my london diary index


Stock photography by Peter+Marshall at Alamy

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Anti-fascists oppose Free Tommy protest

Parliament St, London. Sat 9 Jun 2018

People stand with banners and placards listening to speeches
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Only few hundred anti-fascists stood at the end of Parliament St, several hundred yards from the Free Tommy protest to oppose the march by Supporters of fascist and English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson, jailed for contempt of court.

The counter protest was called by Unite Against Fascism and Stand Up to Racism who say that Robinson and his supporters have a history of racism and islamophobia, and have many links to fascist organisations. Before leading the EDL, Robinson was in the fascist BNP.

Robinson pleaded guilty at his trial for contempt of court and knew that he would also be jailed for breaking his bail conditions from a previous offence. His jail sentence was not about free speech but about actions which could prevent a fair trial taking place, and could have led to a trial having to be abandoned.
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Free Tommy Robinson

Trafalgar Square & Downing St, London. Sat 9 Jun 2018

A man in a Union Jack suit looks at the gates of Downing St
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Several thousand gather in Trafalgar Square to march to a rally in Whitehall demanding the release of Tommy Robinson, jailed for contempt of court.

An angry crowd stopped in front of Downing Street where two thugs attacked me, attempting to grabbing me and attempting to pull my camera from my hand to prevent me taking pictures. I managed to pull away and move through the dense crowd, but they followed me through the mass of people for some distance repeatedly trying to take my cameras and camera bag until I got close to the police and march stewards in front of Downing St.

The stewards there were attempting to move the crowd away towards the stage where the rally was beginning. Throughout the march the crowds were chanting and singing for Tommy Robinson, a man who pleaded guilty to contempt of court and whose actions could have led to a trial being stopped.

They demanded he be freed from jail, wrongly claiming his arrest was an attack on free speech. A small counter protest took place a few hundred yards away, with several lines of police keeping the two groups well apart.
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Close all Slaughterhouses

London. Sat 9 Jun 2018

A woman holds a poster above her head at the front of the march on the Charing Cross Rd

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Vegans meet in Leicester Square and march through London calling for the closure of all slaughterhouses and a complete end to the killing of animals to provide food for human consumption.

As well as pointing out the cruelty involved and saying their is no such thing as humane slaughter, they also pointed out the huge environmental damage caused by animal agriculture, which they say is the leading cause of global warming, deforestation and ocean dead zones as well as the killing of 60 billion land animals and more than 1000 billion aquatic animals each year.

After meeting in Leicester Square they marched around central London, stopping at various locations for speeches. The first stop was in Soho Square, and I left the protest there.
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Flypast for Queen's Official Birthday

Leicester Square, London. Sat 9 Jun 2018

Red, white and blue smoke from the nine jets stretched across the sky
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A number of groups of aircraft took part in a flypast in celebration of the Queen's official birthday.

I took these pictures from Leicester Square where I was covering a vegan attempt, moving to one edge of the square where there were few trees to obscure the sky. The display ended with coloured smoke trails in red, white and blue.

The aircraft included some from World War II as well as more modern jet aircraft, with each group of planes flying over and then a short break before the next group. I found it hard not to think of the taxpayer's money being wasted.
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Colombian Carnival for Water, Life & Land

Colombian embassy, London. Fri 8 Jun 2018

People make a large poster about the 400 human rights activists killed
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A picket opposite the Colombian embassy supports today's Gran Marcha Carnival in cities throughout Colombia demanding their government respects the rights of local communities against the interests of mining companies.

Local residents voted against AngloGold Ashranti's huge La Colosa gold mine because of the extensive environmental damage it would cause. Hundreds of human rights and environmental activists have been assassinated for their opposition to projects including the Hydroituango dam. Oil extraction in Putamayo is causing excessive pollution and logging is destroying the Amazon forest at an alarming rate - last year an area of rainforest the size of Switzerland was destroyed.

Last year the people in the port city of Buenaventura began a general strike, continuing despite brutal repression with hundreds wounded for three weeks, only ending when the government agreed to set up a special $400 million fund to provide a public hospital, drinkable water supply and decent education, but less than 10% of this committment has been met and the fund has not yet been set up.

Paramilitary death squad leaders in the area have been released from prison, an assassination attempt made on a local Senator, and strike leaders fear they will be targeted.

Protesters from the Colombia Solidarity Campaign and London Mining Network handed out leaflets, displayed posters and banners and read statements in solidarity with the Colombian march.
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Die-in against Greenwich cycle deaths

Woolwich Town Hall, London. Thu 7 Jun 2018

A protester holds a poster for safe bike paths during the die-in at Woolwich Town Hall
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Cyclists staged a die-in outside Greenwich Council offices in Woolwich after three cyclist were killed by vehicles in the area in recent weeks, two by HGV trucks on the notoriously unsafe Woolwich Rd.

Plans to build a protected cycleway between Woolwich and Greenwich were apparently dropped because of opposition from Greenwich council, and Southwark Council are still objecting the the route west of Greenwich.

