'Bye Bye Redrow' Poor Doors Street Party

One Commercial St, Aldgate, London. Wed 19 Nov 2014
Lisa looks from the 'poor' side of the flats at the rich side through a grille
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Class War celebrated Redrow's sale of One Commercial Street outside the 'rich door' and were joined by students from the earlier protest and campaigners from the New Era estate in Hoxton threatened with quadrupling of rent and eviction by their new US landlords.

I arrived early enough to meet up with some of the protesters in a nearby pub before the protest and to march down with them from outside Freedom Books. The protest was enlarged a little by a few students who had been protesting earlier in the day coming to join. It followed what is now the normal pattern, with the protesters trying to block the 'rich door' on Commercial St, and the police trying to keep the way clear, but after a while the extra numbers were too much for them.

Marina Pepper had brought with her a message of support for the protest from Hunt Saboteurs and a banner from their association, but the big news was that Redrow, part owners of the building had sold their interest in the building - which the protesters attributed to their continuing actions. And they had acquired and brought along a 'Redrow' banner to celebrate this.

Also Ian Bone announced that the campaign was being supported by another London housing campaign, the tenants from the New Era Estate in Hoxton, who were under threat of eviction, and had been protesting against billionaire MP Richard Benyon, one of the owners of the estate. He has now sold his interest in New Era to his US partners who intend to evict the current tenants, refurbish the flats and let them at around four times the current rents. Soon after he finished speaking, a group arrived from New Era and were given a warm welcome.

Shortly before the protest was due to end, a young Finnish woman who lives in one of the 'rich' flats with her partner came to talk with the protesters. Before the protests began she had no idea that there were the two separate doors and she agreed with the protesters that this was unacceptable. She offered to take one of the protesters inside to look at the flats, and I was invited to accompany them.

It wasn't easy to get through the rich door. Firstly because of all the protesters blocking it, then we had to get past the police who were reluctant to admit us. Redrow staff were courteous, as we were the guest of one of the rich residents. We went up in the lift, and were told that one of the more obvious differences between the rich and poor side was that the rich lifts were covered by mirrors - which I found a little off putting.

The corridors were a little different too, though basically the same, and with the same signage, though on the poor side there were some notices about not littering the corridors which were not duplicated for the rich. The carpets were a different colour - brown for the rich and blue for the poor - and the rich flats had wood finish doors while the poor ones were painted blue-grey.

The flat we were taken to had cost around £400,000 but was rather small and didn't seem to be particularly well fitted out when I looked at its fitted kitchen area of the living room and the bathroom. It was about half the size of the last flat I'd lived in, from one of our new town development corporations in the 1970s. I took some pictures but have decided not to publish them in respect of our guide's privacy. We weren't able to go in any of the flats on the 'poor' side to compare, but I think they were probably fairly similar, though probably with lower priced fittings, You can probably find images from 'One Commercial Street' and possibly 'Houblon Buildings' on estate agents listings.

Our guide, who was taking her dog out from the flat for a walk, told us that sometimes a door between the two sides on the stairs was open at 10th or 11th floor level, but today it was closed, and we had to go down to the ground floor. There we walked through a door and waited for a different lift on the poor side. On the 10th floor we were taken around to a locked door with a grille, though which residents on the poor side could look into the rich side.

Both rich and poor sides were confusing inside on a first visit - long empty corridors with no windows. We went down again in the lift and made our way to the empty corridor leading the the poor door - which for once this evening was being staffed - by a Redrow employee and a security guard - as it was being used by rich residents to avoid the protest. We thanked our guide, said goodnight to the staff and left.
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No fees, No cuts, No debt!

Malet St to Westminster, London. Wed 19 Nov 2014
Protesters with 'book bloc' posters at the front of the march in Malet St
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Thousands of students marched through central London to Parliament Square, where some went to the official rally but others pulled down fences to meet on the square before going on a tour of government offices and other targets.

I joined with students at SOAS who were preparing to march to join the official start of the march in Malet St, behind a long row of people carrying large and fairly solid posters with the names and authors of books, including Animal Farm - George Orwell and The Second Sex - Simone de Beauvoir and other mainly well known works. Behind them were other protesters with placards and banners, including the Movement for Justice.

When we reached Malet St it was pretty crowded and the 'book bloc' made their way to meet with others close to the front of the march and I went there also to take pictures. Also near the front were a number of anarchist 'black bloc' protesters, and as the march left a couple of them set off flares.

