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'Toxic Tour' shames mining companies

London. Tue 28 Nov 2017

Miriam Rose of Foil Vedanta holds up a copy of a front page story on tax fraud based on their research
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A 'Toxic Tour' of a few of London's major players among the mining companies violating human rights, killing opposition, displacing indigenous people, polluting water sources and causing climate chaos around the world was one of a week of activities organised as an alternative to the London Mines and Money Conference.

While around 2,000 mining company representatives, investors and financiers celebrated their destructive and exploitative activities around the world, the London Mining Network, War on Want and The Gaia Foundation and community leaders from Uganda, the Philippines and Colombia visited a series of mining companies and financiers of mining.

London is the heart of the neo-colonial mining industry across the world, with many listed mining companies and it also plays a key role in the financing of mining companies working across the world, in part because of its colonial heritage but also because of the ease of laundering dirty money through hedge funds and other businesses via the City of London.

The protesters began at Harwood Capital LLP in Stratton St who own 9% of Bluebird Merchant Ventures where a speech from Clemente Bautista Jr, national coordinator of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment described how the proposed huge open-pit Batangas Gold Project, in Luzon, Philippines would be an environmental disaster Open-pit gold mining destroying the mountains of Lobo, displacing wildlife and poisoning marine life in the Verde Island Passage, and the company was responsible for major human rights violations.

A short distance away in Berkeley St, Miriam Rose of Foil Vedanta spoke on Vedanta's terrible record of environmental destruction, pollution and death in India and Africa, and of their illegal attempts to get mining permission. In Zambia, where their copper mine polluted the countries major river, Foil Vedanta exposed their illegal avoidance of tax.

Next, just down the road outside Gen core UK, the world's largest mining company by revenue, Adam Lee of the global IndustriALL trade union talked about the activities of this Anglo–Swiss multinational which is listed on the London stock exchange before trying to go in to the foyer of the offices, where he and the other protesters were stopped by security.

Paulson Europe LLP in Jermyn St was the next stop, as a major investor in AngloGold Ashanti. Colombian activist Camila Méndez talked there about the the major environmental damage caused by their La Colosa gold mine in Cajamarca.

The protesters had hoped to walk into the foyer at Rio Tinto plc for a brief protest but again were stopped by security at the office in the corner of St James's Square. After a couple of short talks while they blocked the doorway, they moved onto the pavement outside for a longer talk by a long-term researcher into their activities. He was hopeful that the company, who as RTZ were one of the first to attract major protests, was moving away and attempting to develop in less environmentally damaging ways.

The final stop was Anglo American plc in Carlton House Terrace, where security locked the doors as the protesters came near, and then a couple of them stood outside and listened to the protesters.
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Protesters visit Grenfell councillors

North Kensington, London. Mon 27 Nov 2017

The event began with a short rally outside Latimer Rd Station
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Local activists and supporters from the Revolutionary Communist Group took to the streets of North Kensington to protest over the failures that led to the Grenfell Tower disaster and the lack of support for those who survived.

The marched from Latimer Rd station to the addresses of several local councillors to ask why the Grenfell residents have not been rehoused over five and a half months after the fire, why no criminal charges have been brought against the councillors responsible for the inadequate fire safety and dangerous materials and modifications which made Grenfell a disaster waiting to happen, and what the council's plans for residential development are.

They found (as I had told them at the start of the event) that Councillor Rock Feilding-Mellen was no longer living at his address but had moved out from the area and his former house was now occupied by a tenant, who came out to speak to them, saying that he rented the property from an agent and was not aware that it was or had been owned by Feilding-Mellen, and asked them to leave as the protest was upsetting his family and their neighbours. The councillor is thought to now be living at a riverside property in Chelsea though often at other properties owned by his excessively wealthy family.

From Bramley Rd the protesters marched chanting to Avondale Park Gardens where they held a rally outside the home of councillor David Lindsay, who came out to try and answer some of their questions. He told them he had no involvement with housing before the fire and tried to persuade them that the council were trying hard to find suitable accommodation, spending large sums to do so. He also told the noisy crowd that on the night of the fire he had got up and gone down there, opening up a centre for those affected at 4am, though he did appear to concede that the council had not done all they might - and that this was why some of his fellow councilors had resigned or been removed. Some of the local residents argued angrily with him, and it was clear that most of the protesters felt the council had been and still was failing in its duties and were not satisfied with his answers. But although the mood was angry and the protesters noisy, there was no suggestion of any physical threat or damage.

