LGBT rights abuses in Chechnya
Rusian Embassy, London. Sat 22 Apr 2017
Outside the gates of the Russian Consular Dept
People brought pink flowers and wrote messages on pink triangles outside
the gates of the Consular department of the Russian Embassy to show solidarity
with LGBT people in Chechnya.
Over a hundred men, suspected by the authorities of being homosexual have
been rounded up an put into camps and tortured, with three thought to have
been killed. Those held include many well-known in the country, including
TV personalities and religious figures.
The Amnesty petition states "The Chechen government won’t
admit that gay men even exist in Chechnya, let alone that they ordered what
the police call 'preventive mopping up' of people they deem undesirable"
and the London vigil was one of a number taking place across the UK.
Scientists Rally for Science
Parliament Square, London. Sat 22 Apr 2017
Scientists listen to speeches at the rally
I was later than I hoped to arrive at the rally at the end of the march
for science in Prliament Square, but there still seemed to be quite a few
people speaking. But I didn't recognise many of them and didn't stay long.
The speakers were listed as:
Robin Ince, comedian, writer and broadcaster
Dr Brenna Hassett, bioarchaeologist and author
Dr Francisco Diego, astronomer and broadcaster
Dr Suze Kundu, materials chemist and science communicator
Jon Butterworth, professor of physics
Angela Saini, author and science journalist
Pete Etchells, science writer and senior lecturer in psychology
Dr Andrew Steele, chair of Science is Vital
Heydon Prowse, BAFTA winning director, writer and comedian
Dr Aysha Raza - Ealing councillor and NHS campaigner
I didn't photograph them all, though some are in my pictures here and from
the march where you may recognise them. Most I didn't know and haven't
Reform Family Courts
Kensington Gardens, London. Sat 22 Apr 2017
People listen to speeches at the Peter Pan statue
in Kensington Gardens
Campaigners, including many who have suffered injustice in our secret Family
Court system and from police and social services, marched from Parliament
to a rally at the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens highlight the urgent
need for reform.
Several speakers told horrendous real life stories of children being taken
away from victims of domestic violence, mothers who had reported child abuse
by partners or former partners, and other injustices.
Some present were unable to speak as they were gagged by court orders made
in secret, and a woman at the protest was being forced to live away from
friends, job and family. Another told us of the battle she had to regain
her daughter, taking 7 years and costing her £14,000.
Present at the protest was the father of Hayley Gascoigne, a 32 year-old
mother of four who collapsed after being given a judgement in a family court
hearing in Hull on January 26.
A more controversial figure who spoke was Sir Benjamin Slade, who owns two
castles in Somerset and was earlier in the week in the news for advertising
for a young wife to serve his needs. He spoke about a fomer worker for his
estates who had approached him for help after social services had taken
away his children for what appeared to be trivial reasons. Sir Ben had a
chat with a friiend who was editor of a major newspaper and mounted a campaign
which was eventually succesful in getting the children returned. He was
currently involved in the case of a young woman who was being forced against
her will to live in Torquay and was at the protest with him.
The protest, and another in Nottingham, had been arranged to support a
particular woman currently involved in a case in the family court, but on
the previous afternoon a family court judge had ruled that her name could
not be menitioned. Although we all knew her name, we would be commiting
an offence if we named her - and the protest became known simply as Justice4S.
The protesters want reform of the Family court, Police and Social Services
and Justice system to make the decisions of these courts open and accountable
and to bring an end to the failures, corruption and system abuse that has
happened to them, and to end the covering up of failures by police and social
services. They call for better training for police and social services in
dealing with abuse victims and for a register of stalkers and an end to
unfair gagging orders.
Scientists march for Science
Kensington, London. Sat 22 Apr 2017
march starts on Exhibition Road
Thousands of scientists and supporters of science gathered outside
the Science Museum to march through London to a rally at Parliament to celebrate
the vital role that science plays in our lives and to call for an end to
the fake news and fake science such as climate denial by politicians such
as Trump which will prove disastrous.
They want the UK and other governments to base their policies on proven
research rather than anecdote and prejudice, and call for the international
cooperation in science threatened by Brexit and isolationism around the
world to be protected.