The march was fairly uneventful on the way to Whitehall, though protesters did briefly surround a police van in Aldwych and rushed up to a MacDonald's on The Strand, but made no real attempt to enter. There were more flares set off in Whitehall, and a lot of shouting at Downing St, but nothing more.

Police had brought in a double row of barriers around Parliament Square and were standing behind these, but soon both students and photographers were climbing or vaulting over these into the square. Not feeling energetic, I waited a couple of minutes until some of them had opened up a gap I could walk through, joining the large crowd already there. Some of the protesters had walked through the square and on towards the site of the official rally in Old Palace Yard, but the majority flowed into the square. A speaker was calling for a campaign to make sure politicians kept their promises, with behind him a framed picture of Nick Clegg with the quote from the 2010 election "Say goodbye to broken promises", something which students will never forget after the Liberals voted with the Conservatives to cut EMA and raise University fees.

The samba band arrived and livened things up, but after a while I made my way out and went to talk to the the Shaker Aamer protesters on my way to the official student rally.

I didn't make it to the rally, as I saw the protesters from the square had pushed over more of the fences and were walking up Victoria St and I hurried after them as they rushed down Matthew Parker St to the Conservative Campaign HQ. Police were waiting for them there, and there were some tense moments with police batons raised (and people with phones getting in my way when a rubbish bin was pushed towards the gates) before the students left to go a long way round to the Dept of Business, Innovation and Skills.

There another flare was set off, but rather disappointingly it was very bright with relatively little smoke, not great for photography. People also threw paint up at the building, and although it didn't hit me directly, some got transferred from other people in the crowd onto me and my camera. The next target was a Starbucks, but by then I was a bit fed up.

I walked down past New Scotland Yard to the Ministry of Justice, and bit around there, but although I saw a lot of police, there was no sign of the protesters until a few minutes later when I went back to New Scotland Yard and found several hundred sitting in the road outside. Among those watching them was John McDonnell MP.

After I'd been photographing a couple of minutes there, I saw a small crowd of TSG officers arriving and went to photograph them. There was a long and bitter argument with a couple of students who complained that they had been stopped going away from the protest by police, who appeared at that moment to be trying to kettle the protesters. But there were few police at the other end of the road and I walked through a scattered line, and shortly afterwards those who had been sitting on the road got up and came the same way.

I walked with them back to Parliament Square, where they went back on to the grass area, but it looked like the protest was drawing to an end and I left for Aldgate.
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Shaker Aamer protests continue to shame UK

Parliament Square, London. Wed 19 Nov

Protesters were inside the barrier that the police had forlornly hoped would keep the students of the square
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The regular vigil for Shaker Aamer coincided with the student protest which came to Parliament Square. Imprisoned and tortured for over 12 years and cleared for release in 2007 he is left to die in Guantanamo to avoid embarrassment to MI6 and the US.

Police had allowed the protesters onto the pavement along the front of the square as usual, though they were now behind a double row of barriers that were there to keep the students out. While I was there, Kate Hudson came to talk with Ray Silk, Secretary of Free Shaker Aamer campaign across the barrier.

I was still speaking to the protesters and taking photographs when I saw the student protesters who had been on the central grass area were leaving the square and had to rush away to follow them.
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Feeding the Poor is not a Crime

US Embassy, London . Sat 15 Nov 2014An armed officer inside the fence tells protesters they are not allowed to fix posters or banners on the fence
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Protesters with posters 'I am Arnold Abbott' supported the 90-year-old veteran twice arrested in Florida for giving food to the homeless, and Jillian Pim who began her hunger strike against the 'homeless hate laws' when he was charged 14 days ago.

This was the first in a series of weekly events in which protesters aimed to give out food to the homeless after the protest. It had been arranged only at the last minute and there were few people there, but they hope for more as word gets out.

The way to cut down homelessness is not to persecute the homeless nor to criminalise those who respond humanely to their obvious distress and needs, but to provide paid jobs they can do and homes they can afford. The case of Arnold Abbott has rightly provoked repulsion and anger around the world, but we have seen similar things in London, where police in some areas have actually stolen sleeping bags from rough sleepers.

