Wet night at Poor Doors
One Commercial St, London. Wed 29 Oct 2014
A man stops in the rain to read the flyer about next week's Bonfire Night
Poor Doors protest
Most of the police present sat or stood inside the 'rich' area of One Commercial
St as Class War protested noisily outside for the 15th week running. Aided
by the drumming of Rhythms of Resistance, the protesters ignored the continuous
Biofuel picket Green Investment Bank Birthday
King Edward Street, London. Tue 28 Oct 2014
Precious Forests Aren't Cheap Fuel - #usewoodwisely'
Protesters from Biofuelwatch and London Biomassive, some dressed as wise
owls, picketed the second birthday celebrations of the Green Investment Bank
at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London against their funding of environmentally
disastrous biomass and incineration projects.
The protesters oppose these large-scale projects the Green Investment Bank
is heavily backing as they say they are a huge and dangerous false solution,
"worse than coal." The urged the GIB to finance "low
carbon sustainable solutions" instead of these "high-carbon
A number of those going on to the bank's grounds for the celebrations took
leaflets, and some stopped to talk with the protesters about their objections
to these schemes, a few at some length. There was also live music at the protest,
as well as some speeches and a couple of birthday cakes for the GIB, one edible
and the other rather larger with two 'oil palms' on top and a banner with
the message 'GIB No Biomass' strung between them.
Kobane - Unite against Isis Drawing
Trafalgar Square, London. Tue 28 Oct 2014
gather around the nearly completed drawing for a protest
Kurds chanted slogans against ISIS and in support of the defenders of Kobane
around a giant pavement chalk drawing based on an agonised Statue of Liberty
in front of London's National Gallery in Trafalgar Square.
Fair Fares Petition
Westminster, London. Tue 28 Oct 2014
Minister Claire Perry MP meets campaigners to receive their petition
The Campaign for Better Transport, including their director Stephen
Joseph OBE protested at the Dept of Transport before walking to Portcullis
Hous to hand a petition with over 4000 signatures to Rail Minister Claire
Perry MP calling on the recent increase in Northern Rail evening peak rail
fares to be scrapped.
Bringing in these evening peak time fares has meant a 167% increase for some
travellers, and they particularly hit shift and part-time workers who work
irregular hours. The Campaign for Better Transport as well as protesting
the unfairness of these price hikes, also think that they might be found to
be illegal because of their complexity and the unprecedented restrictions
they place upon passengers.
Claire Perry came out from the parliamentary offices in Portcullis House
and spent some time talking with the protesters, appearing to be sympathetic
to their claims, before taking the box containing the petition with 4,000
Democracy Camp Saturday
Parliament Square, London. Sat 25 Oct 2014
A woman holds up a sign 'Westminster Paedophile Ring
- This Way' pointing at the Houses of Parliament
Despite continued harassment by GLA private security 'Heritage Wardens',
Occupy Democracy has continued its presence in Parliament Square for over
a week. On the last Saturday, as well as a visit from the EDL - who were stopped
by police and never quite made it - there were a number of workshops, including
by energy boss Jeremy Leggett, Donnachadh McCarthy and MP Michael Meacher.
EDL Visit Democracy Camp
Parliament Square, London. Sat 25 Oct 2014
The EDL make gestures towards the Democracy camp but
police stopped them and led them away
A few EDL members came to the Occupy Democracy site, but were stopped by
police who escorted them towards Victoria station. George Barda of Occupy
tried to talk to one EDL member who walked around police, suggesting that
there were many issues on which they shared views, but was told that the only
thing the EDL member was interested in was the problem of immigration - though
he phrased it more forcefully before a police officer led him away.
Acid Attacks on Women in Iran
Downing St, London. Sat 25 Oct 2014
Protesters put red roses on a picture of Rayhaneh Jabbari,
hung at dawn in Iran a man who tried to rape her
The protest opposite Downing St organised by the National Council of Resistance
of Iran (NCRI) called for the UK to condemn the attacks by regime-organised
acid attacks on women who are not veiled in Iran, followed similar protests
in Isfahan and Tehran and condemned Iran's hanging at dawn of Rayhaneh Jabbari.
The NCRI, formed in France in 1981 is one of two Iranian 'parliaments in
exile' and includes five groups but is dominated by the People's Mujahedin
of Iran (MEK) who fled to Iraq after falling out with other groups during
the Iran-Iraq ware and were given refuge by Saddam Hussein. When the US invaded
Iraq, they agreed to give up their tanks and other heavy weapons and were
confined in a camp in Iran. Since the US left they have been the subject of
various attacks by Iraqi forces.
The protesters had a framed portrait of Jabbari, hung earlier at dawn that
morning in Iran for stabbing a former Iranian intelligence official who tried
to rape her; she was the 967th person to be executed since Hassan Rouhani
became Iran's president.
Women on the street in Iran who have not covered their faces risk being accosted
by groups of thugs, ecnouraged by the regime, who throw acid in their faces,
causing horrific injuries and often blinding them. The protesters held up
pictures of some of these women showing their terribly scarred faces.
United Friends & Families March & Rally
Trafalgar Square to Downing St, London. Sat 25 Oct 2014
Rigg holds the list of over 3,000 who died in custody between 1969 and 2011.
Families and friends of people killed by police or in prisons made their
annual march at a funereal pace from Trafalgar Square to Downing St, to a
rally with speakers including those from the families of Mark Duggan, Sean
Rigg & Ricky Bishop.
As in previous years, this was a moving event, with many family members who
had lost sons or brothers or daughters speaking. Most of those who are killed
in custody are young men, with young black men over-represented, but among
those speaking today was Myrna Simpson, the mother of Joy Gardner,
killed by police restraining her with a body belt around her head at her home
Other speakers included Marcia Rigg, whose brother Sean Rigg
was killed by Brixton police in 2008, Doreen Bishop, whose son Ricky
Bishop was also killed in Brixton Police Station in 2001, Ajibola
Lewis, the mother of Olaseni Lewis who died when restrained
by police called to a Croydon hospital, Jo Orchard, whose brother
Thomas Orchard was killed by police illegally restraining him in
Exeter, Stephanie Lightfoot-Bennet, whose twin brother Leon Paterson
was killed by police in Manchester in 1992, and Carole Duggan whose
nephew Mark Duggan was shot by police in Tottenham in 2011.
After gathering on the edge of Trafalgar Square, the procession formed up
for itws slow march down Whitehall. There seemed to be rather fewer banners
than in previous years, and fewer people. It stopped at Downing St, and then
moved to the side of the road opposite for the rally.
Speakers demanded an end to deaths in custody and killings by police, and
for prompt and full investigation of these deaths. In every case police have
failed to properly investigate and have tried to cover up, the IPCC have also
failed completely and the CPC and judiciary have dragged their feet, with
the result that none of the killers have been successfully prosecuted and
few have even faced any action at all.
Democracy Camp a Week Old
Parliament Square, London. Fri 24 Oct 2014
Resting before the evening session at Democracy Camp
A week after the initial rally in Parliament Square, Democracy Camp,
now also called #tarpaulinrevolution, was still continuing at one side of
Parliament Square despite fencing and continued harassment by police, egged
on by the GLA's private security force, the so-called Heritage Wardens.
I visited the camp briefly in mid-afternoon on my way to the City, and then
later on my way home from Finsbury Square. People were then mainly sitting
around a resting ready for the evening programme of speakers and workshops.
Along the roadside people were greeting motorists, many of whom sounded their
horns in support of the various banners, including 'We Didn't Vote For Fracking',
'We Didn't Vote For NHS Sell Off' 'We Didn't Vote For TTIP', 'We Didn't Vote
For Endless War' and 'Democracy Now'.
