BlackoutLDN solidarity with Black US victims
Grosvenor Square, London. Sat 15 Aug 2015
Bro Jeffrey Muhammad of the Nation of Islam speaking
about police targetting attacks on the Black community in the UK
Two young women, one black and one white, Kayza Rose & Denise Fox,
organised a peaceful static protest close to the US embassy in solidarity
with events across the US against the collective and systemic unlawful arrests
and killings/attacks of black people in America.
The protest appropriately took place under the statue of Franklin Delano
Roosevelt, the longest serving US President, architect of the New Deal,
which attracted a great deal of support from minority communities in the USA.
His wartime Executive Order 8802, which banned discrimination on
account of "race, creed, color, or national origin" in
the hiring workers in defense related industries was an important step in
raising the incomes and status of many African Americans and anticipated later
Civil Rights legislation. He was a staunch opponent of lynchings ("a
vile form of collective murder") and worked with civil rights groups
against police brutality and voting rights abuses. But he was unable to command
a poliltical majority for the serious civil rights reforms he wanted to make,
being opposed by both Republicans and Southern Democrats.
FDR's statue is on top of a tall pillar, the front of which was decorated
with pictures of some of the victims of police brutality, with the message
'Gone But Not Forgotten...' People in the crowd had brought a number
of posters. One read 'Yes, All Lives Matter, but we are focussed on the
Black ones because it is very apparent that our judicial system does not know
this' and another stated 'Pro-Black isn't Anti-White'. At one
point in the rally, people were asked to get out their phones and tweet that
'Black Lives Matter' with the hashtag #BlackoutLDN.
The protest was supported by groups including BARAC (Black Activists
Rising Against Cuts) and the Nation of Islam, and as well as speeches
there were songs and poems. Unfortunately I could not stay for the lighting
of the many candles that were on the steps of the monument.
United Voices - Reinstate the Sotheby's 2
Mayfair, London. Sat 15 Aug 2015
A police office tells Sandy Nicoll to get up and off
the road with no success
The United Voices of the World marched noisily around the block at Sotheby's
demanding reinstatement of Barbara and Percy, cleaners sacked for protesting
for proper sick pay, paid holidays and pensions. Several police attempts to
clear the road and stop them failed.
The protesters from the UVW and supporters including those from SOAS Unison,
the National Gallery strikers, Class War and others met at Oxford Circus and
marched into Mayfair. Police stopped them outside Sotheby's and tried to move
them onto the pavement, but they sat down on the road, staying there despite
repeated requests to move.
After a few minutes they got up and marched around the block, with Vera and
Petros going into shops and handing out leaflets explaining why the UVW were
continuing to take action against Sotheby's and asking shop owners and workers
to complain to Sotheby's. Some were sympathetic, but police tried to stop
the two of them entering shops, and some arguments ensued.
The march returned to the the front of Sotheby's in Old Bond St, where again
the police tried to move them off the road with no success. After a short
rally they protesters decided to march around the block again, and police
attempted to stop them marching, holding UVW leader Petros Elia, and blocking
the road, but other protesters simply walked past them on the pavement and
marched around the block again. After a short further rally in front of Sotheby's
they decided it was time to finish the protest and marched off towards Oxford
Circus, packing away their banners and flags in a side street.
16th 'Stay Put' Sewol silent protest
Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 15 Aug 2015
A woman holds a poster in Korean at the silent vigil
The monthly silent protest remembered the victims of the ferry tragedy, mainly
school children who obeyed the order to 'Stay Put' on the lower decks as the
ship went down. They demand that the Korean government raise the Sewol ferry
for a thorough inquiry and punish those responsible, bringing in special anti-disaster
Kurdish PJAK remembers its martyrs
Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 15 Aug 2015
Kurds hold hold PJAK flags and images of the martyrs
killed fighting ISIS and Iran
Iranian Kurds from the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) remembered
its fighters killed in the fight against Iran and ISIS for self-determination.
Like the PKK, PJAK owes allegiance to Abdullah Öcalan and the ideals
of the Rojava revolution.
Kashimiris Indian Independence Day call for freedom
Indian High Commission, London. Sat 15 Aug 2015
The protest grew rather heated, with men jumping up
and down and shouting
Kashmiris protested at the Indian High Commission on Independence Day,
observed as 'black day' in Indian military occupied Kashmir. They want freedom
for their country, now a disputed territory with areas occupied by India,
Pakistan and China.
