London March for Freedom for Tibet
Downing St, London. Sat 10 Mar 2018
and supporters prepare to march at Downing St
The annual Tibet freedom march in London commemorating the 59th anniversary
of the Tibetan National Uprising, with around a thousand people, including
many Tibetans and supporters gathering at Downing St before marching to
a protest at the Chinese Embassy.
Before the march left there was a minute of silence for those who have
died, including by self-immolation, and a long Tibetan prayer, followed
by the singing of the Tibetan National Anthem.
Against attacks on Afrin
Parliament Square, London. Sat 10 Mar 2018
People with Kurdistan flags and posters
A row of people across the front of Parliament Square hold posters
about the continuing Turkish siege of Afrin, where the local authority reports
that 220 civilians have been killed and 600 injured.
The Turkish forces have taken advantage of the media concentrating on Eastern
Ghouta and largely ignoring what is happening in the Kurdish area of northern
Syria, where up to a million civilians are coming under attack.
Turkish forces are augmented by hard line Islamic extremists from the Free
Syrian Army, many of whom fought with ISIS and al-Qaeda and are determined
to have revenge on the PKK Kurdish forces which were largely responsible
for their defeat.
Sri Lankans protest Buddhist mob violence
Downing St, London. Sat 10 Mar 2018
Women on the march to the Sri Lankan Embassy
Sri Lankan Tamils gathered for a rally at Downing St to protest against
the continuing violence by Buddhist mobs in Muslim neighbourhoods around
Kandy which have destroyed shops and restaurants despite the state of emergency
declared last Tuesday with a curfew and the deployment of soldiers to towns
in the troubled area.
In similar violence last month a mosque was destroyed. The government has
also closed down social media websites which they say were used to organise
the violence. The majority Sinhalese population is predominantly Buddhist
while the minority Tamils include Hindus, Muslims and Christians.
As protesters left to march to the Sri Lankan High Commission there were
some arguments as some men tried to force women protesters to the back of
the march, but were met with some defiance. They were held back while some
men with banners went to the front of the march, but soon joined it.
Protest forcible religious conversions
Parliament Square, London. Sat 10 Mar 2018
dressed in black wear head bands 'Free Our Faith'
People stood in rows in Parliament Square for a protest by members
of many faiths calling for religious freedom and against Coercive Conversion
Programmes which attempt to forcefully change an person's belief through
psychological intimidation, verbal and physical abuse.
This was a one of a number of protests around the world called by the South
Korean based NGO The Association of Victims of Coercive Conversion Programmes
(AVCCP) which raises awareness of human rights abuses caused by religious
conflicts after the death of a Korean girl, Jo In Gu, allegedly suffocated
by her parents for refusing to take part in a religious conversion programme.
Million Women Rise
Oxford St, London. Sat 10 Mar 2018
Latin-Americans in Orchard St where the march gathered
Women march through London against male violence against women, part
of the Million Women Rise movement against the global pandemic of male violence
Many carried feminist placards and there were groups from various women's
organisations around the country, including from various ethnic communities.
They were marching along Oxford St to a rally in Trafalgar Square.
Unilever & Myanmar's Rohingya genocide
Unilever House, , London. Thu 8 Mar 2018
Unilever told their investments in Myanmar are supporting
rape and genocide of Rohingya
A protest on International Women's Day at Unilever House called on
Unilever to disinvest from Myanmar where they have a $667 million investment
as the military government there are committing systematic rape and other
torture with total impunity as part of their genocide against the Rohingya
Unilever claims to to embody principles that respect the dignity and rights
of women and girls, especially in their marketing of Dove products and as
'Impact Champion' appointed by UN Women, and a company which makes
the claims that "UNILEVER aims to improve safety for women and
girls in the communities where they operate."
The protest was organised by Global Women's Strike in support of the call
by Sisters of Rohingya for Unilever to divest from Myanmar.
Reinstate the Royal Opera House 6
Royal Opera, Covent Garden, London. Thu 8 Mar 2018
CAIWU members outside Covent Garden Royal Opera House
Cleaners from CAIWU were supported by a a large crowd from the London
Womens's Strike in a protest outside the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden
against the victimisation of cleaners working there for taking part in trade
In January, actions by Independent Workers Union - CAIWU (members were
successful in getting the cleaning service provider Kier to pay its workers
the London Living Wage. Only a month later, Kier, a company who have a record
of blacklisting trade unionists, fired four cleaners and porters from their
jobs for minor timekeeping misdemeanours. Another is being disciplined and
a sixth is on a final written warning. All are CAIWU members and are clearly
being victimised for having taken part in the successful campaign at the
Royal Opera House.
The protest was so large that it blocked Drury Lane for some time before
returning to Covent Garden Market. Police came and talked briefly with both
the protesters and those inside the Royal Opera House, then came out, removed
all the posters and fliers from the police car, got in and drove away.
The campaign against victimisation is continuing with a whole series of
protests scheduled for later in the month at times when customers will be
going in to performances there.
