Notting Hill Carnival
Notting Hill, Sunday 28 August 2011
A very crowded audience for Sancho Panza in Middle Row
The first day of this years Notting Hill Carnival seemed to draw slightly
fewer people than in recent years and had a more visible police presence.
But everyone was enjoying carnival and there was little trouble.
Some carnival organisations have seen cuts in grants from hard-pressed local
councils, and this was perhaps the reason that carnival seemed to be on a
slightly smaller scale and there were rather less elaborate costumes than
before. But Sunday is always a day for children and families and the Mas bands
save their major efforts for Monday, the main carnival day.
There was a stronger police presence before, and it was made very much more
obvious, in particular with large groups of officers dressed in loose-fitting
black uniforms and wearing bright yellow baseball caps, giving them a much
more menacing look than normal police uniforms.
As I went down Ladbroke Grove, groups of this officers were stopping and
searching black youths, using their powers under a section 60 order. Brought
in to deal with football hooligans in the 1994 Criminal Justice & Public
Order Act when this order has been issued for a particular event it gives
police the power to stop anyone for long enough to make a search for weapons
and dangerous instruments.
This appeared to be how it was being conducted on the street at carnival,
unlike at some demonstrations where police have exceeded their powers by asking
for names and addresses and photographing those people stopped. Most people
I saw stopped nade few complaints and were on their way again after a brief
search, though I did hear objections by some people who felt that only young
black males were being searched. Certainly most or all of those searched while
I was watching fell in this category.
I saw two young black men being rushed away by police through the procession
and away past a line of police horses down a road closed to the public, presumably
being arrested. But police reported only around thirty arrests, not a great
many for a population of this size on an afternoon.
Apart from twenty minutes or so of a heavy shower it was a fine afternoon,
and everyone seemed to be having a good time, with the usual mixture of Caribbean
and other foods, plenty of alcohol and a great deal of dancing, both at the
sound systems (some of which were truly deafening, making one's whole body
throb with the sound) and with the floats which later in the afternoon had
gathered large crowds of dancers going along the road behind them.
There are two sets of pictures here, each roughly in the order in which they
were taken, starting with two and a half pages of images on the Fuju Finepix
X100, followed by images taken with the Nikon D300.
Thames Path: Oxford-Eynsham
Oxford-Eynsham. Saturday 27 August 2011
Port Meadow - close to Oxford
The question most people reading this may well be asking is 'Where the ****
is Eynsham?' and fortunately the answer is 'Not very far from Oxford' and
one of its main attractions is the good bus service taking you back there.
However had you been reading this web site a thousand or so years ago (tricky
because I don't think those Anglosaxons were too hot on internet protocols
and although the avian-based RFC1149 would have been technically feasible
it was only published in 1990, more or less as Tim Berners-Lee was inventing
the web) the question you might have been asking was 'Where the **** is Oxford',
a rather less significant place until it got the idea of a having a university.
As we found when we got there, Eynsham had a huge abbey, though the only
real sign we saw remaining of it were its fish ponds. But that was at the
end of our walk, shortly before I mutinied and made for the Red Lion.
We started at the station and made our way to the Thames, where our Thames
Path book seemed to show the path on the wrong side of the river. Years ago,
before we had a Thames path, I remember getting quite excited about the draft
proposal for it, and even making a few suggestions. Of course there was a
tow path next to the river except where some less scrupulous riparian owners
had stolen and enclosed parts of it, but it did have an unfortunate habit
of jumping from one side to the other at remote places where until around
the 1930s there had been a ferry.
Now I'm not so sure that such 'long-distance paths' are such a good idea.
They encourage people to approach walking in a very competitive and one-dimensional
way, 'bagging' stages of the route iin what are more route marches than enjoyable.
My kind of walk tends to go a quite a slow pace overall, stopping to look
at and photograph things that take my interest, diverting from the path to
look at what seem interesting features on the map, not worrying about getting
any particular distance. But of course outside the city there are certain
practicalities about finding a bus stop or station from where you can get
home. My companions are usually rather more heading for the goal, and you
will see the backs of two figures in the middle distance in some of my pictures,
though not me running after them to catch up.
But at least this was a fairly short walk, and we did have time to look around
Eynsham, a large village with around five pubs and a post office, as well
as a heritage trail around the extensive former abbey grounds which we did
around half of. The others were also keen to look for traces of the former
railway, an extremely thirst-making and largely fruitless task, serving largely
as a reminder of how short-sighted we were in abandoning way-leaves on what
might by now have seemed a very suitable route for lightweight community transport.
