Another Country Walk
Ockwells Park, Cox Green, Maidenhead, Berks. Mon 30 Mar 2015
woods would be prettier in a couple of weeks when the bluebells were out
Ockwells Park is a pretty ordinary piece of land on the edge of Maidenhead,
never one of my favourite places even before Teresa May became its MP. Though
the campaign by Joe Wilcox there for Class War might add a little interest
even if he attracts few votes. But this time I was there for a family walk.
It wasn't a bad walk. Flat, not particularly muddy. A bit noisy for a while
as it partly ran beside the M4. And it was a fine day.
Afterwards we went to a pub. Read the reviews on my phone in the car park,
the worst I've ever seen. Fortunately they weren't doing food that day, but
said we would find some at the next pub, a couple of hundred yards down the
road. It looked more promising, with a sign saying it always had good food,
but today turned out not to be a part of always. But a chap at the bar gave
us directions to pub number three, now the un-Thatched Cottage.
No 47 out of 119 restaurants in Maidenhead on Trip Advisor didn't seem too
hopeful, but looking at the reviews there were several who gave it 5 stars.
Two excellent guest beers, a great starter, decent main course and a nice
but not particularly exciting chocolate fudge cake later I felt reasonably
happy and very full. And it was one of the cheaper pub meals I've had in a
country pub in a while. Five stars might be generous but it was certainly
good enough for me to be happy to go back again, and to wonder about the kind
of people who bother to write some internet reviews.
Cross Bones Open Day
Cross Bones Graveyard, Redcross Way, London. Sat 28 Mar 2015
Two well-dressed men with Southwark poet and playwright
John Constable in the Crossbones Graveyard
When I was photographing the events at Occupy Rupert Murdoch I noticed the
man in the centre of this picture standing outside a bar opposite rolling
a cigarette and I went over to talk to him because of the way he was dressed,
and to ask if I could photograph him.
After I'd taken his picture, he told me he was waiting for a similarly dressed
friend and they were on their way to the Open Day at the Cross Bones Graveyard,
which was continuing to 4pm. And I said I'd try to get there before it closed.
I'd been to the graveyard before, the first time years ago when I'd wandered
in and the whole site was in a complete mess, with loads of rubbish and rubble.
I'd read about its use for hundreds of years as a place where outcasts, particularly
the 'Winchester Geese', prostitutes who were licenced to carry out their trade
on the south bank on the Thames, in Bankside surrounding Winchester Palace,
formalised by the Lord Bishop of Winchester in 1142, and providing a considerable
income for the cleargy through taxes and fines for several hundreds of years
These 'single women' and their children, along with paupers and miscreants
were buried in this patch of ground until some time before it was formally
closed in 1853 as too overcrowded to continue. Plans to build over it were
stopped in the 1880s by the e Disused Burial Grounds Act 1884, and it remained
largely unused and forgotten until disturbed by the Jubilee Line extension
in 1990, when the Museum of London made some excavations. Their survey of
the site suggested that up to 15,000 had been buried there, half of them children.
I'd walked past it earlier and assumed like some other areas of waste ground
that it was a bombsite, but then became aware that ribbons and other tokens
were being tied to the railings. Later I read about the site in various places
Apart from the mysterious phantom gardener, the other figure responsible
for increasing intrest in Crossbones was local writer John Constable
who revived the story of Cross Bones through his cycle of poems and mystery
plays, 'The Southwark Mysteries'. Various events began to be organised around
Crossbones, and although I never got to them, the ribbons on the fences multiplied.
The open day was part of an attempt to attract funds for the creation of
a new public garden on part of the site being undertaken by the Bankside
Open Spaces trust, which I posted about both on Demotix and Facebook.
Murdoch on Trial - Guilty as charged
News International, London Bridge. Sat 28 Mar 2015
Murdoch guilty of war crimes, phone hacking, political
blackmail, tax avoidance and environmental destruction
Occupy Rupert Murdoch week continued outside the News International building
at London Bridge with the People's Trial of Rupert Murdoch. Having been found
guilty the verdict the sentence was to remove his power base and treat him
I arrived when the trial was almost at an end with some of the last witnesses
being heard before the jury gave its verdict and Judge Donnachadh McCarthy
pronounced the sentence, which was then carried out.
Max Keiser then spoke about the economic fraud and the basis of our economic
system. London is the the world's largest tax haven, and the whole basis of
the City is corrupt, allowing people to borrow money on the basis of their
earlier borrowing in a system that seems rather too much like the Emperor's
new clothes which began to crash in 2008. He ended by handing out StartCOIN
scratch cards with free money on them ("The currency of the revolution")
but I think I lost mine. Always been hopeless with money.
There was then a performance by a Eath folk group during which I left to
visit the Open Day at nearby Crossbones. I was told there was going to be
an attempt to occupy News International around 7pm, but was tired and decided
not to stay to photograph it. The rush past security proved successful and
the occupiers managed to stay in the building for around 20 hours, although
there was surprisingly little coverage in even the non-Murdoch news media.
Those 5 billionaires obviously stick together and the BBC always seeks to
marginalise any UK protest. Probably there was some important news about a
minor celebrity hiccoughing.
Jon Bigger Class War South Croydon
Purley, London. Sat 28 Mar 2015
Jonathan Bigger, Class War candidate for South Croydon
launches his campaign in Purley
Class War made the trip out to Purley, south of Croydon to launch the election
campaign of Jon Bigger, who is standing in the 2015 General Election as the
Class War candidate for Croydon South.
The group met outside the Tesco store at Purley watched by roughly the same
number of police, and after a few technical hitches gave up on the megaphone
and marched behind the Lucy Parsons banner ("We must devastate the avenues
where the wealthy live", possibly a reference to Purley from across the
Atlantic) to the local Conservative HQ, just a couple of hundred yards away.
Here they were met by an elderly Conservative who Chingford candidate Lisa
McKenzie set about converting to Class War while Jon Bigger made his election
speech. The group then marched or at least walked over about a dozen light-controlled
crossings to the local high street.
