Rip Down the Ripper Facade!
Cable St, London. Sun 19 Jun 2016
A little smoke gets in police eyes as they defend the
Ripper tourist rip-off shop.
Following the 'Jack the Ripper Museum' tourist attraction on Cable St
being refused planning permission for its facade and shutter, Class War and
supporters, including London Fourth Wave Femninists in cat masks, protested
outside with toy plastic hammers offerering to take it down as the owners
have not yet complied with the decision.
The so-called museum is a tacky tourist attraction that glorifies the killing
of working class women, and the protesters put Class War Womens Death Brigade
stickers across the frontage as police stood in front to protect the property.
The protest got a little livelier and more visual when some black clad young
protesters came with a red smoke flare. Like some of the police I had to move
to escape the smoke and also to take pictures as it became too thick to see
anything but a red blur.
Before coming to the protest I paid a visit to a temporary exhibition in
St George in the East church nearby, which shows some of the real history
of women in the area, rather more interesting than the gory speculation in
the shop where the protest was held - and which was granted planning permission
as a museum to show exactly the kind of stories in the exhibition.
A billboard opposite the shop which advertised the exhibition was vandalised,
presumably by friends of the 'museum', though police appear to have taken
no action over this. It isn't yet clear when or how (or even if) Tower Hamlets
council intend to enforce their planning decision, and their stated opposition
to the grisly shop seems rather half-hearted.
Central Hill Open Gardens Estates
Crystal Palace, London. Sat 18 June 2016
Labour MP for Dulwich and West Norwood Helen Hayes storms out after questions
from Simon Elmer of ASH
Today council estates across London under threat of demolition by Government
Housing policies, council regeneration programmes and property developers
welcomed visitors to open day events as a part of the Open Garden Estates
initiative by Architects for Social Housing.
At the Central Hill estate in Crystal Palace, a popular and well-planned
estate of architectural interest in good condition under threat of demolition
by Lambeth Council, there was a display of alternative plans, food, book and
other stalls, a music performance, film show and a Marxist puppet show as
well as estate tours.
Among those attending was Labour MP for Dulwich and West Norwood Helen Hayes,
who stormed out after being questioned why she was attending when she had
given her backing to Labour councillors behind the plans to demolish the estate.
A by-election in the area last week saw a large Labour majority cut to only
36 votes over the Green Party in a 27.4 percent swing, largely because of
library cuts and the planned estate demolition.
Central Hill Estate is yet another clear example of why the Labour Party
needs to rethink its whole approach to council-owned housing. Although the
policy of 'regeneration' introduced under New Labour soon after their election
made some sense and was probably made with good intentions, its results have
often been disastrous. Partly because local authorities simply have never
had the expertise to deal with the developers, who are able to run rings around
them - and to find legal ways to bribe some, but also because of the changing
economic and political situation. Some councillors have done quite nicely
out of it, moving into highly paid jobs in housing associations which have
become hard to distinguish from commercial property developers etc.
'Regeneration' has resulted in huge transfers of public assets into private
hands, in a wholesale loss of social housing, and in social cleansing, with
people being forced outwards from London, unable to afford either the laughably
named 'affordable' properties or those at market rates. It has meant the dispersal
of functioning communities, in widespread and arguably fraudulent under-compensation
of leaseholders, and in a great deal of sub-standard buildings, often to lower
specifications of space and worse design than those they replace.
On show at Central Hill were alternative plans to develop the site without
demolition that would acheive a similar increase in housing units to the planned
regeneration. The costs would almost certainly be far less, but Lambeth Council
were not interested. 'Homes for Lambeth' isn't about homes for Lambeth
residents, but about making hefty profits by selling at market prices.