The fiinal picture on my way home was taken from the top of the bus as it
went over Swinford Bridge, with a view along the Thames to Eynsham Lock. The
bridge is a local traffic bottleneck, with long queues at the rush hour holding
up traffic for around 20 minutes or more as motorists have to stop to pay
the toll. Although the toll for cars is only 5p that nets around £175,000
a year and, under the Act of Parliament granted in 1767 the income from it
is free of income tax - which had not then been invented. A long campaign
(at least since 1905) by users continues to get the toll abolished, most recently
with a petition to their local MP, a Mr David Cameron, who you think might
be able to do something about it. But the owner of the bridge, who bought
it in 2009 remains anonymous, and could well be a considerable donor to Conservative
Thames Path - Abingdon-Oxford
Abingdon - Oxford. Friday 26 August 2011
Driving rain on the Thames at Abingdon
The weather forecast was pretty terrible, and the day more or less lived
up to its promise. So together with my son and wife I walked from Abingdon
to Oxford along the Thames Path. Fortunately I'd had the sense to put my waterproof
trouses on. The sun did come out around 4pm, and it evaporated the water in
my lens, which then condensed as a mist all over the interior glass surfaces,
finally drying out around half an hour later.
We caught the train to Oxford, from where there is a good bus service to
Abingdon. It would have been quite a nice walk in decent weather, not too
Cleaners Protest Bullying at Guildhall
Guildhall, London. Thursday 21 Aug 2011
Cleaners allege racist attitudes, bullying and favouritism at work and want
to be represented by the IWW
Cleaners employed by Ocean Contract Cleaning at City of London Guildhall
protested there demanding an end to bullying, threats and racism at work,
as well as for recognition for their union, the IWW.
Roughly 20 cleaners and their supporters demonstrated at the Guildhall in
Gresham St this afternoon. Police came and asked them to move away from the
pavement by the side of the Guildhall library where they said the protest
would be illegal under Section 14 of the "Police and Criminal Justice
Act" as the protesters had not given six days notice of the protest.
No notice is normally needed for a static protest like this except for one
in the areas around Parliament specified by the Serious Organised Crime and
Police Act 2005 (SOCPA.) Section 14 of the "Police and Criminal Justice
Act" is actually about alcohol-related disorder and not protest. The
relevant act would appear to be the Public Order Act 1986, where Section 14
which only gives police powers to regulate some aspects of a protest in very
specific circumstances, "to prevent serious public disorder, serious
criminal damage or serious disruption to the life of the community",
none of which seemed at risk on this occasion.
Although the police appear to have been talking legal nonsense they actually
seemed keen to facilitate the protest, and suggested two rather better nearby
locations, either Guildhall Yard itself (where normally protests are not allowed,
and any event needs the permission of the relevant City of London authority),
or the more public paved corner between Gresham St and Aldermanbury. Sensibly
the cleaners chose to move to this location to continue their protest.
The protesters had two large banners, one with the International Workers
of the World (IWW) loga and the message 'Cleaning Injustice' and the Restaurant,
Hotel, and Building Service Workers union number, IU 640, and the other with
the Cleaners Union of the IWW logo and the text in four languages, "Workers
of the World Unite." There were no placards or leaflets, but there were
four large paper hats with the messages "No Racism" and "Stop
Many of the cleaners are from South America, and the chanting, largely about
wanting justice and union recognition, was in Spanish as well as English.
Several present had IWW t-shirts and the cleaners have moved from being in
the mainstream UK unions to this international organisation.
Previous demonstrations by the cleaners have been very effective in raising
their rates from the national minimum wage to the higher London Living Wage,
which attempts to set a minimum required to live in London. This protest was
not about wages but about the treatment of the workers at work, calling for
a proper respect and for justice, and also for the recognition of their union.
The cleaners allege that they have been unfairly treated by the contractor
who employs them to clean in the City of London offices, Ocean Contract Cleaning.
In a statement they claimed that they "have raised complaint after complaint
about bullying, management nepotism and abuse. Our union has been reasonable,
professional and constructive." Ocean have so far refused recognition
to the IWW branch and although they have said they will deal with the problems,
have taken no action, claiming still to be investigating the alleged incidents,
which include the locking up of workers for several hours, threats of violence,
sacking of those who join the union, passing over of black workers for promotion,
giving workers jobs to family members and more.
The protesters suggested that Ocean was hoping to evade its responsibilities
to the cleaners by the transfer of the contract to another company in September.