Probably all of Purley was by this time slaughtered at home in front of the
TV as the sun was definitely over the yard arm. Wherever they were it wasn't
where we were on Brighton Road, except for a few desperate souls at the bus
stops on each side of the road trying to escape. But Class War made the best
of it, handing out their election flyer to the police posse still devotedly
following their progress (though mainly sitting in their van enjoying the
overtime), the occasional local youth and elderly demented.
Ian Bone soon summed up the revolutionary potential and deserted for the
pub, but the rest stuck it out for a little longer. Unfortunately I had a
train to catch.
RMT protest Ticket Office Closures
Elephant & Castle (Bakerloo), London. Fri 27 Mar 2015
RMT members were outside the station handing out leaflets
RMT Members handed out flyers outside the Elephant & Castle Bakerloo
Line station today against the closure of the ticket office and 25% staff
cuts which they claim will endanger the safety of both passengers and staff.
The ticket office was actually closed at the time of the protest, but only
because of staff shortages. It is due to close in July, and staffing levels
at this station used by over 18m passenger movements a year are to be cut
by 25%. Boris Johnson's 2008 manifesto stated clearly that he would stop ticket
office closures, and he repeated that promise both in 2010 and 2011.
Sweets Way at Annington Homes
James St, London. Fri 27 Mar 2015
Protesters with banners outside the door to Annington
Annington Homes is owned by Guy Hands, the chairman of Terra Firma Capital
Partners Ltd, one of the UK's larges equity investers. Hands, thought to have
wealth of £250m lives in tax haven Jersey and his company avoids UK
Tax through registration in the Cayman Islands. But it has made billions here
buying up property from the UK government and converting it to luxury properties.
Annington purchased over 57,000 homes from the Ministry of Defence (MoD)
in 1996 including the 148 homes in Sweets Way (in LB Barnet) which had been
built for service families in the 1980s, leasing these back to the MoD until
they were no longer needed for service families in 2008-11. In 2014 Barnet
granted Annington planning permission to completely demolish Sweets Way and
build 288 properties, around 20% to be "affordable" with no social
or council housing.
Annington started immediately to try and clear the estate of residents through
evictions, although it now seems likely that even if plans are finalised building
will not start until at least the end of 2016. But they will demolish perfectly
good homes as soon as they can
Barnet have also refused to rehouse any of the displaced famiililes in the
borough, and some of those made homeless, together with others still living
there under threat devided to organise themselves to fight the evictions by
occupying some of the empty properties, still in immaculate condition.
The families demand there should be no demolition of homes on the Sweets
Way estate and the houses should be repopulated, with the decanted residents
being given the right to return to their former homes, as well as an end to
all eviction proceedings. They also want Annington to sell the estate to LB
Barnet at a sensible price. Their petition with these demands has so far been
signed by over 63,000 people and Russell Brand has given them his support.
The protesters and supporters, who included Jasmine Stone from Focus E15
with her daughter and several members of the Revolutionary Communist Group,
brought banners and stood around the main door to the office building, one
upper floor of which is Annington's offices.
They handed leaflets out to people walking along the street and going in
and out of the offices, talking to them about Sweets Way and housing issues,
and getting a very positive response from many of them. A police officer drove
up and went in to talk to the security inside but said nothing to the protesters
as he left. One of the West End security team came along to see what was happening
and spent some time talking about the campaign.
A Quiet Night at Poor Doors
One Commercial St, Aldgate. Thur 26 Mar 2015
Anarchists find not all flags burn, but it melted a
Class War continued their weekly protests outside the 'rich door' of
One Commercial St which they began at the end of July 2014, 8 months ago.
The pavement was still restricted by work being carried out on the front of
the building and the pavement, though little if anything appeared to have
actually been done since last week, and the protesters feel the 'works' are
simply designed to hinder the protests.
Police guarded the rich door, but there were no residents using it to enter
or leave the building during the protest and the lights inside appeared to
be off. Presumably other ways in and out of the building have been found for
the wealthy residents, at least while the protests are taking place, probably
through one of the businesses that operate in the block, which include a hotel
and a supermarket.
A group of anarchists from an occupation in London arrived to join in the
protest, and attempted to burn a Union Flag with little success - it would
not burn, though it did melt a little. They stamped on it and tried again,
before giving up, and then went to take a look at the door for social tenants
- the 'poor door' - down the side alley.
This week there were no supporters from the social tenants at the event,
as apparently those who have atttended and spoken to journalists at previous
protests have apparently been warned by the owners that this is a breach of
their tenancy agreement and threatened with eviction.
Occupy Rupert Murdoch
News International, Lodnon Bridge. Thu 26 Mar 2015
Waiting for the evening's programme of events to start
at Occupy Rupert Murdoch
When I visited mid-afternoon things were pretty quiet at the occupation outside
News International. I hung around a bit, then came back later, but when things
were just beginning to get going I had to rush off...
Around Tower Bridge
London. Thu 26 Mar 2015
A dramatic sky made me even want to take yet another
picture of Tower Bridge
I'd gone to visit Occupy Rupert Murdoch, but there wasn't much happening
and since the light was interesting I went for a little walk around, down
to the Thames and along to Tower Bridge before goin back there.
Arrest Warrant for Rupert Murdoch
News International, London Bridge. Mon 23 Mar 2015
Metropolitan Peace Officers, Donnachadh McCarthy and
George Barda with a copy of The Occupied Sun
Campaigners against the scandal of the UK's media monopoly, with 5 billionaires
owning 80% of the media marched from London Bridge to News International to
present an arrest warrant for Rupert Murdoch, charging him with for war crimes,
phone hacking, political blackmail, tax avoidance and environmental destruction.
After someone from News International had come and accepted the warrant they
then set up camp on the pavement outside for the seven days of Occupy Rupert
John Lewis customers support Living Wage
John Lewis, Oxford St, London. Sat 21 Mar 2015
John Lewis customer talks to a shopper about the Cleaners' in the store demanding
a living wage
Customers of John Lewis & Waitrose protested at stores around the
country calling on the management board of the company committed to fairness
to ensure its cleaners get paid a living wage. Over 143,000 have now signed
a petition on Change.org.
