Kurds march against Turkish State attacks
Edmonton & Tottenham, London. Sun 7 Feb 2016
make victory signs as they march holding the banner 'UK Stop Supporting Turkey'
Almost 500 Kurds march through North London in protest against attacks on
Kurdish cities in Turkey since last June's election which have killed over
400 civilians and against imprisonment of opposition politicians, human rights
activists, journalists, students and mayors. They ask for intenational solidarity
to call on Turkey to stop its crimes in Kurdistan, and to end attacks on Kurds
who are fighting ISIS.
The marchers, almost entirely from the Kurdish community, met up at Angel
junction at Edmonton. The protest had been called by the Democratic Union
Initiative, the coalition of the Kurdish Left in Europe, and as usual they
came with a wide and rather confusing range of flags. There were the usual
pictures of Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, held in a Turkish jail
since 1999; the Truth and Justice flags with images of the three
Kurdish women politicians assasinated in Paris, flags for the PKK,
the KKK, the YPG, AvEG-Kon (European Confederation
of Oppressed Immigrants) , Federation of Democratic Rights in Europe (ADHK),
Socialist Women's Union (SKB), the KJAR (Free Women Society
of East Kurdistan), Partizan, Day-mer and Day-mer Youth
and almost certainly others I missed or failed to recognise.
Many of the women had traditional Kurdish headscarves and sometimes a scarf
in the red, yellow and green of Kurdistan. A few men wore these scarves too,
though most were simply dressed in dark or black clothes. Apart from a banner
from the Paddngton Branch of the RMT there was no presence from the British
left, who don't appear to have woken up to what is happening in Turkey and
Since the success of Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AKP party in last June's elections
there has been an increase in Turkish state actions against the Kurdish areas
of Turkey, with curfews and the imposition of martial law, and arrests of
anyone opposed to the AKP government. Kurdish areas have been under seige,
with attacks by tanks and artillery, and snipers targetting homes. More than
400 civilians have been killed in the last 7 months, and politicians, human
rights activists, journalists, students and mayors have been imprisoned- 30
mayors in the last few months. Hundreds of thousands have been threatened
and forced to flee their homes.
Britain and the EU support Turkey despite what is happening, turning a blind
eye to these attacks and arrests, and also to the Turkish state involvement
in the refining and smuggling of oil from ISIS controlled areas which provides
ISIS with over a million pounds a day to support their murderous activities
and win the fight to gain and hold territory. Turkey has helped too by attacking
the Kurds who have been leading the fight against ISIS, and is said also to
be attacking Kurds outside the Turkish border.
The banners at the head of the march were carried by women and included two
in English, one showing Erdogan as a blood-crazed maniac with the text 'Murderer
Erdogan's Turkish Government Killed These People' and the other the simple
text "Turkish Military Bombing Kurdish Towns Killing Civilians!!!'.
The march gathered in late afternoon, and darkness was beginning to fall
as the march set off. I walked with it to a little past White Hart Lane before
I felt tired and had to leave. As it set off I'd listened to the small contingent
of police escorting it talking and deciding there were around 300 present.
The last thing I did as I left was to stand in one place as the march went
past and count those going past. It wasn't easy and I may have missed a few
as parts were very densely packed, but I made it around 475. I'd be surprised
if I was more than 10 or 20 out, but of course others may well have joined
it after I left.
Junior Doctors Rally & March
Waterloo Place & Downing St, London, Sat 6 Feb 2016
Doctors fight for the NHS quoting Nye Bevan
Several thousand doctors attended a rally in Waterloo place before marching
to Downing St for a sit-down in surgical masks against the imposition of new
contracts they say will destroy the NHS and make it unsafe for patients.
NHS Doctors already work 24/7 and many carried placards for those unable
to attend because they were at work or have left the UK rather than put up
with changes proposed by Jeremy Hunt. At the rally various medical staff and
researchers showed clearly how Hunt has been misleading the media and public
about the need for changes in the contract, carefully selecting evidence that
supports his case while ignoring the much wider evidence against it.