The cleaners say they want justice now.
At one point a police officer returned to complain about the use of the siren
sound on the large megaphone used by the protesters when they were not speaking.
The officer concerned said that this could cause confusion and possibly prevent
drivers from giving way to actual emergency vehicles sounding their sirens
on the highway. The protesters continued but with less use of this highly
annoying sound. As I left them after around an hour of the protest and walked
away I could still hear the sound of their chanting until around a quarter
of a mile away.
Al-Quds Day Protests in London
Portland Place to Trafalgar Square, London. Sunday 21 Aug 2011
Muslim women show their support for Palestine
Several thousand marched through London calling for freedom for Palestine
in the annual Al Quds (Jerusalem) Day march. There were small counter-demonstrations
by an Iranian opposition group and the EDL.
Al-Quds is the Arabic name for Jerusalem and Al Quds Day was started
by the late Imam Khomeini of Iran as an expression of solidarity with the
Palestinian people and of opposition to the Israeli control of Jerusalem,
as well as more widely "a day for the oppressed to rise and stand
up against the arrogant." It is on the last Friday of Ramadan which
this year is 26 Aug, but the march in London took place on the Sunday before
this. Most of those taking part were Muslim and were observing the Ramadan
The march is organised by the Islamic Human Rights Commission, an
organisation that receives funding from the Iranian government. Despite this
and the appalling human rights record of the Iranian Government the IHRC does
carry out much worthwhile research and campaigning, including whole-hearted
support of the Palestinian cause.
The proclamation of Al Quds day and its annual celebration have helped to
revitalise worldwide interest in freedom for Palestine, and the even is supported
by a number of mainstream UK campaigning organisations including the Stop
the War Coalition and Ireland and Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaigns,
as well as major Muslim groups including the Muslim Association of Britain
and Muslim Council of Britain. Also backing it, and present on the march were
several Jewish groups including Jews Against Zionism, Jews for Boycotting
Israeli Goods and Neturei Karta UK as well as other groups supporting Palestine.
The marchers, many of whom had come in coaches from around the country, gathered
on Portland Place from a little before 2pm, and many said prayers on the pavement
before the march formed up.
Protesters opposite the Al Quds Day march with Free Iran flag and placards
Shortly after this, a small group of protesters against the Iranian regime
began a protest against them immediately opposite on the other side of the
road. As I walked across the road towards them a police officer stopped me
and gave me a warning that some of them or their families might face prosecution
if their photographs appeared in the press, and because of this I might not
be welcome. I thanked him for the advice and continued across and it was clear
that the protesters actually welcomed the attention of myself and the other
press photographers present.
The two groups remained in position, chanting slogans at each other for the
next hour or so, while the very much larger group on the Al Quds march waited
for marchers whose coaches had been held up in traffic. Although many of the
marchers carried placards with the message 'We are all Hizbullah' and there
were chants of this along with 'We are all Palestinians', and their were graphic
images of victims of Israeli attacks on Palestinians, the main emphasis was
on the need to boycott Israel and companies that support Israel, among those
mentioned being Marks and Spencer, Starbucks and Coca-Cola.
A huge cheer went up when the Neturei Karta ultra-orthodox Jews arrived,
having walked from Stamford Hill. They carried placards which repeated their
opposition to Zionism and support for the Palestinians, and when the march
started they were more or less at the front, accompanied by several Muslim
clerics. The marchers made clear that they were not anti-Jewish and welcomed
the support of these and other Jewish groups present opposed to Zionism and
the illegal actions of the Israeli forces.
It was an impressive march, with almost all of those taking part carrying
banners, placards or small Palestinian flags. There were also several very
large Palestinian flags, including a very long one carried horizontally.
The route went down Regent Street and through Piccadilly Circus to Haymarket
and then on to Trafalgar Square. Several EDL supporters watched it as it came
to the bottom of Haymarket and police questioned two of them briefly. As the
march turned into the top of Trafalgar Square four more came to see it and
I saw police briefly question two women, one of whom had stood raising a finger
to the front of it. Apparently two others were also questioned briefly.
Police escort EDL from Trafalgar Square to the pen set
aside for them
more pictures of the EDL
The police had provided a small pen for the EDL on the south side of Pall
Mall at the mouth of Spring Gardens, where they were almost invisible to the
marchers who were turning into Trafalgar Square. It seemed to them - and I
could only agree - to have been an unacceptably distant location.