UCL Rent Strike Victory
London. Sat 18 June 2016
Students called off protests at UCL after their victory
UCL students called off their advertised Open Day Manifestation acter
the Complaints Panel decided that the residents of Campbell House West will
be compensated in full for the final term last year - up to £1,368 per
The panel determined that UCL Management "Not only demonstrated a lack
of empathy towards students’ circumstances and an understanding or appreciation
of what would be an acceptable student experience, but was disingenuous to
the students concerned." Instead of the expected mass protest, a small
group of students assembled to celebrate their victory, and to show their
determination to continue their campaign to cut student rents.
I didn't stay long as I wanted to make the journey to another event, but
after I left, the students went on a rather lively march around the West End,
clebrating their victory with flares as well as the helium balloons, which
I was sorry to have missed.
Axe the Housing Act March
Piccadilly, London. Sat 18 June 2016
A woman carries a placard stating the reality of Southwark's
regeneration - demolition of 7,639 homes
Protesters marched from Hyde Park Corner to Parliament against the Housing
and Planning Act passed last month, demanding that it be repealed as it make
the current housing crisis much worse, removing security from many tenants,
and will result in the demolition and selling off of almost all social housing.
Tenant and housing groups, councils, academics, trade unions and communities
all oppose the Act.
The protesters urge councils to refuse to implement the Act and call on people
to stand together to boycott the pay-to-stay tax, resist evictions and block
regeneration and estate demolitions. There were a number of speeches before
the march started, and perhaps surprisingly given their appalling record on
housing one was a councillor from the London Borough of SouthwarkRichard Livingstone,
Cabinet Member for Adult Care and Financial Inclusion and formerly responsible
for housing in the borough.
Not surprisingly there was noisy shouting when he spoke, with many protesters
calling their demolition of the Heygate and Aylesbury estates by Southwark
a shameful example of exactly the kind of social cleansing this protest was
against. Some people tried to get the protests to stop, arguing that we need
to unite to fight the Tories, but until Labour councils stop carrying out
policies like this, it is hard to see anything to be gained from collaborating
It's time we saw the shift in the Labour movement represented by the huge
leap in membership inspired by Jeremy Corbyn standing as leader began to be
reflected in the boroughs, with new councillors that care for their people
replacing the careerists, and for new policies that stand up for the values
of the Labour movement rather than working with developers and others - and
often apparently driven by personal gain.
After speeches at Hyde Park Corner, the march moved off to a rally outside
Parliament, but I left for UCL.
Municipal Journal Awards
Hilton Hotel, Mayfair, London. Thu 16 Jun 2016
Aylesbury estate resident gives her opinion of Southwark Council
Housing protesters including Focus E15, the Revolutionary Communist Group
Class War and Architects 4 Social Housing protested noisily outside the Municipal
Journal Local Authority Awards at the Hilton Hotel castigating the nomination
of Southwark and Newham for awards.
They complain Southwark is nominated for 'Best London Council' despite having
demolished 7,639 units of social housing, sold off public land to developers,
and evicted people unlawfully and accuse Newham of social cleansing, rehousing
people in distant parts of the country while council properties remain empty,
and of causing mental health problems through evictions, homelessness and
failure to maintain properties.
Police tried to persuade the protesters to move to the pavement on the other
side of the access road in front of the hotel, pushing some across the road,
but they simply returned to protest on the pavement in front of the hotel,
though leaving the entrance to the hotel and a bar open. Some did for some
time stand opposite, so that they could be seen from the windows from those
at the award ceremony, and greeted those arriving by taxi at the hotel, though
police continually argued with them to keep off of the road.
One police officer continued to try and get the protesters to move, but the
others soon gave up and stood in a line between the protesters and the hotel
entrance. There were a few minor incidents when police pushed a protester
holding a banner and again when several protesters held banners and placards
in front of the restaurant windows. A manager came out to argue with them,
and blinds were pulled down, though the diners inside didn't seem too concerned
- and some paused from eating (expensively, with fish and chips about the
cheapest meal on the menu at £21) took out their phones to photograph
I was pleased the protesters stayed put, as light rain was falling much of
the evening and we were under the hotels canopy which kept it off us, as well
as giving some interesting reflections in its shiny metal surface. After around
an hour and a quarter the protesters decided to leave. As they walked past
the garden of the Saudi Embassy, Jane Nicholl of Class War stopped to pose
outside the gates (the pair without the two armed police officers) for a few
pictures of her holding a Class War Womens Death Brigade sticker. We walked
away as the armed police approached.