The junior doctors were supported in the protest by consultants, GPs, nurses
and other medical staff who all see the contract as a part of an attack on
the NHS to move towards a privatised medical system - and many leading politicians
have financial interests in the companies that are crowding in to benefit
as this takes place.
Doctors who have left the NHS to work abroad were asked to contact the march
organisers, who printed out their details for around 200 red placards with
the message 'You've driven me out Jeremy... Stop bleeding the NHS dry' and
giveing their name and where they had gone. There were also several times
as many blue placards for doctors who would have liked to have been at the
protest but were working for the NHS on Saturday afternoon so unable to attend.
Dame Vivienne Westwood and her son Ben, also Vanessa
Redgrave came to speak in support of the junior doctors, and there were
a number of spirited performances by the National Health Singers. Towards
the end of the rally several thousand surgical masks were handed out for people
to write messages on and wear when the march reached Downing St.
When the doctors sat down on Whitehall I couldn't see the back of the crowd
which was filling the roadway, and although not all were wearing surgical
masks, most were, making a rather unusual spectacle. Four of the leaders of
the junior doctors protest went to Downing St to deliver their message, but
emerged after a few minutes to make the announcement that the people inside
No 10 had refused to accept any message from them.
Clearly the government aren't prepared to listen. The junior doctors are
on strike again on Wednesday, and it is widely expected that Jeremy Hunt will
announce on the following day that he is to impose the contract. I think we
are in for a long fight which will bring our health service to its knees.
Already overstretched and with huge staff shortages things are about to get
Of course it isn't just junior doctors; new income rules for immigrant workers
are likely to lead to up to 30,000 nurses being deported, and the cutting
of bursaries for nurses and now proposed for all other medical courses will
have disastrous effects. Add to this the effects of PFI which is bankrupting
hospitals leading to privatisations and its hard not to see the end of the
NHS as we have known it as inevitable.
It's almost certainly too late to save the NHS in its current incarnation.
The only solution is the kind of radical change that happened before under
Nye Bevan and others to create a new NHS. But for that we would need a new
revitalised Labour party in power - or a people's revolution. Don't hold your
breath - and don't get old or ill.
Valentines Israeli Blood Diamonds protest
Old Bond St, London. Sat 6 Feb 2016
urged not to buy engagement rings which contain Steinmetz Israeli diamonds
Protesters from Inminds.com outside diamond dealers including De Beers
and Tiffanys close to St Valentines Day urge people not to buy engagement
rings these shops sell using diamonds from Israel's Steinmetz Diamonds Group.
They say Steinmetz supports the Israeli Army's Givati Brigade accused of war
crimes in Gaza including the massacre of 29 members of the Samouni family
There are no diamonds mined in Israel, but it is a major centre for cutting
and polishing of raw diamondsm which is Israel's largest manufacturing export.
The industry's sales of around $10bn a year contributes around $1 bn a year
to Israeli military and security industries.
The Steinmetz Diamonds Group which supplies companies including De Beers
and Tiffany supports the Israeli Givati Brigade through the Steinmetz Foundation.
I photographed the protest outside De Beers and left as they were moving
on to protest outside other stores in the street selling Israeli diamonds,
Kurds protest against Turkish PM
QEII Centre, Westminster.Thu 4 Feb 2016
A woman holds a photograph of a child killed by Turkish
government attacks as she shouts
Kurds protest outside the QE2 Conference Centre in Westminster where Turkish
PM Ahmet Davutoglu was attending the conference hosted by David Cameron on
aid for Syria. Kurds accuse Turkey of atrocities against Kurdish civilians
in Turkey and of supporting ISIS by exporting ISIS oil so they can attack
Kurds in Syria and Turkey.