Cleaners protest at Bloomberg
Finsbury Square, London. Fri 24 Oct 2014
Alberto Durango leads the IWGB protesters out from
the Bloomberg offices where they had held a short protest
Cleaners briefly occupied inside Bloomberg and then protested on the
pavement outside over not being allowed sick pay or statutory holidays, a
demeaning uniform, increased workload, pay cuts and being treated as second
The cleaners ran across the road and into the main door of Bloomberg taking
the security there by surprise and briefly occupied the main foyer, banging
drums, waving flags and with IWGB union leader Alberto Durango using a portable
sound system to make their demands clear. The cleaners belong to the IWGB,
a small independent grass-roots trade union, listed officially as the Independent
Workers Union of Great Britain.
According to the cleaners, employers OCS, backed by Bloomberg are actually
refusing the workers their rights under UK employment law. The majority owner
of Bloomberg L P is Mike Bloomberg, a former Mayor of New York and the 11th
richest man in USA.
A class action against Bloomberg in New York taken by the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission in 2007 over discrimination against women taking maternity
leave was rejected on the grounds that the EEOC provided insufficient evidence.
The same judge rejected a similar claim on behalf of on behalf of 29 pregnant
employees in 2013.
Security men asked them to leave, and after a short protest inside they did
so, continuing to protest on the pavement outside. There were a few minor
incidents, with one security man attacking a photographer and a little unnecessary
pushing and shoving by them, including a small moment of farce when one man
tried to prevent the protesters from leaving.
The police were called and tried briefly to persuade the protesters to stop
before standing back and watching, with a line of police across the Bloomberg
doorway. The protest outside lasted for just over half an hour before the
IWGB decided to finish. A police officer then approached Alberto and suggested
that he might meet with someone from OCS (Outsourced Client Solutions) who
employ the cleaners who work at Bloomberg, but it soon became clear that OCS
were not prepared for any discussion of substance at this time, and the cleaners
Palestine - protest again at HP
Wood St, London. Fri 24 Oct 2014
Protesters get ready to lift a tall pole with three
Palestinian flags on the pavement opposite HP
The Palestinian Prisoners Campaign continued their campaign against Hewlett-Packard,
which boasts of 'a massive presence' in Israel and are the IT backbone for
the Israeli war machine with a picket outside their offices in the City of
There were large posters condemning HP for supplying Israel with the computers
and software to run their prisons and military and detailing some of the human
rights abuses that take place in Israeli prisons including the torture and
solitary confinement of children, there were also banners for 'Spurs Fans
Against Apartheid' and 'Gooners Against Apartheid' and quite a few Palestinian
flags on the pavement opposite the landmark building which Hewlett Packard
occupies. One or two protesters also flewl Palestinian flags and handed out
flyers on the narrower pavement directly outside the offices.
Musical Poor Doors
One Commercial St, London. Wed 22 Oct 2014
of Resistance, police and Class War protesters enjoy a small carnival outside
the rich door.
Class War's 14th weekly protest at the 'rich door' of Redrow's One Commercial
St flats was a lively affair, with the banners dancing to the music of Rhythms
of Resistance, a poetic performance and some rousing speeches against social
Despite the strong police presence there was no trouble, with a carnival
atmosphere and banners dancing up and down the wide pavement in front of the
rich door. Most of the police appeared to be enjoying the event too.
Democracy Camp - Poet Arrested
Parliament Square, London. Wed 22 Oct 2014
Martin Powell recites his poem 'The Missing Peace' as police officers take
him away for throwing food to 'plinth guy' Danny
Although police and 'heritage wardens' have fenced off the main grass
area, Occupy Democracy continued to protest on the square, with workshops,
Danny on the Churchill statue over 24 hrs and activist poet Martin Powell
arrested for throwing him food.
Democracy campers were making themselves at home in Parliament Square with
a number of well-known people coming to lead workshops or speak in support
later in the day. One man hung a framed print of Venice by Canaletto on a
tree, but within a minute or so a Heritage Warden came across and made him
take it down.
Rather to my surprise, Danny was still up on the plinth with Churchill, and
there were cheers when he completed 24 hours there. Apparently another protester
had been arrested earlier for throwing him a bottle of water, and while I
was there, performance poet and activist Martin Powell arrived with a plastic
tub of food for him.
Police tried to stop him throwing it up to 'PlinthGuy', standing in front
of him and warning him he would be arrested if he tried to do so. But Powell
told them it could not possibly be a crime to feed a hungry person, stood
back a little and threw the tub extremely accurately over their heads and
into Danny's waiting hands.
Police immediately grabbed him, put on handcuffs and led him away. As they
took him along two sides of Parliament Square towards a police van he loudly
declaimed his poem 'The Missing Peace'.
When I returned at around 5pm, Plinthguy was still up there, but police had
called in their climbing team. I listened while its leader talked with him,
and Danny made it clear that he would not try to resist arrest if they came
to take him down peacefully. I hung around for as long as I could, but had
to leave for elsewhere before they came to do so.
Canary Wharf & Westminster Tube
London. Wed 22 Oct 2014
Piranesi inside Westminster Tube Station
I took the tube from Westiminster to Canary Wharf to visit the Bridges exhibition
at the Museum of London Docklands. I found the show a little disappointing,
though it was good to see the original panorama, a print, 'London from the
Roof of the Albion Mills' (1792-1793), engraved by Frederick Birnie from the
original drawings of Robert Barker, the inventor of the panorama.
I made a few panoramic images (shown here in 3:2 format with a horizontal
angle of view of 146 degrees and vertical of around 100 degrees rather than
in panoramic format) on my way to and from Canary Wharf, with perhaps the
most interesting being those taken inside Westminster Staton.
The beams and buttresses, designed by Hopkins Architects and completed in
1999 for the opening of the Jubilee Line are also the foundations of the block
of parliamentary offices above the station, Portcullis House, and were deliberately
Piranesian, though sometimes I get more of the feeling of Escher as you seem
to walk endlessly up escalators and around the interior.
End UK shame over Shaker Aamer
Parliament Square, London. Wed 22 Oct 2014
Protesters opposite Parliament in orange jumpsuits call
for the release of Londoner Shaker Aamer.
Protesters continue regular vigils opposite Parliament for Shaker Aamer,
imprisoned and tortured for over 12 years and cleared for release in 2007.
They believe he is still held because his testimony would embarrass MI6 as
well as the US.
DPAC High Court Vigil for ILF
Royal Courts of Justice, London. Wed 22 Oct 2014
Protesters, mainly in wheelchairs, blocked The Strand
outside the court at the end of their vigil
When disabled people won a court case over withdrawal of the Independent
Living Fund, but the government simply put back the closure. Today's protest
supported a second case against the closure and ended with the protesters
blocking the road.
Despite the problems of travel disabled people still face in London, particularly
with so few tube stations having disabled access, a surprising number of people
turned up for the vigil outside the court where the second court case against
the closure of the Independent Living Fund was being heard.
The protest was supported by people from Inclusion London, Norfolk and Suffolk
DPAC local DPACs, the Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People, Transport
for All, Winvisable, PCS Union, the TUC, and other organisations,and there
was even a simultaneous vigil in Toronto, Canada. Three MPs, John McDonnell,
Andy Slaughter and Jeremy Corbyn, came to give their support, and there were
speeches by campaigners including Paula Peters and Andy Greene, with John
Kelly singing. Towards the end of the protest, after a report on proceedings
inside from a member of the legal team, many others joined in the singing
of a specially written song about benefit cuts.