In London it took a sustained campaign in 2011 to stop Westminster Council from bringing in a proposed new by-law making it a criminal offence to feed homeless people and to criminalise sleeping on the street. Westminster's intention wasn't to help people who are forced into sleeping rough, but simply to displace them to other boroughs.
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Funeral for the Unknown Victim of Traffic Violence

Bedford Sq to Marble Arch, London. Sat 15 Nov 2014

The coffin was carried in a horse-drawn hearse to Marble Arch for the funeral
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Hundreds of cyclists and pedestrians marched behind a piper and a horse-drawn hearse through Oxford St to Marble Arch where a dignified commemoration of victims killed, maimed and poisoned by motor transport culminated in a die-in by cyclists.

Too many cyclists and pedestrians are killed and maimed on the streets of London and part of the problem is the lack of proper regard for the needs of non-motorists by Transport for London. We need a road system that is safe for all users, not one that is largely engineered for the convenience of motorised transport.

As well as actual deaths through actual road traffic incidents (most of which are not truly accidents as deliberate decisions on road and vehicle design play a large part in them) there are also thousands of premature deaths caused by air pollution from road traffic, with pollution levels in many places - such as Oxford St which this protest went along - being well above legal limits.

The protest made ten demands:

  1. Stop the Killing of Children with a national, multi-billion pound programme to convert residential communities across Britain into living-street Home Zones and abolish dangerous rat-runs.
  2. Stop the Killing of Pedestrians by a national programme to fund pedestrianisation of our city and town centres, including the nation’s high-street, Oxford Street.
  3. Stop the Killing of Pensioners from excessive speed with an enforced speed limit of 20 mph on all urban roads, 40 mph on rural roads/lanes and 60 mph on all other trunk roads.
  4. Stop the Killing of Cyclists, investing£15 billion in a National Segregated Cycle Network over the next 5 years.
  5. Stop the Killing by HGVs by banning trucks with blind spots, making safety equipment mandatory and strictly enforcing current truck-safety regulations; currently around 30% are illegally dangerous.
  6. Stop the Killing without liability with a presumed civil liability law for vehicular traffic when they kill or seriously injure vulnerable road-users, unless there is evidence blaming the victim.
  7. Stop the Killing from Lung, Heart and other Diseases caused by vehicular pollutants with mandatory for particulate filters that meet latest EU emission standards on all existing buses, lorries and taxis.
  8. Stop the Killing at Junctions with pedestrian crossing times long enough for elderly disabled to cross, filtered junction crossings by cyclists and strict legal priority for pedestrians and urgently provide physically protected left-hand turns for cyclists.
  9. Stop the Killing from Climate Crisis caused by CO2 emissions by insisting that all transport fuels are from truly environmentally-sustainable, renewable sources within 10 years.
  10. Focus on Life! with transport governance making safety and quality of life the top priority. Reform all council transport departments, the Department of Transport and Transport for London into Cycling, Walking and Transport Departments with formal pedestrian and cyclist representation.

Environmental campaigner Donnachadh McCarthy walked at the head of the protest which he organised and led the funeral ceremony at Marble Arch, where flowers were placed on the coffin that had been brought from the horse-drawn hearse by pall-bearers and placed in front of Marble Arch. There was singing, poetry and speeches, and as I was leaving after a period of silence and a 'die-in' as the trumpeter was sounding the 'Last Post'.
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Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign at the IPCC

Holborn, London. Fri 14 Nov 2014

Granville Williams of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign in front of the North Selby NUM banner
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The protest on the second anniversary of the case referral to the IPPC called for action to be taken by the IPPC. 39 pickets have been paid compensation for brutal assaults after the attack by police at Orgreave on 18 June 1984 but no police officers have been disciplined or charged.

Among the speakers at the event were NUM Yorkshire area chairman Chris Skidmore, Granville Williams of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign & Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) National President Ian Hodson, Bridget Bell of Women against Pit Closures and RMT Senior Assistant General Secretary Steve Hedley.