Advance to Mayfair - London Real Estate Forum
Berkeley Square, London. Tue 14 Jun 2016
Protesters outside the London Real Estate Forum where
London Councils were pitching to developers
Campaigners concerned over London's housing problems protested noisily in
Berkeley Square outside the London Real Estate Forum. They complained at the
scandal of London councils, mainly Labour controlled, speaking at the event
and increasingly conspiring with estate agents and property developers to
sell public land and transform estates which now house those on low incomes
into homes for the wealthy.
Protests had started earlier in the morning and I arrived just as Class War
were coming for a protest at lunchtime, and the numbers outside grew. Among
other groups present were the Revolutionary Communist Group and supporters
of Focus E15 from Newham and protesters from the Aylesbury Estate in Southwark.
Under the guise of New Labour regeneration, Southwark spent large amounts
of council money in demonising the Heygate Estate, employing PR consultants
to invent surveys, deliberately moving in problem tenants, running the estate
down both physically and through the media to justify its demolition. A highly
awarded scheme with its trees coming to maturity, and popular with many residents
despite the lack of necessary maintenance was emptied over a period of years
and finally destroyed. It took years to get some residents to move, as few
were offered suitable alternative accommodation and the compensation on offer
to leaseholders was derisory.
The Heygate was extremely valuable because of its good transport links, next
to the Elephant and Castle, and as a well planned relatively low density scheme
provided an opportunity to cram in many more units. But it has been something
of a financial disaster for Southwark council (though doubtless not for some
councillors) and certainly for the people of Southwark, as the Heygate, built
with around 1700 social housing units has been replaced by Elephant Park,
with less than a hundred, along with a large number of high price apartments
which very few locals can afford.
After than disastrous scheme, Southwark moved on to attack the Aylesbury
estate, carrying out a similar programme of converting public assets into
private profit, with yet more Southwark residents being forced to move out
to cheaper areas on the outskirts of London or beyond, in what housing activists
describe as social cleansing, driving ordinary Londoners out of the capital.
In Newham, the council started getting rid of people living in the Carpenters
Estate close to Stratford Station over 10 years ago. They tried hard to sell
it to UCL, but protests were important in changing UCL's mind. Many homes
on the estate have now been empty for over 10 years, despite the huge problems
with housing in the borough. When they stopped funding for the Focus E15 hostel
they tried to get the residents to move to private rented accommodation in
distant parts of the country, but the young women decided to stay and fight
together - and became involved in many other housing campaigns, including
that on the Carpenters Estate, where they highlighted the situation by occupying
a small block of four flats for several weeks.
Lambeth is another Labour council engaged in similar schemes, demolishing
sound homes (though often poorly maintained by the council) at various estates,
and similar things are happening in both Labour and Conservative boroughs
across London and elsewhere. Events such as this bring together councils with
developers and estate agents to plan further sales of public assets to make
profits for developers; councils appear to regard the estates they own as
liabilities rather than seeing them as providing vital homes meeting the needs
of the people who elect them.
London Traffic Deaths Vigil
City Hall, London. Fri 10 Jun 2016
Some chose to stand while others 'died-in' for the
11 minutes of silence for the 11 dead
A vigil at City Hall remembered 11 road users killed on London streets
since the mayoral election last month, including three cyclists.