At the end of the vigil, many of those present took part in a short direct
action, going out onto the pedestrian crossing in front of the courts and
blocking The Strand in both directions for around ten minutes.
Candlelit vigil for Justice for Ricky Reel
New Scotland Yard, London. Tue 21 Oct 2014
MP John McDonnell talks with Ricky Reel's mother Sukhdev
Reel at the protest
The mother of Ricky Reel, an Asian student whose body was found in the
Thames at Kingston after a racist attack in 1997, called for an apology by
police for spending time spying on the family rather than looking for his
killers and a public inquiry.
The protest took place on the 17th anniversary of Ricky Reel's body being
found in the River Thames 17 years ago. The recent evidence that police spent
time and resources on undercover agents investigating Ricky Reel's family
while failing at first to treat his disappearance seriously and then, after
the body was found, failing to treat him as the victim of a racist attack
has shocked many. Over 77,000 have signed a petition calling on Met Police
Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe to formally apologise and for a robust independent
and transparent Public Inquiry into police spying on family campaigns.
Speakers at the rally also talked about other cases of police spying, and
failures of justice. The speakers included Sukhdev Reel, John McDonnell MP,
Stafford Scott of Tottenham Rights, Suresh Grover of The Monitoring Group,
Helen Steel, a speaker from the speaker from Newham Monitoring Project, and
Liz Fekete of the Institute of Race Relations.
Democracy Camp Fenced Out
Parliament Square, London. Tue 21 Oct 2014
A protester on the plinth of Churchill's statue in Parliament
The main grassed area of Parliament Square had been surrounded by fencing
, and as I arrived on Tuesday afternoon, police were arresting a few individuals
who had got onto the grass inside it.
But one protester had climbed up onto the plinth of Churchill's statue around
half an hour earlier and was standing there with a large poster with the message
'The Revolution Will Not Be Confiscated'. By now the Democracy camp had gained
the name 'Tarpaulin Revolution' (#tarpaulinrevolution) after a number of battles
between police and protesters over squares of blue plastic tarpaulin they
had been sitting on on the wet grass and mud of the square. The police actions
there had noticeably churned up parts of the grass on the square damaging
the already rather patchy grass.
The Occupy protesters were now on the pavement in front of the fence and
on the path and raised grass area at the east side of the square, but the
programme of evening talks and workshops was continuing.
We all expected that the police would take Plinth guy Dan down at any moment,
but he had already been up their for two hours when I had to leave for another
protest. On my way home I checked again and was surprised that he was still
up there, around four hours after he began his protest there.
Staines march for flood victim Zane
Staines, Spelthorne. Tue 21 Oct 2014
Spelthorne Council Chief Executive Roberto Tamborini
with the petition stands next to Zane's parents
On what would have been Zane Gbangbola's eighth birthday, a protest at
Spelthorne Council offices demanded they test the landfill site next to his
home. His family believe he died from hydrogen cyanide gas generated there
when it was flooded.
The protesters with the 38Degrees petition met outside Staines Leisure Centre
where Zane's father and mother were interviewed by a couple of TV crews before
the short march to Spelthorne Council Offices. Spelthorne Council Chief Executive
Roberto Tamborini and another officer came out from the offices and talked
with Zane's father Kye Gbangbola and mother Nicola Lawler before the petition
was handed over.
Zane's parents were both also affected by the gas, and needed hospital treatment,
with Kye being left a paraplegic. A pathologist's report on Zane was at first
unable to reach a conclusion, but later put his death down to carbon monoxide
poisoning from a pump used to clear floodwater from the house, close to Chertsey
Bridge on the Middlesex side of the Thames. But Zane's parents say that the
petrol-driven pump was never used in the house and cannot be linked to the
Although the Spelthorne Chief Executive expressed his sympathy with Zane's
parents and the council's wish to determine its cause, he failed to give an
assurance that proper tests would be carried out on the landfill site, or
measures taken to avoid similar releases of toxic gases in the next floods.
Surrey Police are reported to have submitted information regarding the faulty
pump and the hire company which supplied it to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Poor Doors Saturday Night Special
One Commercial St, Aldgate, London. Sat 18 Oct 2014
Class War block Whitechapel High Street outside One
Class War held a special protest against the separate doors for rich
and poor residents at One Commercial St, Aldgate, with a large group of protesters
from the nearby Anarchist Book Fair. They ended by briefly blocking the busy
Whitechapel High St.
There were rather more police too for this protest, with a surprising group
of seven down the dark alley in front of the poor door, as well as the larger
numbers guarding the interests of the rich.
It was harder to photograph than usual because it was rather more crowded,
and some anarchists are keen not to be photographed, especially as unlike
the usual Class War protesters they have no idea who I am. When someone let
off a green flare I was not in a good position to take photographs, and it
wasn't possible to move quickly enough.
It was a lively protest, with samba from Rhythms of Revolution and some songs
from Cosmo, as well as some rousing speeches and towards the end of the event,
protesters decided to move into the road and block the traffic, standing behind
their banners in front of what quickly became a very long queue of traffic
on the east-bound lanes of the busy road. Their headlights provided some lighting
for photography, but it was mainly at knee level and below. After around ten
minutes, when police appeared to be getting edgy, the protesters walked back
onto the pavement and dispersed, and I caught the Tube on the start of my
Procession of the Blessed Sacrament
Westminster Cathedral to Southwark, London. Sat 18 Oct 2014
front of the procession on Lambeth Bridge with the Houses of Parliament in
After a brief blessing inside Westminster Cathedral, the Blessed Sacrament
was carried in a procession of around a thousand people led by Bishop Nicholas
Hudson across Lambeth Bridge to a Benediction in St George's Cathedral Southwark.
The two cathedrals are only a short walk apart, on opposite sides of the River
Thames, which at this point runs roughly from south to north. Westminster
Cathedral, north of the river, actually lies slightly to the south of its
south London neighbour. The procession spread out through the back streets
of Westminster, walking on the pavements and seldom more than two or three
deep, singing hymns and prayers as they walked.
At the 'south' side of Lambeth Bridge, when the procession moved from Westminster
to Lambeth and from Westminster to Southwark diocese I photographed as the
sacrament was handed over from Auxiliary Bishop Rt Rev Nicholas Hudson of
Westminster to Auxiliary Bishop Paul Hendricks.
At the crossing in front of Lambeth Palace, there were crowds waiting to cross
the road at the traffic lights rather than bringing the traffic to a halt.
I spent a few minutes photographing these before leaving to walk back to the
Democracy Village as the procession continued to a benediction at St Georges.
Britain Needs A Pay Rise
Embankment, London. Sat 18 Oct 2014
Nurses, midwives and other NHS staff were a very visible
and audible part of the protest march
Over 80,000 marchers called for workers to share in the economic recovery
where company chief executives now earn 175 times the average worker, and
nurses, teachers and others in the public and private sector are £50
a week worse off than in 2007.
I walked along the Embankment where the march was gathering a couple of hours
before it was due to start, and then returned later just in time for the end
of the photocall with Frances O'Grady in front of a bus covered with a green
banner with the message 'Britain Needs a Pay Rise' and people holding large
white numbers 1,7 and 5 - for the 175 times the wage of the average worker
that the average UK company chief executive takes.
Later as the TUC leaders posed behind the banner at the start of the march,
Unite's Len McClusky stood beside her and brought out a flyer for Socialism
2014, joking with her. I couldn't hear what he said, but a bit more socialism
would certainly be a good idea both for the TUC and the Labour Party - though
perhaps the unions are backing an unlikely (or unwilling) horse there.