Various union and other banners added colour to the event, especially the splendid North Selby Branch banner, the last NUM banner to be produced, with its graphic illustrations of the miner's strike. One police officer appeared to have a personal problem with the 'Justice for the Shrewsbury Pickets' banner, having a long argument with the man holding one end attempting to get the banner moved away from by the side of the IPCC doorway. The banner was being held out of the way, and just off the edge of the narrow pavement which the officer claimed it was obstructing. Clearly neither the banner nor the two men holding it were creating an obstruction, while equally clearly that officer and several other police officers were standing on the pavement in a way that did make it difficult for people to walk past. Those holding the banner refused to move, and eventually the officer stepped back to block the pavement even more while he made copious notes in his notebook.
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Class War hunt Ian Duncan Smith

Chingford, London. Fri 14 Nov 2014

Marina Pepper rings the bell for the Chingford and Woodford Green Conservative Association
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I feel a need to make it clear that I am not a member of Class War, since there seem to be so many posts about them here. I'm not even sure that anyone is a member or that is that formal a group, more a loose collection of largely like-minded individuals centred around Ian Bone, Martin Wright and a few others. If you share the key ideas you can join in - as it says on the Class War Party web site "Comrades whatever our yesterdays you are welcome now. Join in. Reject cynicism. Have fun."

The decision to stand candidates in next year's general election is not because there is any real expectation that Class War candidates will win any seats - or indeed save their deposits, but "to launch a furious and coordinated political offensive against the ruling class with the opportunity an election gives us to talk politics to our class." And they intend to "make ourselves central to the campaign in a funny, rumbustious combative and imaginative way."

With the campaign against separate doors for rich and poor they have shown how their kind of protests - a kind of agitprop or street theatre - can bring things to public attention and help to change the attitude of a much wider group to issues such as this.

While I'm not with them on everything, there are many issues on which I share their underlying points of view, even if I would not express them in the same way. In particular I share their opposition to the privileged private education that serves to maintain the class and income divisions in this country. As a student and later as a teacher I refused offers to work in the private sector and would like to see an end to private education (and private health services) because of their unfair and divisive nature. I worked in state education (full and later part-time) for over 30 years and my sons went to our local schools. Our state education system isn't perfect, but it didn't fail them.

When Class War went to Chingford it was to support Marina Pepper who had decided to stand as Class War candidate against Iain Duncan Smith, whose incompetence and discriminatory policies have made him a figure of hate among every disadvantaged group in Britain. He was supposed to be present at a job fair there, which some out of work people were being forced to travel to on threat of losing benefit - though of course many were keen to be there and to try and find jobs.

But rather than be there to meet the job seekers, IDS had called in and left long before the event was open to the public. Class War protested for a couple of hours outside the building - with a 'Wanted' poster for IDS, showing his picture as 'Wanted for Mass Murder' of the 10,600 people who died in 2011 after having been found fit for work by Atos administered tests; a statistic so damning that the Department for Work and Pensions stopped publishing any later figures.

They then went on a search of the streets of Chingford for IDS (who clearly wasn't going to be there), looking for his constituency office, which is not open on Fridays. Although they had the address it wasn't too easy to find, its doorway and small nameplate hidden from the road behind some rubbish bins.

Nobody was there, and certainly no one would have answered the bell to Class War, and after a few minutes and some photographs outside the door the group left, and I made my way to the station.

Not long afterwards it emerged that Marina Pepper had a connection with private education that was clearly incompatible with her being a Class War candidate - despite her other views and great record of campaigning on issues such as fracking. It was news that I was sorry to hear.
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Class War Women in Red

One Commercial St, Aldgate, London. Wed 12 Nov 2014

A raised fist salute from the Class War Women's Death Brigade
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The Class War Women's Death Brigade wore red at the 18th weekly protest against Redrow's separate doors for rich and poor at One Commercial St. Bail conditions on Jane Nicholl, arrested wearing a red coat last week have removed her right to protest.

Class War had brought along their controversial posters from the last general election campaign, large portraits of the party leaders with Class War's verdict - the same on each of them - overprinted large, the word 'WANKER'. Shortly after I arrived these were handed out in what Ian Bone of Class War described as an attempt to get into the Guinness Book of Records for the largest number of 'Cameron wanker posters' ever displayed at a protest.

Although it almost certainly was a record, I think the chances of it being recorded in that rather conservative publication are rather sub-zero. It's a record you will probably only find recorded on this web site.
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Lambeth Walk

Lambeth, London. Mon 10 Nov 2014

The Bligh and Tradescant tombs in the garden of the Garden Museum
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I went with some of our family on a short walk along the bank of the River Thames from Jubilee Gardens to Lambeth Bridge and in the garden of St Mary-at-Lambeth, now the Garden Museum. In 1976 Rosemary Weekes, having been impressed by the ruins met the Archbishop of Canterbury at an event next door in Lambeth Palace and set up a campaign to save the church and the fine tomb of father and son John Tradescant, 17th century plant hunters and royal gardeners, buried in St Mary's in 1638 and 1662 as a museum of garden history. A plaque in the garden of the church commemorates the efforts by her and her husband, John and Rosemary Nicholson.