Kashmiris say that Indian Kashmir is one of the most militarized place in
the world with an army civilian ratio stands at 70 to 1000 and that more than
100,000 people have been killed since the current uprising against Indian
occupation began in 1987. Laws such as Armed Forces Special Power Act adds
into the suppression of civilians of which over 8,000 have been buried in
unmarked graves. Torture is used as a mean to get confessions and terrorize
the civilians including women and children.
Pakistan is less repressive, with fewer violations of human rights, but has
also adopted a policy of continuous suppression, exploitation and bullying
of Kashmiris in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan through a thick network
of intelligence agencies. more pictures
Sikhs call for release of political prisoners
Indian High Commission, London. Sat 15 Aug 2015
Sikh men and women took part in the protest on Indian
Independence day, calling for independence
On Indian Independence Day, Sikh protesters from Dal Khalsa supported the
call by hunger striker Bapu Surat Singh for the release of Sikh political
prisoners and for the '2020' campaign for a referendum for an independent
Sikh state, Khalistan.
82 year old Bapu Surat Singh Khalsa went on hunger strike on 16th January
calling for the release of Sikh political prisoners and other prisoners of
all religions who have completed their terms.who have completed their jail
terms. He has now been on huger strike for over 200 days.
Many held up posters of Gajinder Singh, a founding member Dal Khalsa which
calls for an independent Sikh state, Khalistan. He has been in exile from
Panjab since 1981 after hijacking a plane in protest of the arrest of Saint
Solider Shaheed Sant Bhindranwale, for which he was imprisoned in Pakistan.
The protesters are also campaignin for 'Referendum 2020' which would ask
the Sikh diaspora to express their opinion on a statement that says, "I
aspire for the formation of a sovereign and independent country in Indian
occupied Punjab, on the basis that Sikhs are the indigenous people of Punjab,
have a historical homeland, a separate religion and have the right to self-determination".
Referendum 2020 will be held in the state of Punjab and among Sikh diaspora
living in America, Canada, United Kingdom, European Union, Australia, New
Zealand, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Kenya and
Middle Eastern Countries.
Equalitate at Tate Modern
Tate Modern, London. Sat 15 Aug 2015
Vicky of Equalitate holds up their flyer calling for
equal pay and conditions
Privatised visitor assistants at Tate Modern & Tate Britain get
£3 an hour less than directly employed colleagues, are on zero hours
contracts and do not get the same employment rights.
They leafleted on the busy riverside walk outside the gallery calling for
equal pay and conditions for outsourced and in-house workers at London Tate
Galleries. The EqauliTate flyer has a image of Tate Modern on one side; the
other states privatised staff doing the same job as those directly employed
have zero hours contracts, get £3 an hour less, and do not get decent
pensions, sick pay and holidays. This was the first time that they have held
a public protest like this, and the response from the people walking past
was positive. Many of them however were tourists and not UK residents.
London. Sat 15 Aug 2015
The City from the Millennium Bridge
As I travelled around London between the various events I had time to take
a few pictures.
National Gallery 61st day of Strike
Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 15 Aug 2015
Candy Udwin, sacked for her trade union activities,
speaks at the rally
A short rally ended the daily picket on the 61st day of the PCS strike
against privatisation at the National Gallery, with speeches and messages
of support. They hope soon to have a meeting with the new director who starts
Victimised PCS union rep Candy Udwin and others spoke at the rally, which
was suported by other groups of trade unionists including Unison members in
the London Fiare Brigade. Despite the reservations he expressed about the
privatisation, outgoing director Nicholas Penny has signed the contract.
Marikana Mine Murders protest at Investec
Gresham St, London. Fri 14 Oct 2015
A woman hands out fliers about the murders and Investec's
On the third anniversary of the killing of 34 Lonmin workers in the Marikana
Massacre, protesters urged Investec, a major shareholder, to pressure the
company to pay compensation, pay a living wage, implement its housing promises
and pay its taxes.
Investec Asset Management holds 5.16% of the shares of Lonmin, a
principal actor in the Marikana Massacre on 16th August 2012 where 34 of its
employees were shot dead and 78 injured by the police in an operation that
took place with the cooperation and at the prompting of the company. Their
part in it was recognised by the Farlam Commission, though it caused international
outrage by failing to recommend criminal prosecutions.