Some members of the IWGB, the cleaners union, came along to the protest,
including the union leader, Alberto Durango, holding posters calling for a
'Real Living Wage Now' while the customers handed out flyers, talked with
customers entering and leaving the store and collected more signatures for
Security staff from John Lewis and police watched the protest, and moved
the customers to the street side of the line in the pavement outside the store
showing the limit of John Lewis property. The store is obviously worried by
the protests, and a great majority of the customers who took leaflets or stopped
to talk with the protesting customers expressed great surprise that the company
was not prepared to stand up for the rights of the workers who keep the stores
John Lewis may not directly employ the cleaners, but they work on their premises
and customers clearly expect that John Lewis would insist on proper pay and
conditions for them as a condition of the tendering for the contract under
which they are employed.
Stand Up to Racism Rally
Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 21 Mar 2015
Lee Jasper holds up a large poster responding to Trevor Phillips saying he
is not a criminal, murderer or thief
Several thousand who had marched to 'Stand up to Racism' through London
stayed on to listen to speeches at a rally in Trafalgar Square. Speakers included
Owen Jones, Jeremy Corbyn, Zita Holbourne, Omer El Hamdoon, Lee Jasper and
Britain First Protests anti-Racist March
Piccadilly Circus, London. Sat 21 Mar 2015
Britain first harangued the march from the steps of
Eros, with Lilywhites behind them
Around a dozen members of Britain First faced the march from the steps
of Eros at Piccadilly Ciorcus, waving flags and shouting insults at the anti-racist
marchers. Police kept the two groups apart, though there were a few scuffles,
and after the march ahd gone past and I had left, a group of antifa took the
Britain First banner.
Stand Up to Racism March
BBC to Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 21 Mar 2015
Thousands came to the Stand Up to Racism march from the BBC to Trafalgar
Square to reject the scapegoating of immigrants, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism
and to celebrate the diversity of Britain, with the message 'Migrants are Welcome
The protest started at the BBC,who had no excuse for
not reporting on thousands marching through London
Great British Tax Robbery
HSBC, Regent St, London. Sat 21 Mar 2015
A protester traces around the body of another with chalk at the Regent St
HSBC crime scene
UK Uncut campaigners arrived at the HSBC Regent St branch as detectives
and robbers to highlight the bank's crimes in causing the financial crash
and tax dodging, paid for by cuts in vital public services and welfare.
UK Uncut wanted to send a clear message to both HSBC and the government that
their actions have been criminal:
The government told us they’d “protect the poorest and most
vulnerable”. They said “those with the broadest shoulders will
bear the brunt of the cuts”. And what have we seen? Dismantling the
NHS and wrecking the welfare state. Cutting schools, youth clubs, sure start
centres, domestic violence refuges and libraries. Slashing local council
budgets. Attacking disabled people with inhumane ‘work capability
assessments’ and cuts to vital benefits. Removing access to justice
through legal aid cuts. Allowing the big six energy companies to push people
into fuel poverty. Cutting jobs, wages and pensions. Selling off social
housing and moving people away from their communities. Driving hundreds
of thousands into food banks and making families choose between heating
Some of the protesters arrived dressed as criminals for the protest, and
the bank, which had closed down a few minutes earlier for the protest was
surrounded by tape marking it as a crime scene.
Bermondsey, London. Fri 20 Mar 2015
The monument records the churchyard of St Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey was opened
to the public in 1885
I walked around Bermondsey with a small group of photographer friends,
really just an excuse to meet up, go to a couple of pubs and then end up with
a meal, though Paul who organised it was using the occasion to plan a more
sombre family event to commemorate a deceased relative who was born in the
area. It was a fine afternoon and good company, but I didn't take many pictures.
Poor Doors blocks Rich Door
One Commercial St, Aldgate, London. Thu 19 Mar 2015
Class War's Chingford candidate Lisa McKenzie holds
a poster on the window of the Rich Door
Owner Taylor McWilliams was in the building, and Class War called for
him to come out and meet them. Student protesters brought barriers from building
works to block the rich door and one man was arrested when they used them
to block the road.
The protest began as usual, with banners being held up in front to the 'rich
door' on Whitechapel High St. This week a large part of the front of the building
was fenced off for building work and the rich door appeared to be locked and
not to be in use, with the wealthy residents presumably being directed in
and out through another of the businesses in the block, which includes a betting
shop, supermarket and hotel as well as the 'rich' and 'poor' flats.
After a few minutes a red smoke flare was set off and then a number of Class
War posters were brought out. Some, including the Class War candidate for
Chingford Lisa McKenzie held these up on the glass of the rich door and windows
next to it, blocking the view of those inside who had been taking photographs.
Some others fixed some of these posters to the glass using Class War stickers.
The protest continued with Lisa and others still holding posters. A number
of mainly young anarchists began to bring some of the plastic barriers from
works taking place on the pavement to pile in front of the rich door, and
others took them out to block Whitechapel High St.
Suddenly one of the protesters was tackled and held on the roadway by a man
and a woman, who as I approached showed warrant cards showing them to be plain
clothes police. The male officer handcuffed the man and continued to hold
him on the ground for several minutes until uniformed police arrived, when
he was lifted up and dragged away towards a police van, which drove off.
The protest conitnued with people getting out flaming torches and standing
in front of the rich door with them. As the protesters were leaving, three
police officers who had been watching, including the woman officer in plain
clothes who had earlier been posing as a protester, came to start clearing
the plastic barriers away from the 'rich' door.
Unite protest against Benefit Sanctions
Caxton House, DWP, Westminster. Thu 19 Mar 2015
Gill Thompson, whose brother died after being sanctioned
holds her 211,822 signature petition
Unite organised a protest outside the Department for Work and Pensions
as part of a national day of action against punitive benefit sanctions on
over 2m people which had led to increased poverty, misery and even death.
Among those taking part in the protest was Gill Thompson, whose brother,
David Clapson, died after being sanctioned. She had brought her 211,822 signature
petition calling for an inquiry into benefit sanctions to the protest to present
to the DWP.
Unite here and at Job Centres around the country called for an end to all
benefit sanctions which they say are a 'grotesque cruelty which leads to increased
poverty, misery and even death.
Dolce & Gabbana Boycott
Old Bond St, London. Thu 19 Mar 2015
'Love is What Makes a Family' says one of the posters
at the protest by Gay activists & supporters
The Peter Tatchell Foundation and the Out and Proud Diamond Group protested
noisily outside the Old Bond St Dolce and Gabbana store in support of the
international boycott over homophobic statements by the two designers.
