End Japanese dolphin slaughter
Leicester Square, London. Sat 28 Jan 2017
Probably the largest dolphin at the protest to shame
Japan into stopping the annual Taiji cove slaughter
Around a thousand people, many with model dolphins of various sizes
and hand-painted posters, gathered in Leicester Square for a march organised
by London against the Dolphin Massacre to march to the Japanese embassy.
They were protesting against the continuing annual slaughter of dolphins
in Taiji cove, where the animals are herded in by fishermen and attacked
with knives and poles, their blood turning the water red. Others are captured
and sold to perform for the public in aquaria, a cruel practice the protesters
want stopped. I left as the march via Trafalgar Square to the Japanese Embassy
Save our NHS from STP Cuts
Westminster, London. Sat 28 Jan 2017
NHS campaigners march past Parliament to the Dept
Campaigners against the cuts and privatisation of the NHS held a rally
opposite Parliament before marching in a funeral procession for a second
rally at the Dept of Health.
Speakers at the rallies included Aneira Thomas, the first baby to
be born at the start of the NHS in 1948, Paula Peters of DPAC, Ealing Save
our NHS secretary Eve Turner, Junior Doctor Aislinn Macklin-Doherty and
paediatrician Tony O'Sullivan Co-chair of Keep Our NHS Public.
The Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) being imposed on the
NHS are a cut of £22 billion in funding of an already overstretched
service that is rapidly being privatised and where many are now refused
the treatment they need on purely financial grounds. STPs will cut services,
reduce quality, cut social care and increase health inequalities. The protesters
called on MPs, NHS England and minister Jeremy Hunt to restore the NHS which
is several times more cost-effective than the privatised US model which
our current government is introducing by stealth.
Ban HP from BETT show
BETT2017, Excel Centre, London. Fri 27 Jan 2017
Inminds protesters prepare Palestinian flags for
Inminds human rights group protest outside BETT 2017 against Hewlett
Packard, who play a key role in the Israeli military, in ID cards and systems
used to implement Israel's 'Apartheid' movement control and in systems for
the prisons and torture dens where, according to the United Nations Rights
of the Child, Israel tortures and sexually abuses young children.
They also call for the release of Christian charity World Vision aid worker
Mohammed Khalil al-Halabi, a UN 'Humanitarian Hero' whose arrest has forced
the charity to abandon its work with 40,000 children in Gaza.
Police kept coming to the protesters as they were setting up their banners
and posters, passing on orders from the Excel Centre management as to where
they could and couldn't put banners, and whether they were allowed to chalk
on the pavement, but in the end the protesters ignored the details of some
of the demands which they felt were unreasonable.
One man came to argue with the protesters as they were getting ready, becoming
rather agitated that they were protesting against Israel but not protesting
about the persecution of Armenian Christians. They suggested that he should
organise his own protests against this but let them continue with their
protest against the injustices by Israel in occupied Palestine. Eventually
police came and steered him away.
Another man threw a fat catalogue from the BETT show at one of the banners,
and Inminds handed it back to him and told him to behave himself. He began
to argue, and police led him away too, telling him not to disturb the police.
Many of those going in and out of the show or coming out for a break came
over and read the fact sheets about HP, and when some of the protesters
held them up in a line, a crowd gathered to watch, some applauding. One
woman so appreciated the protest that after taking pictures on her phone
she came and thanked each of the protesters, hugging them in turn.
The protest was still continuing as I had to leave to catch my train home
King's College cleaners strike
King's College, Strand, London. Fri 27 Jan 2017
Cleaners make a lot of noise applauding the speeches at the rally
Cleaners and supporters including students and staff from King's College
spoke at a lunchtime rally at the picket line on the Strand on the second
day of their 2-day strike against Servest who employ them at King's College.
King's disclaim any responsibility for the cleaners, who a paid below the
London Living Wage and overworked, often expected to do the work of colleagues
who are sick or on holiday in addition to their own.