The protest on the 3rd anniversary of the killings was organised by the Marikana
Miners Solidarity Campaign(UK) and called on Investec to use its shareholder
voting rights to ensure that LONMIN:
• Apologises to and properly compensate the families of the killed
• Pays the mineworkers a living wage of 12,500 Rand per month as determined
by the AMCU and NUM trade unions;
• Implements the promises on housing made to the World Bank -s ofar
only 3 of the promised 5,500 houses have been built;
• Stops using a transfer pricing mechanism with a Bermuda company
set up to avoid paying its full corporation tax in South Africa.
After an hour or so of protest a letter with these demands was handed in
to Investec, and the protesters moved on to protest at South Africa House,
where a small group went inside for a scheduled meeting. I left before this
Class War protest Ripper 'museum' again
Cable St, London. Wed 12 Aug 2015
'Violence against women should not be celebrated.
Shut it Down!'
For a second week Class War, feminists and local residents protested
outside the museum saying it falsifies history and celebrates violence against
women. Police and security guarded the shop which was closed behind a large
There were a few short speeches, and then David Rosenberg, who leads walks
in the area on East End history, talked about the real history of women here
that the Jack the Ripper museum pretended to be about to gain planning permission,
including their contribution at this spot to the battle of Cable St.
This was a noisy protest, and after letting off a smoke flare, the protesters
draped 'Crime Scene - Do Not Enter tape across the police van and the front
of the shop were police and security were lined up. The protesters blocked
most of the road, but did occasionally let traffic through, though the police
made no attempt to clear them.
As before, Class War were joined by Action East End and Fourth Wave and other
feminists in the protest, as well as local residents, some of whom had not
realised before the protest what the new museum was about, and were apalled
when they learnt, promising to join any further protests.
Close Down Yarl's Wood
Yarl's Wood Immigration prison, Bedford. Sat 8 Aug 2015
Around a thousand protesters in a field adjioning the detention centre
joined with detainees locked up in Yarl's Wood to demand an end to immigration
detention and the whole racist system which locks up migrants and asylum seekers
without trial, subjecting them to abuse and sexual harassment.
Coaches came from around the country to drop protesters outside the business
estate on a former aerodrome in the middle of the country around five miles
from Bedford, and a coach from Bedford Station made two journeys from there
to bring myself and the others who had arrived by train. Others made their
journey there by taxi, car and bicycle, and a few by bus, which dropped them
at the centre of a village around a mile away.
The protest was organised by Movement for Justice and there is a long list
of other groups that supported it and the campaign to close detention centres,
though I think there were also others present: Women for Refugee Women,
Right To Remain, CheltFems, Black Women’s Rape Action Project, All African
Womens Group, Refugee Support Devon, Exeter City of Sanctuary, London Palestine
Action, Diásporas Criticas, South London Anti Fascists, No One Is Illegal,
Jewish Socialist Group, Left Unity, CUSU Women's Campaign, Freedom Without
Fear Platform, Black Dissidents, Feminist Fightback, Women's Association for
the Guild of Students, University of Birmingham, Unite Hotel Workers Branch,
Plan C, Birmingham, Leeds Feminist Network, Sisters Uncut, SOAS Unison.
The protest started next to the road at the front of the estate to give time
for all the protesters to arrive, and then walked along a public bridleway
which goes close to the detention centre. The protesters were allowed into
a field which ran along the side of the high fence around the centre for today's
protest - at a previous protest they had pushed down fences and breached barbed
wire to get to the fence.
There was a rapturous welcome from the women inside the prison, who came
to the windows, shouting and waving and holding up signs. Protests like this
really give the prisoners hope, and show them they have support and are not
forgotten. Together, inside and out people chanted slogans 'Shut Down Yarls
Wood', 'Detention Centres, Shut them Down' and more.
A small rise in the field help us see the windows on the first floor and
above despite the fence, solid for around 10 ft with another 10 ft of mesh
on top. People banged it to make a noise, kicked it, and banged it with pots
and pans, and some climbed on others shoulders to lift up banners and placards
so those inside could see.
Then a group of people wearing face masks began to write slogans on the fence,
and soon a long length of it was covered with them 'No Borders', 'No One
is Illegal' '#SetHerFree', 'Shut it Down', 'Gaza 2 Yarls Wood Destroy Apartheid
Walls', 'Racist Walls' and more.