It was a considerably more nerdy protest than most, and some of the posters
and placards were difficult event for someone like me with a couple of science
degrees in my past to understand. Many scientists do seem to have a problem
in communicating with the rest of us and write slogans like 'Do I have
large P-value? Cos I feel Insignificant' or 'dT=α.ln(C1/C0)'.
I left the march as the end of it turned into the Kensington Road on its
way to Parliament Square and walked into Kensington Gardens where anoher
event was about to take place. Later I made my way to the rally in Parliament
Square - see above.
Virginia Water, Surrey. Fri 21 Apr 2017
A family walk in Virginia Water.
Mainly we were around the Valley Gardens, which were full of rhododenons
in flower, and I took a few pictures. They were quite impressive and I'm
told it will be a long time before there is such a great display, as the
whole area is to be renewed and cut back as the bushes are agettting too
large. It will be some years before they return to be as prolific as this
year. After walking around we went and had a pub lunch which as fairly forgetable.
Richmond to Greenford
London. Sat 15 April 2017
Canalside dock at Brentford which has now lost its
roof and become an art project
I walked this section of the Capital Ring with Linda on 'Holy Saturday'.
I'm not really a great fan on designated walks such as this, but I had
bought her the book on the Capital Ring. But personally I'd rather either
just set off from somehwere and go whichever way looks most interesting
- as I did most of the time taking the pictures in London
Dérives, or spend time looking at OS Maps and planing my own
routes. But at least with paths like the Capital Ring you know that you
are not going to have to hack through 6 foot nettlebeds or illegal barbed
wire or face too many raging bulls - and one is too many.
This wasn't the most exciting of walks for me, as we'd walked half of it
- along by the Brent - in the opposite direction a few months earlier. But
it was pleasant enough if just a little on the long side for my aging knees,
and both start and finish easy (and cheap) to reach by public transport.
From Richmond the walk goes by the river and across the lock bridge to
Islewroth, where we stopped briefly for a pint and a coffee in the Swann
Inn. Riverside development has spoiled the place a little (and more happening
now) but it still retains some of the old character. The pub where I bought
my first pint of beer when I was a Senior Sea Scout (for 1s5d) has gone,
now a private house, but there are still a few left, including the famous
London Apprentice, always worth avoiding.
The tide was low and we could have walked across to the Ait, and I remember
paddling and swimming here as a boy - and I think the odd outing in a boat
when I was a scout (I leant to row badly), as well as rather more often
taking the ferry with my family across the river to Kew Gardens.
I'd done the next part of the walk to Brentford through Syon Park recently
too, a year or so ago with my elder son, and then the path along the towpath
beside the Grand Union many times, both walking and on my bike. The short
seciton from Brentford Bridge to the railway line is saddening, with new
waterside developments having almost completely destroyed its character.
The next five miles or so by the canal and then the RIver Brent is largely
unexciting. Too much green, and too little incident until you reach the
splendid Hanwell VIaduct, and beyond that Brent Lodge Park. Beyond that
the final 2.5 miles seemed rather tedious, and I was getting hot and tired
and would happily have given up and taken the bus if my partner had allowed.
Good Friday procession of witness
Staines, Middx. Fri 14 Apr 2017
A man wheels a cross in the High St
Christians in Staines held a procession of witness on Good Friday, marching
behind the Salvation Army band thourgh the High St to the Two Rivers shopping
estate where they held a service and gave out free hot cross buns with a
flier explaining their significance.
St Paul's - Ecce Homo twice
City of London. Thu 13 Apr 2017
Mark Wallinger's lifesize sculpture Ecce Homo at the
top of the steps of St Paul's Cathedral
Amnesty International and artist Mark Wallinger in collaboration with
St Paul's Cathedral display his statue of Jesus with a crown of golden barbed
wire rather than thorns, Ecce Homo, on the steps of the cathedral "to
highlight the plight of those who face torture or execution or imprisonment
for their political, religious or other beliefs."
The sculpture had looked small and insignificant when it was the first
to be displayed on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square seemed far better
suited to its location on the steps, where people could approach it closely.
Roughly life-size (who knows how tall Jesus was, many tourists took the
opportunity to be photographed standing alongside it, though I rather thought
they detracted from its impact, and photographed the statue without them.