Organised by London Women on Bikes (LWOB), #LondonBusWatch,
Westminster Living Streets and BMX Life and attended by
a number of family members of those killed, the vigil introduced by Nicola
Branch of LWOB began with speeches by transport campaigners; founding
member of LWOB Deborah Willemen, Peter Hartley of Westminster
Living Streets, Dr Rachel Aldred, Senior Lecturer in Transport at
the University of Westminster, Tom Kearney of #LondonBusWatch, who
became involved after narrowly escaping death when hit by a bus on Oxford
St and Green Party London wide Assembly Member Caroline Russell,
a member of the GLA Transport Committee who was the host for the protest,
allowing it to take part outside City Hall, one of London's privately owned
The protest was called for a month after the election of a new mayor of London,
and it was a month in which 11 people, 3 cyclists and 8 on foot, died after
being hit by vehicles on London's streets. Sadiq Khan is being urged to take
urgent action to protect pedestrians and cyclists in London. It's wrong to
think of these deaths as accidents; they happen because road users make mistakes,
often made harder to avoid because of poor vehicle or road design. Many of
them result from a lack of proper facilities for pedestrians and cyclists
in a road system which prioritises getting motorised vehicles from A to B
as fast as possible rather than safety. Some are caused by the failure of
police to enforce road traffic law - for example on advanced stop lines at
One of the three cyclists killed was a BMX rider on a charity ride last weekend
organised by BMX Life. Dan 'Cash' Stephenson was hit by a bus on
the Strand and died later in hospital. Many of the other BMX riders had come
to the vigil as well as members of his family. Some wore tartan ribbons or
had fixed them to their bike as a gesture of respect for a man who always
wore tartan on the rides. At the end of the formal speeches, a man from BMX
Life came up to say a few words about him.
Nicola Branch then read out the names of all eleven who die in the last month,
with brief details of when and where they were hit by vehicles. Some of their
names were not known, just their gender and age. One was only three, and there
was a small bear on one of the roses, but some others were in their 80s and
the eldest 91.
I think the following list is correct. But astonishingly TfL and the Met
police often fail to issue data on deaths accurately and apparently a third
of pedestrian road deaths go completely unreported:
Marie Scott, 75, killed by a moped rider in Holloway;
Christopher Holt, 58, killed by a car driver in Rainham;
Magda Tadaj, 24, killed by a lorry driver in Croydon;
Baroness Marion Lambert, 73, killed by a bus driver in Oxford St;
Basant Lal Sharma, 91, Wanstead, killed by a car driver in Wanstead;
Unknown man, 18, killed by a car driver in Poplar;
Unknown man, 50s, killed by a lorry driver in Victoria;
Mircea-Stefan Ivanescu, 3, killed by a 4x4 driver in Queensbury;
Unknown woman, 76, killed by a car driver in Queen's Park;
Paul Weidlich, 54, killed by a car driver in Deptford;
Dan 'Cash' Stephenson, 45, killed by a bus driver in Aldwych;
Having read the list, Nicola Branch called for one minutes silence for each
of them, eleven minutes in all, and invited those at the vigil to stand in
silence or to lie down, with or without bikes, in a silent 'die-in'.
At the end of the vigil everyone stood around and were thanked for coming,
and were slowly beginning to move off when we were all called back, for a
highly emotional moment when Dan 'Cash' Stephenson's daughter spoke through
tears about her father.
*Like City Hall itself, the open space around it is a part
of the Kuwaiti-owned and misleadingly named 'More London'. St Martins Property,
also misleadingly named as it is a company representing the state of Kuwait's
property interests, had first acquired much of the area some time after 1969,
the year when Hay's Wharf, the largest business on this part of the riverfront,
announced its Bermondsey wharves were to close. Other wharves, including Mark
Brown's Wharf on the area where the vigil took place, close at around the
same time. After several ridiculous pastiche
plans for developing the area had been turned down, St Martins sold it
to London Bridge Holdings in 1998. This Bahamas based company developed the
site we now know as More London, and sold it back to St Martins at the end
of 2013 for £1.7bn.