The protest was made difficult to photograph by a large number of phtoographers
and videographers, including several broadcast crews, who at the start of
the event outnumbered the protesters. Working on the narrow pavement was also
hindered by workmen who insisted on parking two large white vans in the way;
when police finally arrived they were forced to remove them.
The protest came in response insulting slurs by the fashion designers against
same-sex parents and their children during an interview with Italian magazine
Panorama. Domenico Dolce said children should be born to a mother and a father,
and condemed children conceived through in-vitro fertilisation as "synthetic
babies...They are wombs for hire, semen chosen from a catalogue ..."
His business partner Stefano Gabbana had in 2006 told the Daily Mail: "I
am opposed to the idea of a child growing up with two gay parents,"
and both designers have firmly opposed same-sex marriage.
LGBT and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who took a leading
role in the protest had earlier commented:
"Dolce and Gabbana are echoing ill-informed, outdated and homophobic
prejudices about gay parents. Research spanning 40 years shows that children
bought up by gay mums and dads are just as happy and well-adjusted as those
from traditional heterosexual families. The key to a child’s welfare
is the love of their parents, not the parent’s sexual orientation."
He and protest co-organiser, Edwin Sesange, the director of the
LGBT Out and Proud Diamond Group called for a boycott of D&G,
who have profited massively from sales to the gay community over the years.
Debt Resistance UK #Blockupy solidarity
St Pauls and Goldman Sachs, London. Wed 18 Mar 2015
The protesters marched to Goldman Sachs in Fleet St and held a rally on the
Debt Resistance UK showed solidarity with #Blockupy protests in Frankfurt
over the opening of a new European Central Bank HQ, protesting in London at
St Paul's and Goldman Sachs, whose activities were a major cause of 2008 financial
The protest took place on the day that Chancellor of the Exchequer George
Osborne delivered yet another austerity budget and when there where huge protests
in Frankfurt where EU elites had gathered to attend the opening of a new European
Central Bank building.
On the steps of St Paul's, the group were met by Lloyd's Bank whistleblower
Ian Taplin, a former army officer who worked at the bank from 200-2010
before being sacked after demanding a proper investigation into the selling
by the bank of financial products to the Bank’s poorer and more vulnerable
communities at higher prices than its richer customers in breach
of banking law. He plans to stand against Home Secretary Teresa May in
Maidenhead where he lives on a broad anti-corruption slate to gain publicity
for the allegations he has made to the Financial Conduct Authority. They rejected
his initial complaints in 2013 but are considering them again after he presented
new evidence this year.
Banks and financial institutions based in London have a long history of reckless
lending that has devastated economies and societies across the globe. As well
as being a major cause of the 2008 banking crisis, Goldman Sachs were responsible
for the fiddles that allowed Greece into the Eurozone, and which have now
caused a humanitarian disaster in the country.
Free Shaker Aamer vigils continue
Parliament Square, Westminster, London. Wed 18 Mar 2015
debate called for his release, but government failed to make clear why he
is still being held
The Free Shaker Aamer campaign returned for their weekly vigil the day after
the government in a debate in Parliament backed the call for the US Government
to approve the release of Shaker Aamer to the UK, but evaded questions concerning
Campaigners are convinced that the delay is caused by US and UK security
sercvices who know that the evidence Shaker will give about his own torture
and that of other prisoners in Guantanamo will make clear that they have taken
part in illegal acts.
Savage cuts to Adult Education budget
Parliament Square, Westminster, London. Wed 18 Mar 2015
march, with a coffin for Further Education, reaches Parliament
Staff and students marched to parliament in protest against the 24% cuts
in Adult Education in England proposed by the government. After a picnic hosted
by Tower Hamlets College on Parliament Square they marched accross the road
to lobby MPs.
The lobby was organised by UCU London after the govt announced proposed
24% cuts to the adult education budget in England on 26th February. This would
decimate Further and Adult provision, including ESOL, and has been called
a “wilful act of vandalism” by the Union of University and College
UCU argue that the cuts will:
- Reduce the number of adults returning to learn or to retrain at a time
when most people agree that education, skills and retraining should be a
- Place colleges under severe financial pressure, leading to course or possibly
institutional closures and redundancies.
- Affect vulnerable learners most severely, as more flexible courses are
axed in favour of apprenticeships
- Affect higher level courses as fewer students will be able to access learning
which acts as a ‘stepping stone
Kaya Mar on Budget Day
College Green,Westminster. Wed 18 Mar 2015
Political artist Kaya Mar shows his new painting of Chancellor George
Osborne, shown as a lame duck with a crutch on an election duck island opening
a red box to show the hatchet inside in front of Parliament in London.
Stratford to Hackney Wick
London. Tue 17 Mar 2015
Car Breakers, Hackney Wick
I went for a walk from Stratford to Hackney Wick with an art student whose
project is about walking in the Lea Valley. I didn't take many pictures while
I was with her, too busy talking about things, but there were a few as we
wandered through Stratford and along the Greenway, into the post-Olympic park
and then down to Hackney Wick.
I said goodbye to her and then had a short wander in Hackney Wick on my own,
taking rather more photographs before catching the train back to Richmond
and then on to my home. It had been an interesting day, but the sky was too
bland for good panoramics - I need to return when the weather is more promising.
Class War go to Aylesbury Estate
London. Sat 14 Mar 2015
Lisa McKenzie with an Aylesbury estate resident in
an occupied flat on the Aylesbury Estate in Southwark
Two Class War election candidates, Lisa McKenzie standing for Chingford
and Jon Bigger for South Croydon, along with several supporters,
travelled from Chingford to the Aylesbury estate to show solidarity with occupiers
who continue to highlight the shameful treatment of residents whose homes
there are being demolished.
Class War had earlier received a message from people protesting outside the
estate who were being denied admission by police and bailiffs to the estate
where a dozen or so families are still living behind high fences and anti-climb
barriers, the access to their homes severely restricted by Southwark Council.