Around the corner, another man was on display, fully clothed and sitting
on another set of Cathedral steps, wearing a white dunces cap with eyeholes
and the word 'SINNER' on it. He sat ignoring questions from onlookers and
read the Times Literary Supplement dated the following day.
Axe subsidy to massive polluter Drax
City of London. Thu 13 Apr 2017
Drax gets £600m environmental subsidy for massive
pollution from biomass
Environmental campaigners from Biofuelwatch, Axe Drax and London Rising
Tide protest outside the offices of Schroders and Invesco, the major shareholders
in Drax, the UK’s largest and most polluting power station.
Drax mainly burns coal from Colombia, where open cast mining is causing
large-scale human rights abuses, land grabs and water and air pollution,
but it also burnss 13 millions of tons of wood pellets per year, mainly
from clear cutting highly diverse coastal wetland forests in southern USA.
Drax receives a huge £1.5m per day subsidy from our electricity
bills intended to finance clean renewable energy despite scientific studies
showing burning wood is environmentally disastrous, producing large amounts
of carbon dioxide when burnt and eliminating for many years the capacity
of the forests which are felled to absorb carbon.
The protest was held while the Drax AGM was taking place in York, probably
moved there to avoid the protests outside it that have taken place every
year in London. A protest was also taking place in York.
Human Chain at Latin Village
Seven Sisters, London. London.Sat 8th Apr 2017
Campaigners to save the Latin Village form a human
chain around the block
A lively protest supporting the Save Latin Village Campaign opposed
the demolition of the largest Latin American community market in England
at Seven Sisters in north London.
They want to save this community resource against the plans for demolition,
part of the ongoing social cleansing and gentrification of the block by
Haringey Council with property developers, which would replace it with expensive
flats and chain stores, profiting investors at the expense of the community.
In 2008 London Mayor Boris Johnson wrote asking the council to review the
scheme, but the council now plan to go ahead. The afternoon protest included
dancers, samba bands and a human chain around the block, and was continuing
into the evening when I left for home.
March Against Chemical Warfare in Syria
Marble Arch, London. London. Sat 8th Apr 2017
The protest goes down Oxford St
Protesters met at Marble Arch to march along Oxford St on their way
to a rally at Downing St against Assad's use of chemical weapons in Syria.
The protest, organised by RefugEase and Syria Solidarity Campaign calls
on the UK Government to protect civilians in Syria and to support Syrians
as they struggle to survive against a regime determined to exterminate them.
The attack on Khan Sheikhoon near Idlib on April 4th, like that on Ghouta
three years ago, used Sarin nerve agent, this time killing over 100 and
injuring over 400.
I left the march as it went along Oxford St to catch the tube at Oxford
Boat dwellers fight evictions
Embankment Gardens, London. Sat 8th Apr 2017
People sit and listen to speeches in Embankment Gardens
Boat dwellers, including many families, helold a rally before they
march to Downing St and DEFRA to demand the Canal & River Trust (CRT)
stops evicting or threatening to evict boat dwellers without permanent moorings.
They say the right to use and live on a boat without a permanent mooring
on CRT waterways is enshrined in the British Waterways Act 1995 and that
the CRT is acting unlawfully in imposing limitations based on minimum distance
of movement or pattern of travel.
They also demand the CRT be told to abandon plans for chargeable bookable
moorings and to stop selling off our waterways. They want proper maintenance
of locks, bridges and waterway banks; more mooring rings; more water taps
and more sanitary facilities.
I left for another protest as a succession of people were speaking and
the march seemed unlikely to start for some while.
Zuma Must Go
Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 8 April 2017
A woman blows a vuvuzela in the crowd at the protest
South Africans protested outside the South African High Commission
in London in defence of South Africa's democracy and called for the removal
of President Zuma.
They say he has threatened our economy by firing Finance Minister Pravin
Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas on the strength of a bizarre and seemingly
last minute “security report”.
The large crowd was tightly packed into a small area outside South Africa
House and the police had to move some barriers to allow them to use part
of the road. Even then parts of the crowd near the centre of the protest
were still too tightly packed to allow me to get close enough to really
photograph the event properly, and I left to go elsewhere while the event
still had several hours to run - and more were still arriving.