Day 3 UVW Wood St Cleaners Strike
100 Wood St, City of London. Fri 10 Jun 2016
Ewa Jasiewicz speaks and Jane Nicholl of Class War
holds a poster at the strike rally
Cleaners belonging to the United Voices of the World union employed by
anti-union cleaning contractor Thames Cleaning at the 100 Wood St offices
managed by CBRE, mainly let to Schroders and J P Morgan, held a rally at the
end of their picket on the third day of their strike.
Thames spent over £20,000 trying to get an injunction to stop the strike
against sackings and low pay, but failed though the union was hit by strict
conditions and crippling legal costs.
Among those who came to speak in support of the cleaners were Ewa Jasiewicz,
an organiser of low paid workers in hotels and restaurants, Candy Udwin, PCS
rep who led the long strike at the National Gallery against privatisation,
two workers from the ongoing PCS strike at the Welsh National Museums and
Jane Nicholl of Class War, who announced their intention to march to the offices
of Thames Cleaning in Sidcup next week in support of the strikers.
Three of the striking cleaners also spoke against the dismissals and extra
workload at 100 Wood St, along with UVW General Secretary Petrol Elia.
Hoxton Mini Press Book Launch
Broadway Market & Bethnal Green, London. Thu 9 Jun 2016
On my walk from the bus stop to Broadway Market
A large crowd filled the pavement in front of F Cooke's pie and mash shop
on Broadway Market, where tonight they were selling copies of books from the
Hoxton Mini Press and serving Five Points Pale, brewed in a
railway arch close by. Not only was it rather more the real London (if an
iconically gentrified part of it) but it was the real ale London. I was pleased
to find a few people I knew to talk with as I consumed several bottles and
an alcoholic ice-lolly, very welcome on a still warm evening.
I took a few pictures as I walked away towards Mare St and the bus, of the
Ada St workshops, and Beck St, and some more in Museum Gardens where I got
off at Bethnal Green, too late for the opening there of the Triumph Pavillion
2016 which was perhaps better for being almost deserted. In Hackney
Dreams on >Re:PHOTO I've written a little more about
Broadway Market, Hoxton Mini Press and the Five Points Brewery and included
a few of my pictures from the 1970s and 80s.
Punk London 1977
Paul Smith, Mayfair, London. Thu 9 Jun 2016
Derek Ridgers, an old friend of mine, poses with a woman
who is on the cover of his new book
Photographs from the opening of an exhibition of pictures from 'Punk
London 1977', the latest book by Derek Ridgers, an old
friend of mine, in the basement of a Mayfair clothes shop. The show, on
for three days only - was certainly the only part of 'London Collections
Men' that I attended or photographed. I had a good look at the pictures,
talked a little with Derek, had a few glasses of fizz (avoiding the drinks
stuffed with vegetation,) took a few pictures and left to go back into the
No Red Arrows Over Pride
Trafalgar Sq & Ministry of Defence, London. Thu 9 Jun 2016
Protesters with RAF coffin at Ministry of Defence say
Pride is about peace and love, not war
'No Pride in War' protesters, including military and gay pride veterans,
marched with a 'RAF coffin' from Trafalgar Square to a rally outside the Ministry
of Defence in protest about the military flyover by the RAF's Red Arrows announced
for Pride 2016.
They demanded the cancellation of the flypast and the withdrawal of arms
manufacturer BAE Systems from the parade stating that celebrating and promoting
institutions of war and those who profit from warfare globally is an affront
to the values that Pride was built on.
Capita Racism Protests Continue
Gresham St, London. Thu 9 Jun 2016
CAIWU Cleaners make a lot of noise calling for justice
as workers leave for home
Grass-roots cleaners union CAIWU (Cleaners and Allied Independent Workers
Union) continued their series of protests outside the offices of Capita in
the centre of the City of London against the cleaning contractor Mitie.
