Thames Path - Bermondsey

Bermondsey, London. Sun 28 Aug 2016


The Thames path rejoins the river after a detour along Bermondsey Wall
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I was on my way to celebrate a birthday at the Angel Rotherhithe, but had deliberately come early so I could walk part of the way there along by the river and take a few panoramas and other pictures.

As I reached the river, it started to rain, and there was a heavy but fortunately fairly short shower. I sheltered for a while, then as the rain eased off a little came out and took some pictures - with some fairly dramatic skies. A few were ruined by rain on the lens.

A few minutes later it was bright sun again, and we were able to sit outside the pub for a few drinks. I took some pictures at the party, and posted them in a private group on Facebook for the group of friends who were there.
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Human Rights for Refugees

Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 27 Aug 2016

A woman speaks at the protest in front of an empty tent
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A Demonstration called by Help4Refugee Children, Syria Solidarity Campaign, Calais Action & RS21 in Trafalgar Square called for refugees to be treated as human beings and be given the rights defined by the Refugee Convention and later agreements.

They say treating refugees in the inhuman way we currently see is unacceptable - no human is illegal - and they should have the same human rights as our own and not refused asylum, or harassed by police and herded into shocking, subhuman conditions such as the ‘Jungle’ camp at Calais.

There was a short misunderstanding between one of the entertainers on the North Terrace who felt that the protesters came onto his pitch too quickly as he was ending his his, and that they had earlier got a little in the way, but it was quickly ended and the protest continued. A gust wind made keeping some of the posters on the pavement in place difficult, with the tape used not stopping them being blown away.

 

End inhumane dog & cat meat trade

Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 27 Aug 2016

China also treats animals with great cruelty, along with many other countries
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A small group of protesters marched around London, ending at Trafalgar Square in protest against the trade in cat and dog meat for human consumption.

The trade is mainly in the far east, where live animals are deliberately and sadistically tortured to death in the scientifically unfounded belief that inflicting pain on them produces more tender meat, increases the virility of men who eat it, and helps people to keep cool in hot weather. The trade is to be debated in parliament next month.
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Falun Dafa protest Chinese Oppression

Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 27 Aug 2016

Practitioners meditate in Trafalgar Square while others handed out flyers
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Practitioners of Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong), an advanced Buddhist practice of moral rectitude, meditation and exercise founded by Mr Li Hongzhi in 1992, meditated in Trafalgar Square as a protest against the continuing torture and repression they have experience in China since 1999. Practitioners there are subject to forced labor, psychiatric abuse, torture and even execution, allegedly carried out to supply human organs for Chinese transplant operations.
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UberEats couriers strike for Living Wage

Black Swan Yard, London. Fri 26 Aug 2016

Bike riders protest at UberEats offices on strike day calling for a living wage
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Couriers for UberEats food delivery service and their supporters demonstrated outside the company's offices in Bermondsey after cuts in the rate per delivery by the company mean some drivers fail to earn the minimum wage.

The workers who deliver food from cafe kitchens across London are employed on a 'self-employed' basis many see as bogus, and are supported by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain - Couriers and Logistics branch. They demand a guarantee they will be paid at least the London Living Wage, together with costs for their vehicles, insurance etc. Most of the couriers work on scooters or mopeds, but there were also those on pedal cycles, as well as a number of supporters on foot.

The drivers had come to Bermondsey in a large block from Aldgate, and arrived rather later than expected. Staff at the UberEats offices had been telling people that the protest was not happening, and tried briefly to stop people entering the yard.

The noisy meeting in the yard outside the offices was watched and photographed by some of the staff on the first floor inside, and one manager opened a window to briefly shout insults. He moved away and then came back, and I just missed getting a picture of him giving the finger to those below.

The drivers get their assignments using a phone app from Uber, and Imran Siddiqui came to show the press how he had been sacked without notice for his activism by being locked out of the app. There is a petition demanding his re-instatement.

Security staff would not allow the protesters to go into the offices, but eventually agreed that a small deputation could go inside. Six were chosen and allowed in but came out almost immediately to tell the protest that the managers had refused to talk with them as a group and had attempted to separate the to deal with them as individuals. They refused as this would allow managers to intimidate the drivers and discriminate against them.

The drivers present at the protest decided to stick together and to go in groups to restaurants requesting deliveries from them that evening and picket to persuade other drivers to join in the strike. One of the big problems in organising effective action is that the drivers all work as individuals, and their bogus self-employed status makes it hard for them to organise together.

