my london diary index


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All pictures Copyright © Peter Marshall 2016, all rights reserved.
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Make John Lewis cleaners Partners

Oxford St, London.Sat 5 Nov 2016

Cleaners protest outside the front entrance to the Oxford St store
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A noisy protest by cleaners briefly blocked Oxford St outside John Lewis. Cleaners' union United Voices of the World and supporters demand that the company treat its cleaners fairly on the same basis as other staff who work there.

John Lewis is proud of its 'partnership' model, under which those who work in their stores get a share of their profits, but the people who keep the stores clean are treated as second-class citizens, excluded from the annual 'bonus' with wages only a few pence above the national minimum at £7.35 per hour, 85p less than the minimum for other John Lewis workers - whose annual bonus also adds the equivalent of 90p per hour.

The cleaners and other members of the United Vocies of the World union were supported in the portest by Class War, the IWGB, SOAS Unison and others. The protest was a noisy one and for a short time blocked Oxford St before the protesters went on a tour around the block containing the store.
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Save Libraries, Museums & Galleries

British Library to Trafalgar Sq, London. Sat 5 Nov 2016

Swindon is one of many places where library services are under threat
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Over two thousand people marched from the British Library to a rally in Trafalgar Square in support of public libraries, museums and art galleries, under threat by government cuts and closures as local authority budgets are cut.

In the UK since 2010, 8,000 paid and trained library workers have lost their jobs, 343 libraries have been closed (and another 300 or so handed over to volunteers); and one in five regional museums are at least partially closed. For those that remain open, many have seen a cut in opening hours and in services including education programmes and services to the housebound, and many aspects have been privatised; museums are now largely run to generate income rather than primarily to educate and inform.

People gathered at the rear of the British Library, where there were a few short speeches while we waited for the march to set off. It made its way along the Euston Rd and then down through Bloomsbury and Holborn to Trafalgar Square, where there was a longer rally with speakers on the steps in front of the National Gallery.
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Kurds march for Peace & Democracy

London, UK. Fri 4 Nov 2016

Kurds rally outside the Turkish embassy despite police attempts to move them across the road

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More than 500 Kurds marched peacefully through London to protest noisily at the Turkish embassy after the arrest early today of the two leaders of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic party (HDP), along with at least 11 MPs.

The Kurds say that the government and Prime Minister Erdogan are eradicating democracy in Turkey and trying to destroy the Kurdish poeple and culture. They say the Turkish state has been increasing its attacks on Kurds in Turkey since the failed coup attempt, and that the latest action is prompted by the success of Kurdish forces in attacking ISIS (Daesh) which they say is supported by Erdogan.

Kurds in Syria have been given some arms and support by the US as they have been the most effective force attacking Daesh. Erdogan has been supporting Daesh as the Turks see it as being effective in preventing the formation of a Kurdish state - Kurdistan - which would include areas of Tureky as well as parts of Iraq and Syria which are already under Kurdish control. Turkey has provided the main route for Daesh's oil exports which provide the funding for its military occupation with support from Erdogan.

Since the coup, thousands of Turks and Kurds have been imprisoned by the Turkish authorities, including politicians, mayors, journalists and teachers and the free press has been shut down. Many foreign journalists have also been arrested and deported.
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Bill to reverse NHS Privatisation

Old Palace Yard, London. Fri 4 Nov 2016

Larry Sanders, Green Party Health spokesperson and Bernie's brother speaking
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A rally outside parliament supported the second reading of Labour MP Margaret Greenwood's NHS Bill which proposes to fully restore the NHS as an accountable public service and to prevent further marketisation at the hands of the Tories. unfortunately the bill is low on the list and unlikely to get debated today.

Despite Tory claims that the "NHS is safe in our hands" since the 2010 election there has been a creeping process of privatisation with companies such as Virgin Healthcare taking over large area of NHS provision. The Health and Social Care Act 2012 allowed NHS services could be contracted out to 'any qualified provider', including private companies and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are under pressure to outsource. In 2015, private firms won 40% of all contracts.

The 2012 act also removed the government's duty to provide healthcare for everyone, making the local commissioning groups responsible - and it allows them to withdraw NHS services or charge us for them.

Currently Sustainability and Transformation Plans are being developed by Christmas for 44 areas covering the whole of England which critics say are to Slash, Trash and Privatise the NHS. They were kept private until campaigners 'outed' them and are supposed to be in place by Christmas. NHS England director of strategy Michael Macdonnell says theat these STPs offer private sector companies an "enormous opportunity" and they could well mean the end of the NHS as we have known it.

All this is taking place despite huge public support for the NHS, with recent YouGov research reporting 84% of us saying the NHS should be run in the public sector; even among Conservative voters only 13% supported privatisation.

Among the speakers was Larry Sanders, Green Party Health spokesperson and brother of Bernie Sanders.
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End mass deportations

Home Office, London, UK. Wed 2 Nov 2016
Protesters tell Nigeria & Jamaica to stop colluding with UK racism by acceptiong mass deportation flights
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BARAC UK, Movement for Justice and other campaigners came to the Home Office to demand an end to forcible mass deportations such as the flight in September which took 42 people to Jamaica, many who had lived in the UK for decades and have partners, spouses, children and grandchildren here and some who were in process of becoming naturalised or appealing deportation. Many of the deportations are actually illegal, and lawyers manage to prevent some of these, but others slip through.

Among those who spoke were immigration lawyer Shiraz Peer, John McInally Vice President of the PCS Union, Zita Holbourne and Lee Jasper of BARAC, Antonia Bright and Rosemary from Movement for Justice and Guy Taylor of Global Justice Now.
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Standing Rock Sioux - emergency protest

US Embassy, London. Tue 1 Nov 2016
Protesters with posters 'water is Life', 'Defend the Sacred'...
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Following military-style attacks and arrests on the Sacred Stone Camp where the Standing Rock Sioux were praying on their sacred ground to protect it from the Dakota Access Pipe Line, around a hundred people were at an emergency solidarity protest outside the US Embassy tonight.

As well as supporting the Sioux in their fight to stop the pipeline which also threatens the Missouri River, speakers stressed that this was a part of the same fight as many others around the world, protecting the interests of people and planet, including the UK protests against fracking.
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London Images

London, October 2016

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