A few of the EDL were standing closer, quietly watching the march and one
was taking photographs. The police appeared not to recognise them. Later a
number of them walked into Trafalgar Square and walked quietly around, but
other photographers reported a small incident where one man who police had
previously asked to leave the area returned and was apparently arrested.
A few minutes later a small group of EDL appeared with an EDL flag on the
North Terrace balcony. They were soon surrounded by police who escorted them
back down to the pen amid their complaints that British people should be allowed
to demonstrate on the British soil of Trafalgar Square and show their English
flag there. In all there seemed to be around twenty EDL supporters present.
Short speeches from several of those present stated that they were opposed
to the Al Quds march because it supported Hizbullah, an illegal terrorist
organisation, and restated their position that they were non-racist and not
opposed to Muslims in general only to Muslim extremists. They insist that
they are standing up for England and our English freedoms and have no problems
with other people living here as long as they respect our way of life. There
were a few moments when individuals started some of the chants which others
object to, including 'Muslim bombers off our streets', but while I was there
others present quickly told them to "shut it."
The group continued to protest noisily but were too far away to be heard by
the several thousand at the rally in Trafalgar Square.
Support Fortnum & Mason Protesters
Westminster Magistrates Court, Friday 19 August 2011
Police are urged to drop the charges in this politically-driven action against
Protesters came to Westminster Magistrates Court to show solidarity with
the remaining Fortnum & Mason protesters who were there to enter pleas
today. Some went in to sit in the pubilc gallery, while others remaineed outside.
Although the majority of the 145 UK Uncut ptotesters who were arrested on
leaving their peaceful occupation of Fortnum & Mason on March 26 have
had the charges against them dropped as not being in the public interest,
the Crown Prosecution Service is continuing to press charges of aggravated
trespass against around 30 of them.
17 of these were in Westminster Magistrates Court and all pleaded not guilty
to the offence. The CPS is apparently continuing to press charges against
these people on the grounds that they possessed leafets and banners, and that
this indicated that they had an intention to promote their cause. Even the
judge seemed to find this odd, stating that it was entirely legitimate for
protesters to promote their cause.
During the occupation, the police praised the protesters for their cooperation
with the police in not attempting to leave the premises. Chief inspector Claire
Clark, the senior officer present can be seen and heard on a video on YouTube
promising them that they would be free to leave, but apparently knew at the
time that the police were planning to arrest them as they left. They appear
to have been held in the store until things had calmed down outside and the
police were ready to make the arrests.
Although things in the store were peaceful, outside areas of pitched battle
between police and protesters had been taking place sporadically across central
London for several hours. Considerable damage was caused to shops by breaking
windows and throwing paint. (Had I not been hit by a paintball earlier I would
have almost certainly have been photographing both in the store and outside.)
Very few of these more violent protesters were arrested and even fewer have
been charged with any offences.
It seems clear that police and CPS have decided to act deliberately against
the almost entirely peaceful UK Uncut protesters, almost certainly because
of the success they have had in gaining public support for their campaign
against tax dodgers. It is hard not to see these cases as a deliberate attack
on our rights to peaceful protest.
Quite a few of those who had come to show support for the UK Uncut protesters
went in to the public gallery to hear the proceedings, while a group of around
30 protested on the pavement outside.
One woman was wearing a translucent plastic suit over her underwear and on
her back was a sign 'would you send your daughter home like this?' as apparently
this was the state in which some of those arrested were turned out of police
stations, mainly many miles from where they lived and left to find their way
home. She told me that she had been detained for 17 hours before being released.
Others carried posters or placards calling for the charges to be dropped.
It is still hard to beleive, given the video and other evidence, that these
cases will actually come to trial or that convictions could be obtained in
what seem so clearly politically motivated prosecutions.
Maggie's Charity Hugs London
City Hall, London. Friday 19 August 2011
Keep calm after the riots and join Maggie's fund-raising
Night Hike was the message
Cancer care charity Maggie's big London fund-raiser has been hard hit by
the riots. Their Hug London protest today was to urge people to register for
their charity Night Hike in London next month.
A small but dedicated group of supporters of Maggie's
Centres demonstrated at City Hall in London today before marching along
the riverside offering free hugs to passers by.
Maggie's centres offer support for anyone affected by cancer and to their
family and friends from the time of diagnosis, during and after treatment,
to recurrence, end of life or in bereavement.