The Tradescant tomb is a replica of the original commissioned by Hester Tradescant, the widow of the son in 1662 and was re-carved for the second time in Lambeth in 1853 using limestone from Darley Dale in Derbyshire. Close to it is a memorial to Captain Bligh of the Bounty, whose ship was used by the Tradescants. The garden also contains a recreation of a 17th century Knot Garden, based on designs by the elder John for estates at Hatfield and Cranborne.

As well as introducing hundreds if not thousands of plants - including the Tradescantia - to England and running the biggest garden centre of the age at their Lambeth estate, which also included a huge collection of other artifacts brought back from their journeys abroad, the first museum in the country open to the public. Before he died, the younger John was tricked by a friend who worked with him, Elias Ashmole into signing the whole business over to him on the pretence that it would be jointly owned with John's widow, Hester. He later presented the collection to Oxford University, where it formed the Ashmolean museum; Hester threw herself into a pond on the estate and drowned in 1678.

We ate at the museum cafe - pleasant though I would have preferred a pub lunch, but the Czech bottled beer was fine, before walking out and past a bit of the Archbishop's place and across Archbishop's Park to Lambeth Palace Rd, passing some topiary cyclists on the way. As we came onto York Road we had a 20 minutes spare before our train was due and it was starting to rain, so I led our group down Leake St to admire the graffiti and then up the steps to Station Approach Road to the entrance to the station.
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Shut Down Racist Immigration Prisons

Harmondsworth, London. Sat 8 Nov 2014
Protesters bring the message 'You Are Not Alone' to prisoners in the detention centre
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Around a hundred supporters of Movement for Justice, including some former detainees, protested outside Harmondsworth IRC (now run together with neighbouring Colnbrook detention centre, and officially renamed Heathrow Immigration Removal Centre), condemning the UK's immigration detention centres as racist and abusive, calling for these immigration prisons and the unfair fast track system designed to deport asylum seekers before they have time to prepare their case to be abolished.

Many at the protest also expressed shock at the decision by the EU to stop rescuing immigrants crossing the Mediterranean, and a placard read 'Refusing to Rescue is Murder - End the "Let them Drown" policy'.

The two combined prisons are now run by Mitie, who have instructed police not to allow protests on the roadways around the side and back of the prison where they can be seen by some of those held inside from the upper floors. These are not public rights of way and are on Crown property.

After some negotiation, the protesters were confined to an area in front of the administrative block for today's protest. Although they were out of sight of the detainees, the protest could be heard inside the prison, as phone calls with some of the prisoners confirmed.

As well as the noisy shouting and dancing there were also a number of speeches, including some by people who had been detained inside Harmondsworth and other immigration prisons. They complained that although they had committed no crime (and in most cases were victims of crimes in their own countries), in the UK they were treated as criminals and locked away. They say Asylum detention is worse than prison for detainees because they have no idea when it may come to an end - some had been held for well over a year - and the detainees feel under a constant threat of being forcibly returned to the country they fled because they feared for their lives or had been tortured.
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IWGB protest at Royal Opera House

Royal Opera House, London. Fri 7 Nov 2014

Alberto Durango and IWGB members in the box office of the Royal Opera House
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When the IWGB protesters got back to Fleet St after their protest at Deloitte's offices, IWGB leader Alberto Durango surprised them by announcing that they would go on to make a brief surprise protest at the Royal Opera House.

The cleaners walked down Fleet St and across Aldwych, regrouping a short distance from the Royal Opera House for a short briefing by Alberto. They then moved quickly and quietly and rushed through the revolving door in the foyer of the Royal Opera House, pushing past and walking around a member of the security staff to hold short protest in the foyer over their dispute with cleaning contractors MITIE over victimisation, trade union recognition and working conditions. After around five minutes, they left quietly and dispersed.