Southwark Council, having neglected the estate for many years, has decided
to hand it over to developers who will knock it down and redevelop the area
mainly for sale or rent at inflated London prices. The residents are being
forced to move out against their wishes - clearly expressed in a council organised
ballot in 2001 - to stay, and most will have to move out of the area and into
more expensive privately rented accomodation with little or no security of
Chingford is a long way across London from Southwark, and it took us a train
journey to Liverpool St, two underground journeys and a bus before the short
walk to the estate.
A police officer watched the group as it made its way on to the train at
Chingford, and stayed watching from behind the ticket barriers until the train
left. The journey was enlivened by much banter and playing with the IDS masks
that several had bought, both on the Overground and the Tube. Fortunately
they were quieter on the busy bus from the Elephant, and we got off at the
right stop. On our way to the estate we met some activists who sent us to
the only way in still not blocked in this sector of the estate.
It was something of a detour, and once inside and on the elevated walkway
we had to make our way around three sides of the block, almost a quarter of
a mile, now eerily empty until we were looking down on the security guards
blocking the tall gates to the front of the block where the occupiers were.
I'd been down there below a couple of weeks earlier when they were moving
from the earlier occupation in Chartridge to Chiltern House, and were putting
up the huge banner 'Public Housing NOT Private Profit' on Chiltern House (soon
stolen on behalf of the council.)
The lift in Chiltern was still working - there were still a dozen families
officially living there, and we took it to the eigth floor, from where we
had to walk up some stairs and then swing through a narrow gap onto the stairway
leading up to more stairs and to the occupied flat in the top southeast corner
of the building.
Our journey was rewarded by some extensive views across south London from
the balcony of the flat, as well as through a window towards central and east
London. It's easy to see why developers see estates like these as rich pickings,
with knock-down prices from local authorities - Labour controlled Southwark
Council made a huge loss in selling off the Heygate for a small fraction of
its market valuation, and Aylesbury will doubtless will follow the same pattern.
Hard to see why local councils of any hue should commit treason against their
local population in this way.
I didn't take many pictures in the occupied flat, although many others were
doing so on their phones. Some of the occupiers are very hostile to photographers,
and some of the most vehement are almost certainly the undercover police who
have infiltrated these groups. There were a couple present about whom I have
serious doubts, though sometimes I feel it may all be like 'The Man Who Was
Thursday'. Like all of those involved they will of course be recorded on the
many security cameras still around the estates, as well as the police photographers
who attend the various actions. Most if not all of those whose faces appear
in my pictures from inside the occupation were people I know are happy (or
keen) to be photographed.
Class War celebrate Election Launch
Chingford, London. Sat 14 Mar 2015
Class War toast their candidate for Chingford, Lisa
McKenzie, after the election launch
In a tongue-in cheek headline I wrote 'Class War party discuss tactics
for Chingford General Election seat', hoping to make my intention clearer
with the media summary:
After a march and street rally in Station Rd, Chingford, Class War
cadres adjourned with their candidate Lisa Mckenzie, who is opposing controversial
Tory minister Iain Duncan Smith, to discus their forthcoming election campaign
in the constituency.
As with other Class War events, this one ended with everyone (or almost everyone)
going to the pub. Usually I don't go with them, not because I don't like a
pint, but because I have to rush and get the pictures processed and filed.
Today was different and I was going on with some of them to another event
The summary wasn't entirely misleading, as there was some talk about the Chingford
campaign, and Jane Nicholl got out a number of 'Iain Duncan Smith'
masks for people to buy for use in it. And the pub seems likely to become
an unofficial campaign headquarters for Class War.
Class War Chingford Election Launch
Chingford, London. Sat 14 Mar 2015
Police seized Class War's 'Polictical Leaders' banner
but they still have posters from the 2010 election
Lisa McKenzie visited Chingford with a small group of Class War supporters,
announcing her stand against Tory minister Iain Duncan Smith in the coming
They marched past the Conservative Association offices and the Assembly Hall
to the end of Station Rd announcing to shoppers on their way that Class War
was standing to give them a chance to kick out Iain Duncan Smith and the evil
policies he represented, which inflict misery on the poor and disabled. They
marched behind the 'Lucy Parsons' banner "We must devastate the avenues
where the wealthy live".
They were shadowed by a van full of police keeping a few yards behind, who
were obviously taking this first official visit by the Class War candidate
for the Chingford constituency very seriously. At the road junction they decided
to turn back and hand out more flyers to shoppers and find a convenient place
for a street meeting.
They stopped outside the Methodist Church, where candidate Lisa McKensie,
a research fellow at the LSE whose study of the St Ann's Estate in Nottingham
where she lived for many years was recently published as Getting By: Estates,
Class and Culture in Austerity Britain and several others made speeches.
Unfortunately two days earlier at Poor Doors, the police had seized
Class War's election banner showing four political party leaders, claiming
it to be offensive, and had refused to return it. But Class War had brought
along copies of the 2010 election posters on which it had been based, individual
portraits of the then leaders including David Cameron, and they displayed
After ten minutes, police made a largely unsuccessful attempt to censor Class
War's freedom of expression, with Sgt Champion, who had been standing beside
the police van parked on the opposite side of the road walking across and
ordering a man holding one of the 'Class War Wanker' posters to put
it away or be arrested. After the 2010 election the Metropolitan police paid
compensation to a man who had been forced to take these posters from his window
admitting their actions violated his right to freedom of speech and expression.
But after some argument Stan rolled it up and the sergeant walked back across
the road and simply stared with arms folded at the group - several of whom
continued to display the same posters for the remaining 20 minutes of the
There were speeches from several others of the group, including another of
Class War's candidates, Jon Bigger, who is standing for Class War
in Purley, and the event was recorded by a team from Vice News as well as
my photographs. There were a couple of angy reactions to Class War, including
one elderly man on a bus who made his opinion clear in an appropriately Churchillian
fashion, but most others took the flyers and were amused, with a few expressing
a wish to help with the campaign.
The group then walked back towards the station, with Lisa stopping off briefly
to put one of her election leaflets through the door of the Conservative Association.
As they went into the pub opposite the station the police van drove off, but
several constables were left behind to watch the area.