Inside the women waved. The windows open to a small gap and one woman waved
her leg though it, decorated with paper tied around. Others waved clothing
and held up signs, some with slogans like those held up and shouted by the
people outside. One carefully drawn one read 'We Want Freedom - No Human Is
Illegal - Close Yarls Wood' while another simply read 'Help'.
The organisers had mobile numbers for some of those inside - and others inside
wrote theirs large and held them up in the window. We were able to hear greetings
and reports from some of those inside, their voices on the phone amplified
on the megaphone.
They too could hear the speeches from outside, including several by women
who had been held with them inside the prison. Many are held for long periods
in this and other detention centres, never knowing when they might be let
out - or an attempt made to send them back to the country they were desperate
to escape from.
Too soon we had to leave. And they had to stay. As I walked away to catch
the coach back to Bedford station I felt ashamed at the way that my country
treats asylum seekers. They deserve support and humanity and get treated worse
Hiroshima Remembered 70 Years On
Tavistock Square, London, Thu 6 Aug 2015
Jeremy Corbyn stood for a few moments in thought after
laying a sunflower at the foot of the tree
Jeremy Corbyn, often the compère of the annual Hiroshima commemoration
was today the main speaker, along with Bruce Kent, A L Kennedy, Rev S Nagase,
Jenny Jones and others. As usual flowers were laid at the Hiroshima cherry
tree in Tavistock Sq.
Because of the Labour leadership contest, the event which usually attracts
only a small handful of press was today attended by several TV crews and a
large number of photographers, many of whom more or less ignored anything
but Jeremy Corbyn.
Class War protest Jack the Ripper 'Museum'
Cable St, London. Wed 5 Aug 2015
McKenzie holds up the megaphone and shouts outside the Jack the Ripper 'museum'
Women from Class War led a noisy protest outside the museum, promising
to return until it was shut down, saying it falsified history and celebrated
violence against women.
The planning application for the museum stated that it was the "first
women’s museum in the UK" and that:
"The museum will recognise and celebrate the women of the East
End who have shaped history, telling the story of how they have been instrumental
in changing society."
“It will analyse the social, political and domestic experience
from the Victorian period to the present day.”
A number of people gave advice or worked for free or at cost because they
supported the project on this basis, and feel disgusted at how they were duped.
People who have seen the museum have been revolted at its sensational presentation
of violent crimes against women. One of the politer comments was to call it
"salacious, misogynist rubbish."
The protest was also supported by local groups including feminists and East
End Action. After protesting on the pavement for some while the protesters
blocked the road, though leaving space for cyclists to pass. Police attempted
to move them with no success, the women protesting asking them whether they
would defend a museum celebrating the murders of police officers. The shop
front was decorated with stickers and a small pane of glass broken.
Foil Vedanta at mining giant's AGM
Ironmongers' Hall, London. Mon 3 Aug 2015
Protesters with the Vedanta monster and posters outside the AGM
Protesters at Vedanta AGM continued the fight by communities around the
world against the mining giant, including Zambians who have won a Supreme
Court battle over pollution and the Dongria Kond demanding the dismantling
of the Lanjigarh refinery.
Protests against Vedanta were taking place Chingola and Lusaka in Zambia
and five Indian cities to coincide with its annual meeting in London, where
shareholder protesters went inside and others protested outside the meeting.
Protesters at the AGM of Vedanta, notorious for its envrionmental and human
rights abuses around the world included two figures wearing inflatable chub
suits and masks of Vedanta owner Anil Agarwal and Vedanta Resources CEO Tom
The protest started on the road outside, but soon after it was joined by
the 'Vedanta Monster' made its way to the open yard in front of the Ironmongers'
Hall, while police and secuirty watched. Police made sure that those attending
the meeting were able to walk through, and the protesters offered them leaflets
about the environmental and human rights abuses of the company and its relationship
with Indian PM Narendra Modi, which many took.
At one point the Vedanta Monster, its limbs bearing the names of the various
Vedanta companies, was pelted by the protesters with bananas, and the yard
began to get rather slippery. But it was soon cleared up.
Nitrous Oxide - 'My Mind, My choice!'