The IWGB is a small, independent, grass roots union which is determined to represent its members interests. Protests such as this would be unnecessary if the employers recognised the rights of this officially registered trade union to represent its members. Currently MITIE recognises another trade union which has few if any members at this workplace - and our defective trade union legislation enables it legally to do so. Relations would also be greatly improved if the Royal Opera House employed its cleaners directly rather than using a contracting firm.
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IWGB protest at Deloitte

City of London. Fri 7 Nov 2014
A City of London Police officer grabs hold of IWGB leader Alberto Durango and tries to stop him protesting
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The Independent Workers of Great Britain trade union (IWGB) representing cleaners employed in Deloitte's City offices by services contractor SERCO held a noisy protest at four of their locations around Shoe Lane over the suspension two workers for taking part in protests and about working conditions and staff shortages which have results in many having back problems and suffering medically from stress.

The workers met on Fleet Street before marching to the first of the offices, hoping to take security there by surprise, but they were ready and waiting as the cleaners arrived, and they could only play their drums, blow their horns and whistles, shout slogans and wave their flags in the courtyard outside. The unfurled a large banner with the message 'Solidarity. We Are Performing a SercoExorcism'

Security just kept ahead of them as they went on to make their presence and their grievances felt and heard at the other three nearby Deloitte Offices. As they stood outside the third of these, with IWGB union leader Alberto Durango speaking, an officer from the City of London Police came and grabbed hold of him, attempting to stop him protesting. Durango twisted away and angry union members surrounded the two men, telling the officer that they had a right to lawful protest.

Eventually he backed down and the protest continued, going on to a fourth office building, where after a few minutes the protest ended, with the union members marching back to Fleet St.
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Trafalgar Square Poppy Memorial

Trafalgar Square, London. Fri 7 Nov 2014
Poppies blow around an idealised sculpture of an 'unknown soldier'
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Mark Humphrey's brass 'Every Man Remembered' has a statue of a soldier standing on a block of Somme limestone in a perspex case, with poppies around his feet and in his arms; every 5 minutes poppies are blown in the air around him.

The sculpture was unveiled earlier in the day and is there for the Remembrance Day activities on Sunday, and I assumed it was intended to remain their for the actual Armistice Day the following Tuesday.

You can read some of my thoughts about this work with its bland and idealised image of an unknown soldier in Remembering the Dead on >Re:PHOTO. While the solders, sailors and airmen on some of our better war memorials remind us that it was real people who fought and died in what was essentially a family quarrel over the pride of European royalty, this figure reminded me more of statues of the Buddha.

if we want to truly remember and honour the sacrifice then rather than statues like this we might have those that show - in Seigfried Sassoon's words - 'Young faces bleared with blood, Sucked down into the mud'. In the >Re:PHOTO piece I linked to a fine article by Paul Mason, on the almost completely ignored story of how the First World War actually ended, when German sailors, soldiers and workers refused to fight.
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Taiji Dolphin slaughter protest

Japanese Embassy, London. Fri 7 Nov 2014

A protester on stilts with a dolphin fan outside the Japanese Embassy
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A large protest at the Japanese embassy called on Japan to halt the annual slaughter of 20,000 dolphins, porpoises and small whales each year in Taiji Cove, which began around 40 years ago.

When I arrived, half an hour or so after the start of the long protest, there was a crowd of several hundred behind barriers on the narrow pavement on the opposite side of the road from the embassy. More were arriving all the time I was there, and by the time I left, they were on both sides of the road and on the wide central strip of pavement between the two carriageways.

As well as the large numbers involved, the protest was remarkable for the number of hand drawn posters and placards, as well as some 3D artworks. Many of those present accepted the offer of having their hands covered in red paint to represent the blood of the dolphins, which turns the water in the bay red during the slaughter.

Among those present was Ric O' Barry, founder of the Dolphin Project and the maker of the film 'The Cove' which has shown the shocking reality of the dolphin slaughter to audiences around the world. Many of those present came to talk to him and to be photographed standing with him. Accompanying him was a stilt-walker in Japanese costume long red scarves on each wrist, a dolphin fan in one hand and a placard in the other.
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Fukushima Nuclear Protest

Japanese Embassy, London. Fri 7 N ov 2014

A Japanese anti-nuclear protest offers a leaflet to a man passing the Japanese Embassy, who refuses
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A small group of Japanese and English protesters handed out bi-lingual Japanese/English flyers outside the Japanese embassy in their regular weekly protest over Fukushima and the continuing danger from radioactive leaks from the site.