After the march moved off, I moved slowly back through the marchers as they
came up to the start taking pictures. At the front were the major unions,
the health workers and the teachers, the firefighters and more, a reminder
of how much we still depend on unionised workers despite the largely successful
attacks by Thatcher and later governments which have almost eliminated the
unions in many areas.
Further back the marchers were more varied, and I met rather more people
I knew, including those with CND, Focus E15, Occupy London and other radical
movements. The march had started promptly at noon, and an hour and a quarter
later I was with people still a quarter of a mile before the start at the
tail of the march.
I'd taken more than enough pictures, and decided not to go on to Hyde Park
for the rally at the end of the march - there were other things to photograph.
Democracy Camp takes the Square
Parliament Square, London. Sat 18 Oct 2014
Democracy camp activists rush onto Parliament Square
and erect a tower with the message 'DEMOCRACY'
When I dropped in at Occupy Democracy on Saturday morning, most of the
people who had stayed overnight in Parliament Square had already left to join
the TUC 'Britain Needs A Pay Rise' march that was gathering on the Embankment.
The few that remained were on the pavement opposite the Houses of Parliament,
with a fairly large police presence, along with the private security 'Heritage
Wardens' making sure they kept off the GLA grass - the pavement is the responsibility
of Westminster Council.
When I returned in mid-afternoon, there were more people, and groups were
arriving who had been on the TUC march. One from UK Uncut came into the square
dancing to the sound of a music centre on a shopping trolley. As they danced
on the pavement in front of the statue of Churchill, Westminster Council officials
prompted police into action and together with one of the Heritage Wardens
the police moved to attempt to seize the sound system.
Democracy campers linked arms to make it difficult for the warden and police
to reach the system, but eventually the police ran onto the grass of the square
and around the campers who were on the pavement and surrounded the small group
taking the system away. There Martin Tuohy showed his ID as Senior Westminster
Warden at Westminster City Council and together with another employee grabbed
the system with police looking on.
Some tense argument followed, and eventually the UK Uncut protesters were
allowed to leave with their equipment with the warning that they had to take
it away from Parliament Square or it would be taken from them.
Not long after, a larger group came from the TUC march, where they had been
carrying two large wood and fabric towers, one with the words POWER and OCCUPY
and the other the word DEMOCRACY. Together with other protesters they ran
onto the grass square and raised the towers. By now there was an impressive
array of police vans around the square, but police and wardens were able to
do little immediately to stop them. The long 'Real Democracy Now' banner was
carried into the middle of the grass and shortly after a rally began.
There was now a crowd of several hundred on Parliament Square, where they
were welcomed in a speech by Labour MP John McDonnell. Among the other speakers
were occupy's George Barda, environmentalist Donnachadh McCarthy and Russell
Brand, who after speaking posed for photographs together with many of those
Police were now massing around the square in blocks of around 20, obviously
posed in a military looking formations ready to run onto the square, with
perhaps a couple of hundred of them. Reinforcements arrived with two larger
groups of blue-capped TSGs obviously spoiling for a fight.
Then the police suddenly started to disappear. Perhaps someone had realised
that with Russell Brand talking, any attack on the protesters would have generated
massive and largely negative media coverage. Much better to come back late
at night and do it after the mass media had left (which they did.)
Democracy Camp starts with rally
Parliament Square, London. Fri 17 Oct 2014
Police attempted to take bags and packs from the protesters
who argued and resisted
Many police occupied Parliament Square along with a few Heritage Wardens,
determined that Occupy Democracy should not camp in Parliament Square. People
gathered for the camp, many with sleeping bags, and held a rally which was
continuing as I left.
Police met the gathering protesters and handed out a notice pointing out
that camping and the use of amplified noise equipment is prohibited in Parliament
Square at the start of the first evening of the Occupy democracy event planned
to last for 9 days.
There were some angry arguments after police attempted to seize property
from some of the protesters, who claimed that they were carrying rucksacks
and packs because they intended to sleep elsewhere in London and not for the
purpose of camping in Parliament Square. Eventually the police, who were being
urged to take the action by the 'Heritage Wardens' backed off.
The so-called Heritage Wardens were established by the Mayor of London in
2000 to patrol areas including Parliament Square and Trafalgar Square and,
according to the GLA, are there to "help and give information to
visitors on local attractions and the square's heritage and provide assistance
during events." In practice their main function seems to be to prevent
protests and harass photographers, and since May 2011 have been provided by
a private company, AOS Security.
Occupy Democracy came to occupy Parliament Square "for 9 days in October,
to broadcast and demand the solutions we already know exist, to inspire people
to be the active citizens required to take back democracy from powerful economic
The GLA had put signs on the grass area of the square, asking people to keep
off the grass, which they had just realised needed to be 'Closed for repair'
on just the day Occupy Democracy intended to use it. It was hardly convincing,
and most of the grass seemed in pretty good shape, except for a small bare
rectangle in the northwest corner that they had failed to do anything about.
The Occupy Democracy rally took place on the paved area at the north end
of the square, and there were some fine speeches. John Hilary, Executive Director
of War on Want and author of The Poverty of Capitalism made a penetrating
analysis of the problems of our current system. Robin from the Radical Housing
Network spoke about the tremendous opposition to this week's MIPIM conference
aimed at selling London property to rich overseas investors. Mansfield vicar
Keith Hebden caught everyone's attention; earlier in the year he fasted for
40 days as a part of the End Hunger Fast campaign, and there were many other
contributions to the rally which was still continuing as I left the square.
Spoof shock U-turn by Boris on Housing
Parliament Square, London. Fri 17 Oct 2014
The Lidl bags contain copies of the spoof 'London Standard Evening' which
were handed out at tube stations
Thousands of copies of a spoof edition of the 'London Standard Evening'
newspaper were handed out at tube stations, announcing a U-turn by Boris saying
"its time to put the social back into housing" and features about
London housing scandals.
The edition was produced for the final day of the world’s largest property
fair, known as MIPIM, which had taken place over three days at Olympia, with
protests outside it and a day of workshops on housing issues.
MIPIM is attended by property developers, investors, financiers and politicians
from around the world and they were welcomed there by London Mayor Boris Johnson
keen to have them build more large blocks for sale to overseas investors.
These developments feed the boom in house prices and rents in London and
so exacerbate our increasingly serious housing problem, with a desperate shortage
of social housing. Ten of thousands of London families are on council house
waiting lists, and communities across the city face eviction and displacement
at the hands of the profiteering developers Johnson welcomed to the city with
A small group of protesters from the Radical Housing Network met at Parliament
Square armed with large bags of the freshly printed newspapers. After handing
them out there they split up to take them to key tube stations around London
to hand out there.
Ban on Family visits to Palestinian Prisoners
Wilton Road, London. Fri 17 Oct 2014
The fences around Crossrail works at Victoria made good
places for banners
Protesters at the new offices of the G4S CEO called for an end to the
bans on family visits to Palestinians in Israeli jails, which G4S helps to
run. Since July all visits from Gaza and those to prisoners who took part
in hunger strikes have been denied.
The offices of the Chief Executive Officer of G4S are on the top floor of
Peak HOuse, a new office building opposite the front of Victoria station.
Most of the area around the station is now covered by building works for the
new Crossrail station there, and I was able to see the protest across the
road several minutes before I could actually get there. But there was a steady
stream of pedestrians walking past, many trying to get to Victoria Station.
A surprising number of them walking past took the leaflets that were proffered,
and a few stopped to talk and express their sympathy with the protest. While
I was there there were also two people with adverse comments. On man restricted
himself to a shouted comment, but another grabbed hold of the lowest of three
Palestinian flags of a long pole held by one of the female demonstrators.