The protesters marched on to the house of a third councillor, stopping in the middle of Portland Road outside his house for more speeches. Although there was no sign of the councillor, another resident came out of a house to complain that the protesters were waking his children up, and saying that they shouldn't protest here and shouldn't protest at night, but should do so in the daytime when no one would be at home and affected by their protest. Since his was an intervention that could - and did - only result in the protesters making more noise and staying there longer it did not seem in any way sensible.

The marchers turned around and went back towards Grenfell Tower, but I had to leave them and walked down to Holland Park Rd to catch a bus. I'd taken plenty of photographs, my LED batteries were failing and I was cold and tired and needed to eat and get home to work on the pictures.
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End Slave Auctions in Libya

Knightsbridge, London. Sun 26 Nov 2017

People listen to speeches outside the LIbyan Embassy
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Approaching a thousand people attended the protest outside the Libyan the Libyan Embassy calling on the Libyan Government to put an end to the slave sales of Black Africans there.

The protest follows reports and videos since April this year showing the appalling auctions taking place there where Black African migrant are being sold as slaves. The clamp down on migration across the Mediterranean by the EU authorities working with Libya, with migrant boats being intercepted and towed back to Libya has resulted in inhumane condition with around 20,000 people, the majority from the African continent, now detained in the country.

Many at the protest saw the situation in Libya as part of a continuing neo-colonialist attempt to control Africa's natural resources which results in the instability and mass migration from African countries, and that the current Libyan regime are western puppets installed though Western intervention to replace the genuinely nationalist Gaddafi regime and are engaged in a process of de-Africanisation and elimination of Black Libyans, of which slave auctions are a logical extension. The see this as the explanation for the lack of interest shown in these slave sales in Western media over the last six months.
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CAIWU protests for blacklisted Beatriz

City of London. Fri 24th Nov 2017

Beatriz and other CAIWU members blow vuvuzelas at I FInsbury Circus
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The Cleaners and Allied Independent Workers Union (CAIWU) protests on behalf of its member Beatriz Acuna, who for three years worked as a cleaner in the CBRE-managed offices at Number 1 Finsbury Circus, employed there by Regular Cleaning Limited, a family business based in Lewisham, who had taken over the contract from another cleaning contractor.

The union say she was sacked without cause and that proper procedures were not followed, and that she has been victimised for being a union rep there. After the protest outside the offices at Finsbury Circus the group of protesters moved to carry out brief noisy protests in the lobbies of two other offices where Beatriz was employed by Regular near St Paul's Cathedral and in Fetter Lane where they were told there was nobody on site from either the management company or Regular but that their protest would be passed on to the managers.
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Protest at Turkish LGBTI+ ban

Turkish Embassy, London. Wed 22 Nov 2017
The LGBTI+ statement was read twice and there were some short comments
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Protesters met at the Turkish Embassy to read a statement in solidarity with Turkish LGBTI+ people after Turkey last Sunday imposed an indefinite ban on all LGBTI+ cultural events in its capital, Ankara.

They criticise the ban which they call illegal, homophobic and transphobic and which they say risks criminalising LGBTI existence and endangering public safety. Homosexuality has been legal in Turkey since the modern Turkish Republic came into existence in 1923, and in the last half of the century before that under the Ottoman Empire, and they say the ban is based on an extremist Islamic morality and violates the Turkish constitution.
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Zimbabweans celebrate Mugabe's resignation

Zimbabwe Embassy, London. Wed 22 Nov 2017

Zimbabweans dance holding flags and posters
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Zimbabweans came to the London embassy to celebrate the resignation of President Mugabe, who they have been protesting there against every week for over 15 years.

Though dancing and singing and delighted at his going, they warned that his likely successor Emmerson Mnangagwa could not be trusted and called for free and fair elections and an end to rule by Zanu PF.
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Homes for All Budget protest

Parliament Square, London. Wed 22 Nov 2017
A small group of housing activists from various groups listen to speeches at the Homes For All protest
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Housing activists came to Parliament Square on Budget Day at a protest called by Homes For All to call for the government to commit to building more homes for social rent.

They say that only a programme that allows local authorities to borrow money and build homes can deliver homes at a cost that the majority of people can afford to live in and blame the current housing problem on developers who profit from market prices inflated by foreign investors and used for money laundering.