They have conditions of employment significantly worse than any staff directly
employed by King's, getting only statutory sick pay and other benefits and
are subjected to arbitrary disciplinary measures. Servest has failed to
keep promises made at ACAS and 98% of the Unison members voted for strike
South Wimbledon, London. Thu 26 Jan 2017
Nelson Gardens (1905) & St. John the Divine (1914),
both in memory of Nelson on the centenary of his death
As a late post-Christmas event, four aging photographers took a walk
around various sites in the area associated with Nelson.
Don't ask me why. I suppose it was meant to be more of a pub crawl than
a walk, but we started at the Nelson Arms in Merton High St and
it was closed. A few yards down Abbey St, The Princess Royal became
an ex-pub a few years ago. We turned down High Path, where the Trafalgar
was also closed, not opening until the evening, and went into the small
and desolate park with two cannons. At The Prince of Wales we increased
the clientele by 200%, but didn't stay long, as it was rather short on atmosphere,
though it was a dull and freezing cold day and it was good to get out of
We found a second pub open in Morden at the end of the walk, after making
a tour of Morden Hall Park, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, not quite
wild west, more dead south., and we were soon catching the bus back to Wimbledon
to eat in happy hour at a bar there.
The first section of the walk, my Fuji camera had decided to turn itself
psychedelic, and the only thing I can do with the pictures is convert them
to black and white. The mode dial really shouldn't be coupled to the ISO
setting, a bad design fault. So they aren't black and white pictures, but
they are in black and white.
Justice for international students
SOAS & LSE, London. Wed 25 Mar 2017
Movement for Justice protesters outside SOAS
Movement for Justice and NUS London protested outside several of London's
Universities calling for justice for overseas students.
After a TV programme showed fraud at just two centres administering the
compulsory English Language test for student visas, the Home Office paid
ETS to investigate every single student who had taken the test at any centre
and identify any who cheated.
ETS used unproven biometric voice identification software which they say
showed large numbers of students had cheated and more might have done so,
and the certificates of both groups, over 55,000 students, have been revoked,
labelling them as international criminals.
Many have already been detained and deported in mid-course without any
chance to appeal while in the UK. A court decision has held the evidence
insufficient to discharge the legal burden of proof but the persecution
continues and as well as unjustly devastating the lives of students is disastrous
to the reputation and finances of UK higher education.
After protesting outside SOAS, the protesters went on to continue their
protest outside Birkbeck and were intending to go on to UCL. I rejoined
them later after they returned to SOAS before marching together, mainly
on the pavement, to protest outside the LSE students union, where I left
them to go home. They were intending to protest outside King's COllege on
the Strand before going on to end the protest at Queen Mary College in Mile
March against closing community centres
Stockwell, London. Sat 21 Mar 2017
Labour Council has already closed the Carnegie and other libraries, despite
huge public support
Lambeth Labour organised a protest against plans to close community
centres in Stockwell and Kennington Park which are run by Hyde Housing Association
rather than by the council.
Both community centres are well used by their local communities but while
Lambeth council is spending £50 million on a new town hall and supported
the Garden Bridge vanity project, the Labour-run council is itself making
drastic cuts in community services, including library closures, and selling
off council estates to developers it apparently has no plans to support
the community centres by leasing them from the housing association.
Lambeth Labour Council is one of a number of London Labour councils dominated
by right-wing members who appear to have lost any sense that councils exist
for the benefit of their residents rather than of the councillors.
I don't think there is yet any comprehensive study of Lambeth to match
that of neighbouring Southwark, where journalist Anna Minton found that
"20 per cent of Southwark’s 63 councillors work as lobbyists"
for developers in the planning industry and that a significant number of
Councillors and Council officers are making use of a ‘well-oiled
revolving door’ to the industry. You can read some of the very
disturbing details about Southwark Labour councillors and officers on the
35% Campaign web site,
and Lambeth seems to be very much a part of the same act.
I didn't follow the march to the Stockwell Community Centre where I think
there were to be speeches. Among those advertised as speaking were Labour
councillor and Progress member Alex Bigham, and Joanna Lumley - though I
don't think she actually came. Lambeth Council have pledged £20 million
to support the senseless Garden Bridge project, despite opposition from
residents (and councillors) for which she is the major supporter. More than
enough money to keep community centres open.