Begun by Maggie Jencks after the recurrence of her breast cancer in 1993
and set up as a charity with the help of others, the first Maggie's centre
opened in Edinburgh shortly after Maggie's death in 1995. There are now five
centres in Scotland and two in England including one in London, with interim
services at four other locations and online and others being actively worked
Maggie's major London fund raising event is a London Night Hike, a a 10 or
20 mile adventure held in partnership with OpenHouse London, with hikers getting
to visit inside a number of iconic buildings on the route for food and entertainment.
Hikers pay a fee of £30, with discounts for groups of four or more.
As well has having a fun and unusual night out, they also support a very worthwhile
This years London Night Hike takes place on Friday 16 September, and the
start of registration took place at the same time as there were riots in London.
Although London will almost certainly be back to its normal peaceful self
next month when the hike happens, the registrations were severely hit.
The Maggie's Centre protest started close to City Hall, with most of those
taking part wearing distinctive green Maggie's Centre's t-shirts. They carried
placards 'Keep Calm and Hug LDN' and others offering free hugs and messages
such as 'Tea & Hugs', 'Come Alive At Night' and 'Londoners Love It At
Night'. After marching to City Hall they held their placards in front of it,
then turned towards it to hug the building.
From there the group made its way along the riverside walk towards the South
Bank, handing out invitations to take part in the London Night Hike and offering
Give Our Kids A Future
Dalston to Tottenham, London. 13 August 2011
There were many Kurds on the march
As a community response to the riots which began there and the despair
and frustrations that underlie them, 1500 people marched from Dalston to Tottenham
pleading "Give Our Kids a Future."
Many of those who live in the more deprived areas of our cities or who work
on the streets of them were not surprised by the disorder and looting that
began in Tottenham last Saturday and quickly spread to other areas. It had
for some time - certainly since the election of the coalition and the start
of their programme of cuts - seemed inevitable and was clearly predicted by
some. There was a riot waiting to happen and it just needed a spark to set
The cuts had begun under the previous government - and Labour had pledged
to continue them were they re-elected, though perhaps with not quite the same
conviction and apparent relish as the coalition. Already the youth services
have been hard hit, and many youth clubs and other facilities have been closed.
The announcement that the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) was to end
this summer had much of the youth of London up in arms around the end of last
year, with school kids taking part in the student demonstrations, as well
as protesting against university fee hikes. Many saw and suffered from heavy-handed
policing with kettling, excessive use of batons and charges into crowds by
The frustration and anger felt my many in poorer areas against the police
continues to be ratcheted up by the stopping and searching targeted disproportionately
on ethnic minorities and young people, particularly young men. It has been
exacerbated by the many unexplained deaths in police custody as well as a
few on the streets, and anger and resentment have been greatly multiplied
by the lies told by police to the press, and the various cover-ups and white-washing
by the IPCC, CPS and other authorities that have been used to prevent bringing
those responsible to justice.
It wasn't even the shooting of Mark Duggan in what many in the area feel
to have been a police execution, though others suspect it may have been more
a matter of an officer cracking under pressure than any deliberate act. Though
the undisguised glee with which some of the right wing media greeted his death
(having tried and convicted him as a drug dealer) clearly raised tempers.
Even the total failure by Tottenham police to engage with the family members
and others who held a peaceful vigil last Saturday might have passed without
incident. What triggered the outbreak of rage that swept areas of London and
other cities was when a group of police decided that a 15 year old girl was
being too mouthy and attacked and beat her with their batons as outraged onlookers
shouted their protests.
The march was organised and supported by a wide range of locally based organisations,
including the Haringey Alliance for Public Services and the Hackney
Alliance to Defend Public Services, Day-mer, the Turkish and Kurdish
Community Centre, Day-Mer Youth, the North London Community Centre, the
Alevi Cultural Centre, Fed-Bir, the Kurdish Community Centre, Roj Women, Halkevi,
Gik-Der (the Refugee Workers Cultural Association), Britania Peace
Council, the TOHUM Cultural Centre in Stoke Newington as well
as various wider political and other groups including the Socialist Party,
Youth Fight for Jobs, Right to Work and Red Pepper magazine.
While the organisers did not want to condone any illegal behaviour they set
out to bring all sections of local communities together to promote unity and
to urge for positive action working together to find solutions to some of
the long-standing problems of the area which made it fertile ground for the
Most of the demands made by the marchers and echoed in the various slogans
they chanted were related to services in their community which have already
been cut or are under threat. They want an end to the cuts in public services
and for investment to be made into regeneration of the communities, with housing,
jobs, education and leisure facilities and a restoration of all the youth
services that have been cut.