Free the Hares boys protest at G4S
G4S, Victoria St, London. Fri 13 Mar 2015
A woman handing out leaflets merges into the poster
of the Hares boys
A protest in London called for the release of 5 young boys from Hares, held
and tortured in Israeli jails which G4S helps to run after an illegal settler
crashed into the back of an Israeli truck, whose driver accused the boys of
They have now been held without trial for 2 years over a non-existent crime,
and could well be found guilty and be sentenced to over 25 years in jail.
The courts find a high percentage of Palestinians guilty, even if there is
little or no real evidence.
Poverty pay at the Royal College of Art
RCA, Kensington Gore, London. Fri 13 Mar 2015
Protesters with IWGB banner and flags on the east side of the college next
ot the Royal Albert Hall
IWGB members, supported by students, protested noisily at the Royal College
of Art against low pay of outsourced workers, demanding they be paid the London
Living Wage now, not from September as the college has offered; the workers
need it now.
The protesters gathered in front of the college entrance in the mews at the
west of the main college building, and opened with a noisy protest there,
banging on drums, whistling, blowing plastic horns and chanting slogans, mainly
"Living Wage Now!" with RCA security and a couple of police looking
on. Around 50 students had come out to watch and support them.
Flags flying and banners held up, they they marched onto the main road and
along past the front of the college to the east side, facing the Albert Hall,
where there was a short rally, led by IWGB leader Alberto Durango and Jason
Moyer-Lee and watched rather anxiously be RCA security men.
They then marched back for a further rally at their starting point, and on
around the back of the college to a small enclosed yard next to a dining area,
where again they stopped and made a great deal of noise. Certainly everyone
in the college will have heard the protest.
Save Our Lions - ban Canned Hunting
Trafalgar Square, London. Fri 13 Mar 2015
woman in a Lion sweatshirt holds up a Lion Aid banner and roars against canned
Several hundred gathered in Trafalgar Square to protest against 'canned
hunting', where lions are bred and raised tame on farms in South Africa for
rich visitors to pet, to 'walk with lions' and to shoot as trophy heads. It
degrades a noble animals and threatens wild lions, which are captured for
farm breeding to improve the quality of the stock.
Young females are often killed as soon as they have got too large for the
petting zoos, as females are less prized as hunting trophies.
There were speeches on the North Terrace in Trafalgar Square and then the
protesters lined up for photographs. I was invited to go across with a couple
of protesters to South Africa House, where I took a few pictures as they posed
in the entrance before security told us to leave.
Let Ife Stay in the UK!
York House Immigration Tribunal, Feltham. Fri 13 Mar 2015
from the Immigration Tribunal tries to move protesters away
Protesters at the Immigration Tribunal at Feltham called for 2-year-old Ife
who had Down's syndrome and her mother to be allowed to stay at their Peckham
home where she can receive essential healthcare and support and not be deported
I arrived a little after the protest had been due to start, but it had been
delayed a little as security at the tribunal had told the protesters they
were not allowed to protest there, and had called the police. By the time
I arrived the police had been, and confirmed not only the right to protest
but also that people could take photographs outside the tribunal. No recording
equipment or cameras are allowed inside.
Security at York House were obviously not happy with the protest or the police
decision, and still made some attempt to keep the protesters away from the
entrance, though they gave up after a few minutes, perhaps in part because
I was photographing them.
At one side of the paved area in front of the entrance people were holding
posters with the signed petition to keep Ife and her family here, and on the
other people held banners and posters explaining why it would be inhumane
to deport her and her family. Ife is currently receiving care and support
for Down's syndrome in the UK and would be get this in Nigeria, where she
would also be under threat of persecution. More than a thousand people in
the family's local community in Peckham have signed a petition for the family
to be allowed to stay here.
Other posters brought up other cases related to immigration, including the
killing of Jimmy Mubenga by G4S security guards during his enforced deportation
from Heathow. The protesters intended to stay until after the case had been
heard at the tribunal later in the day but I had to leave on my way to cover
another event in London. The immigration tribunal is a mile or so south of
Heathrow airport, well out from central London, and some of the protesters
only arrived shortly before I left, with more expected later.
Police seize Class War banner
One Commercial St, Aldgate, London. Thu 12 Mar 2015
Police pull the 'Political Leaders' banner out of the
hands of the demonstrators
Class War protested outside One Commercial St against separate doors
for rich and por. When they refused to put away their banner calling political
party leaders 'f***ing wankers'*, citing their right to freedom of speech,
police seized it, arresting one man who had kept hold of it.
The protest began as usual, with protesters standing in front of the rich
door with their Lucy Parsons and Political Leaders banners, and a couple of
police officers standing in front of the rich door. The protesters got out
their flaming torches, lighting several of them, and a green flare rolled
across the pavement. An officer came across to look at it, but sensibly left
it to burn out harmlessly; another questioned some of the protesters trying
to find out who had lit it, but apparently nobody knew anything about it,
and the protest continued.
Then, after the Political Leaders banner had been on display for around 15
minutes, two officers came up and demanded it be put away as it was offensive.
When asked if anyone had complained about it they said that they found it
offensive. There was some argument and when the protesters refused to remove
it, the officers then warned individually each person holding it that they
were committing an offence and might be arrested, after which they seized
There was then a short struggle as three officers came and pulled the banner
out of the hands of those holding it. One man, who had kept holding on to
it longest was then led a few yards away and police talked to him. After a
few minutes, with other protesters shouting to let him go, they handcuffed
Police reinforcements, including a senior officer, then arrived. Protesters
complained to him about the seizure of the banner and holding of a protester,
and after listening for a few seconds he went to talk with the officers holding
the man. They then led him away down the alley past the poor door and then
out along the road at the rear of the building to a waiting police van in
Commercial St, which drove away.
Later I learnt that the police are keeping hold of the banner as evidence
if the man arrested decides to go to trial rather than accept a fixed penalty.
Over two weeks later they still had it. Probably police have had legal advice
that a prosecution is likely to be unsuccesful.
The protest outside the rich door continued with one less banner for the
*I'm not offended by the actual text on the banner, but
my ISP could be - or use it as a pretext should they wish to terminate my
contract. The banner might be thought to be in poor taste, but I find it hard
to think it offends anyone. It certainly amused many who saw it - and many
clearly agreed with the sentiments. Police in East
London who made a man take down Class War posters at the last election which
had pictures of the party leaders and the word 'Wankers' on them later wrote
a letter to apologise and paid compensation.