As well as attacking the government's record on housing they also blamed the Labour Party for allowing Labour councils to demolish council housing and combining with developers and housing associations to provide new housing at market prices, unaffordable so called "affordable' properties and and high rents without long-term security of tenure.

They also called for Government funding for necessary fire safety work to avoid another Grenfell disaster and dismissed the idea that council housing was subsidised, pointing out that by 2010/11 councils were paying more than £700 million to government in surpluses from council housing.


Some NHS protesters also joined the Housing protest.

The was another small protest taking place in Parliament Square, where the Socialist Party had asked school students to come and protest against the cuts and student fees. There were some speeches and the group then marched to protest briefly briefly at Downing St.
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Budget Day Brexit Protests

Old Palace Yard, London. Wed 22 Nov 2017

Kaya Mar picture illustrates well Theresa May's predicament
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Protests outside Parliament against Brexit continued on Budget Day with some new slogans for the occasion, 'What's the Budget for Brexit' and 'Brexit spreads Sheet Everywhere', a reference to the Chancellor's nickname 'Spreadsheet Phil'.

As well as European flags they have upside down Union Flags, traditionally a sign of distress, if a rather discreet one, which caused some argument with Leave supporters passing by who accused them of not knowing which way up to fly the flag.

They were briefly joined by political artist Kaya Mar with his image of the Chancellor sitting on a floating mine with his computer holding up a sinking Theresa May as the ship of Britain sinks in the background.
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IWGB protest London University outsourcing

Senate House, London. Tue 21 Nov 2017
IWGB members with flags outside Senate House
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The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain and supporters protested outside Senate House while University of London Chancellor Princess Anne was visiting on Foundation Day, calling for all workers in the university to be directly employed by the university.

They say the use of outside contractors to employ staff is discriminatory with outsourced workers including security, cleaning and catering staff who are predominantly migrant and BME workers being on far worse terms and conditions than other staff and subjected to harassment and bullying.

Security workers in the IWGB were on one of a series of a one day strikes and with supporters made sure their protest was noticed with drums, horns and speeches. After protesting at the main entrance where guests for the evening had to walk past them, they heard the Princess was to arrive by another entrance, and marched around the building, but missed her. They marched around Russell Square and then returned for speeches, more noise and dancing in front of Senate House.
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Shut Down Yarl's Wood 12

Yarl's Wood, Bedford. Sat 18 Nov 2017
Flowers on the fence and banners and posters at Yarl's Wood
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Movement for Justice hold their 12th protest at Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre, calling for all immigration detention centres to be closed down.

Hundreds of anti-racists came from across the country to show their solidarity with the women held inside, making a huge noise kicking on the fence, shouting slogans and with speeches on a powerful public address system.

Most of those who spoke were former detainees, including several recently released from Yarl's Wood; speaking from a step-ladder next to the tall fence they were able to be seen as well as heard by the women who crowded around windows facing the protest defying guards who tried to move them away.

The protesters could also clearly hear the voices of the women as they shouted together with them, and a several spoke over phone links as well as holding posters to their windows calling for freedom and justice.

There were fewer protesters than at the previous protest, and the preparations for the event had been disrupted by a controversy about MfJ, with one formerly very active member leaving feeling very angry about the group's treatment of her. But although it was a little smaller than otherwise, it seemed even better organised at Yarl's Wood than previous protests.

MfJ has never made any secret of its political background (you can read about it on Wikipedia), and has done far more than any other group to raise the issue of immigration detention, organising major protests at Harmondsworth, the Home Office and Yarl's Wood and working practically with many former asylum seekers to stop deportations. And while much of the organisation of protests has clearly been carried out by a small and devoted core group, the activity and enthusiasm of those former asylum seekers is vital. MfJ would be impotent without their support, which it would not have unless it commanded their respect.
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Students march for free education

London. Wed 15 Nov 2017

Flares and a large banner 'Free Education Now - Tax the Rich...'
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A student march organised by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts marched through London calling for an end to all tuition fees and for living grants for all and an end to all cuts.

They condemned the increasing marketization of the education system that is resulting in cuts across university campuses and a dramatic reduction in further education provision across the country and the Teaching Excellence Framework which was supposed to ‘drive up standards in teaching’ but is intensifying the exploitation and casualisation of university staff as a part of the marketization agenda.