She held on to the pole, and others rushed to her assistance and the man hurried
away. I wasn't looking in the right direction and missed the pictures.
The protesters state that Israel is denying Palestinian families the right
to visit their loved ones in prison, in contravention of Article 116 of the
Fourth Geneva Convention.
Following the 2006 election victory of Hamas, Israel collectively punished
the population of Gaza by denying family visits to all Palestinians from
Gaza. One of the main demands of the April 2014 hunger strike by administrative
detainees was for Israel to reinstate family visits to Gaza prisoners and
whilst Israel agreed to resume the visits on conclusion of the strike it
soon reneged on its promise and since July all visits from Gaza are banned.
Also vindictively Israel punished the 125 administrative detainees who participated
in the hunger strike by banning their families from visiting for 4 months.
Now Israel has started to issue 3 month banning orders on family visits,
to the families of prisoners with links to organisations opposing the occupation.
On September 14th 2014, Ahmad Sa'adat, Member of Palestinian Parliament
and Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine,
received orders banning his family from visiting for 3 months. Hundreds
of other prisoners, especially those affiliated with Hamas, Islamic Jihad
and PFLP, have similarly received banning orders against family visits.
Today's protest raised the case of Palestinian woman university lecturer
Mona Qa'adan who has been held in jail since November 2012, and not been allowed
a single family visit in 2 years.
Her entire family - four sisters and three brothers, have all been labelled
a "security threat" and prevented from talking to her for even
a single minute in two years. Mona's illegal detention has been extended
16 consecutive times since her abduction without any trial. In the meantime
she her health is suffering with problems in her gallbladder, stomach and
high blood pressure.
She is caged at the notorious G4S secured HaSharon women's prison. At HaSharon
prison Palestinian women prisoners have to endure beatings, insults, threats,
sexually explicit harassment and sexual violence, and humiliation at the
hands of Israeli guards. They are often forced to undergo degrading strip
searches during the middle of the night - forced to squat naked and subjected
to intrusive internal body searches, for no reason other than as a punitive
measure. Women have been beaten and left tied to their bed for a day and
a half and not allowed to go to the toilet as punishment for spilling water.
The cells at HaSharon prison are overcrowded, dirty and infected with rodents
and cockroaches. There is a total absence of basic hygiene, ... the heat
is unbearable, the windows are closed and covered so that hardly any air
or daylight can enter. The food is insufficient, and of inferior quality
& dirty, often containing insects & worms, at times there are not
enough portions for all the women.
I left while the protest was still continuing, though in danger of running
out of leaflets because of the large numbers of pedestrians passing.
Art Not Oil Rembrandt Against Shell
National Gallery, London. Thu 16 Oct 2014
'Art for People - Not Profit' and not to sanitise
companies like Shell, G4S, BP and Serco
After their gate-crashing performance at the press launch of the National
Gallery's Rembrandt exhibition against oil sponsorship of the arts and privatisation
of gallery staffing, the Art Not Oil coalition returned to repeat their protest
outside a gala evening for special guests and highly ranked staff.
The exhibition is being guarded by a private security firm - not the gallery's
own staff - at a time when the gallery is making plans to privatise up to
two thirds of the gallery staff, many of whom were on strike the previous
day as PCS members protesting with other gallery and museum staff.
Art Not Oil state:
The presence of unethical sponsors like Shell and the contracting of
external security firms shows the growing influence the private sector is
having over our arts and culture. With its meagre contribution to the gallery,
Shell is buying social legitimacy for its dodgy deeds worldwide, including:
- its failure to clean up its multiple spills in the Niger Delta
- its reckless plans to drill in the Arctic for yet more oil
- its tar sands projects in Canada that are undermining Indigenous people's
As well as holding banners and placards and handing out flyers against the
sponsorship by Shell, the protesters sang a number of specially written songs
and performed the short playlet they had previously given inside the gallery
during the press launch, although with some changes in cast.
Bermondsey Thames Panoramas
City Hall to Angel Wharf, London. Thu Oct 16 2014
Dramatic lighting on St Saviour's Dock, Bermondsey
I had time before going to another event to take a short walk along the
Thames Path, starting at the gardens around City Hall, close to the Southwark
Council offices I had been photographing at, and making my way very slowly
Just past Tower Bridge I went down the stairs onto the foreshore, as the
tide was very low, and walked around a little before coming back up to Shad
Thames, a painful pastiche of its former industrial past. Quickly I made my
way to the path beside the river and walked on, to be halted as usual at the
footbridge across St Saviour's Dock.
I'd decided to take a walk rather than go and sit in a café or pub
partly because of the changeable weather with sunny periods and showers and
some interesting clouds and lighting. Perhaps here it became a little too
interesting, giving the pictures an unreal quality, like some 'special effect'
produced in software, but here it really was like this.
Eventually I tore myself away and continued my wander, realising when I got
to West Lane that I was in danger of arriving late at Trafalgar Square and
running down to the bus stop on Jamaica Road.
CPOs for Southwark Councillors
Elephant to Southwark Council Offices, London. Thu Oct 16 2014
A fine 'Social Housing Not Social Cleansing' banner
with bulldozer and elephant
Protesters marched to Southwark Council Offices to serve 'People's Compulsory
Purchase Orders' on the homes of the Council leader and other councillors
who they say have accepted gifts from developers to sell off council estates
at knockdown prices.
Mismanagement of their misconceived policies is costing the people of Southwark
dear. Not only has the demolition of over 1200 homes in and close to the well-designed
and largely popular Heygate estate caused suffering and loss to the families
concerned, the costs of the 'decanting' of the tenants were apparently considerably
greater than the proceeds of the sale to developers, despite the fact that
leaseholders were only offered around half the true market value of property
in the area. Most have been forced to move some way out into the suburbs to
buy property in far less convenient areas giving them long and expensive work
The development of the estate as 'Elephant Park' means the loss of over a
thousand social housing units. The new properties on the site have already
been advertised to overseas buyers in Singapore and elsewhere as second homes,
investment properties, homes for wealthy overseas students studying here,
buy-to-let etc. There may be a small number of so-called affordable units
at 80% of market rates, still well above what most Londoners can actually
Other developments in Southwark also offer little to the largely low-income
population of the borough. One The Elephant, currently going up close to where
the protesters met is a 44 storey block of luxury flats with no social housing,
and is being sold abroad, with 'studio flats' starting at around £320,000
or 640,000 Singapore dollars.
The protesters met at the base of the Strata Tower (one of London's uglier
new towers, with an entirely greenwash three wind turbines on its roof, making
it look like an ugly electric razor. They produce no electricity as running
them produces excessive vibration in flats at the top of the building.
The Southwark campaigners were joined by members of the Focus E15 Mums Housing
for All campaign. From Strata they marched first to the Elephant Park Sales
Office on the Walworth Rd for a brief protest, then walked on the road through
the now demolished Heygate estate, turning north to walk through some of the
1930s and later council estates to the north of the New Kent Road. All the
estates around Falmouth Road, Rockingham St and Bath Terrace are attractive
targets for developers. Getting rid of the council tenants, demolishing the
social housing and replacing it with higher density high price 'luxury' flats
would generate huge profits and without some drastic change in the council
The march went on to an area around Long Lane and Tennis St, where again
similar changes - gentrification labelled as regeneration - seem bound to
take place, before making its way through Guy's Hospital and London Bridge
Station to Tooley St and the Council Offices. Security stopped the marchers
from entering the Council Offices to deliver the letters for Southwark Council
Leader Peter John and two other councillors containing 'People's Compulsory
Purchase Orders' for their homes, but after much argument and the presence
of police Liliana Dmitrovic of the 'People's Republic of Southwark' and another
protester were allowed in. As Southwark residents they had a right to enter
the council offices.