Oh! Mother march against knife crime
Peckham, London. Sat 21 Mar 2017
Oh! Mother march for Ernest Kalawa, stabbed to death
in Peckham on 30th December
Oh! Mother, A Christian organisation based in South London which campaigns
for change in communities and to put an end to gun and knife crime, marched
through Peckham for Ernest Kalawa, a 24 year old who was stabbed to death
in Peckham on 30th December 2016.
Among the marchers were members of the dead man's family, some of whom
wore t-shirts commemorating him.
Peckham welcomes march against deportations
Peckham, London. Sat 21 Mar 2017
A campaigner bangs a tambourine as people chant against deportations
Movement for Justice led a march up and down the busy Peckham Rye against
forcible mass deportations and demanding that Nigeria, Ghana, Jamaica, Pakistan
and Afghanistan end their collusion with the racist UK government.
Immigration raids and mass deportation charter flights target long-established
African, Asian and Caribbean communities, dividing families, deporting people
who have built lives in the UK with parents, partners and children here.
Protesters say the flights are modern slave ships, with deportees shackled
with a guard on each side in a cruel and divisive act of racist discrimination.
Many forced deportations were under the 'detained fast track' procedure;
on the Friday before the march the High Court ruled that the version of
this in use from 2005-2014 was unlawful and ultra vires - beyond
the legal power of the Home Office. A previous court decision in 2015 had
led to the system which had been amended in 2014 being suspended. Some 10,000
asylum seekers were deported under the older system can now in theory ask
for the decision made on their cases to be set aside and lodge a new appeal,
although few are likely to be in a position to do so.
Unfortunately the law is unfair. Had you or I acted illegally for so long
and so persistently there would be little doubt that we would find ourselves
in prison. But those responsible for these criminal actions will go unpunished.
One of them indeed is our current Prime Minister.
People from various groups came to support MfJ, including SOAS Detainee
Support (SDS), Anti Raids Network, Zimbabwe Human Rights Organization Mazimbabweans,
Jewdas, BLMUK, London Mexico Solidarity, Sisters Uncut - South East London
and Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants.
Trafalgar Square, London. Fri 20 Jan 2017
A giant orange Trump's head in Trafalgar Square
Protesters from more radical groups gathered in Trafalgar Square, with
large numbers of police watching them and the giant Trump's head some had
Shortly after I arrived, the protesters along with Trump's head and a sound
system moved from the North Terrace to the middle of the square. Heritage
wardens came and told them they were not allowed to protest there, but they
I hung around for a few minutes, but as nothing seemed to be happening
and there appeared to be no plan for action I then left. Nothing did happen
for some time, but protesters I spoke with the following day report that
they were then the subject of an unprovoked attack by police.
Crowds protest Trump's Inauguration
US Embassy, London. Fri 20 Jan 2017
No to hate, No to walls , No to Trump who just appalls.
Charlie puts it more succinctly
As Donald Trump was inaugurated as US President, well over a thousand
gathered outside the US Embassy in London in protest.
There were strong lights shining from a stage set up by Stand Up to Racism,
where a long list of speakers came to express their disgust at the man chosen
by US voters. But the lights made it difficult to look towards the stage
or take pictures of the speakers, who stood in shade close to the front
of the platform.
Among those present were a small group from the London Guantanamo campaign,
some in orange jumpsuits, who have held regular monthly protests outside
the embassy for around nine years. Disappointed that Obama has not lived
up to his promise to close the illegal prison, they fear that Trump may
imprison even more innocent people.
Several had come with representations of Trump, including a large head
on a pole, and others had their own banners and posters, and it was good
to see Charlie X as Chaplin back again from South Africa. A group from the
Campaign Against Climate Change had an illuminated banner with the message
'Trump Climate Disaster'. A woman held up a poster 'Dear Queen, We're sorry.
Take us back? Love, an American'.
All were appalled at the thought of a president who is a climate change
denier, has a long history of racist and Islamophobic outbursts, has boasted
of sexually assaulting women and has downplayed the severity of sexual violence.
The protest, organised by Stand Up to Racism and other groups stood in solidarity
with protesters in the US who had called for protests around the world.