The march was not supported by the National Union of Students, and the numbers were rather smaller than expected, with only several thousand on the streets. It was peaceful but noisy, and there were many flares set off on the way from Malet St to Parliament Square.
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Silent Walk for Grenfell Tower

Notting Hill, London. Tue 14 Nov 2017

The dark bulk of Grenfell TOwer looms behind the marchers as they get ready to set out
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A large crowd met at Notting Hill Methodist Church for the monthly slow and silent walk to demand justice and remember those killed in the tragic fire.

Many carried posters or placards calling for those responsible, primarily the councillors of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to be brought to justice, for the promises made to the surviving victims of the tragic fire to be kept and for proper fire safety for all housing, including social housing, with fire inspections by fully trained firefighters, strict interpretation of building regulations, the fitting of sprinkler systems etc.

Protesters accuse the council of deliberately putting the residents at risk to cut costs and of a complete failure to take effective action since the tragedy. The families of those who died and survivors made homeless by the fire marched at the front, together with local clergy.

A group of firefighters took part in the march, including FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack, and two fire engines stood by Ladbroke Grove Station with firefighters standing to attention as the march past on its route to the Maxilla Centre.
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Another Canada Goose animal cruelty protest

Regent St, London. Tue 14 Nov 2017A protester holds a screen showing packed birds grown to provide the feathers for Canada Goose jackets
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Protesters keep up the campaign to close down the newly opened Regent St London flagship store of Canada Goose, which campaigners say has cruelty to animals hiding in every stitch, with a the first of random 'secret' protests, details only shared in a private group, which it intends to mount together with regular Saturday protests.

Canada Goose garments use fur trims from trapped wild coyotes, often left suffering for days with legs caught in cruel traps, facing blood loss, dehydration, frostbite, gangrene and attacks by predators; some even try to chew off their own trapped limbs in desperation to escape before a trapper returns to strangle, stamp or bludgeon them to death.

The down filling their jackets is feathers from ducks and geese who have their throats slit and are dumped into scalding hot water for feather removal often still alive and feeling pain.

Police and shop security worked together to keep a clear path into the store and along Regent St. One officer seemed to me greatly over officious in moving people who were standing on the pavement edge and not impeding the passage of pedestrians.
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Orange Lodges Remembrance Day parade

Whitehall, London. Sat 11 Nov 2017

The Worthy District Master of the City of London L.O.L advances to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph
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London City District No 63 and the Houses of Parliament Lodge march along Whitehall with visiting loyalists on their annual Remembrance Day parade in central London.

After senior members lay a wreath at Westminster Abbey on the tomb of King William III the marchers come to the Cenotaph to lay wreaths there. They then marched away to lay another wreath at the Duke of York Column in honour of Prince Frederick, Duke of York, the second eldest son of King George III who was a Grand Master of the Loyal Orange Institution of England and ending their parade in St James' Square where they lay a wreath at the memorial to WPC Yvonne Fletcher.

But I only photographed them marching up to the Cenotaph, laying wreaths and marching away.
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Remember Refugees on Armistice Day

Whitehall, London. Sat 11 Nov 2017
People stand at the Cenotaph ready to lay life-ring wreaths and candles
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Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants hosted a a commemoration ceremony to lay a life-ring wreath in memory of the people who have died fleeing their war-torn countries to seek refuge over the past year.

On remembrance day it seemed appropriate to remember them, as many were fleeing war. It had been intended that the procession would start from Trafalgar Square, but this had been walled off for a concert and the Ministry of Defence was perhaps more suitable. Many feel that the official celebration of Remembrance Day has gradually become more militaristic and a celebration of our victories rather than remembering the deaths of many in all the wars that our country has played a part in.

Many of those taking part were either refugees or those who have been actively engaged in supporting them, both in the camps at Calais and on Greek Islands. After speeches on the steps of the Ministry of Defence they processed holding wreaths of orange poppies and lit candles to the Cenotaph where they laid these to remember those who died seeking sanctuary. There were 17 small wreaths, one for each person who has died trying to migrate each day in 2017 so far.
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Close Canada Goose for animal cruelty

Regent St, London. Sat 11 Nov 2017
Fur is Worn By Beautiful Animals and Ugly People!
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A protest took place most of the day outside the newly opened Regent St London flagship store of Canada Goose, which campaigners say has cruelty to animals hiding in every stitch.