They went to the reception desk asking to see the John and the two councillors
to had over the letters, and were told to take a seat and wait. They waited.
Eventually Stephen Douglas from Southwark Council came to tell them that all
of the three councillors named on the letters are currently in meetings and
unavailable, but promising that if the letters were given to him he would
personally deliver them to the councillors. The letters were handed over and
the protesters left.
Class War Poor Doors Week 12
One Commercial St, Aldgate, London. Wed Oct 15 2014
Rhythms of Resistance samba band plays outside the
Heavy rain didn't stop the 12th weekly protest on the pavement at One Commercial
St over different doors for rich and poor tenants of the prestige block, although
numbers were a little down on last week, but the samba band kept the spirits
But rain did make photography rather difficult, with flash lighting up the
rain drops unless I stayed under the canopy extending out from the building
- where most of the protesters including the band were.
London Transport Museum Arms Protest
Covent Garden, London. Tue 14 Oct 2014
Campaign Against the Arms Trade protest because the
museum is sponsored by Arms Maker Thales
As darkness fell, a small group of protesters from London Campaign Against
Arms Trade gathered outside the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden Piazza
to protest against arms company Thales sponsoring the museum.
Protesters handed out leaflets to those entering the London Transport Museum
where Kate Adie was speaking on how women's lives changed in World War One
explaining why they were protesting. Thales is the eleventh largest arms company
in the world, and supplies missiles, drones and other military products.
The sell arms to repressive regimes such as Saudi Arabia, Russia, Colombia,
Kazakhstan and the UAE. London CAAT wants the museum to end their deal with
Thales and to agree not to take money from arms companies in the future.
Thorpe, Surrey. Mon Oct 13 2014
Former gravel pit next to M25 at Thorpe
Thorpe is a village now best-known for the theme park built around some nearby
unfilled gravel pits, to which thousands make there way to stand in queues
for the various rides. I've been twice, once when it was opening and they
had a free day for those in the area,and another time when dragged along by
some foreign visitors. Like Hell if less warm.
But Thorpe itself is a pleasant enough village, or would be but for the M25
and the theme park, with a picturesque centre with an ancient church, the
area largely having been bought by an American school. Our walk didn't taken
us to this part, though we dropped in for a brief look in the rain on our
way home after a pub meal. And it was a very good pub meal.
This was one of our family walks, and I think the route came from the web
- perhaps the pub web site. It was raining slightly, but not enough to stop
us walking. After getting just a little lost on some footpaths in the village
we came to a path on the village edge and found it was pretty overgrown, mainly
with stinging nettles for the next quarter of a mile, before coming out onto
a road, and across that to a footbridge across the M25. We then walked down
roughly parallel to the motorway on a not very clear path which took us to
a gravel pit.
Huge areas around the borders of Greater London have been dug up for gravel
over the years, and it is cheaper to leave them full of water as recreational
lakes than to fill them in. Look out south as you fly into Heathrow from the
west and you will see a patchwork of reservoirs and disused gravel pits like
this. Looking at the map reminds me of lace or a leaf that has suffered severe
attacks by caterpillars. Of course during the floods earlier this year event
more was under water.
This particular lake is called Longside Lake, and is around half a mile long,
going down to Thorpe Green. For much of the way we had water on both sides
of the strip a few yards wide we were walking on, with the lake on our left
and a stream, covered in places with a bright green floating plant on our
right. We could hear the M25, just a couple of hundred yards away across the
lake, but there were a lot of trees by the lake edge, and only the occasional
glimpse of the top of a lorry. There were a few fallen trees to walk round
or clamber over, and a rather flimsy plank bridge across a channel with water
flowing down from the stream to the lake. This went up and down several inches
as I crossed, precipitating a panic attack and I felt myself fainting, but
fortunately just managed to make it to solid ground and began to recover.
After that it was fortunately a fairly short and easy walk to the pub, though
I did have to stop and rest a couple of times when I felt weak again. Things
like this never used to worry me, but are often a problem now. Probably its
part of getting old. And I revived quite well in The Red Lion, particularly
with a good pub meal and a pint of beer or two.
Support the Defenders of Kobane
Parliament Square, London. Sat Oct 11 2014
face appears on top of the placard 'Support Kobane, Support Democracy' in
front of Big Ben
Thousands came to Parliament Square to support the Kurdish fight against
ISIS in Kobane, calling for support for the Kurdish fighters condemning Turkish
support for ISIS. As they marched away, scuffles broke out and police grabbed
several protesters and the march sat down in Whitehall.
Most of those attending the protest were Kurds or Turks and the event brought
together many different groups, united in their support for those defending
Kobane and the remarkable democracy of Rojava, which has a constitution giving
equality to men, women and all ethnic and religious groups.
Everyone castigated Turkey for supporting the ISIS militants who many see
as hiving been invented, trained and funded by the CIA and Mossad, as well
as some Arab states including Qatar. Turkey is seen as hoping that ISIS will
defeat the Kurds and thus ease Turkey's own problem of those living in Turkey
who have long been fighting for greater autonomy, although in recent years
There were strong calls for the lifting by the UK of the ban on the PKK,
the Kurdish Workers Party, whose leader Abdullah Öcalan has been held
in jail in Turkey since 1999. In recent years he has been attempting to negotiate
a peaceful end to the conflict, declaring a ceasefire at the Kurdish New Year
in March 2013.
Although most of the protesters at the rally were Kurds, there were many
speakers from the mainstream UK community, including a number of trade unionists,
London Green MEP Jean Lambert, and human rights lawyer Margaret Owen.
At the end of the rally, the march formed up and made its way up Parliament
St towards Whitehall, intending to go on and march around the West End. After
the first thousand or so had left the square, loud shouting came from the
northeast corner and I rushed there to find a large group of protesters confronting
police around the statue of Palmerston. The situation was very confused, with
much pushing and shoving, and I got knocked off the low wall I had stood on
to take pictures as a mass of police and protesters surged in my direction.
At one point police formed a corridor to carry out one man to a police van
and I assumed he was being arrested. But a few minutes later I photographed
him a little way down the street and minutes after that he was back joining
in the fracas.
Apparently the trouble had started when police tried to stop and search some
of the protesters and then tried to arrest one of them. Onlookers then joined
in and the situation rapidly escalated. When the marchers heard of the arrest
they sat down and blocked Whitehall. Police began negotiations but the road
was still blocked when I returned from photographing the NoTTIP banner drop
over half an hour later.
The march restarted shortly after when police had released one of those detained,
but apparently two men where held in custody. Having been held up for so long
there marchers gave up the planned march and instead returned to end their
day in Parliament Square where they dispersed, by which time I was already
on my train home.
#NoTTIP - Hands off our democracy
Parliament Square, London. Sat 11 Oct 2014
full banner read 'Hands off Democracy #noTTIP and was really too long for
Protesters say the EU-US Trade Deal (TTIP) would let corporations sue governments,
lock in privatisation of our schools and NHS, undermine protection for privacy,
workers and the environment and allow fracking and other harmful activities.
After the Parliament Square rally, those present marched to Westminster Bridge
for a 'banner drop'
#NoTTIP - Banner Drop
Westminster Bridge, London. Sat 11 Oct 2014
the #noTTIP Hands Off Democracy banners on Westminster
The low sun made it difficult to get good pictures of the #noTTIP Hands Off
Democracy banners on Westminster Bridge, and there also seemed to be no clear
plan as to where they should be let down. There was also just enough breeze
to occasionally lift up the banners and make them hard to read.