The want an end to the building of nuclear power stations worldwide because of the safety risks that Fukushima has highlighted, and for a proper investigation of the failures of TEPCO, the owners of the Fukushima power plant in running the plant and reporting and tackling the catastrophe.

As on other Fridays, after protesting for an hour or so outside the Japanese embassy they left, on their way to carry out a further protest outside the London offices of TEPCO in Berkeley Square.
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Brent Housing Sit-in

South Kilburn Housing Office, London. Fri 7 Nov 2014

Protesters with placards hold a discussion in the waiting area of the Housing Office
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Protesters sat in the South Kilburn Housing Office calling for Brent to end selling properties to overseas investors while rehousing local residents outside the area. They accuse them of social cleansing and say people need to be put before profit.

A staff member came and asked the protesters to continue the protest outside as it was interfering with work, but the protesters told her they were not stopping anyone from coming to appointments or calling in at the office, and questioned her for supporting the council's policies which were failing to meet the needs of local people in favour of wealthy foreigners with no connection to Brent.

The few minutes of shouting slogans at the start of the protest might have made any interviews then taking place in the building difficult, but after that the protesters were holding a discussion of the issues which would have caused no problems. Several people who came in to see staff in the office came to talk with the protesters and expressed agreement with their views.

Two police officers arrived and talked with the office staff and then with the protesters. The room in which the protest was taking place was described on a board outside as a "Community Resource Centre" and they could see no problem with the way that is was currently being used by members of the community and so long as they behaved reasonably the police did not want to be involved.

I left after around an hour while the protest and discussion was still continuing, with one or two more people coming to join it as I left.
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Guy Fawkes 'Anonymous' Million Mask March

Parliament Square, London. Wed 5 Nov 2014

'Anonymous' figure with a poster 'We will not be silenced' on an empty police van in front of Big Ben
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The world wide Million Mask March against austerity, the corporate takeover of government and the abuse of power in London set off from Trafalgar Square, marching to Parliament Square where I joined them.

The march of hundreds of people were met by a mass of barriers around the square with large groups of riot police threatening them. The marchers called on the massed riot police to put their batons away and join their Guy Fawkes party without success. They marched around the square and then left in several directions, some heading for Buckingham Palace. I decided I'd had enough of taking pictures in the dark and went home.
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Poor Doors Guy Fawkes burn Boris

One Commercial St, Aldgate, London. Wed 5 Nov 2014

Protesters dancing with Class War Banners are lit up by the flames of the burning Boris
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A guy with a Boris Johnson mask was set on fire at Class War's weekly protest outside the rich door to in Aldgate and several flares were set off. Police made an arrest, provoking a struggle between police and protesters and a second arrest.

Many of the protesters gathered in a nearby pub with an effigy of Boris Johnson (BJ) before the protest, before going out onto the street at the mouth of the alley leading to Freedom bookshop. They then got out banners and walked along with BJ towards One Commercial St. On the way someone placed an orange flare into BJ's top pocket which livened things up, but had come to an end before we reached the rich door.
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Boycott Hewlett Packard - Sustainable Brands

Lancaster London Hotel, London. Wed 5 Nov 2014

Campaigners with Palestinian flags outside the Lancaster London Hotel at Lancaster Gate

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Palestinian campaigners contested Hewlett-Packard's claim to create "a better future for everyone" at the Sustainable Brands conference which HP sponsor, because of their IT support for Israeli forces who killed 521 Palestinian children in the attack on Gaza.

HP's IT support also runs the Israeli prisons, where young Palestinian boys as well as other prisoners have been kept for long periods in solitary confinement and tortured. Many Palestinians are locked up in 'administrative confinement' without any proper charges or trial.

A group of protesters stood outside the hotel where the conference was taking place, handing out flyers to people going in or out of the hotel as well as those walking past, and several people spoke about the HP's deep involvement in Israeli war crimes and persecution of Palestinian.
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Global Solidarity With Kobane

Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 1 Nov 2014

Women with Kurdish Workers Party flags
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Thousands came to a Trafalgar Square rally for the defenders of Kobane against ISIS and for the remarkable democratic revolution of Rojava, calling for aid for the Kurdish fighters and refugees, legitimisation of the PKK and the release of Ocalan. The protest was part of a Global day of solidarity with the YPG (People's Defense Units) and the women of the YPJ fighting against ISIS at Kobane.