Uber in June promised the drivers they would earn £20 an hour; now they have switched to paying per delivery, and some drivers have ended up being on call for a day and only getting one delivery and earning only £9 - with £4 of that going for petrol. They are demanding to be guaranteed the London Living Wage, currently £9.40 an hour.
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Close Australian Refugee Detention Camps

Australian High Commission, London. Fri 26 Aug 2016

Protesters hold a banner for Omid Masoumali, an Iranian refugee who set fire to himself in Nauru
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Activists from the International Alliance Against Mandatory Detention protested outside the Australian High Commission in solidarity with a national day of action in Australia calling for the immigration detention camps on Nauru, Manus Island and Christmas Island to be closed immediately, and the detainees be given their rights under international law and settle in the Australian community.

As well as posters, the protesters carried a banner for Omid Masoumali, an Iranian refugee who died in a Brisbane hospital two days after setting himself on fire in front of visiting officials from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) after learning that he would be held in the island detention camp of Nauru for another ten years.

The protest took the form of a full reading of The Nauru Files, first published by The Guardian, over 2,000 leaked incident reports which detail assaults, sexual abuse, self harm, child abuse and terrible living conditions in the camps, amounting to routine dysfunction and cruelty. The reading was expected to take around 8 hours and ended in the early evening long after I had left.
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10 Years of Resistance to Phulbari

Stock Exchange, London. Fri 26 Aug 2016
Coal monsters in devil masks hold lumps of coal and the names of the CEO and Director of GCR
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A protest outside the Stock Exchange called for an end to plans for open-cast mining at Phulbari in Bangladesh by British company, Global Coal Resources Management and for the company to be de-listed from the Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market.

Protests in Bangladesh have prevented mining for ten years. The protesters lit candles and held a silence as a vigil for three villagers shot dead and two hundred injured at a mass protest in 2006. The mine would displace 130,000 farming families, destroy 14,600 hectares of fertile land, threaten clean water resources and have a devastating impact on one of the world’s largest mangrove forests and UNESCO heritage site, the Sunderbans.

Two protesters wore 'coal devil' masks and held posters to show they represented Global Coal Resources Management CEO Gary Lye and the Chair of the Board of Directors Michael Tang. There were some arguments with police who wanted to keep the pavement clear, but the protesters insisted on laying out a banner with the names of the three villagers, Alamin, Salekin and Tariqul with the message 'Your Deaths Were Not In Vain' and placing flowers, candles and lumps of coal on it.
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Unethical London Hotels Slammed

South Bank, London. Tue 23 Aug 2016

A 'South Bank Patrol' Enforcement Officer harasses the campaigners
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Unite Hospitality Workers launched their 'Unethical London' report into the bullying, harassment and victimisation of workers in London's top hotels, where management deny the right to join unions and bargain for better wages and conditions with a protest close to the London Eye and outside the nearby Holiday Inn hotel.

The group met on the Embankment close to the London Eye and were harassed by security working for the London Eye who told them that the public riverside walkway there was private property and that they were not allowed to have banners or placards or hand out flyers there.

After some argument, they moved onto the public open space of Jubilee Gardens, where they were than harassed by 'South Bank Patrol' Enforcement Officers who told them they were not allowed to protest there. The patrol is a private security force employed by the South Bank Employers Group which has recently been granted limited police powers through the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme.

Jubilee Gardens used to be a public park but is now apparently privately owned by the Jubilee Gardens Trust, who have a long list of regulations including banning its use "for any meeting, rally or gathering involving any political or other protest or demonstration of similar purpose including delivering public speeches, addresses and affixing notices (please note this list is not exhaustive)." In the past the gardens have been used for such events.

One of the 'enforcement officers' tried to grab a banner as the protesters walked out of the park, but a police officer who had come with them was rather more friendly, and tried to calm things down. The protesters walked to the pavement outside the Premier Inn on Belvedere Rd (where apparently they were also not permitted to hold a protest, but the protest was allowed to go ahead.)

Obviously the hotel was aware that the report launch was to take place outside their entrance, and had employed a small squad of security to stand and watch it, though it was an entirely peaceful event.

Two thirds of hospitality workers earn less than the London Living Wage. The Unethical London Report "exposes what goes on at the rotten heart of top London hotels" and Unite is calling for all London hotel workers to be paid at least this rate. They also ask tourists using hotels to tip directly to staff rather than pay discretionary 'service charges', as these often do not go to staff. They also ask hotel guests not to leave their rooms in too much of a mess, as often workers are threatened with losing their jobs and forced to work beyond their paid hours to complete unreasonable productivity targets. They workers also say that they are often not provided with essential safety equipment at work

Unite also say that "Hotel chains still act unethically by reneging on their global commitments to respect the rights of their workers to freedom of association and collective bargaining. Workers who seek to exercise their human right to organise are regularly bullied, harassed and victimised."
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Craven Arms

Shropshire, Sat 13-20 Aug 2016

Agricultural machinery for hire in Craven Arms
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I spent a week at the Big Barn, a holiday let on the edge of Craven Arms with friends, going for lots of walks including visits to Church Stretton and Ludlow. This isn't London, but I include it here for anyone who is interested.