More specifically about the riots they want a community led regeneration
of the damaged areas and support for those affected, including the immediate
rehousing of those made homeless and grants for small businesses.
But perhaps the most important of their demands was one for a cultural change,
moving away from the demonisation of youth and the unemployed towards a culture
of valuing all people. Their leaflet ended with the statement:
"Let's work together for a decent society, based not on greed, inequality
and poor conditions, but on justice, freedom, sharing and cooperation."
The march made its way slowly up through Dalston and Stoke Newington, past
Stamford Hill, where a number of small groups of orthodox Jews stood watching,
and on past Seven Sisters to the council offices at Tottenham Green, where
everyone stopped for a rally with anyone who wished to speak being given 2
minutes to say what they wanted.
Shortly before the march reached Seven Sisters there was one slightly odd
incident, where a man who had been laying flowers on the road in front of
the procession which the children had picked up was taken to one side by police
and questioned briefly. He agreed to let them search his backpack, and after
they did so they let him continue to follow the march.
Hiroshima Day in London
Tavistock Square, London. 6 August 2011
Hetty Bower, 105, holds up a Peace Card given her by
a primary school class
Hiroshima Day, the 66th anniversary of the bomb that devastated the city
and began the nuclear age was marked around the world. Hetty Bower,105, spoke
at the London event, calling for world peace and an end to nuclear weapons.
Sixty-six years ago the world entered the nuclear age as a single bomb exploded
and shattered the small Japanese city of Hiroshima. Ceremonies around the
world today remembered this and called for world peace and an end to nuclear
The bomb above Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 was followed three days later by
another at Nagasaki, again with a huge death toll, both immediately and in
the years afterwards as the world for the first time saw the results of nuclear
radiation and fallout.
It was also the start of another era, as Tony Benn, speaking in Tavistock
Square today reminded us. Although dropped on Japan, a nation already on the
brink of surrender, it was aimed at the USSR, a powerful reminder that despite
the size and might of the Red Army, the USA still held the upper hand.
The event, organised by London Region CND, started with the choir 'Raised
Voices' singing in 'The Hiroshima Song' written by a survivor of the bomb.
Its English translation was given as "Let's tell our children about love,
wisdom to survive, and what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki on those very
days." The choir sang several further songs later in the event, finishing
it off leading the crowd of more than a hundred people in the well known 'Don't
you hear the H-bomb's thunder ..."
Tenor Anthony Flaum needed no microphone to fill the square with his voice
as he performed 'Peace Just Wanted to be Free' and 'Peace Will Rain', and
the 'Purple Poets' performed four poems from the Quaker Library, written by
poets who had fought and gone to prison for their opposition to war.
Hetty Bower started her anti-war campaign in 1914 when she was almost nine.
She got an extra holiday from school when the premises were used as a recruiting
centre, but at she said "it didn't take this young schoolgirl very long
for the reality of war to become evident. This child saw men with one trouser
leg rolled up because there was no human leg to go in it..." She held
up a photograph of her great grandchild, one year old on Tuesday (Nagasaki
Day) and said that she wanted "him to grow up and live in a world of
peace." It was a remarkably powerful performance for a 105 year old who
still takes part in every major anti-war march.
Other speakers included the present Mayor of Camden, where in 1967 then mayor
Millie Miller planted a cherry tree in Tavistock Square "in memory
of the victims, past and present, of the atomic bombs dropped on the Japanese
cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki", and the ceremony took place in
the area beside that tree, now grown to a large size.
Bruce Kent reminded us of that talking about disarmament is now respectable
- although many politicians feel it should only apply to other countries,
but that now their are undeniable financial arguments against the waste of
money on armaments and in particular of the ridiculous decision to spend huge
amounts on a replacement for Trident. Even many in the military are opposed
to this, both because it will be under US control, but also because it has
no military use.
Rev Nagase, a Japanese monk from the Battersea Peace Pagoda talked about
a peace pilgrimage he is making and the example of the Roman soldier St George
as a martyr, and of his respect for the late Brian Haw before ending his speech
with a short prayer.
Tony Benn reminded us that 66 years ago also saw the founding of the United
Nations and that it's charter called for the nations to live at peace.
After his speech there was a minutes silence and people brought flowers to
lay around the Hiroshima cherry tree, before the final song. Afterwards everyone
was invited to stay and picnic in the square but I had to leave.
top of page
All pictures on this section of the site are Copyright
© Peter Marshall 2011; to buy prints or for permission to reproduce pictures
or to comment on this site, or for any other questions, contact