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All pictures Copyright © Peter Marshall 2018, all rights reserved.
High res images available for reproduction - for licences to reproduce images or buy prints or other questions and comments, contact me. Selected images are also available from Alamy and Photofusion

70 years of Human Rights

US Embassy, London. Mon 10 Dec 2018

Some of the protesters in front of the US Embassy
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The final 'Shut Guantanamo!' monthly protest of 2018 at the US Embassy by the London Guantanamo Campaign took place on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

The UDHR, which is the foundation of the modern human rights movement, declared "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" and "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile."

Clearly the USA is in breach of these and other articles of the UDHR, and has been since it set up the illegal prison camp on Cuban soil and used illegal rendition to bring prisoners there and in the various secret military torture facilities it has had in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Guantanamo still has 40 detainees who have been tortured and held in indefinite detention without trial for almost 17 years. The protest called for justice and release for them and other and victims of human rights abuses everywhere.
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Marchers oppose Tommy Robinson

London. Sun 9 Dec 2018

A little red smoke livens up the march
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A 'united' counter demonstration by anti-fascists marches in opposition to Tommy Robinson's fascist march. The march which included both remain and leave supporting anti-fascists gathered at the BBC to to to a rally at Downing St. Police had issued conditions on both events designed to keep them well apart from the fascist pro-Brexit march.

Originally two different groups of organisations had been planning to hold separate protests against Robinson, but Unite Against Fascism and Stand Up to Racism appealed to the other groups including several Brazilian groups and various anti-fascists who had successfully blocked a previous Robinson march to join them in a united protest.

Unfortunately agreements that were made about how the march should proceed were apparently ignored by the UAF and SUTR, leaving the anti-fascists angry about what appeared to be a complete takeover of the event. Some anti-fascists clashed with Robinson supporters who had come to Trafalgar Square to try to disrupt the march and a large group of anti-fascist marchers ignored the rally taking place with speakers they felt dominated by the Socialist Workers Party and allied organisations.

This bloc decided to leave Whitehall in a group to disperse at Charing Cross station. At first police formed a cordon to stop them leaving, but after a brief stand-off, the police organised to escort them there, and I left with them.
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London flooded with Santas

Covent Garden, London. Sat 8th December 2018

Santas pose for the camera in St Martin's Lane
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Large crowds of people dressed in Santa costumes, together with the odd elf and reindeer were converging on Trafalgar Square spreading glad tidings as darkness fell, some following hand-pulled sound systems and dancing on the streets, though many groups were diverted into pubs and food shops on the way.

Many carried bottles or cans and all were in merry mood. Santacon had started at 11am at several different locations and is an annual charity event, this year supporting Christmas for Kids.
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British Museum Stolen Goods Tour

British Museum, London. Sat 8th December 2018


Rodney Kelly speaks beside the Gweagal shield stolen from his ancestor by Captain Cook at Botany Bay

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A tour organised by BP or not BP? led by Indigenous Australian campaigner Rodney Kelly and other campaigners called for the return of stolen vital cultural objects in the British Museum collection.

Rodney Kelly is a 6th generation direct descendant of Cooman, whose Gweagal shield was taken when Captain Cook's men arriving in Australia fired on him. He began (and ended) his talk by playing his didgeridoo, and then talked about how the British Museum had dismissed his earlier attempts to return the shield and other items, and had refused to take seriously the oral tradition of his people as it could not be confirmed by written records. In their efforts to retain possession of the shield and other items, many of which are kept in the museum basement and never exhibited they were prepared to go to desperate lengths, including getting their own experts to cast doubt on the stories which the museum had previously featured about these objects.

The shield sits in a dimly lit cupboard and is looked at by very few of the museum's visitors, while Kelly says that 'back home' it would be at the centre of a living culture, inspiring his people to keep and develop their heritage.

A large crowd gathered to hear him speak and he was warmly applauded. Before he began his formal talk he had been introduced by BP or not BP campaigners, several of whom came dressed as 'burglars' in striped black and white tops and carrying a sack for swag. Another came in a suit wearing a BP logo and explained why BP gave the museum a relatively small amount in sponsorship which gave them huge rewards in making them seem a responsible company despite their reprehensible activities in countries around the world, despoiling resources, polluting the environment and severely aggravating global warming by encouraging fossil fuel use.

From the Gweagal shield with its musket hole the crowd followed a guide from BP or Not BP to the entrance to the current BP-sponsored Assyrian show, where an Iraqi woman talked about BP's role in her country and the looting which followed the invasion of Iraq and the looting of cultural artifacts, some of which were on display in the show.