The CAIWU accuse Mitie of racism for cutting hours and sacking of African
workers among the cleaners, and for victimising those who have protested for
the London living wage in protests and by their strike
on 3 June. They blame Capita for putting pressure on Mitie to cut costs and
have published a recording of a Mitie manager saying that Capita have banned
the CAIWU from 65 Gresham St.
The CAIWU are not the only union having problems with Capita. Unite members
in Capita have been campaigning against poverty pay too, with an overtime
ban, and have just announced their first one day strike for June 16th after
Capita management told ACAS that they were not prepared to enter into talks
to resolve the dispute.
UVW Cleaners on Strike in City
100 Wood St, London. Wed 8 Jun 2016
The UVW measure carefully the 10 metres required by
the £20,000 injunction obtained by Thames Cleaning
Cleaners belonging to the United Voices of the World union employed by anti-union
cleaning contractor Thames Cleaning and Support Services Limited at the 100
Wood St offices managed by CBRE, mainly let to Schroders and J P Morgan, began
a strike today against sackings and poverty wages.
Rather than talk with the cleaners union, Thames went to the High Court and
spent over £20,000 trying to get an injunction to prohibit the strikes
and protests but failed to stop them. But they were awarded an injunction
which set down strict conditions for the picket and protest and left the UVW
with crippling legal costs.
The injunction is a worrying move that has severe implications for the right
of workers to engage in disputes, and it is important that the UVW continues
its campaign despite the restrictions to which it has to comply. The UVW is
a grass-roots union with no paid officials and little or no money to run its
activities which include educational workshops as well as supporting its members
in the workplace and at employment tribunals. It has launched an emergency
appeal for financial support, and everyone concerned with issues of low
pay and worker's rights should consider donating.
As well as a legal picket from early morning by striking workers and UVW
officials, a lunchtime protest took place in support, but to keep within the
terms of the injunction had to stay at least 10 metres from any doorways to
the offices. At the start of the protest the UVW carefully measured the distance
from the door to where the protest could be held. Class War who had come to
support the protest had a more direct method, bringing with them a 10m length
of yellow hazard tape with the message 'Crime Scene - Do Not Enter' which
they held along the 10 metre line in front of the protest, though it might
have been more appropriate to have held it the other way round - in front
of the offices at 100 Wood St.
After a protest on that 10 metre line, during which several cleaners spoke
with determination and there was support from cleaners elsewhere and Class
War, the cleaners and some of their supporters marched around the building
so that those at the back - mainly working from Schroders and J P Morgan -
would be aware of the protest. Workers in 100 Wood St had been sent an email
by management the previous day advising them that there would be a protest
(though giving no information as to why it was happening) and that the whole
building might need to be in lock-down for the whole day, but the protest
was well-ordered and people were able to enter and leave without any problems.
Many of them took leaflets or paused to read the banners and posters, some
expressing sympathy with the cleaners. Probably rather few people feel happy
about anyone working in the same building being badly treated and on miserable
Several cleaners at the building have already been dismissed and others served
with notices of dismissal, with those remaining expected to increase their
already high workload. The strike which began today continues, and at least
one of the strikers has committed himself to go on hunger strike if there
is no resolution after several weeks.
10 Years of Cleaners' Struggle at SOAS 100
SOAS London. Mon 6 Jun 2016
Moreno with an air horn in front of the Justice for Cleaners banner on SOAS
As London University SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) celebrates
it centenary, cleaners, students and staff celebrated 10 years of their Justice
for Cleaners campaign, aimed at getting SOAS to directly employ the cleaners
and give them decent conditions of service.
Outsourcing, currently to contractor Bouygues UK, means low pay,
poor management and poor conditions of service, and the Cleaners4Justice
campaign calls for 'One Workplace, One Workforce', arguing the exploitation
of low paid staff is inconsistent with the aims of SOAS.