The protest was organised by the Kurdish People’s Assembly and Peace in Kurdistan Campaign in cooperation with Kurdistan National Congress (KNK), Roj Women Assembly and Free Youth Movement and community organisations, and was also supported by some left and human rights groups. Among the speakers were Margaret Owen OBE, human rights lawyer and adviser to the Kurdish Human Rights Project (KHRP) and Peace in Kurdistan (PIK), Jean Lambert, Green Party MEP for London, Mark Thomas, Peter Tatchell and Father Joe Ryan, a Catholic priest from Haringey where many of London's Kurds live, as well as representatives of various Kurdish groups.

As well as speaking about the fight and the need to support the Kurds in their struggle, many speakers criticised Turkey for their support of ISIS, and their refusal to let Turkish Kurds join in the fight. Turkey is accused of letting fighters cross its border to join ISIS and also of facilitating the smuggling operations that support ISIS financially as a continuation of its long discrimination and attempts to subdue opposition from Kurds living in Turkey.

Many see the model constitution adopted in the Rojava, the de facto autonomous Kurdish majority region in northern and north-eastern Syria as an important democratic development, especially for its pluralism, democratic participation and protection of fundamental human rights and liberties.
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Revolution Banner Drop

Waterloo Bridge and Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 1 Nov 2014

Protesters hold the 'Revolution' banner on Waterloo Bridge - later they took it to Trafalgar Square
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Protesters from 'Anonymous' in Guy Fawkes masks held up a banner with the message 'REVOLUTION' on Waterloo Bridge and the Kobane demonstration in Trafalgar Square, handing out flyers for the Nov 5th 'March Against Government Corruption' in London.
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Against acid attacks on Iranian women

Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 1 Nov 2014
A woman, her head and face bandaged holds a sign 'This is not for Halloween...'
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The 8th March Women's Organisation (Iran - Afghanistan) protested in Trafalgar Square against acid attacks on women who do not wear a veil in Iran. Attacks by gangs encouraged by the regime to enforce strict Islamic rules have left many women scarred and blinded.
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PETA World Vegan Day Naked Protest

Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 1 Nov 2014
There were rather fewer than 255 protesters, but it was still an impressive show
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A World Vegan Day protest by PETA dramatised the 255 animals killed for food in the UK every second by a similar number of people lying near naked or nearly naked and smeared with fake blood on a tarpaulin.

Many animals farmed for our consumption are kept in crowded and cruel conditions and are killed in painful and terrifying ways. Many are also treated with hormones, antibiotics and other chemicals that can be dangerous to both the animals and to those of us who eat them, and the overuse of antibiotics threatens to produce drug-resistant mutations that pose a threat to human life.

Some of the posters at this protest read 'Choose Life: Chose Vegan', but a vegan economy would have little place for animals. PETA believe "Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way". I'd be happier to see fewer animals being farmed and slaughtered in an ethical and humane manner - and be prepared to eat less meat and to pay a fair price for it.

Nature isn't vegetarian, and certainly not vegan, though of course some species are herbivores. But others are carnivorous or omnivores, and I can see no problem in our own species eating meat or fish though I would like to see all of the current cruel practices involved in producing food for us outlawed. Eating foie gras should definitely be made a crime!
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All pictures on this section of the site are Copyright © Peter Marshall 2014; to buy prints or for permission to reproduce pictures or to comment on this site, or for any other questions, contact me.

my london diary index
 

Nov 2014

'Bye Bye Redrow' Poor Doors Street Party
No fees, No cuts, No debt!
Shaker Aamer protests continue to shame UK
Feeding the Poor is not a Crime
Unknown Victim of Traffic Violence
Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign
Class War hunt Ian Duncan Smith
Class War Women in Red
Lambeth Walk
Shut Down Racist Immigration Prisons
IWGB protest at Royal Opera House
IWGB protest at Deloitte
Trafalgar Square Poppy Memorial
Taiji Dolphin slaughter protest
Fukushima Nuclear Protest
Brent Housing Sit-in
Guy Fawkes 'Anonymous' Million Mask March
Poor Doors Guy Fawkes burn Boris
Boycott Hewlett Packard - Sustainable Brands
Global Solidarity With Kobane
Revolution Banner Drop
Against acid attacks on Iranian women
PETA World Vegan Day Naked Protest

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february
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april
may
june
july
august
september
october
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december

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