Canada Goose sells coats with fur trims using trapped wild coyotes, which may suffer for days in cruel traps, facing blood loss, dehydration, frostbite, gangrene and attacks by predators, some even trying to chew off their own trapped limbs to escape before a trapper returns to strangle, stamp or bludgeon them to death.

The down in their jackets is from ducks and geese that have their throats slit and are dumped into scalding hot water for feather removal while often still alive and feeling pain to make the down-filled jackets.

Police struggled to keep a path to let customers enter and leave the store through the crowded and noisy protest. After I left there were a few scuffles as police moved protesters bodily away from the store. There was a pen made with barriers, but most protesters declined to use it as it was a little out of the way and far too small for the several hundred who came. The barriers - or traffic cones - could have more usefully have been used to close one lane of the roadway.

The protesters say they will keep up their protests , weekly on Saturdays and with random events between these, until the shop is closed down. Although some customers walked past the protesters making rude or angry comments and gestures, others held their heads down and rushed by, and a few stopped to talk and then turned away. There are plenty of other London shops which sell coats and other clothing which does not involve cruelty to animals, and a continued protest stands a good chance of success. Most of London's fashion shops have been persuaded to drop fur by previous high-profile protests.
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Silent Remembrance Peace Vigil

Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 11 Nov 2017
People wore white poppies as the stood in silence with the Peace flag
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As many observed the two minute silence to mark the anniversary of the signing of the armistice at the end of the First World War, a small group of Quakers and friends began a 45 minute silent remembrance peace vigil outside the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square.

They wore white poppies produced by The Peace Pledge Union to remember those on all sides who have died, been injured or still suffer in conflicts across the world; both military personnel, civilians and their families and holding hope for a world where conflicts are resolved without violence and with justice.

Sales of white poppies have increased greatly over the past few years and last year the demand was so great that they were unable to supply them to thousands who had ordered them. There seemed to be more than ever being worn this year, with some people choosing to wear both a red and a white poppy.
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ORAL squat empty NatWest Bank

Upper St, Islington, London. Wed 8 Nov 2017
The squat offers tea, coffee and clothing for the homeless - and collects cash from passers-by to do so
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Walking back from the die-in outside Islington Town Hall we stopped to talk with people outside the squatted former NatWest Bank on Upper St, which was squatted around a week earlier by the Order of Rampaging Anarchist Lunatics (ORAL) and set out to provide tea, coffee, clothing and shelter for the street homeless of the area.

With another photographer I was given a brief tour of the building, from which ORAL expected to be evicted in a few days time. Eight days later the group published the following statement on their Facebook page:

FINAL ORAL COMMUNIQUE.
Several years ago, what began as a ridiculous idea to form a satirical nation of squatters evolved into one of the most infamous land pirate crews known around the world. Originally coined the Autonomous National of Anarchist Libertarians [ANAL] we've penetrated deep into London, forming a property portfolio that undoubtedly far exceeds any other crew; Having taken roughly 60 buildings in zone 1 over a period of around 4 years. Most notably Admiralty Arch.
Time has passed, the fun & allure of squatting is swiftly fading. The original crew has long since dispersed, the memories serve as reminders that things will never be the same. However fun it once was: looking back in hindsight, having matured with age, one reaches the saddening conclusion that we haven't truly achieved anything. Quite the opposite, we've likely contributed to the criminalization of squatting through our reckless destruction of squats we've taken.
We must evolve to survive. Its time to take responsibility for our actions. We talk of social change, (re)volution, the consequences of needless destruction, waste, consumption; yet in many ways we are the epitome of all that's bad in society. As such, ORAL is to be officially laid to rest & cremated. From the ashes, a new group will form, focused on setting the example of how to evolve society & humanity. Whereas previously we were focused on anarchy & destruction, we will now focus on construction & creation. Inspired by @hivedalston & in collaboration with ReSpace, we will soon to be opening a new community hub (only better than the hive, cos, y'know, that was a bit too hippiefied)
All those who have something to contribute please get in touch.