We then moved to gather beside a stone figure from Easter Island where a speaker from the Pacific Island arts group the Interisland Collective talked about the treatment by museums of Maori and Pacific Islands cultural items and read a statement from the Rapa Nui Pioneers on Easter Island calling for the return of their stolen Moai Head.

The final location for speeches was in front of the Parthenon (Elgin) Marbles, where BP or not NBP's Danny Chivers revealed his partly Greek ancestry and talked about his visit to the Parthenon and the museum there which has been built to exhibit its missing sculptures.

The tour ended with a group photograph of those who had taken part in front of the Assyrian exhibition.

While it is great for us to be able to see these various objects looted from their cultures in one place, the technology exists to make replicas indistinguishable to the originals and display these while returning the originals where they belong.

Other campaigners called for the return of objects from the Pacific Islands and Iraq. Many of these objects have been used in 'grenwashing' BP sponsored museum shows, including looted items from Iraq in the current Assyria exhibition.
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Dharma meditation for climate

Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 8 Dec 2018

Dharma Action Network meditate but call on people to act over climate
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Protesters from the Dharma Action Network meditated in Trafalgar Square and handed out flyers calling for people and governments to take effective actions to combat climate change.

Their meditation was intended as a springboard to action and they suggested people move their money out of banks which invest in fossil fuels, get informed by reading the IPCC report on global warming and join them and other groups including Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace or take action with Extinction Rebellion.
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Protest Slavery in Libya

London, UK. Sat 8 Dec 2018

The protesters march from Europe House past Parliament to the Foreign& Commonwealth Office

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Protesters meet at Europe House to protest against the lack of action over African migrants and refugees being sold or held against their will in Libya by terrorists and jihadists funded by the EU and others.

After a few speeches there, they marched to protest outside the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, saying the UK had failed to do anything to help because the victims were African, then stopped briefly at Downing St on their way to the Libyan Embassy.
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Winkfield Walk

Winkfield, Berks. Fri 7 Dec 2018

Stables near Winkfield
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Pictures from a fairly short family walk starting and finishing at a pub in Winkfield where we had a very nice plate of fish and chips, followed by a rather expensive pudding.

It was raining when we left home, but the weather was kind to us and it stopped ay the time we started the walk, and the sun was shining before we reached the end of the roughly 3 mile circular walk.

Winkfield is somewhere near Ascot, and it shows with various horsey things around and you stand a good chance of being run down by a very expensive car if you walk along the roads. Our route was mainly along footpaths, usually with a fence on one side and barbed wire on the other, and little danger of straying from the route.

The walk was on in a book, and I have to say it wasn't very exciting. Probably the best bit photographically was going through a large '(im)mobile home' site, though stopping around three quarters of the way around at The Winning Post, which describes itself as ' A luxurious inn' for a drink of Upham Brewery's 'Punter' was a bonus. We didn't eat there, though probably the 'Punter battered haddock with hand cut chips, tartare sauce and peas' would have been as good as the 'special' we got down the road at exactly half the price, where we had agreed to meet the others for lunch at The White Hart.
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SHAC Alternative Housing Awards 2018

Bishopsgate, London. Wed 5 Dec 2018
Nick from Unite Housing Worker's Branch after the awards were made
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SHAC Social Housing Action Campaign) hold their annual Alternative Housing Awards outside the National Housing Awards which were taking place at etc.venues 155 Bishopsgate, part of the Broadgate development.

SHAC is a joint initiative between housing associations and co-operative residents, housing activists and members of the Unite Housing Workers Branch demand that housing associations end commercialisation, improve services, provide safe and secure homes, build truly affordable housing and offer decent pay and conditions for their staff.

The Alternative Housing Awards cups for Housing Associations as landlords were awarded to Sanctuary Housing for Most Rotten Repairs, London & Quadrant for Soaring Service Charges, Peabody Trust for Senseless Social Cleansing and Dodgy Development, with a special mention for The Old Tidemill Garden in Deptford, Notting Hill Genesis for Rocketing Rents, Optivo for Secrecy, Unaccountability & Spin, Tower Hamlets Community Housing for Blundering Board and Management, with Clarion Housing Group as Overall Lousy Landlord.

Looking at them as employers, Catalyst were winners for Poverty Pay, St Mungo's for Punitive Performance Management, Peabody Trust gained a second award for its Relentless Restructures with Catalyst being awarded as Overall Bullying Bosses.

As none of the Housing association bosses had turned up to receive their awards, after the citations for one of the awards had been read by Nick from Unite Housing Workers Branch the small trophy was instead handed to a resident or trade unionist involved with the winning housing association, who each made a speech of acceptance, adding more damning details of their actions.