UAF protest extreme right marches
Westminster, London. Sat 1 Apr 2017
Protesters look towards the EDL and Britain First
protests a hunred yards down the Embankment
The UAF and others opposing the Britain First and EDL marches had been
restricted by police to holding a static protest on the Embankment, and
had been harassed and attacked by police as they moved from their previously
advertised meeting point opposite South Africa House down Whitehall to reach
the area they were allowed to protest in.
This was around a hundrerd yards south of where the extreme right rallies
were taking place close to each other, and there were extensive barriers
and many police to stop the two sides approaching each other. When I was
photographing the right wing rallies I could see the UAF and hear that they
were shouting 'Facist Scum off our streets' and other slogans, and that
there were also some speeches.
But I could not walk along the embankment between the two groups, and by
the time I had finished photographing the fascists and walked the quarter-mile
detour that was necessary many of the counter-protesters had left for home
and the speeches had ended.
Britain First & EDL exploit London attack
Westminster, London. Sat 1 Apr 2017
Paul Golding in front of the Britain First banner
Marches and rallies by Britain First and the EDL (English Defence League)
in reaction to the London terror attack were opposed by the Anti-Fascist
Network, London Antifascists and Unite Against Fascism (UAF) who accuse
the extremist right of using the attack to fuel their anti-Muslim and anti-migrant
Police had issued restrictions on the two marches, confining them to defined
routes, and on the UAF allowing only a static protest. There were scuffles
and arrests as police attacked the anti-fascists as they moved from their
meeting point in Trafalgar Square to the protest area on the Embankment,
past a pub where the EDL were meeiting, with some heavy-handed attacks on
protesters and at least one potographer.
The EDL were forced to retreat back into the pub where they were meeting
until the police cleared the area. The two marches then went ahead, both
with a large police escort.
Iraqis protest US killing in Mosul
Downing St, London. Sat 1 Apr 2017
A woman holds up a photograph showing the devastatio
caused by US bombing in Mosul
Iraqis, mainly women dressed in black, protested opposite Downing St
against the civilians killed by US and Iraqi forces in the assault on Mosul.
The say that hundreds have been killed by US air strikes after being told
to stay in Mosul. Some people were prevented from leaving and then bombed.
The protest was organised by a group of Iraqi women, one of whom told me
a nine-year old relative in Mosul had died earlier today. The women held
up photographs showing some results of the US bombing.
Youth protest over housing benefits loss
Paliament Square, London. Sat 1 Apr 2017
Young protesters came to Parliament Squre againt the
scrapping of housing beneits for 18-21 yr-olds
A grass roots group of young people, '#1821Resist', came to Parliament
Square to protest against the scrapping of housing benefit for young people
which comes into force today.
They say that under Tory rule since 2010 homelessness has doubled and that
this change will continue to leave vulnerable people without homes, making
it almost impossible for them to get into work or education.
Flowers for London Victims
Westminster, London. Sat 1 Apr 2017
photograph the flowers left on the lamposts of Waterloo Bridge
Ten Days after the Westminster terror attack by a deranged driver, people
are still stopping to look and and photograph the flowers for the victims,
around the lamp standards on Waterloo Bridge, along the whole of the front
of Parliament Square and in front of New Scotland Yard in its new building
on the Victoria Embankment, where an eternal flame also remembers all police
who have died while doing their duty.
Motorcycle Theft Protest Ride
Westminster, London. Sat 1 Apr 2017
Riders wait at the traffic lights to ride around Parliament
Hundreds of bike riders set out on two rides from the Ace Café
in Stonebridge and Greenwich into central London to raise awareness about
the growing problem of motorbike theftand I photographed them in and around
Home Office statists show a rise of motorbike thefts of 44% between 2012
and 2016, and bikes are being targeted by organised gangs armed with cordless
disc cutters which can cut through any lock.
The petition to the Mayor of London and the Home Secretary asks for the
police to be given greater resources to tackle this crime, and for them
to give it higher priority, for more ground anchors in bike parking bays
and for tougher sentencing of offenders.
The rides were safe and well-stewarded but made quite a noise, but unfortunately
were well spread out by the time they reached Westminster, reducing their
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