food and offering information. Police tore a banner out of the hands of those holding it, and began to tear down the gazebos. There was some argument, but the XR principle of non-violence prevented any action to stop the police and people stood watching and shouting 'Shame on You' and other slogans at them as they destroyed the stalls.

A large group of police had surrounded those protesting on Birdcage Walk, but I think were less successful in persuading them to move. I walked on to Broad Sanctuary were the camp there was still continuing, then met a crowd of protesters marching along Marsham St. The speeches outside the Home Office were continuing, but I needed to go elsewhere, and walked back to Westminster to catch the tube.

XR demand the government tell the truth about the climate and ecological emergency, act to halt biodiversity loss, reduced emissions to net zero and create and be led by a Citizens Assembly.
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XR Rebels marry on Westminster Bridge

Westminster Bridge, London. Mon 7 Oct 2019

Tamsin and Mellissa kiss at the end of the marriage ceremony
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The wedding of XR rebels Tamsin and Melissa took place on Westminster Bridge as a part of the protest this afternoon.

Extinction Rebellion begin the International Rebellion by occupying eleven locations at government ministries, Downing St, The Mall, Westminster and Lambeth bridges, bringing traffic to a halt. They demand the government tell the truth about the climate and ecological emergency, act to halt biodiversity loss, reduced emissions to net zero and create and be led by a Citizens Assembly.
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Extinction Rebellion occupy Westminster

Westminster, London. Mon 7 Oct 2019
A woman holds an XR wreath at the crossroads of Horseferry Rd and Marsham St
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Extinction Rebellion begin the International Rebellion by occupying eleven locations at government ministries, Downing St, The Mall, Westminster and Lambeth bridges, bringing traffic to a halt.

They demand the government tell the truth about the climate and ecological emergency, act to halt biodiversity loss, reduced emissions to net zero and create and be led by a Citizens Assembly.

I managed to get to some but not quite all of these 11 locations during the day and take pictures. Police hindered movement around the city to some extent, making me have to walk rather further than I wanted when they completely closed Lambeth Bridge to all pedestrians after XR had closed both ends to traffic.

Police were making a few arrests here and there but it was hard to see any logic in their actions. Some people had locked themselves together but generally I think the police were simply overwhelmed by the large number of protesters. As before XR's 'Red Brigade' made a colourful splash and like most photographers I took too many pictures of them.
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Sheffield, Yorkshire

Yorkshire. Sun 6 Oct 2019

Chinese on a narrow boat in Sheffield Basin
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Some pictures from Sheffield on our way back from Unstone.

As usual we used public transport to make our way to and from Unstone. On the way there we had travelled by rail to Matlock, where we stopped off briefly to meet one of my sons and his two daughters (and go to their school harvest festival) before catching two buses to get us to Unstone.

Coming home we took the bus (hourly on Sundays) to Sheffield, arriving a couple of hours before we had to catch a train, time for a walk around. We went to the canal dock at Victoria Quays where Linda wanted to have afternoon tea, but the tea shop was closed. I wandered around taking some pictures before it was time to return.

Buying advance tickets it cost us a little less than half the normal off peak fare, but did restrict us to the booked train. We had to go on a Cross-Country service to Reading via Birmingham, which as usual was overcrowded but the ticket includes a seat reservation. Others who had paid at least twice as much had to stand for most of the journey; Cross-Country seem always to run short and overcrowded trains and surely deserve to have the franchise removed. Then it was a train to Ascot and a bus replacement service home. It's always a mistake to travel on Sundays, but our journey went without a hitch, though we did have to run rather a long way at Reading to avoid half an hour's wait there.
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Unstone, Derbyshire

Derbyshire. Fri 4-Sun 6 Oct 2019

Unstone from the road at Hundall
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Pictures taken while I was attending a weekend at Unstone Grange, near Dronfield.

As well as taking some pictures of Unstone Grange, "a centre for personal creative growth" run by a charity and volunteers as" a beautiful place where people can come together to explore and grow in their understanding of life, themselves and others" I went on a walk around the area with several friends.
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IWGB at Mayfair club Loulou's

Mayfair, London. Wed 2 October 2019
The IWGB protest with drums, whistles and vuvuzelas outside the club
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IWGB Cleaners and Facilities Branch picket and protest at exclusive Mayfair private club LouLou's for kitchen porters to be paid a living wage, be treated with dignity and respect and given decent terms and conditions including proper sick pay, holidays and pension contributions.

Protests have already forced the club to agree to bring the workers back into direct employment. Police harassed the protesters and failed to challenge some heavy-handed security.
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Saudis support killer Prince MbS

Saudi Embassy, London. Wed 2 October 2019

Saudi protesters supporting Crown Prince included two with giant illuminated posters
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Supporters of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) line the street opposite the protest calling for Justice for Jamal Khashoggi defending him from these accusations and pointing out the positive aspects of his rule.

They held up posters, placards, banners and giant screens showing images of MbS and listing some of the things he has done working to make Saudi Arabia "a modern nation and make his people more civilised." There was loud music, speeches and chanting, but mostly they stayed on the opposite pavement to the Khashoggi vigil, with just the odd person coming across the road to wave their Saudi flag and shout at those at the vigil.

I talked briefly to one of them who agreed with me that they were there simply as a counter to the Khashoggi protest, but disagreed - if politely - when I suggested that MbS had been responsible for dispatching the team that tortured, killed and dismembered journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Since seven of the 15 man team are said to be a part of MbS's personal bodyguard it seems almost certain he was - and CIA states with "high confidence" that MbS ordered Khashoggi's murder.
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Justice For Jamal Khashoggi

Saudi Embassy, London. Wed 2 October 2019
A line of protesters held burning candles in the #JusticeForJamal vigil
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A small group of representatives of English PEN, Writers at Risk, Reporters Without Borders and PEN International hold a candlelit vigil at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia on the first anniversary of Saudi journalist Jamal Khasnhoggi’s horrific murder inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where his body was dismembered.

The event was opposed by a larger group of Saudis holding posters, placards and screens supporting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman widely believed to have ordered his murder who kept mainly on the opposite side of the road.
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London Images

October 2019
Chalk Farm in Camden at night - I also made some night images on Brick Lane and at various protests
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Pictures as usual from Nine Elms and Vauxhall, as well as Westminster, the West End, Paddington, and a few odd images from elsewhere.
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