Parliament Square, London. Sat 1 Aug 2015
People inhaled nitrous oxide from their balloons as
Big Ben struck three
Protesters against prohibition of psychoactive substances in the Psychoactive
Substances Bill came to Parliament Square for a mass inhalation of nitrous
oxide with the message 'My Mind, My choice!'
The government's proposed Psychoactive Substances Bill would create the offences
of "Supplying a psychoactive substance" and "Possession of
a psychoactive substance with intent to supply", although some of the
most dangerous substances, alcohol and nicotine would be exempt, along with
Nitrous oxide inhalation can be dangerous, but only in large quantities when
the body gets insufficient oxygen and asphyxiates. 'Laughing gas', as it is
commonly known, has been used for many years as an anaesthetic, particularly
in dentistry, and proper inhalation from a balloon eliminates the main danger
of taking it. It is also used in some food packaging as a safe way to stop
food going bad, including aerosols of whipped cream. Nitrous oxide is totally
different to Nitric oxide, a toxic chemical is in vehicle exhausts and is
a major factor in the dangerous air pollution in city streets.
Pupils used to be invited to try to inhale it in school chemistry lessons,
though doubtless that is now outlawed under health and safety regulations.
At the protest people followed the safety rules in taking it - inhaling from
a ballon, sitting down, extinguishing cigarettes, and not chewing gum. It
can apparently cause problems with those who suffer from low blood pressure
and like all drugs, should not be taken by those suffereing from mental health
issues. It can also deplete the body's supplies of vitamin B12 and users are
recommended to take a vitamin supplement.
Nitrous oxide is almost certainly less dangerous than legal drugs such as
alcohol and tobacco, and experience in other countries has shown that attempts
to ban it and other psychoactive substances are generally ineffectual and
drive the trade underground. In Poland where they brought in a ban five years
ago, there was an immediate brief drop in deaths, but after three years these
were at the same level and are now higher.
Focus E15 and Boleyn Ground campaign together
Stratford Broadway, London. Sat 1 Aug 2015
Focus E15 campaigners protest and collect signatures
for their petition here every week
Campaigners from Focus E15 and Boleyn Ground campaigned together at Stratford
calling for Newham to provide much-needed social housing in the borough before
an open discussion with East London campaigns about further actions.
Focus E15 have been campaigning on housing issues for almost two years after
women at the Focus E15 hostel were served eviction notices. They successfully
fought Newham Council's plans to send them to various privated rented accomodation
outside London where they had famiily, friends and support and went on to
highlight the failures of Newham Council to provide housing for the people
of the borough.
Newham, led by Mayor Robin Wales, started clearing tenants from the Carpenters
Estate close to Stratford Centre over ten years ago, and many properties there
have been left empty despite the desperate housing shortage. Plans to demolish
the estate and sell it off to University College London fell through after
protests by the remaining residents and students, and pressure by Focus E15
who occupied a block of properties last year have forced the council to let
some of the empty properties.
Focus E15 have protested against Robin Wales at various events and have been
assaulted while doing so. They have also protested to prevent evictions and
to get other local people who the council wanted to send to Birmingham and
elsewhere rehoused locally.
At today's protest they had 'Robin Wales selfie sticks' with an image of
the Mayor and invited people to take and post a 'selfie' of themselves with
him. A new version of 'Robin Hood' was made up and sung, with variations:
Robin Wales, Robin Wales, riding through Newham
Robin Wales, Robin Wales, doesn't give a damn
Steals from the poor, gives to the rich
Off our patch, out of town
They were also talking with other campaigners including those in the Boleyn
Ground campaign who came to join them about how to campaign to get more council
housing in the area, and handing out leaflets about their March Against
Evictions in Stratford on 19 September.
Boleyn ground fight for Social Housing
Queen's Market, Upton Park, London. Sat 1 Aug 2015
Friends of Queen's Market campaign for social housing
on West Ham's Boleyn ground
Friends of Queens Market, who saved the market from Newham's development
plans, campaigned for West Ham's Boleyn ground to be developed for some of
the 24,000 on Newham's housing list rather than as 838 luxury apartments with
no social housing, handing out leaflets and collecting signatures on a petition
outside the busy Queen's Market.
Developer Galliard plans to turn West Ham Stadium into a 'luxury village'
with 0% social housing, but local people have different ideas and Newham Council
have failed to oppose their plans.
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