Brixton march against mass deportations
Brixton, London. Sat 14 Jan 2017
Protesters in Windrush Square at the end of the MfJ protest
Movement for Justice led a march through Brixton communities building
the fight against mass deportations and demanding that Nigeria, Ghana, Jamaica,
Pakistan and Afghanistan end their collusion with the racist UK government.
Immigration raids and mass deportation charter flights target long-established
African, Asian and Caribbean communities, dividing families, deporting people
who have built lives in the UK with parents, partners and children here
and have lived most of their lives in Britain, students in mid course, asylum
seekers, people with serious health problems and long-term carers to elderly
and disabled relatives in a divisive act of racist discrimination.
The march was supported by a number of other groups including Sisters Uncut,
Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and the Mazimbabweans, a movement for freedom,
democracy and equality in Zimbabwe.
Thanks to a breakdown in signalling in the Clapham Junction region I arrived
an hour later than intended (and found the rail fare had gone up by , by
which time the protesters had their meeting point outside the Ritzy on Windrush
Square and were already marching around the centre of Brixton. I walked
up the Brixton Road and soon heard them from several hundred yards away
as they were coming up Atlantic Road and joined them.
They marched noisily a short distance along Brixton Rd before going down
Brixton Station Road, turning at its end to go back along to Brixton Police
Station, before marching back slowly down the busy Brixton Rd, full of shoppers,
to Windrush Square for a final rally.
The march got a very positive reception from many of those on the streets,
some joining in to march some of the way, and many expressing support and
taking the leaflets. Many in Brixton know that they and their families and
friends are under threat from immigration raids, and that many caught up
in them have been illegally deported by the UK government to countries which
they may never have seen. Rather than the Home Office having to prove that
people have no right to be living here, those caught up in the raids have
to prove - often in a very short timescale - that they have the right to
be here, with many still appealing their deportation when the are forcibly
The government turned to charter flights after passengers on normal services
objected to people being handcuffed and forcibly restrained on their flights,
at times refusing to allow the planes to take off, and airlines often refuse
to accept their flights being used in this way. On charter flights there
are no witnesses to see what is being done to deportees, but the airlines
still need the permission of the destination airports and governments to
land and disembark the deportees.
The UK government uses threats of reducing aid and promises of support
to persuade overseas government to take in people who have no wish to return
to countries where they often have no connections and many face persecution
- particularly in some countries if they are gay. Some flights have gone
to Afghanistan, where parts of the country are still war zones, and those
returned may be under extra threat because of having lived in the UK.
Almost all of those deported have been making a positive contribution to
the UK, working and paying taxes, looking after children or the elderly,
and economically the government's actions makes no sense. It is all driven
politically by the racist views of much of the UK press, who have whipped
up hate against immigrants and made immigration a huge political issue -
and one which dominated the Brexit vote. Successive governments - Tory,
Coalition and New Labour - have played the numbers game, attempting to outdo
the opposition in promising to deport more, and have been prepared to ignore
some of the basic principals of UK law and natural justice in doing so.
End Mass Deportation Charter Flights to Nigeria
Nigerian High Commission London. Wed 11 Jan 2017
Protesters with banner and posters chant slogans outside the High Commission
Movement for Justice protest outside the Nigerian High Commission,
demanding the Nigerian government stop allowing the mass deportation charter
flights from the UK which are organised every two months by the Home Office.
MfJ liken these to the slave ships and many of those forcibly deported
are people who have been in the UK for most of their lives, with parents
partners and children here, as well as students who have not yet finished
their courses, those still appealing for asylum, people with serious health
problems and carers for elderly and disabled relatives. The flights are
part of a racist government 'numbers game' which refuses to take account
of the situation, history and relations of the people who are being deported
or of the contribution many of them are making to UK society and the UK
15 Years of Guantanamo - No Joke!
Trafalgar Square, London. Wed 11 Jan 2017
'Trump rejects intelligence' and protesters against Guantanamo dressed as
On the 15th anniversary of the setting up of the illegal prison camp
at Guantanamo, campaigners from the London Guantanamo campaign dressed as
clowns to protest against President Obama's failure to keep his promise
and close the camp.