What they and others have done is to draw attention to the scandal of so many empty properties while we have a housing crisis. There should be ways to bring these - and the houses and flats in which, unlike commercial properties it is illegal to squat - into use to provide shelter for those who are now forced to sleep out on our streets. The number of street homeless has increase dramatically over the past couple of years, thanks largely to the government's austerity programme. It is truly shameful that this should be happening in what is still the world's sixth largest economy despite the government's efforts to cripple it (until recently it was the fifth)
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Vigil for Islington cyclist killed by HGV

Islington Town Hall, London. Wed 8 Nov 2017

Police stopped traffic for cyclists to hold a die-in in remembrance of Jerome Roussel
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Stop Killing Cyclists hold a die-in and vigil outside Islington Town Hall to honour Jerome Roussel, who died in hospital seven weeks after he was hit an HGV while cycling on Pentonville Rd, and whose inquest opened today.

Islington has not built a single protected cycle route in over 20 years and Transport Minister Jessye Norman has so far failed to sign the the commencement order to allow TfL to fine HGVs and traffic that drive into mandatory cycle lanes, such as the one on Pentonville Road where Jerome Roussel was killed. Islington, responsible for 95% of the roads in its area has reserves of £277 million (and growing) and campaigners say it should spend some of this on making its streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

Stop Killing Cyclists also call for London Mayor Sadiq Khan to make it compulsory for lorries in London to be equipped with CCTV. After several speeches, police stopped traffic on Upper St and the campaigners held a 5 minute silent die-in on the road in memory of Jerome Roussel, before more speeches and a final address by Donnachadh McCarthy.
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LSE against Homophobia

London School of Economics. Mon 6 Nov 2017

Protesters outside the New Academic Building where 'LGBT Rights: what next?' was taking place
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LSE students and supporters protested against the homophobic abuse that Daniel, one of the LSE cleaners, has been subjected to over the past 10 months but over which the LSE has failed to take appropriate action outside the building where the LSE was hosting a talk, "LGBT Rights: what next?".

Complaints by Daniel and his union have been brushed aside and he has been threatened with disciplinary action for making some of the complaints. His case against employer Noonan will go to tribunal in January.

The students accuse the LSE of hypocrisy, boasting about its promotion of gay rights but say when confronted by a case of anti-gay discrimination in the LSW it has refused to take any action. Although the cleaning contract is outsourced to Noonan, the LSE has full control over hiring and firing of cleaners and if they had ordered action to be taken Noonan would have complied.

The protest called on the LSE to apologise and commit to zero tolerance of homophobic and racist behaviour at all levels throughout the institution and to sack all homophobic bullies.

The students moved onto LSE property outside the building were the talk was taking place despite attempts by security to stop them, but failed to gain entry to the building. They made a lot of noise outside, then marched around to the Kingsway entrance to make more noise before going for a brief protest outside the main LSE entrance. As I left they were going back to protest outside the talk.
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Picturehouse Strike for a Living Wage

Shaftesbury Avenue, London. Mon 6 Nov 2017

Strikers with placards outside Picturehouse Central
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Striking staff picket Picturehouse Central in Shaftesbury Avenue in their continuing campaign for the London Living Wage.

As well as the Piccadilly cinema, strikes were also taking place at Crouch End, Hackney, and East Dulwich Picturehouses and the Brixton Ritzy. This is Living Wage Week and the new London Living Wage of £10.20 per hour was announced today. Strikes have been taking place for over a year, with staff living on poverty wages while the post-tax profits of Cineworld, the parent company of Picturehouse were £93.8m last year in UK and Ireland and the CEO is paid £2.5m.
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Class War back at the Ripper

Whitechapel, London. Sat 4 Nov 2017

One of the security guards pushes Jane Nicholl holding the Class War banner

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Class War and London 4th Wave Feminists protest again outside the Jack the Ripper tourist attraction in East London, calling for it to be closed.

They say the so-called 'museum' exploits violence against women, making money from images of sexually mutilated women, and encourages the attitudes that lead to violent sexual assaults like the recent attack on a 17 year old young woman in Tower Hamlets who was subjected to a number of rapes on the street and was found collapsed on a doorstep of one of the women taking part in the protest, who saved her from further assaults by calling the police.

The tourist attraction has failed to remove shutters and signage which were deemed illegal by Tower Hamlets council a year ago, including a poster which was partly ripped off the shop front in the protest.

Patrick, dressed as Father Brannigan, performed a series of exorcisms holding up a hastily improvised cross. One of the two security guards standing in front of the shop roughly pushed several of the protesters who challenged the few visitors entering and leaving the shop. It took police half an hour to arrive and they argued with the protesters wanting them to move away from the shop but with little success.