Viking longship invades Tate steps
Tate Britain, Millbank, London. Sat 7 Mar 2015
A very wide view of the Viking Longship on the steps
of the Tate
'Art Not Oil' activists took their Viking longship and banners to the
steps of Tate Britain from the climate protest to tell the Tate to stop giving
BP, a major world polluter, huge positive publicity for relatively minor sponsorship
The Longship first sailed to the British Museum when they were having a BP
sponsored show on the Vikings, but was also on September's climate march.
The plastic oil spills are a lot easier to clean up than the real ones BP
has created such as Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico, and which could
be truly catastrophic in the Arctic.
Climate Change Rally
College Green, Westminster, London. Sat 7 Mar 2015
Tina-Louise Rothery and others from 'Frack Free Lancashire
at the rally - 'And the Oven gloves are Off'
The Time to Act climate change march through London ended on College
Green, close to the Houses of Parliament where speakers from various groups
including the anti-fracking nanas from Lancashire spoke and performed to an
audience filling the area.
Among the speakers were John Sauven of Greenpeace UK, Kat Hobbs from CAAT,
Bert Wander of Avaaz, Pete the Temp, Fatima-Zahara Ibrahim of the Youth Climate
Coalition, Pete Deane from Biofuelwatch, Guy Shrubsole from Friends of the
Earth, FBU leader Matt Wrack, Rumana Hashem an evironmental activist from
Bangladesh, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, Tina-Louise Rothery who spoke toegther
with a Frack Free Lancashire crowd, Dennis Fernando, UAF, Chris Baugh, PCS,
John McDonnell, MP, and comedian Francesca Martinez. A woman from Paris (whose
name I missed) invited us all to go there to protest at the climate talks
there this December, and a 12 year-old read an excellent speech she had prepared.
There was then a performance by a large choir, Voices United, and the event
concluded with John Stewart of HACAN who came on stage together with some
polar bears from a protest earlier in the day at Heathrow who received prolonged
We were then invited to take part in two further protests that were continuing
the day's theme, with some protesters going on to take direct action around
Parliament and 'Art Not Oil' proceeding with their Viking longship to protest
on the steps of Tat Britain against the gallery accepting sponsorship to greenwash
climate wrecker BP. Although the direct action was perhaps more newsworthy
(and ended up with some clashes in which at least one journalist was injured
and arrested, as well as some protesters) I decided there would be less coverage
of the Tate action and so went that way. It was also on the way to Vauxhall
station, a convenient place to catch a train home.
Time to Act on Climate Change
Lincoln's Inn Fields to Parliament. Sat 7 Mar 2015
Tina-Louise Rothery from 'Frack Free Nanashire' and
others from Lancashire sitting down on the Strand
Over 20,000 protesters marched through London demanding action on climate
change with divestment from fossil fuels, an end to fracking and damaging
bio-fuel projects and for a 100% renewable energy future which would create
a million new jobs.
The marchers met up in Lincoln's Inn Fields, and were led by a group of cyclists
as the set off for Parliament. On the Strand, some of those present surged
towards McDonalds, which was protected by a line of police, who had earlier
largely avoided the large protest, after the organisers had said they were
unwilling to pay for any policing of the event.
Hundreds then sat down in the Strand for around 15 minutes, including a large
block from Frack Free Lancashire, led by the Nanas. The march then restrarted
with a sizeable black bloc making itself noticed in Whitehall. When the march
reached King Charles St, they peeled off from the main march and rushed down
it, with a number of police following. I took a few pictures as they started,
then decided to rejoin the main march as it went past Parliament to College
Poor Doors Zero Police
One Commercial St, Aldgate, London. Thu 5 Mar 2015
briefly block Whitechapel High St with their banners, including the 'Party
Last week Class War were threatened with arrest as an officer found their
'Party Leaders' banner offensive. They came back to protest against separate
doors for rich and poor ready to defy police, but for the first time in 20
protests no police arrived for the protest.
The protest continued as usual on the pavement outside the 'rich door' on
Whitechapel High St, with speeches against social segregation and chanting
of slogans against separate doors for the wealthy and the social housing residents.
As well as displaying the 'Party Leaders' banner which had led to a threat
of arrest by police, they also had their Lucy Parsons banner, with its quote
"We must devastate the avenues where the wealthy live".
People were also holding the posters "Class War - You are now entering
the Peoples' Republic of Aldgate'.
Towards the end of the protest, people took briefly to the roadway and held
up traffic for a few minutes with their banners, before returning to the pavement
and continuing the protest. As the protesters were packing up, a small group
of protesters arrived late, having been held up in the congestion at Oxford
Circus, where crowds queued for up to an hour to be let into the underground
Apparently after the rest of us had left and security on the 'rich door'
had relaxed, this small group rushed inside through the door while a resident
was entering and protested inside for a few minutes before being evicted.
But by that time I was well on my way home.
Aylesbury Estate Occupiers Move
Chartridge & Chiltern, Aylesbury Estate, London. Thur 5 Mar 2015
evicted by the court from Chartridge moved to recently occupied Chiltern and
put up a new banner
Occupiers who had been evicted from 77-105 Chartridge by police and bailiffs
on Feb 17th moved into the neighbouring 69-76 Chartridge on the same night,
although Southwark Council had previously sent workmen to vandalise these
properties to prevent occupation. There they spent the next week fixing up
the flats to make them habitable once more and the occupation continued.
But the council obtained a possession order which was served on March 4th,
giving the occupiers 24 hours notice to move or be arrested. I went to the
estate when the notice was to run out, and found council workmen busy at work
completing a high fence around the whole block, with tall iron gates. Those
at the front of Chiltern , where a dozen or so familes are still living, were
still open, and I walked in and across inside the block towards Chartridge.
There I saw some of the occupiers taking some of their possessions across
to the newly occupied space in Chiltern, a community area at the base of the
One of them objected to being photographed and I concentrated instead on
the police dog handlers and council staff who were watching from the elevated
walkway. Later with two other photographers I walked back to Chiltern where
we photographed the notices on the outside of the occupation. A small group
came out and took a large banner with the message 'Public Housing Not
Private Profit' up to the first floor balcony and fixed it there. It
was the same banner that I'd photographed last month on a balcony at the West
Hendon estate. Again they shouted at the photographers that they did not want
to be photographed, though I doubt if it caused the CCTV to be switched off.