I'd rushed ahead to get to a suitable place to photograph the banner several
hundred yards down the opposite bank where it was possible to get a good view
of the Houses of Parliament behind it. But as soon as I started taking pictures,
the banners were lifted up and carried further onto the bridge, probably at
the phoned request of the rather lazier official photographer for the group.
And shortly after I'd started photographing them in their second position
they were up and on the move again. I walked back towards the bridge for some
final pictures in the third position.
Global Frackdown at HSBC
London . Sat 11 Oct 2014
Frack Off London erect their fracking rig at the Regent
St HSBC with a banner 'Fracking is a dirty business'
Activists took a mock 'fracking rig' to two branches of HSBC in central
London, the bank that supports Cuadrilla in the UK and fracking in Algeria
and the US as their part of protests around the world, with participants from
Romania and Algeria.
The London protest organised by Frack Off London was part of a Global Frackdown
by communities around the world against this environmentally destructive industry
which leaves a legacy of water contamination, air pollution and health problems.
And as a dirty fossil fuel it deepens the climate crisis.
HSBC was targeted as it provides banking services for Cuadrilla, and funds
fracking around the world. In Algeria, they are helping to bring this water
intensive process to the Sahara and in the US, they underwrite the BG Group
responsible for fracking in large parts of the country.
A small crowd of activists gathered in Golden Square, Soho watched by police,
with police liaison officers desperately trying to find information about
what the group intended, but with little success. Eventually the group packed
up their mock fracking rig and marched out of the square to the nearby HSBC
branch in Regent St. The bank had clearly been reading Facebook and presumably
had received a warning from the police as the bank doors were being locked
as we got within sight. Ont he pavement outside the rig was erected the rig
and banners held up for a short rally with several speakers.
Then it was time to pack up and move on, marching at first along the pavement
before taking to the street again. It seemed a long way to the next stop in
the Strand and I think they missed a few HSBC branches. Again the rig was
erected, and banners held up across the front of the locked bank. As well
as speeches by the Algerian Solidarity Campaign and others there was a short
piece of street theatre performed by Romanian anti-fracking activists.
The protesters made their presence heard by some loud drumming and blowing
of whistles and plastic horns as they made their way down Whitehall to Parliament
Square for a final short protest and photographs. In Parliament Square most
of them intended to join in the protest against TTIP, which will hand over
important aspects of democracy to the dictates of large corporations under
the guise of free trade.
Solidarity with the Umbrella Revolution
Chinese Embassy, London. Fri 10 Oct 2014
Protesters kept on the pavement in front of the Chinese
Embassy and ignored police requests to move
The National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts organised a protest at the
Chinese Embassy in solidarity with the 'umbrella revolution' of the students
and workers of Hong Kong in their fight for democracy. Many of the protesters
carried umbrellas and others had small yellow paper umbrellas as well as their
posters and placards.
The protesters who included a number of Chinese and some who had been at
the protests in Hong Kong gathered across the road from the embassy, but after
a short introductory speech they decided to go across the road and protest
on the pavement outside the embassy door.
Police tried to persuade them to move back across the road, but Daniel Cooper
and the others ignored officers who tried to talk to them and continued with
the protest. Speakers called on the Chinese Government to honour the promises
they had made about democracy in Hong Kong. In solidarity with the students
and the workers of the HKCTU they called for the immediate release of all
the arrested, an end to the suppression of peaceful assembly, replacing the
"fake universal suffrage" formula with the genuine political reform
workers have been demanding, and the resignation of Chief Executive Leung
Palestine protest at Hewlett Packard
Wood St, London. Fri 10 Oct 2014
with Free Palestine umbrellas hand out leaflets opposite HP
The Palestinian Prisoners Campaign continued their campaign against Hewlett-Packard,
which boasts of 'a massive presence' in Israel and are the IT backbone for
the Israeli war machine with a picket outside their London offices.
City of London. Fri 10 Oct 2014
A cement mixer goes down Aldersgate St
I had a little time to spare between events and took a short walk in the
City, including along one of the remaining areas of 'highwalk' at the southwest
of the Barbican site, part of the post-war plan to segregate pedestrians from
The rather ugly brickwork at the west end of London Wall had some strange
characters on it, which were explained in a display above by the Museum of
London, although fans of Sherlock Holmes may need no explanation.
At Wood St, the remaining highwalk overlooks a large building site which
used to be an area of highwalk, but is now being developed to make much greater
use of the land, doubtless for more offices.
Free Ghoncheh Ghavami - SOAS action
SOAS, London. Fri 10 Oct 2014
Students hold posters showing the former student jailed in Iran for trying
to watch a volleyball match
Protesters called for the release of former SOAS Law student Ghoncheh
Ghavami, held in prison for 104 days and on hunger strike for 10 days after
being detained in Iran with other women after she went to watch a volleyball
match. Among those who spoke at the protest was Ghavami's brother.
Among those present at the protest were a number of Iranian students, one
who told us that she was unable to return to her country because she had been
seen on television watching a volleyball game in Rome when the TV camera showed
the audience reacting to a score.
The rally was supported by staff and the SOAS staff unions UCU and Unison,
as well as by the SOAS Student Union. As well as the rally I photographed,
some of the students were taking part in a day's hunger strike in solidarity
with Ghavami, and there was a candlelit vigil in the evening.
Solidarity for Care UK Strikers
Care UK, Southwark, London. Fri 10 Oct 2014
outside the offices in Great Guildford St with banners
NSSN, TUSC and Southwark Unison protested at the Care UK offices in
the nation-wide day of solidarity with Doncaster Care UK workers striking
for 81 days after huge cuts in pay and services by a private equity company
taking over a part of the NHS.
The protest here was one of many pickets and protests around the country
outside Care UK offices and those of Bridgepoint, the private equity firm
that owns Care UK, or at shops such as Fat Face and Pret a Manger also owned
Their strike is not just about their own cuts in wages, but a stand against
the principles involved and the whole idea of a values-based health service.
The workers at Care UK are no longer able to proudly address the needs of
those with learning disorders in their own community, but are simply required
to meet minimum needs at the lowest possible cost - and the greatest profit
to Bridgepoint and the company to which they will be sold on once the private
equity company has slimmed services and pay to the bone.
Deptford to Greenwich
Deptford and Greenwich, Thu 9 Oct 2014
The sun had gone and the heavens were about to open
I was meeting a couple of photographers for lunch and a chat in Greenwich,
and when I looked out of the window it was a fine day, so I grabbed my camera
bag and took an early train, getting off a stop early at Deptford with a couple
of hours to spare to wander along mainly on the Thames Path.
The forecast seemed ideal for making some panoramas, as the last thing you
need for these in open locations like the wide views along the Thames are
empty blue skies. The forecast promised sunny periods and showers later but
wasn't entirely accurate, as a shower came almost as soon as I got out of
A little rain is a good thing too, as the air over London is seldom too clean,
with a combination of particulates and photochemical smog making the distance
hazy. Rain scrubs the air, and after a good pour it can seem unnaturally clear.
The first pictures I took were actually during a shower, and the distance
is hazy because of the rain in the air, but it soon stopped, leaving some
clear views and dramatic skies as the rain cleared. Pictures taken in different
directions within seconds of each other sometimes showed dramatic differences.
The sunny weather that followed was sometimes too sunny, and at times there
was barely a cloud to disturb the boring blue. With panoramic images like
those I was mainly making there can be quite a shift across the frame from
deep blue to hard to keep within bounds white, which often looks odd in a
photograph. Most of these images, though within the 'normal' 1.5:1 aspect
ratio of the 35mm frame are panoramic in view, with a horizontal angle of
view of over 145 degrees and a vertical view of almost a 100 degrees. Extreme
angles of view such as this make it impossible to maintain rectilinear perspective
and some straight lines appear curved.