Solidarity with Yarl's Wood hunger strikers
Home Office, London. Thu 8 Mar 2018
group from Manchester at the London protest with a Shut Down Yarl's Wood
Protesters come to the Home Office to show solidarity with those held
in Yarl's Wood on International Women's Day, and in particular with those
who began a hunger strike 15 days ago against their imprisonment and the
conditions and treatment by the detention centre staff and the Home Office.
Since then this has gathered momentum and escalated into an all-out strike:
work strikes, occupations, and a general refusal to co-operate, and long
lists of the detainees demands have been published by Detained Voices.
So far the Home Office has issued denials that the action is taking place
and has sent those taking part letters threatening them with accelerated
deportation because of their actions. The protesters call for an end to
all immigration detention. Hundreds of people including some at this protest
were fasting today for International Women's Day in solidarity with those
inside Yarl's Wood.
London Women's Strike
Russell Square, London. Thu 8 Mar 2018
A woman holds red roses and a poster about smashing
Over a thousand people, mainly women, are at the London Women's Strike
in Russell Square on International Women’s Day.
There were a series of speeches, singing and events to mark the day of
strike by women, refusing to do work either paid or unpaid, including housework
and domestic work. The organisers say the "Women's Strike is a
strike for solidarity between women - women of colour, indigenous, working
class, disabled, migrant, Muslim, lesbian, queer and trans women"
and "is about realising the power we already hold - activating
and nourishing resistance."
Here is a part of one of their statements:
• For every woman who is sick to death of being sexually harassed
and bullied at work.
• For every woman who is hungry and unable to heat her house.
• For every woman suffering because of benefit cuts or poverty wages.
• For every woman who is expected to earn less than her male colleagues
and then come home and start a second shift of cooking, cleaning and caring.
• For every woman who is kept powerless by whore stigma.
• For every woman of transgender experience who is subject to violence
and whose womanhood is denied by the state, her doctor, her employers,
and those around her.
• For every woman who is told she is just going through a phase,
that she's too pretty to be a lesbian or too ugly to be straight and has
endured homophobia, biophobia or queerphobia at home, at work and in the
• For every woman who has worked herself to the bone to keep the
national health and education systems functioning and yet has not received
a pay rise in years.
• For every woman who has suffered violence at the hands of partners,
friends, colleagues or bosses and is not believed.
• For every woman who faces violence at the hands of the state through
immigration raids, mass incarceration and racist policing.
Groups of those on strike took part in a number of events elsewhere, including
several protests in support of cleaners at the TopShop and The Royal Opera
in Covent Garden, and cinema workers at Picturehouse, calling for an end
to immigration detention an in solidarity with the Yarl's Wood hunger strikers,
for Unilever to withdraw its investment in Myanmar where its presence supports
a government that has brutally raped, tortured and killed many Rohingya,
and supporting sex workers by calling for the decriminalisation of prostitution.
Family Courts put on Trial
Old Palace Yard, London. Thu 8 Mar 2018
A finger points at one of the two judges the protesters
say are stealing children from families
Global Women's Strike mock trial of the Family Courts in an International
Women’s Day protest in front of Parliament. Speakers included mothers
who have had children unjustly removed and others who read out their statements
as well as the shocking comments made in court by judges as well as those
from groups which assist women to try and keep their children or who have
had children taken without good cause.
The UK has the highest rate of adoptions in Europe, almost all without
consent of their birth family. In some working class areas, 50% of children
are referred to social services and that families of colour, immigrant and
disabled are all disproportionately affected.
They say that poverty, often a result of benefit cuts and sanctions, and
lack of proper housing is often mistaken for neglect and that instead of
help being provided as the 1989 Childrens Act instructed, children are taken
into care and then put up for adoption when they have mothers or grandmothers
who are capable of good parenting and only need support.
Victims of domestic abuse are often accused of 'failing to protect' their
children and vague charges such as putting children at risk of future emotional
harm and neglect are used by the secret courts to remove children from mothers
The campaigners want hearings with proper public scrutiny, an end to the
gagging of mothers and families, the greater use of kinship carers (only
9% of looked after children are placed with these in the UK, compared to
almost half in Spain) and the proper implementation of the 1989 Children
Act, and the Care Act 2014 which entitles disabled mothers to extra help.
Shut Guantanamo at new US Embassy
US Embassy, Nine Elms, London. Thu 8 Mar 2018
Guantanamo campaigners in front of the new US Embassy
The London Guantánamo Campaign held the first of their monthly protests
outside the US Embassy calling for the US prison camp to be shut down and
the remaining 41 prisoners to be released.
They have protested at the Grosvenor Square US embassy every month since
2007 and will continue outside the new embassy until the illegal and immoral
camp is closed down. They say that with President Trump's plans to keep
Guantanamo open and possibly send more people there it is important to continue
to stand against this shameful injustice. There is no evidence against most
of those held and tortured there which would stand up in a court of law,
and some were simply foreigners in the region seized by merely to gain cash
rewards from the US forces.