Plans to improve the dangerous Woolwich Rd roundabout where one cyclist was killed were also dropped. The campaigners called for urgent action to provide safe cycle routes in the area and staged a die-in in memory of the cyclists killed.
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University of London staff in-House now

Senate House, London. Tue 6 Jun 2018

Protesters push flags through the locked gates of Senate House
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Over 100 cleaners, porters, security officers, receptionists, gardeners, post room staff and audiovisual staff on strike today at the University of London hold a lively rally at Senate House.

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain is the largest union in the University of London central administration buildings where its members are employed by a number of outsourcing companies, working with worse pension, holiday pay, sick pay, maternity pay and paternity pay entitlements and much more likely to suffer from bullying, discrimination and illegal deduction of wages than their in-house colleagues.

The University has spent huge amounts on extra security to fight the IWGB campaign rather than talk with the union, but has now been forced to review its facilities management contracts, but without proper consultation and the union has been left with no option but to escalate its campaign.

Supporters including students who had occupied a part of the university in support joined the striking workers who had been picketing the University since 6am and marched around the block to the other side of Senate House and then back again with drums and horns making a great deal of noise.

Speakers brought support from various groups including the UCU. There were cheers when it was announced that there had been some progress with management agreeing that the services would be brought back in-house at some future date, but the IWGB stressed the need to keep up the pressure with more protests until a full agreement was reached. As I left after around an hour and a half a samba band was arriving and the protest which I had thought was coming to an end continued.
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Zionists defend Israel shooting protesters

Downing St, London. Mon 5 Jun 2018

Zionists with Israeli flags shout at the protest against killing of unarmed Palestinian protesters
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A small group of Zionists held a counter protest, shouting insults from a short distance away, including during the silence, defending the right of Israel to shoot unarmed Palestinians who they claim were all terrorists.

One wore a shirt with the message "There's no such thing as Palestine", more an Israeli government intention than any connection with the continuous existence of Palestine since at least the days of Abraham. Another held the flag of the Israeli Defence forces, whose snipers have shot hundreds if not thousands of unarmed demonstrators in the past few weeks.

As well as those killed there are hundreds who will never walk again, injured in the legs by bullets designed to expand on impact and inflict maximum damage, probably also illegal under international law. Many of those killed were shot in the back as they moved away from the 'separation fence' and they include clearly marked medics and press. These protesters were defending a horrific crime which has shocked people around the world and is clearly indefensible to anyone with a shred of humanity.
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Free Palestine, Stop Arming Israel

Westminster, London. Mon 5 Jun 2018

Young women hold 'Free Palestine' placards as they listen to the speeches
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Protesters came to Downing St on the National day of solidarity actions for the Great Return March in Palestine to call for freedom for Palestine and an end the the killing of Palestinians.

They urged the government to stop supplying arms to Israel and supported the rights of Palestinians to return to their former family homes. Many came with Palestinian flags and bunches of keys to symbolise the right to return to the homes which people were forced to leave seventy years ago in the 1948 Nakba when the state of Israel was formed.

After a rally opposite Downing St they marched to protest in front of Parliament with further speeches and the reading of the names of those shot in cold blood by Israeli snipers before a minute of silence.
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Abortion Rights in Northern Ireland Now

Parliament Square, London. Mon 5 Jun 2018

Women hold posters calling for Abortion Rights in Northern Ireland

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Abortion Rights protesters called for the Government to end the human rights violation against Northern Irish women by legalising abortion in a protest at Parliament.

Abortion is still illegal in Northern Ireland under laws passed in the Victorian era as it was the only part of the UK not covered by the Abortion Act 1967. In March this year, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Population, Development and Reproductive Health recommended that moves be made to liberalise abortion in Northern Ireland.

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) has said the current abortion laws amount to grave and systematic violations of women’s rights. Amnesty International polls have shown that almost three-quarters of those living in Northern Ireland want to liberalise the abortion law, an even greater proportion than in the recent massive referendum vote in Ireland.
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Sikhs remember the 1984 genocide

London. Sat 3 Jun 2018

Standard bearers and five Khalsa with swords walk barefoot at the front of the march
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Thousands of Sikhs met in Hyde Park to march through London to Trafalgar Square in memory of the 1984 Indian Army attack on the Golden Temple in Amritsar where thousands of Sikhs were massacred, and the government encouraged mob killings following the assassination of Indira Gandhi later that year for which the killers have never been brought to justice.

Since this 1984 Sikh genocide there has been a continuing program of police arrests, torture and killing of Sikh males in the Punjab and crippling economic and social policies. Sikhs demand independence from India and a Sikh state, Khalistan.
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Anti-Knife UK protest

Downing St, London. Sat 3 Jun 2018

Campaigners against violence join hands in solidarity
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Community groups and campaigners against knife and gun crime protest opposite Downing St, calling on Theresa May to take action to stop the growing number of killings using knives across the country.

The event was organised by Anti-Knife UK, founded by Danny O'Brien in 2008 which monitors knife crime incidents from across the UK on a daily basis. Danny spoke at the event, and explained that he was stepping down from the active leadership of the campaign which would be carried forward by others.

Many of those taking part were bereaved family members and their supporters and wore t-shirts or brought placards with photographs of the knife victims and pairs of empty shoes as well as banners. Speakers called for measures to tackle the problem including tougher sentences, tagging of all knives, knife arches in night clubs, equal rights for victims and families, a review of the laws governing self-defence and reasonable force and work in schools and communities.
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