I left while people were still arriving with around a hundred protesters
there making a great deal of noise and they would probably have been audible
across the road in the conference centre. A number wore scarves in the colours
of the Rojavan (Syrian Kurdistan) flag and there were other flags with pictures
of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, jailed in Turkey since 1999, as well as those
of the YPG, AvEG-Kon, (European Confederation of Oppressed Immigrants), the
ADHK Confederation for, Democratic Rights, Socialist Women's Union (SKB),
KJAR (Free Women Society of East Kurdistan) and others.
One of the banners showed Turkish Presdient Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R.T.E)
as a deranged, demonic murderer and a poster accused the Turks of genocide
against the Kurds. Many at the protest held large photographs showing the
devastation and corpses of children and women killed in the Turkish air raids
on Kurdish towns in Turkey.
Another banner from Day-Mer turkish and Kurdish Community Centre showed a
figure representing the UK supporting another representing Turkey who in turn
was supporting a figure labelled ISIS, with blood dripping from a sword in
his right hand and the message 'UK Stop Supporting Turkey'.
Syrians protest at donor aid conference
QEII Centre, Westminster.Thu 4 Feb 2016
Syrians with a banner 'Putin Get Out of Syria'
Syrians protest outside the QE2 Conference Centre in Westminster where the
conference on aid for Syria was taking place. They pointed out Syria as the
worst humanitarian crisis in the world, displacing 50% of the Syrian population,
half of them children, with 5 countries - Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and
Egypt - taking 95% of the refugees and called for an end to hunger sieges
and the Russian bombing of Syria.
There was a high level of security with many heads of government and other
leading politicians from around the world attending the event, and Victoria
St and other roads around the area were closed to traffic, with the area around
the conference centre fenced off, and protests being allowed to take place
on the other side of Broad Sanctuary.
Close Guantanamo 9th Anniversary
US Embassy, London. Thu 4 Feb 2016
All of those present were people I've often photographed
at these protests over the last 8 years
London Guantanamo Campaign celebrated the ninth anniversary of their
regular protests - at first weekly and now every month outside the US Embassy
since February 2007 with a protest in solidarity with prisoners still held
there and calling on Obama to keep his promise to shut it down.
Several of those present have also taken part in the weekly vigils outside
the Houses of Parliament for Shaker Aamer, now thankfully back with us. But
the embassy protests every month - and on special occasions - will continue
until Guantanamo closes and indefinite detention ends. And I'll try and photograph
them at least occasionally, as I have done over the years.
Central Hill Estate
Upper Norwood, London. Tue 2 feb 2016
London Prospect - and people in the estate are fighting
to keep their homes
There is only one real problem with the Central Hill Estate in Upper Norwood.
Which is that the estate, owned by Lambeth Council, was built in an age when
architects and planners were proud to design the best they could and councils
keen to house their tenants to the highest standards, but it has lasted into
an age where government policy aims to get rid of all social housing and councils
are out to join developers in profiting from redeveloping with lower standards
and higher densities for private sale.
The estate was superbly designed by Rosemary Stjernstedt (1912–1998)
working for Lambeth borough under Ted Hollamby (1921-99) and benefitted
from their experiences with earlier and socially less succesful schemes, several
already listed. The 374 houses and flats (more have been added since at one
end of the estate to bring the total to 456) were well built by John Laing
Construction to plans that made superb use of the site on a hillside with
extensive views across Central London and the estate was completed in 1974.
In 'The Buildings of England', Bridget Cherry and Nicolaus
Pevsner are perhaps rather grudging in describing it as 'one of Lambeth's
most ambitious housing developments' but go on to praise its 'tiers
of elegant white-brick terraces', 'ingenious planning' to give
all flats front doors at ground level and 'interlocking plans' to
'give each living room a distant view.' The estate also had large
areas of open space, play areas, community buildings and a district heating
The whole is on a much more human scale than other large developments of
the era, with a design that has proved succesful in encouraging community.
People like living on the estate and all I talked to when walking around taking
pictures were very positive - except for the one council employee who came
out from the upper Norwood Community Resource Centre to ask me what I was
doing. A survey answered by 150 residents recently found only two in favour
of it being demolished. It has been a safe place to live, with below average
crime levels - perhaps having the police station at its south-east corner
Like all social housing, the estate has suffered from neglect and poor maintenance,
and the properties need refurbishment and bringing up to modern energy standards.
