my london diary index
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© Peter Marshall 2018, all rights reserved.
High res images available for reproduction -
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Stop the Massacres in Syria
Russian Embassy, London. Sat 13 Jan 2018
A woman makes an impassioned speech calling on the
Russians to stop bombing civilians in Syria
Protesters opposite the Russian Consulate called for an end to the
massacres taking place now in Syria.
Russia and Assad's forces are bombing civilians in Idlib, Hama and Eastern
Ghouta, specifically targetting medical workers and facilities, with 8 hospitals
in Idlib bombed since the start of December.
Around a half of those still in Idlib are civilians previously displaced
from other areas by attacks by Assad and his allies Russia and Iran. The
protesters called on Russia to stop the bombing and end the sieges of these
areas and to make serous attempts to make the peace talks succeed rather
than use them as a pretext to prevent any intervention while they complete
the destruction of all groups opposed to the Assad regime and bomb or starve
to death the civilian population in areas held by opposition forces.
Free Ahed Tamimi & all child prisoners
US Embassy, London. Sat 13 Jan 2018
Protesters at the front of the embassy call for Ahed
and all child prisoners to be released
Protesters at the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square call for the release
of all child prisoners held in Israeli jails, including Ahed Tamimi, held
for slapping an Israeli soldier who came into her family's garden shortly
after she had learnt that a relative had been shot by Israeli forces. She
is one of the thousands of Palestinian children have been detained by Israel,
since 2000 in a systematic policy which the UN has said includes abuse and
Among those leading the protest was Nana Hourriyah, a cousin of Bassem
Tamimi, who is Ahed's father, and there were others present with family
links to Palestine and who had spent time in the country. One of the speakers
was Robert Inlakesh who had returned recently from three months spent there
staying with Palestinian families, and who was deported by the Israeli authorities
for having taken part in a peaceful demonstration. He had stayed with the
family of another child prisoner, Abdul Khalik, before his arrest and knew
In the over an hour I was with the protest there was a single counter-protester
in a pen at the end of the street waving an Israel flag and shouting that
everything the protesters were saying was lies. A few of them went up and
shouted back at him, some telling him that if like them they had been there
then he would know what was happening rather than parroting the Zionist
lies. After I left a second counter-protester arrived with a Saudi flag,
joining the man with the Israeli flag in what Inlakesh called "the
Israel is an apartheid state, with very different laws and police treatment
for Palestinians in the West Bank who are subject to Israeli military law
and dealt with in military courts which offer little or no chance of justice.
Guantanamo Vigil Marks 16 years
US Embassy, Grosvenor Sq, London. Thu 11 Jan 2018
It proved very difficult to get all of the roughly
90 candles burning brightly at the same time
A Candlelight vigil outside the US Embassy marked the 16th anniversary
of the illegal torture camp at Guantanamo bay where 41 prisoners are still
held. Most are being held indefinitely without charge or trial and have
permanent injuries from torture that would make their release embarrassing
to the US (and possibly UK) authorities.
Protesters lit candles in front of the embassy fence spelling out 'GITMO'
and then stood holding candles and large photographs of the 41 remaining
detainees, most showing them more than ten years ago at the start of their
illegal detention. The vigil called for the immediate closure of Guantanamo
and for freedom for the detainees.
Close Guantanmo - 16years
Trafalgar Square, London. Thu 11 Jan 2018
The protesters stood in the cold light rain for two
Protesters in orange jump suits and black hoods stand in a squarefor
a two hour vigil at Trafalgar Square marking 16 years of the illegal detention
and torture camp at Guantanamo Bay.
The names of the 41 remaining detainees were read out, many held indefinitely
without charge or trial, almost all who were sold to the US by Afghan militias
and the Pakistani military for cash bounties with no real evidence of terrorist
involvement, but whose torture in CIA secret prisons across the world before
arrival at Guantanamo as while as throughout their detention there makes
their release too embarrassing to US authorities.
THere were also a number of speeches, including one outlining the previous
history of the US in running similar illegal detention schemes at Guantanamo,
an area of Cuba it continues to occupy under an agreement reached over a
hundred years ago and now longer recognised by the Cuban government following
the Cuban revolution, who have refused to accept the annual cheque for $4,085
sent by the US authorities since 1959.
The US has long been in default of the 1901 agreement which stated that
the base at Guantanamo Bay was only to be used as a coaling station to refuel
Navy ships. But their immense shame around the world because of Guantanamo
is not over their breaking of the agreement, but for the illegality and
torture that have taken place at the camp there, chosen for the purpose
precisely because the US Justice Department had advised the Pentagon that
it was ideal as it was outside the reach of US law and it was unlikely US
courts would grant detainees there habeas corpus rights.
Wimbledon Park to Richmond, London. Mon 1 Jan 2018
Almost the end - Richmond Bridge
As often, we began the year with a walk, though this time there were
only the two of us.
With the days still around their shortest we decided on a short walk -
though long enough to make my legs feel the pain, a section of the Capital
Ring from Wimbledon Park to Richmond. Though we've only ever done a few
little bits of the Capital Ring, mainly walking together further out from
Central London, almost all of this was familiar ground - and we had made
a very similar walk from Putney Heath only a few years ago - with a larger
That time we had enjoyed a dusting of snow, but today we got some light
rain and drizzle, and many of the paths were rather muddy and slippery,
particulalry coming down the hill from Richmond Park to Petersham, where
Linda lost her footing. At least by that time the drizzle had stopped and
the sun had come out.
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