Speakers regretted that while management remained intransigent, and allowed
this example of blatant injustice at the core of the institution, staff and
students at SOAS were unable to join in what should have been a united celebration
of a proud history of fighting against exploitation around the world.
As one of the official activities of the day, a time capsule was to be buried,
which will be dug up in a further 100 years. Among the items included at the
request of Ed Emery who can be seen playing the fiddle in some of
today's pictures is a photograph of him playing at a rally
against the the suspension (later retracted) of SOAS trade unionist Sandy
Nicoll for his support of the cleaners.
Syrians demand break the siege of Alwaer
Downing St, London. Sat 4 Jun 2016
Solidarity Campaign protest opposite Downing St calls for an end to 'starve
or kneel' regime strategy
Syrians at Downing St called on the UK and international community to
take urgent action to end the siege of Alwaer and 50 other besieged towns
in Syria. People are without electricity, drinking water, food, fuel, and
medical care and are at risk of dying from malnutrition.
Many at the protest had family who have died or are still under attack and
say the Syrian regime is guilty of a war crime by systematic and deliberate
starving of civilians. In Alwaer, more than 100,000 people have been under
siege by the Syrian regime for more than 3 years. Around 1,500 people inside
Alwaer are suffering from diseases as a result of the siege. Seven people
were killed by Syrian regime shelling on May 29th. There are over 50 similar
sieges taking place in Syria, mainly by the Syrian regime and its allies.
The systematic and deliberate starvation of civilians is a war crime in grave
breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Congo Massacre protest
Downing St, London. Sat 4 Jun 2016
Protesters call on the UK to stop supporting the brutal
murder of Congolese for coltan for phones & laptops
Africans from the Patrice Lumumba Coalition protested opposite Downing St
after the massacre last month of 120 people in Beni, North Kivu, Congo. They
say that since 2014, 1000 people have been horrifically murdered in the region,
despite the presence of a UN army and the Congolese armed forces.
They say the massacres in Congo, where over 10 million have been killed,
come from the US-backed overthrow of the Mobutu regime and the unconditional
support by the US, UK, Belgium and Canada of President Museveni in Uganda
and President Kagame in Rwanda, from where proxy armies and militia groups
attack the Congolese. Behind this is the need by multinational corporations
for the mineral reserves of the Congo, gold, oil, tin and particularly coltan,
essential for the production of smart phones, laptops and other electronic
They say that Kagame has been responsible for the integration of Rwandan
and Ugandan mercenary groups into the Congolese arm and that they freely murder
people in Eastern Congo. They say that the UK spends £500m a year in
support of Congo's President Kabila, and £90m to prop up the Rwandan
regime and demand an end to this funding and want all those responsible for
backing the genocide - including Tony Blair and the Clintons as well as African
leaders - to be held to account.
Call for a Greater Hungary
Downing St, London. Sat 4 Jun 2016
Protesters with various flags and a large banner
The protesters appeared to be calling for the restoration of Hungary
to its pre-1920 borders. This claim has re-emerged in recent years mainly
as a result of the rise of the right-wing Jobbik party in Hungary where this
' Movement for a Better Hungary' is now Hungary's third largest party in the
There was no sign on the flyer being handed out or on the banner at the event
of who was organising the protest, but several of those taking part carried
the blue and gold Székely flag and the flyer mentioned the new administrative
regions in Romania, saying these "break the historic Szekler heartland
To an outsider, the boundaries set by the 1920 treaty of Trianon (and largely
re-instated after WW2) seem surprisingly reasonable, encompassing those areas
with an ethnic Hungarian majority, but they did leave significant Hungarian
minorities in other states. The protesters claim that there has been 'cultural
genocide' in countries including Slovakia, Romania, Ukraine and Serbia and
that in the local areas in which there is a Hungarian majority they should
be allowed to speak there language and have some autonomy.