The protests normally take place on the first Thursday of the month, but
March's protest was postponed for a week because of last week's snow. This
meant that some regular protesters were unable to attend, and the protest
started a little later than usual as some had problems finding the new location.
I had to leave after a few minutes to photograph another event and more
people may have turned up later. more pictures
Nine Elms, London. Thu 8 Mar 2018
The US Embassy has a 'moat' water feature in front
I walked from Vauxhall to the US Embassy for a protest, but was a few minutes
early (or the protesters were late) so had time to take a few pictures of
the embassy and its surrounds in what estate agents call the Embassy Quarter.
IWGB protest at Graduation Dinner
Chi swell St, London. Tue 6 Mar 2018
A woman holds a baking tray with the message 'No To
Outsourcing - Keep Us In
Outsourced workers, including cleaners, security officers, receptionists,
porters and gardeners who keep the university running smoothly protested
noisily outside University of London Vice Chancellor Sir Adrian Smith's
graduation dinner, calling on the university to employ them directly, for
an end to zero hours contracts and to implement promised pay rises.
Currently they are employed by contractors under worse holiday entitlements,
sick pay, pensions and paternal leave than university employees, and are
often subjected to discrimination, bullying and unfair deduction of wages.
The university management has repeatedly refused discussions with the workers
and their trade union, the IWGB, who are this week balloting for further
strike action after months of campaigning.
The workers and supported marched from Barbican station to the dinner venue
and watched by police and security staff as they held a noisy protest and
handed out flyers to those attending the dinner.
Staines, Middx. Sun 4 Mar 2018
Former gravel pit, Church Lammas, Staines
It was late afternoon when we set out for a walk - I'd been working
at the computer all day and needed some fresh air and a little exercise.
We walked down to the Thames and then along what used to be the tow path
upstream to the Lammas Park. From 1812 to 1885 there were bitter and sometimes
violent battles over the enclosures of common land around Staines, and particular
resentment when John Ashby (whose family owned among other things Staines'
leading brewery) bought and enclosed this area. The resentment didn't go
away, even when the area was donated as a park to the town in 1922, and
although officially then called the Ashby Recreation Ground, locals refused
to use that name, and 71 years later the local council capitulated and changed
it back to The Lammas. Hopefully it won't take quite so long for the council
to change the official name of the town back to Staines, from the asinine
Walking through the Lammas we crossed the road to another area of the Lammas
fields now called Church Lammas Lakes, as the fields were dug up for gravel
in the 1980s and 90s. Rather than restoring them to fields the pits were
left and at fairly minimal expense (a couple of gates, a few paths and benches)
turned into a nature reserve open to the public. The borough has far too
many such former gravel pits - and of course also large areas of water in
a number of reservoirs.
At the west of the site is a small ditch, the COunty Ditch, which forms
the boundary of Middlesex - and now of the Borough of Spelthorne, and we
walked by its side t the northwest corner of the reserve by the Staines
Aqueduct, where we turned east to go to a footpath leading over the aqueduct
and then under the bypass and across a field to Moor Lane, turning south
on that to come back under the bypass and over the aqueduct again, then
taking a footpath that leads to Vicarage Lane and on to Church St, returning
to the towpath by Bridge St to make our way home. By that time is was getting
No More Deaths On Our Streets
London. Sat 3 Mar 2018
Police stop the march briefly close to Piccadilly
Supporters from March With The Homeless - #solidaritynotcharity, Streets
Kitchen, Homeless Outreach Central, and London: March for the homeless gathered
at Downing St after rough sleepers have died on the streets of London in
the recent cold snap to say enough is enough - no more deaths on our streets.
After blocking Whitehall for a short time they marched along the Strand
and through Covent Garden before making their way towards Piccadilly Circus
and then on to the squatted Sofia House which is offering shelter and food
to the London's street homeless.
Police made several attempts to stop their march with a small force of
officers including two poorly controlled horses who endangered the public
on some of the crowded West End streets. They kept trying to stop the march
going where it intended and making it go back to Downing St, but there were
not enough of them to stop people simply walking around their various cordons.
Eventually at the top of Haymarket the police appeared to come to some
agreement with the marchers that would allow them to proceed, and I left
Protesters blame the government for failing in its duty to provide social
housing and to look after its citizens, and that government cuts in benefits
and money for welfare services are killing people who are poor, disabled
or suffering from mental health conditions. They say the authorities should
take over some of the many empty properties to house the homeless - there
are around ten times as many empty homes in the UK as there are homeless
There are also many large empty commercial properties like the one that
some of those on the march have squatted in Great Portland St and made into
a temporary refuge. Without people making initiatives such as these and
the work of groups like Streets Kitchen feeding the homeless many more would
have died, particularly in the cold nights and snow of the past week. The
squat provided food and overnight shelter for around 30 people on the night
of the march.
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