The protest took place on the steps leading up to 155 Bishopsgate. Security there objected to banners being taped to the wall, worried that the gaffer tape might cause some damage, but told the campaigners the protest could go ahead on the private steps if these were removed - which after some argument they were.

a giving cups to housing associations for poor repairs, service charges, social cleansing & dodgy development, rents, lack of accountability & spin, blundering management, poverty pay, punitive performance management, relentless restructures and overall bullying. Nick from Unite Housing read lengthy indictments for each award before inviting tenants and trade unionists involved with each to speak.
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BBC Boycott Eurovision Israel 2019

Broadcasting House, London. Sat 1 Dec 2018
There were around a hundred pro-Palestine protesters listening to speeches outside the BBC
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Protesters called on the BBC to withdraw from the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest hosted by Israel, to avoid being complicit in Israel's ongoing violations of Palestinian human rights.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign and others say the contest 'artwashes' Israel's human rights record, including the killing of at least 205 Palestinians by Israeli forces in the besieged Gaza Strip since protests began at the end of March, and the passing of the Jewish nation state law which formalises an apartheid system in Israeli law. Also supporting the #BoycottEurovision2019 protest were the Stop The War Coalition, Palestinian Forum UK and Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA).

The protest was opposed by a small group of Zionists who were shouting hate slogans against Hamas and some of whom made unfriendly gestures towards me as I photographed them. I stayed back a little more than usual in case they spat at me.
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Together for Climate Justice

London. Sat 1 Dec 2018
The Statue of Taking Liberties at the head of the Climate march to Downing St
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Several thousand marched through London from a Campaign against Climate Change led rally outside the Polish Embassy where grave doubts were expressed about next week's UN climate talks in Katowice, Poland, which are being sponsored by leading firms in Poland's fossil fuel industry.

Speakers, including Labour MP Clive Lewis, Green Party co-leader Sian Berry, Anna Gretton from Extinction Rebellion, UCU Vice President Nita Sanghera, Neil Keveren of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, Paul Allen from Zero Carbon Britain, Beatriz Ratton of Brazilian Women Against Fascism, Asad Rehman of War on Want, and Richard Roberts, fracking direct action campaigner whose recent prison sentence for lorry surfing at Preston New Road was overturned and was released from jail with a conditional discharge expressed solidarity with protesters in Poland and stressed the urgent need to cut CO2 and methane emissions.

At the end of the rally we were all taught to say a couple of slogans in Polish, including 'Razem dla klimatu' (Together for the Climate) which appeared on a number of placards, and the rather less pronounceable Polish for 'Time to limit to 1.5', as well as for 'Climate, jobs, justice!'.

The march then set off, going through the centre of London to Downing at where there was a further rally with speeches from Labour MP Barry Gardiner,
Liz Hutchins of Friends of the Earth, a woman from Frack Free United and a final speech by Claire James of Campaign against Climate Change who introduced a speaker on behalf of the Global South, where people are already dying because of climate change.
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Stop Universal Credit day of action

Camden Town, London. Sat 1 Dec 2018
Some stood with banners while others handed out leaflets to the many passing by
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Protesters in Camden Town handed out leaflets in one of many nationwide protests in a day of action called by Unite Community to stop Universal Credit.

They want an end to the long wait before claimants receive money, for applications to be at job centres as well as online, better help when the system fails people, direct payments to landlords to avoid rent arrears and evictions and an end to benefit sanctions for all claimants.

For those in the many areas that have been moved on to Universal Credit in the previous week, the move will hit them particularly hard, with the normal six week waiting time meaning they and their families will have no money over Christmas. UC has created incredible hardship, pushing many into extreme poverty and destitution, making them reliant on food banks and street food distributions, greatly increasing the number of homeless and rough sleepers. Thanks to Tory policies, more than 120,000-plus homeless children in Britain will spend Christmas in hostels and B&Bs, many without the means or facilities to provide a Christmas meal.

Some have said that UC is a part of a "state euthanasia" system for the poor, with academic estimates that it and other benefit cuts and sanctions since the 2010 elections having caused 110,000 early deaths, including many suicides. A cross party committee has called for its rollout to be halted until improvements are made, but the government has dismissed virtually all criticism of the system, making only insignificant changes.

While the government's policies have led to a huge growth in the number of foodbanks and the demand on them, the only Conservative response has been to encourage MPs to make festive visits to them with donations for publicity photographs, something that has sickened

The main banner here points out that it hands more financial power to male claimants making it a misogynist's dream, forcing women in violent relationships into greater dependency on their violent male partners.
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