Rally against axing NHS student bursaries
Dept of Health, London. Sat 4 Jun 2016
Toplady (right) supports Helen Corry as her mother makes a passionate speech
in support of nurses
Speakers at the rally at the Dept of Health against plans to axe student
bursaries, included Dame Vivienne Westwood and Green Party Leader Natalie
Bennett as well as medical professionals, students, patients and disablement
activist Paula Peters, and there wa a performance by the National Health Singers
including their latest song.
Speakers stressed the vital role that nurses play in the NHS and the need
to ensure that bursaries continue to support their training, during which
they carry out work placements that support the NHS. It is only fair that
they be paid for the vital work that they do while on their courses, which
makes it difficult for them to have the part-time jobs that many other students
take on to support themselves. The NHS bursaries also make it possible for
more mature students, particularly those with family responsibilities to train.
We currently have a great shortage of nurses and other medical professionals,
with a high proportion of NHS workers now being migrants who trained abroad,
often in countries far less able to support medical training than our own.
Jeremy Hunt seems to think that by cutting the bursaries he can increase the
number of students, while those in the medical profession (and common sense)
suggest it will lead in both a drop in numbers and in the suitability of entrants.
Many also see it as a part of a plan to carry further the privatisation of
the NHS and healthcare, with trained nurses being in part replaced by workers
on low pay and with only minimal on the job training.
March to save NHS student bursaries
London. Sat 4 Jun 2016
of the student nurses had '#Bursary or Bust' on their faces
NHS students and supporters marched to a rally at the Dept of Health against
plans to axe student bursaries. They say these are essential as student nurses
spend 50% of their course working in the NHS and unlike other students are
unable to work part-time to support themselves. Student Bursaries also make
it possible for mature entrants to train.
The march gathered opposite St Thomas's Hospital, and made its way along
Belvedere Rd to Waterloo Bridge, keeping to a single lane so that traffic
continued moving alongside it. Halfway across the bridge there was a brief
sit-down on the roadway. It continued along the Strand to Charing Cross, where
disabled protesters and others unable to march the full distance joined it
for the final length down Whitehall to the yard in front of the Dept of Health
at Richmond House for the rally.
Boycott HP against Israeli apartheid
PC World, London. Sat 4 Jun 2016
Handing out 'Boycott HP' postcards outside PC World
A protest outside PC World on Tottenham Court Rd was one of around 20 actions
around the UK held to raise awareness of Hewlett Packard's heavy involvement
the Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people and encourage a boycott of
HP provides the biometric system used for ID cards used to control movement
of Palestinians inside Israel and in the occupied Palestinian territory, technology
for the Israeli military and supporting the illegal settlements.
Capita Cleaners strike against racism
Gresham St, City of London. Fri 3 June 2016
The CAIWU protested outside the offices calling for
an end to discrimination and a living wage
The CAIWU held a lively rally outside Capita Symonds in the heart of the
City of London in support of cleaners striking against the dismissal and unfair
treatment of African workers there by contractor Mitie and for a living wage.
Speakers included CAIWU General Secretary Alberto Durango, RMT Regional
President Glenroy Watson and NSSN Chair Rob Williams; other
well-known trade unionists sent messages of support or came during the day
to support the picket. Further strikes and actions are promised unless Capita
pressures Mitie into meeting the union's demands. Images available for repro
from Images Live.
Guantanamo Diary author remembered
US Embassy, London, UK. Thu 2 Jun 2016
A campaigner holds up a heavily redacted spread of Slahi's
Today's monthly 'Shut Guantanamo' protest at the US Embassy in London featured
readings from the heavily redacted best-selling 'Guantanamo Diary' by Mauritanian
prisoner Mohamedou Ould Slahi, arrested following an identity mistake in 2002
and subjected to savage beatings, death threats and sexual humiliation in
Guantanamo detailed in his 2005 book.
Still held in Guantanamo, his case comes up for review today. He has not
yet been allowed to read his own book. Images available for repro from Images
London, June 2016
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