Craven Arms is a small town, which grew around its railway junction, where most of the passengers were sheep, on their way from Wales to be eaten in Birmingham, London and elsewhere. Mostly it dates from the late 19th century, but there was a small older settlement called Newton at one corner. A mile or so to the south is Stokesay castle, a fortified manor house in good condition, mainly because it surrendered as soon as it was attacked.

It has a small museum of nostalgia, and no phone signal, though there were one or two places where I could get wi-fi. But most of the week I was on holiday and out of contact. There are some well-known hills around, the Long Mynd and Wenlock Edge. Its very easy to get lost on some of the footpaths around, as way markers are often overgrown or absent and paths marked on the OS map don't always exist.

Ludlow was an interesting town to visit, though I don't think I'd like to live there, but you could follow my pictures for a town trail, and there seemed to be several decent pubs. At Craven Arms there is of course the Craven Arms and a couple of others. I wasn't impressed.
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Class War Croydon

Cherry Orchard Rd, Croydon, London. Tue 9 Aug 2016

A Class War Sticker 'No More Poor DOors' where new luxury flats are under construction

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I was walking to visit a friend when I say there were stickers all along the fence where luxury flats are being built next to East Croydon station. There were more stickers on the boards surrounding another new luxury development on the other side of the road. I only took a few pictures.

London doesn't need more luxury developments, and certainly not more which have one entrance for the rich and another - probably around the back for the small element of 'affordable' (i.e. not remotely affordable) flats. Though most developers manage to persuade an expensive firm of accountants to get them off their obligation towards any form of social housing by fiddling the accounts to show it doesn't pay. It is illegal and we should be seeing a lot of accountants and consultants ending up in court, but it seems very unlikely.
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South Hill Park

Bracknell, Berks. Mon 8 Aug 2016

Looking at the formal garden at South Hill Park
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A family walk took us a short distance from Wildridings to South Hill Park Arts Centre in Bracknell, before we walked back and drove a couple of miles for a pub meal.

I lived in Bracknell for around 3 years in 1971-4, and was there when South Hill Park became an arts centre, photographing the resident theatre group, 'Call It Theatre Co' both in the theatre there and at an outdoor performance as well as one in a pub in Harmanswater. And I had free access to the darkroom facilities there in exchange for agreeing to show others how to use them, but we moved away before I really got to know the place well, and I think it has rather changed. I continued to work in Bracknell until 1980, but seldom if ever visited SHP as it's a couple of miles from where I worked.
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Tottenham remembers Mark Duggan

Tottenham, London. Sat 6 Aug 2016
The procession made its way through back streets to the police station
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A procession from Broadwater Farm to a rally outside Tottenham Police Station, part of a day of activities organised by Tottenham Rights & Mark Duggan Justice Campaign five years after Mark Duggan's death remembers his death and those of other members of the Tottenham community killed by police - Cynthia Jarrett, Joy Gardener, Roger Sylvester, Mark Duggan and Jermaine Baker.

It marked the 5th anniversary of the police response which sparked the 2011 Tottenham riots and the anger of the community at the many deaths at the hands of the police was palpable. Although most of those who have died in Tottenham were black, police have also killed white people, and the police and authorities generally collude in the covering up of deaths. The initial police reaction seems often to be to lie to protect colleagues, issuing blatant lies to the press intended to tarnish the character of the victims. Evidence is seldom collected properly, officers are not questioned, CCTV cameras are found not to have been working, officers are allowed to resign rather than face disciplinary procedures, inquests are delayed...

The body charged with investigating complaints against the police, the IPCC is widely seen as unfit for purpose, staffed largely by former police who often seem reluctant to investigate their former colleagues.

Only the most determined, organised and forceful campaigns have made any headway against the system, often having to do themselves what should have been done by police. The most successful so far has been the Rigg family campaign led by Marcia Rigg, which finally managed to get an inquest verdict four years after his death that police had used "unsuitable and unnecessary force" on Rigg, had failed to uphold his basic rights and that police failings "more than minimally" contributed to his death.

In 2012 an external review had been set up into the IPCC investigation and concluded concluded that the IPCC committed a series of major blunders and that there had been "inappropriate conduct" by the Police Federation of England and Wales. But despite what seems clear evidence of perjury, the CPS decided not to prosecute - and recently the IPCC was been notified by the CPS that it has decided no officers will face charges in relation to the death of Sean Rigg.