Considering the age of the estate the cost per dwelling assessed by Lambeth
Council is relatively moderate and only a fraction of that of new building.
But so far, Lambeth Council have not been prepared to consider this, and have
released no details of the plans they have to demolish all or most of the
estate - or what would befall tenants and leaseholders. On the evidence of
previous 'regeneration' schemes in London, they can expect a very raw deal,
with most or all having to move to areas with cheaper housing.
It all comes down to money, with an apparent complete disregard for the residents
from the Labour dominated council (59 of the 63 Lambeth councillors are Labour).
The site is one that would make private developers salivate, with its wide
views across London. Like most such schemes it would doubtless be approved
on the basis of including a proportion of social housing, but such promises
then are allowed to disappear or are severely whittled down as it is decided
to be uneconomic to provide them. It would be possible to increase the number
of houses and flats on the current site without demolition (or with very limited
demolition) but the existing high-quality architecture would severely limit
the possibility of building large numbers of new housing units on the cheap
and the presence of social housing would make it harder to sell them at high
prices on the market.
Last year the residents woke up to what Lambeth Council and architects PRP
are planning and to the possibility of huge rent increases should they be
allowed to stay or rehoused in what will undoubtedly be inferior properties
on the current site, and began to fight, forming 'Save Central Hill' with
a Facebook group,
a web site and protests. They
are supported by Architects
for Social Housing who are developing alternative plans for the refubishment
and enlargement of the existing estate - which Lambeth have recently stated
they would like to see, although it seems unlikely they will give them serious
consideration not least because it would be much harder to find the finance
for a scheme which retains current tenants and leaseholders.
The pictures I took today show most of the areas of the estate, and include
a number of images with a very wide angle of view - typically around 145 degrees.
It wasn't my first visit to this estateto take pictures - I had photographed
it previously in black and white and colour in 1996, when I had spent some
time photographing the considerable display of graffiti - noticeably absent
now. The area then had a far less welcoming and friendly feel.
IWGB Picket Southwark Court
Southwark Crown Court, London. Mon 1 Feb 2016
The cleaners make a lot of noise to get their protest
Striking cleaners in worker-run union IWGB picket noisily outside Southwark
Crown Court where they work demanding that cleaning contractor MITIE pay them
a living wage.
The IWGB members were there for an all-day picket with drums, horns and placards
at Southwark Crown Court, London, during their one day strike. Some had come
at 9am and others were expected after I left around 2pm, with the picket continuing
Cleaners who work at the court are employed by MITIE, which supplies various
services to the government and have been shown by various investigations to
provide an extremely poor record of service, particularly at immigration centres
such as Harmondsworth and Campsfield, cutting corners to boost their profits
by inadequate staffing and poorly trained and managed staff - all to contribute
to their profits of £49m in 2014, and the huge salary of over £1.5m
to their boss Ruby McGregor-Smith.
The cleaners they employ to clean Southwark Crown Court are on the statutory
minimum wage of £6.70 per hour, £2.70 an hour less than the London
living wage set by the GLA as the minimum required to live on in the city.
They also say that they are mistreated, humiliated and harassed by MITIE management.
As their placards say, 'We are NOT the dust we clean' and they like all workers
deserve to be treated with dignity and to be paid enough to live on - the
London Living Wage.
The IWGB were in good spirits and determined to continue with their protests
and further strikes until their demands are met. A number of those entering
and leaving the protest expressed their support and some stopped to sign a
petition supporting the cleaners.
London, February 2016
top of page
All pictures on this site are Copyright
© Peter Marshall 1999-2016; all rights reserved.
for licences to reproduce pictures or to buy prints or comment on the work,
Payment may be waived for acceptable non-profit
use by unfunded bodies.
But organisations that pay any staff should also pay photographers.