Poor Doors Zero Police

One Commercial St, Aldgate, London. Thu 5 Mar 2015

Protesters briefly block Whitechapel High St with their banners, including the 'Party Leaders' banner
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Last week Class War were threatened with arrest as an officer found their 'Party Leaders' banner offensive. They came back to protest against separate doors for rich and poor ready to defy police, but for the first time in 20 protests no police arrived for the protest.

The protest continued as usual on the pavement outside the 'rich door' on Whitechapel High St, with speeches against social segregation and chanting of slogans against separate doors for the wealthy and the social housing residents. As well as displaying the 'Party Leaders' banner which had led to a threat of arrest by police, they also had their Lucy Parsons banner, with its quote "We must devastate the avenues where the wealthy live". People were also holding the posters "Class War - You are now entering the Peoples' Republic of Aldgate'.

Towards the end of the protest, people took briefly to the roadway and held up traffic for a few minutes with their banners, before returning to the pavement and continuing the protest. As the protesters were packing up, a small group of protesters arrived late, having been held up in the congestion at Oxford Circus, where crowds queued for up to an hour to be let into the underground station.

Apparently after the rest of us had left and security on the 'rich door' had relaxed, this small group rushed inside through the door while a resident was entering and protested inside for a few minutes before being evicted. But by that time I was well on my way home.
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Homeless Persons Matter

US Embassy, Grosvenor Square, London. Tue 3 Mar 2015

Protesters hold up the message '# No More Deaths On Our Streets'
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'Homeless Persons Matter' say activists shocked by video and eye-witness reports of Los Angeles police shooting and killing an unarmed homeless man on Skid Row in an impromptu protest outside the US Embassy called by the group Love Activists. The protest was called at very short notice and there were few present.

Eye-witnesses say the man was unarmed but there was a scuffle when police tried to grab him. They got him to the ground, possibly using a tazer, and then, according to an onlooker "When they couldn’t apprehend him that’s whey they backed up and just started shooting. Pow, pow, pow. There was five of them."

The protesters at the US embassy had posters with the hashtags #NoMoreDeathsOnOurStreets, #homelesslivesmatter and #ACAB.
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Mexican President told Stop the Killing

Downing St & Parliament Square, London. Tue 3 Mar 2015

'Donde Estan?' - Where are they? ask the protesters about the 43 missing Ayotzinapa students
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Several hundred, many Mexicans, protested against President Peña Nieto outside Downing St, and in Parliament Square after he spoke in the House of Lords. They blame him for over 100,000 deaths and disappearances including the 43 Ayotzinapa students.

It was a colourful rally at Downing St, including some people with faces painted in traditional Mexican designs with people angered at the continued violence and killings in Mexico, and in particular about the disappearance of the 43 students, thought to have been abducted by police under the orders of the local Mayor and handed over to drug cartels. People held giant pictures of the students faces and shouted 'Alive they took them; Alive we want them back' and the whole crowd recited slowly in Spanish the numbers from one to 43.

Speech bubbles held by some stated 'Mexico has a skeleton in the closet' and a banner listed '110K killed, 22K disappeared' since 2006, deaths and disapperances they blame on the Mexican President Peña Nieto who was visiting the UK and speaking to Parliament in the House of Lords.

The protesters marched from the rally to Parliament Square, and the shouting came to a crescendo when a motorcade sped out and away, presumably including the president. They then marched back chanting as they went along Parliament Street the numbers 1-43, and the rally opposite Downing St continued,. As I left, Jeremy Corbyn MP was speaking.
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Shut Down Yarls Wood

Home Office, London. Tue 3 Mar 2015
Movement for Justice protesters outside the Home Office
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On the day that a parliamentary report was published condemning the UK immigration system, Movement for Justice protested at the Home Office demanding immediate closure of Yarls Wood following exposure of systematic brutality, racism and sexism.

The report by a committee, led by Sarah Teather Liberal Democrat MP for Brent Central and a former Minister of State for Children and Families vindicates the struggles of detainees and ex-detainees for justice, freedom and respect and is a public nondemnation of immigration detention. It finds that the Home Office has abused its powers and that there must be must be an end to the torture of indefinite detention and a statutory 28-day time limit to detention, with every decision to detain subject to judicial oversight.

The report came the day after a damning Channel 4 undercover investigation of Yarls's Wood exposed systematic brutality, racism and sexism against the women held there.

Called at very short notice, the protest was not huge, but there was no doubting the determination of those present, some of who had been held in Yarl's Wood and other detention centres, that "Yarls Wood must be SHUT DOWN and the entire racist, sexist, corrupt system of immigration detention comes to an end."
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Maximus - Same Circus, Different Clowns

Westminster, London. Mon 2 Mar 2015

Kilburn Unemployed Worker’s Group Choir wore masks to sing "David Cameron is a W******“
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DPAC and other activists held a circus-themed protest at the London HQ of Maximus, who are taking over Work Capability Assessments for sickness and disability benefits from Atos, going on to the Dept of Work and Pensions before blocking Victoria St.

A sustained and militant campaign by DPAC and other disabled activists had both completely discredited Atos and persuaded them to quit running the Work Capability Assessments (WCAs) which had been used to deny a large proportion of claimants the sickness and disability benefits they were entitled to in order to meet money-saving targets. Although many claimants got their benefits restored on appeal, some were unable to cope with the stress and committed suicide, desperate when they were left with no oney at all by the system.

Despite the computer-based tests having been found to be unfit for purpose, Iain Duncan Smith has continued to insist on their use, awarding US firm Maximus a lucrative contract to continue the harassment of the sick and disabled.

Maximus are also involved in the growing privatisation of the NHS, running the it for Work occupational health service designed to bully and harass people on sick leave into going back to work. In some areas they also run the Work Programme, forcing claimants into workfare to keep benefits; they also run similar welfare-to-work style schemes for the brutal Saudi Arabian government.

The protest began outside the offices of Maximus in Queen Anne's Gate, and then moved on to take over the nearby mini-roundabout in Petty France as a 'circus ring', with various circus-styled performances, including a hula hoop display by Alice Rose and singing from Rockin’ Paddy who performed 'Battle of Whitehall' and the Kilburn Unemployed Worker’s Group Choir wearing David Cameron masks sang their 'David Cameron is a W******'.

From there the protest went on to the Dept of Work and Pensions at Caxton House, and after a rally on Tothill Street outside there most of those present continued to the pedestrian crossing in front of Westminster Abbey on Victoria St, positioning wheelchairs on it and blocking the street for some minutes.


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my london diary index
 

Mar 2015

Poor Doors Zero Police
Homeless Persons Matter
Mexican President told Stop the Killing
Shut Down Yarls Wood
Maximus - Same Circus, Different Clowns

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