It is hardly surprising given cases such as this - and the contradictory evidence in the Mark Duggan inquest and other high-profile cases that large sections of the community have little confidence in the police and the justice system. And as they chanted repeatedly on the march and at the rally, " No Justice, No Peace".
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Hiroshima Day 71st Anniversary

London, UK. 6th August 2016

The Mayor of Camden comes to lay a wreath at the commemorative cherry tree
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London CND held a ceremony in memory of the victims, past and present on the 71st anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and the second atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki three days later.

After a number of speeches and performances there was a two minute's silence during which the Mayor of Camden and others laid flowers around the commemorative cherry tree.
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Black Lives Matter London

Altab Ali Park. Whitechapel, London. Fri 5 Aug 2016

Protesters hold up posters at the rally in Altab Ali Park, named for a man killed in a racist attack
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Five years and a day after the killing of Mark Duggan a large crowd met in Altab Ali Park in East London to commemorate the many UK victims of state violence, including Duggan, Sarah Reed, Mzee Mohammed, Jermaine Baker, Sean Rigg, Leon Patterson, Kingsley Burrell and over 1500 others, disproportionately black, since 1990.

The event was called by BLMUK, a community movement of activists from across the UK who believe deeply that #BlackLivesMatter but are not affiliated with any political party. They called for justice and an end to racialised sexism, classism and homophobia and a new politics based on community defence and resilience. I left the rally when those present split into four large groups to discuss future community organisation in North, South, East and West London.
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Foil Vedanta at mining giant's AGM

Ironmonger Hall, London, UK. Fri 5 Aug 2016

Police stop Samarendra Das and the Vedanta Monster at the entrance to the Ironmongers Hall
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Campaigners from Foil Vedanta protest at the Vedanta AGM in London, continuing the fight by communities around the world against the mining giant, 69% owned by billionaire chairman Anil Agarwal and his family with a noisy protest outside and some holding shares went in to attend the meeting and ask questions.

The company was found guilty of water pollution in Zambia poisoning up to 40,000 people in 2006, and vast taxation frauds have been uncovered. In India they lost a ten year battle to mine the Niyamgiri mountain, sacred to an vulnerable indigenous community, for bauxite but are lobbying the Modi government to reverse the decision.
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Vigil for murdered care home victims

Japanese Embassy, London. Thu 4 Aug 2016

A man from the embassy shakes hands after accepting the lilies
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Disabled people and supporters from DPAC, Inclusion London and People First hold a vigil outside the Japanese embassy in London to mourn disabled brothers and sisters murdered in a care home at Sagamihara near Tokyo for being disabled.

Many of the mourners wore black and there were calla lilies for each of the 19 killed in the attack in which 26 others were injured by a former employee who killed them because they were disabled. Representatives from the embassy came out to accept the flowers and expressions of condolence.
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Guantanamo solidarity with Chelsea Manning

US Embassy, London. Thu 4 Aug 2016

London Guantánamo Campaign protests the torture by solitary confinement of Chelsea Manning
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The London Guantánamo Campaign protest at the US Embassy and Marble Arch calling for the release of the remaining 76 prisoners still held in the prison camp and in solidarity with Chelsea Manning who faces lengthy solitary confinement after her suicide attempt last month.

US Army officials have denied her access to psychological services and instead charged her with a series of bizarre 'administrative offenses' which are expected to result in further indefinite solitary confinement - considered by the UN as a form of torture.
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Richmond Walk

Richmond, London. 3 Aug 2016

Crown property in Richmond - there was once a royal palace
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We met my younger son and his family for a picnic on Richmond Green and then a short walk to a cafe where we had some cake and coffee. I took a few pictures on the walk.
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London Images

London, August 2016


Gainsborough Health and Fitness
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my london diary index
 

Aug 2016

Thames Path - Bermondsey
Human Rights for Refugees
End inhumane dog & cat meat trade
Falun Dafa protest Chinese Oppression
UberEats couriers strike for Living Wage
Close Australian Refugee Detention Camps
10 Years of Resistance to Phulbari
Unethical London Hotels Slammed
Craven Arms
Class War Stickers Croydon
South Hill Park
Tottenham remembers Mark Duggan
Hiroshima Day 71st Anniversary
Black Lives Matter London
Foil Vedanta at mining giant's AGM
Vigil for murdered care home victims
Guantanamo solidarity with Chelsea Manning
Richmond Walk

London Images

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february
march
april
may
june
july
august
september
october
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december

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