Around 60 prisoners remain in Guantanamo, still suffering the indignities
and torture which have shamed the USA in the eyes of the world. Most of
those still held and virtually all of those already released were innocent
bystanders sold to the US forces by bandits in Afghanistan and elsewhere,
and were tortured in the CIA’s secret dark prisons around the world
before being illegally rendered to Guantanamo.
The protest in Trafalgar Square was supported by the Guantanamo Justice
Campaign who included a man in a Trump mask.
Alarm Bells for the Housing Crisis
Old Palace Yard, Westminster,London. Mon 9 Jan 2017
The Rev Paul Nicolson stands holding a bell next to protesters with banners
Taxpayers Against Poverty, Unite Community, DPAC, Defend Council Housing
and other campaigners protest outside Parliament as MPs returned after the
Christmas break, bringing a bell to ring as an alarm for the housing crisis.
Working people as well as those on benefits are struggling to pay rents
in a chaotic housing market with unfair caps on housing allowances, benefits
and the bedroom tax. 3.5 million adults are homeless, 73,000 household in
temporary accommodation, evictions are rising dramatically and the housing
needs of the disabled are often ignored.
Speakers demand rent controls, an end to demolition of council estates
and selling of land to private developers and call for a land tax.
Harrods stop stealing waiters' tips
Harrods, Knightsbridge, London.Sat 7 Jan 2017
Class War came to Harrods to support the UVW union
Grass roots trade union United Voices of the World which represents
chefs and waiters working at Harrods protested outside together with Class
War calling for 100% of the service charges to go to staff rather than the
vast profits of the owners, the Qatari royal family.
They also want conditions and wages to be improved for waiters who are
currently paid at or a few pence per hour above the legal minimum, overworked
and poorly managed. The robust but peaceful protest took place outside a
Harrods guarded by large numbers of police, with protesters being threatened
with charges of aggravated trespass if they entered the store.
There were two arrests during the protest for trivial offences but I heard
later that after the protest had finished and I had left, as people were
packing away, police came and made 4 more arrests including of UVW
General Secretary Petros Elia. People were kept in cells at Belgravia police
station for up to 18 hours (some had apparently been dragged inside Harrods
by employees of Harrods and kept at first in cells inside Harrods
- and if so should have a good case to sue for assault and wrongful arrest.)
All were released without charge (one apparently accepted a caution for
letting off a flare) but on police bail - with the condition that they were
not to go within 50m of Harrods. It appears to be a deliberate abuse of
the law to try to stop further protests at Harrods - however legitimate
these may be. Harrods and their owners, the Qatari royal family have many
friends in high places including the Foreign Office and presumably these
were able to put pressure on the police to take action against the protesters.
But the protesters have received tremendous support from the public and
even from some of the right-wing press (perhaps because Harrods is owned
by foreigners) and the union and its supporters are unlikely to be deterred.
While those with bail conditions may keep to them, others will be prepared
to carry on the protest. The police action is likely to make the protests
larger and more vocal rather than diminish them.
Save the Sunderbans Global Protest
Altab Ali Park, London. Sat 7 Jan 2017
of the protesters had black 'tiger stripes' on their faces - the Sunderbans
are the home of the Bengal tiger
The UK branch of the National Committee to Protect Oil Gas & Mineral
Resources, Bangladesh hold a rally in east London as part of the global
day of protest to save the Sunderbans, the world's largest mangrove forest.
The Sunderbans, a UNESCO World Heritage site threatened by the planned
Rampal coal-fired power plant and other commercial developments are the
home of many species including the Bengal Tiger, and many at the protest
had 'tiger stripes' on their cheeks.
The proposed development on the edge of the forest and inside the area
which is supposed to be protected from development is a joint project between
agencies of the Bangladesh and Indian governments.
It would endanger the livelihoods of over 3.5 million people and make around
50 million more vulnerable to storms and cyclones, against which the Sunderbans
serve as a natural safeguard. There have been huge protests against the
proposed coal-fired power plant in Bangladesh in which a number of protesters
have been killed.
Canning Town is going up - but for who?
As usual many of the pictures are from my journey into London at Vauxhall
and around Waterloo, but others are from Westminster, Peckham and Canning
Town, where the picture above was taken through a rather dirty window on
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