1+I was particularly interested in the area around Deptford Creek which has
changed so radically since I photographed it in the 1980s. The power station,
the scrap metal and almost all of the industry has gone, replace by blocks
of often expensive flats, Stowage, which always seemed to be a workshop on
the fringes of hell hardly exists, and there is just one small area of Deptford
Creek still at work,
I got engrossed and arrived at the pub rushing and a little late to enjoy
a curry and a couple of pints of an excellent real ale. When I finally left,
the weather had changed again, now dull and threatening, the clouds grey upon
grey, and towards London an almost menacing dark, but with a bright light
still making the river shine and lighting the tower blocks theatrically.
At first the rain was fairly light, but driven by a gusting wind that made
holding an umbrella difficult. Then the rain became torrential. My umbrella
was intruding uncontrollably into some of my pictures and I had to find some
shelter. As soon as it slackened off a little I set out again, taking more
pictures on my way to the DLR to Canary Wharf and the way home.
Poor Doors Musical Protest
One Commercial St, Aldgate, London. Wed 8 Oct 2014
Cosmo plays and sings, the Class War banner and Marina
The 11th weekly protest on the pavement at One Commercial St over different
doors for rich and poor tenants of the prestige block was the largest to date,
with almost a hundred Class War activists dancing and singing to Cosmo and
The protests at the block next to Aldgate East station are continuing to
grow, and this week's felt a powerful event with the a great atmosphere, with
powerful contributions from the two groups and some stirring speeches. Cosmo,
who had come from Cardiff to perform here was impressive - his web page calls
him a one-man anarcho-folk-punk-hiphop phenomenon - and I think I heard him
back in the 90s at some Reclaim the Streets events.
People meeting at a nearby pub before the protest had noticed there was a
strong police presence, with around a dozen officers standing inside and outside
the 'rich door' as well as Redrow's own staff. So they decided to start the
protest on the opposite side of the road to One Commercial St, only coming
across after a few minutes as the rain got heavier. One Commercial St has
a wide glass porch which keeps the rain off the pavement immediately in front
of the building, but unfortunately doesn't protect photographers who stand
a little further out to take pictures.
Unstone Grange & Chesterfield
Unstone and Chesterfield, Derbyshire. Sun 5 Oct 2014
Finally I came to something that really looked like
it was a canal
It had long been dark by the time we arrived at Unstone Grange, a small conference
centre a few miles north of Chesterfield. We had actually missed most of the
weekend conference, but Linda had some business to sort out and it was good
to meet friends again.
I woke up early and went for a walk before in the half hour or so before
breakfast, around the grounds and then up the lane into Apperrknowle before
it was time to go back.
We got a lift into Chesterfield after lunch and arrived well over an hour
before our train was due. We'd bought advance tickets at a small fraction
of the full fare and they were only valid for that particular train. Chesterfield
station isn't a great place to wait, so we took it in turns to go for a walk
while one of us sat with the luggage in the station and read.
I took rather more than my share of the time, as I found the start of the
Chesterfield canal and decided to have a quick explore. It turned out to take
me rather longer than I expected, and I had to run most of the way back.
Hull and Hornsea
Hull & Hornsea. Fri 3 & Sat 4 Oct 2014
Its a mistake to actually go to the Land of Green Ginger,so
much better left in the imagination
Part of the reason we'd come up to Hull early for the wedding was to meet
some of the other wedding guests, more old friends who had come over from
Germany for the event and were arriving on Friday morning. But before they
came we said hello to Philip Larkin who was standing - looking rather bronzed
- outside the hotel door and went for another walk around parts of the Old
Town, including a visit to Holy Trinity, before meeting them to have coffee
in the Ferens Gallery.
It really is a good gallery (and many years ago gave me my first solo show
- which included many of the images in my book 'Still
Occupied - A View of Hull' and it was a pity we didn't have time to look
at the exhibitions there. But as well as Hull, we had to take a trip to Hornsea,
and the buses are not too frequent and take over an hour each way.
There really isn't a lot to do in Hornsea but look at the sea. So we looked
at it, walked along the front and then back and waited for another bus back
to Hull, pausing briefly to look at the patch of grass where my wife's aunt
had owned a small cottage. Every year her family had their holiday there,
until the council made a compulsory purchase order on the long-condemned property.
The development they intended for the site fell through, so it is now just
a bit of grass and a flower bed or two.
We wanted to be back for a French film that was showing in the Hull Film
Festival, a miniature event getting ready for a larger festival next year
and of course working up to more for 2017 when it is the turn of Hull to be
UK City of Culture. Like many other northern cities it has always been a city
of culture - for those who wanted it.
On Saturday I took a few more pictures as we walked in the rain the mile
and a half to the church for the wedding, which are also on line. I wasn't
the official wedding photographer (they didn't want one, but the husband of
the bride's sister, a retired photographer took some pictures as they signed
the register) but had been asked if I would take some pictures of the guests
at the short celebration at the church after the wedding and later at the
reception in a hotel a few miles away. Which I enjoyed doing and it stopped
me getting bored when I wasn't eating or drinking. But I won't post the pictures
The rain was a shame, as the hotel had what looked like some fine gardens,
and the sun came out just as we had to leave to catch a bus and a train and
then another bus to make our way to another event at Unstone Grange in the
country between Sheffield and Chesterfield.
Hull at Night
Hull. Thu 2 Oct 2014
The new bridge across the River Hull in the Old Town
We travelled to Hull a couple of days early to attend the wedding of an old
friend, who had been at primary school with my wife. As we travelled by train,
the Royal Station Hotel was a convenient place to stay, with an entrance on
the station forecourt.
After we'd settled into our hotel room overlooking Paragon Square we were
getting hungry, and went to look for somewhere to eat. We walked along Princes
Avenue looking at all the places before deciding to try a Malaysian restaurant,
and it turned out to be an excellent choice, and by London standards very
reasonably priced and a pleasant atmosphere.
By the time we left I was in a very good mood (the wine helped) and we took
a long walk around the Old Town and a lot of pictures - all handheld.
Class War Poor Doors Week 10
One Commercial St, Aldgate, London. Wed 1 Oct 2014
One of the two vases that Class War had brought to
One Commercial St
Over 60 people came to the 10th weekly protest at One Commercial St over
separate doors for rich and poor tenants of the prestige block at Aldgate.
Class War brought with them two vases of flowers to replace the one broken
during last week's protest, though they were perhaps a little plastic and
tacky looking compared to the one that had been broken the previous week.
I wasn't entirely clear how the vase had been broken during the Class War
occupation of the reception area behind the 'rich door'. Ian Bone had been
standing next to the reception desk on which it was standing, and had been
speaking and waving his walking stick around. Possibly he just meant to rest
the stick on the desk, but somehow the vase was sent crashing to the floor,
leading to his later arrest as he tried to leave the area.
Possibly too his action may have been recorded on CCTV as police claimed,
and given the luxury nature of the Redrow block, they may even have CCTV with
a high enough resolution to show what happened. But I understand that the
replacement cost him 70 quid.
The two replacement vases brought to the protest looked rather cheaper, although
I doubt if that is why the building manager refused to take either of them
when first offered. But later, as he was letting in a resident through the
rich door, one of the vases was thrust into his face and he took hold of it,
probably by reflex. His face when he found himself holding it was interesting,
and he quickly put it down, placing it on the desk in the reception area in
the same place as the one knocked off last week, complete with its with a
'Toffs Out!' Class War card.
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