But they are not recognisable in my pictures here. But I feel activists have
nothing to lose by being photographed when they are not breaking any laws,
and antagonising the sympathetic elements of the press in this way is detrimental
to their cause.
Three police officers including a dog handler (but no dog) then came and
knocked on the door of the occupation. Surprisingly someone opened it, but
then shut it fairly quickly and the police went away to the gate. Some of
the occupiers were more friendly to photographers, and one was happy to be
photographed with the banner above him.
Nothing more seemed to be happening, and after a short walk around some of
the rest of the estate, including occupied blocks likely to be 'decanted'
for demolition shortly - and almost certainly to be subject to further protests
by residents and housing activists - I left the area.
Homeless Persons Matter
US Embassy, Grosvenor Square, London. Tue 3 Mar 2015
Protesters hold up the message '# No More Deaths On
'Homeless Persons Matter' say activists shocked by video and eye-witness
reports of Los Angeles police shooting and killing an unarmed homeless man
on Skid Row in an impromptu protest outside the US Embassy called by the group
Love Activists. The protest was called at very short notice and there were
Eye-witnesses say the man was unarmed but there was a scuffle when police
tried to grab him. They got him to the ground, possibly using a tazer, and
then, according to an onlooker "When they couldn’t apprehend him
that’s whey they backed up and just started shooting. Pow, pow, pow.
There was five of them."
The protesters at the US embassy had posters with the hashtags #NoMoreDeathsOnOurStreets,
#homelesslivesmatter and #ACAB.
Mexican President told Stop the Killing
Downing St & Parliament Square, London. Tue 3 Mar 2015
'Donde Estan?' - Where are they? ask the protesters
about the 43 missing Ayotzinapa students
Several hundred, many Mexicans, protested against President Peña
Nieto outside Downing St, and in Parliament Square after he spoke in the House
of Lords. They blame him for over 100,000 deaths and disappearances including
the 43 Ayotzinapa students.
It was a colourful rally at Downing St, including some people with faces
painted in traditional Mexican designs with people angered at the continued
violence and killings in Mexico, and in particular about the disappearance
of the 43 students, thought to have been abducted by police under the orders
of the local Mayor and handed over to drug cartels. People held giant pictures
of the students faces and shouted 'Alive they took them; Alive we want
them back' and the whole crowd recited slowly in Spanish the numbers
from one to 43.
Speech bubbles held by some stated 'Mexico has a skeleton in the closet'
and a banner listed '110K killed, 22K disappeared' since 2006, deaths
and disapperances they blame on the Mexican President Peña Nieto
who was visiting the UK and speaking to Parliament in the House of Lords.
The protesters marched from the rally to Parliament Square, and the shouting
came to a crescendo when a motorcade sped out and away, presumably including
the president. They then marched back chanting as they went along Parliament
Street the numbers 1-43, and the rally opposite Downing St continued,. As
I left, Jeremy Corbyn MP was speaking.
Shut Down Yarls Wood
Home Office, London. Tue 3 Mar 2015
for Justice protesters outside the Home Office
On the day that a parliamentary report was published condemning the UK
immigration system, Movement for Justice protested at the Home Office demanding
immediate closure of Yarls Wood following exposure of systematic brutality,
racism and sexism.
The report by a committee, led by Sarah Teather Liberal Democrat MP for Brent
Central and a former Minister of State for Children and Families vindicates
the struggles of detainees and ex-detainees for justice, freedom and respect
and is a public nondemnation of immigration detention. It finds that the Home
Office has abused its powers and that there must be must be an end to the
torture of indefinite detention and a statutory 28-day time limit to detention,
with every decision to detain subject to judicial oversight.
The report came the day after a damning Channel 4 undercover investigation
of Yarls's Wood exposed systematic brutality, racism and sexism against the
women held there.
Called at very short notice, the protest was not huge, but there was no doubting
the determination of those present, some of who had been held in Yarl's Wood
and other detention centres, that "Yarls Wood must be SHUT DOWN and the
entire racist, sexist, corrupt system of immigration detention comes to an
Maximus - Same Circus, Different Clowns
Westminster, London. Mon 2 Mar 2015
Kilburn Unemployed Worker’s Group Choir wore masks
to sing "David Cameron is a W******“
DPAC and other activists held a circus-themed protest at the London HQ
of Maximus, who are taking over Work Capability Assessments for sickness and
disability benefits from Atos, going on to the Dept of Work and Pensions before
blocking Victoria St.
A sustained and militant campaign by DPAC and other disabled activists had
both completely discredited Atos and persuaded them to quit running the Work
Capability Assessments (WCAs) which had been used to deny a large proportion
of claimants the sickness and disability benefits they were entitled to in
order to meet money-saving targets. Although many claimants got their benefits
restored on appeal, some were unable to cope with the stress and committed
suicide, desperate when they were left with no oney at all by the system.
Despite the computer-based tests having been found to be unfit for purpose,
Iain Duncan Smith has continued to insist on their use, awarding US firm Maximus
a lucrative contract to continue the harassment of the sick and disabled.
Maximus are also involved in the growing privatisation of the NHS, running
the it for Work occupational health service designed to bully and harass people
on sick leave into going back to work. In some areas they also run the Work
Programme, forcing claimants into workfare to keep benefits; they also run
similar welfare-to-work style schemes for the brutal Saudi Arabian government.
The protest began outside the offices of Maximus in Queen Anne's Gate, and
then moved on to take over the nearby mini-roundabout in Petty France as a
'circus ring', with various circus-styled performances, including a hula hoop
display by Alice Rose and singing from Rockin’ Paddy who performed 'Battle
of Whitehall' and the Kilburn Unemployed Worker’s Group Choir wearing
David Cameron masks sang their 'David Cameron is a W******'.
From there the protest went on to the Dept of Work and Pensions at Caxton
House, and after a rally on Tothill Street outside there most of those present
continued to the pedestrian crossing in front of Westminster Abbey on Victoria
St, positioning wheelchairs on it and blocking the street for some minutes.
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