my london diary index


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All pictures Copyright © Peter Marshall 2017, all rights reserved.
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King's College Divest Oil & Gas Now!

Kings College, Strand, London. Thu 9 Feb 2017

Protesters shout 'Divest Now!' as they walk in front of King's College holding flares
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King's College Climate Emergency Group protest on the Strand calling for Kings to be the first of London's Universities to end all investments in fossil fuels and instead invest in renewable energy as a part of a London-wide divestment campaign.

The campaigners stuck balloons, roses and posters along the front of the college and made dots on the columns in wipeable paint in a protest calling for people to 'join up the dots' and realise we need to act urgently to save the world. They were careful to use materials that were readily removed at the end of the protest so that they caused no damage, but apparently were told by the college to stop wiping off the blobs of paint which came off easily with a damp rag.

Kings College reacted against previous protests by suspending PhD student Roger Hallam for writing “Divest From Oil and Gas Now. Out of Time!” on the frontage in a wipe-clean spray, and threatening others. There were two arrests at a previous protest.

Police took details today of several of those who painted the dots and a college security officer, watched by police, stole the protesters paints but unlike at the previous protest there were no arrests. The college possibly stopped the campaigners removing paint at the end of the protest so that they could claim that this was damage that required special cleaning.
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Court support for Heathrow protesters

Uxbridge Magistrates Court, Uxbridge, Middx. Tue 7 Feb 2017

Sophia goes into the court wearing a #NoNewRunways t-shirt with the message 'Guilty of Protecting the Planet'
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Around 20 supporters held a picnic outside Uxbridge Magistrates' Court where two protesters, Sophia Lysaczanko and Siân Charnley, who pleaded not guilty to the charge of wilful obstruction after taking part in a road block in protest against Heathrow expansion were to be tried.

The protesters say they felt morally driven to take action and do not feel guilty in the face of the bigger crime that they want to prevent: airport expansion is a red line for climate change, increases already illegally high levels of air pollution and destroys local communities. Sophia made her views clear by wearing a t-shirt with the message '#NoNewRunways - 'Guilty of Protecting the Planet' for her trial.

Police came and talked with the protesters and made clear that they were happy with a peaceful protest outside the court, and arranged for a court official to come out and give some advice about going into the court to watch the trial, suggesting that as some people intended to stay outside it would be simpler to leave bags outside - and that posters, flags and banners were not allowed.

The previous day, magistrates had heard the case against Isabelle, who had changed her plea to guilty; she was given an extra 6 months conditional discharge to those who pleaded guilty at the initial trail in December, making a total of 18 months conditional discharge and the same £105 costs, apparently the minimum that courts charge.

I left as people were going in for the trial to cycle home and file the pictures. Later I heard that, as expected, Siân and Sophie were both found guilty. Surprisingly they were given only a 12 month conditional discharge but the costs for each were higher at £320.
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No Muslim Ban, No State Visit

US Embassy, London. Sat 4 Feb 2017

Protesters in front of the embassy shout against Trump's Muslim ban
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Thousands of protesters, many with inventive placards, pack into Grosvenor Square in front of the US embassy and in the gardens to listen to speakers including Brent Labour MP Dawn Butler who resigned as shadow minister for diverse communities to vote against the Brexit Bill and NUT General Secretary Kevin Courtney.

Protesters condemned the actions of President Trump and Theresa May, calling for Trump to end his Muslim ban and for May to withdraw the invitation to a State Visit here.

After the rally they were to march to Downing St and a further rally in Whitehall. Unfortunately I got a phone call from home and had to rush back there to deal with a minor emergency.
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