Later they raided the nearby Brown Bear pub in which Class War were celebrating a successful protest and arrested a person accused of having taken part in an incident involving anti-trans feminists in Hyde Park in September. Apparently one of the women who claims she was assaulted had come to watch the protest and phoned the police to tell them the suspect was taking part. The woman serving behind the bar then revealed herself to be a special constable and tried to stop me and others from taking photographs. Although she failed to do so, I have decided not to publish these pictures until the case is resolved. But it's a pub I won't drink in again.
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Equal Rights & Justice for Palestine

US Embassy and Oxford St, London.Sat 4 Nov 2017
People listen to speakers at the US Embassy

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On the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, thousands march through London to demands the equal rights for Palestinians which are included in that declaration, but have been disregarded for 100 years.

The declaration came in a letter written on November 2nd, 1917 and signed by the
United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Lord Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland:

"His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country".

It came after several months of talks with representatives of Zionist and anti-Zionist Jews, but without any consultation with the Palestinians.

The then Prime Minister Lloyd George clearly stated in later years that it had come about as a reward for the work on the production of acetone, vital for the war effort, by Chaim Weizmann, but many historians discount this, though Weizmann was clearly a leader of the negotiations that led to the declaration. But it was also clearly linked to British policy aims in Palestine for the Middle East solutions put forward by Sir Mark Sykes, MP for Hull and a promoter of Arab nationalism and Zionism, who together with François Georges-Picot was behind the secret agreement in 1916 for how the Middle East would be carved up if and when the Ottoman Empire was defeated. These machinations by the allies (and the Russian Bolshevik government was in on it too) were the root of most of the problems in that area which continue to the present day. According to Wikipedia Sykes was known in some Westminster circles as the "Mad Mullah" and T E Lawrence called him "the imaginative advocate of unconvincing world movements... a bundle of prejudices, intuitions, half-sciences."

Marchers met outside the US Embassy where there were a number of speeches before marching to a rally at Parliament Square. But I left them not far from the start of the march to go elsewhere.
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Maria Spiridonova - Armed Love

Deptford Cinema, London. Fri 3 Nov 2017

The Film premiere of Class War's latest film on Maria Spiridonova, the peasants' hero in revolutionary Russia
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I don't go to many film premieres, but this was one not to be missed, particularly as I knew most of the stars.

I hadn't intended to take or post any photographs - and seldom do for the more social events in my life, but sitting in the dark I did take out my camera and make a couple of snaps, carefully putting the head I'd been watching to one side of in my way. It's a picture of people watching the film - and you can see the actual film for yourself.

Maria Spiridonova - Armed Love turned out to be a surprisingly interesting film (you can watch all 51 minutes of it at the link) though some of the dialogue from the actual speeches of her, Lenin and the others involved gets a little lengthy.

Of course it was made on the most shoe-string of budgets and at times this shows (as when Luzhenovsky arrives for his assassination by British Rail), but there are some fairly inspired performances with some being taken over by the characters they portray and others providing possibly unintentional moments of comedy.

It's also notable for its director, for whom it was the first film, and one that he says was made by continual references to tutorials searched for on Google. Sid obviously found some good advice, and in many ways it is a highly professional production.

It's also a film that gives an interesting perspective on the Russian Revolution, and a reminder that history is written by the victors. Had Spiridonova and her fellow Left SRs seized the moment and defeated the Bolsheviks when they were possibly in a position to do so, the whole history of the 20th century would have been changed for the better.
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Vigil for Daphne Caruana Galizia

Malta House, Piccadilly, London. Thu 2 Nov 2017

Protesters hold flowers and posters showing the assassinated Panama Papers investigative journalist
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Free expression and anti-corruption organisations paid tribute to leading investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, murdered in Malta on 16th October with a protest outside Malta House demanding the authorities in Malta to bring her murderers to justice.

The protest took place on the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists and was supported by Transparency International UK, Index on Censorship, The Frontline Club, Reporters sans frontières (Reporters Without Borders), English PEN Writers at Risk and Committee to Protect Journalists.

Extracts from her reports were read showing her fearless exposure of crime and corruption, including the shady secret deals that show how politicians and others hide illicit wealth behind secret companies in the Panama Papers.
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Mexican murders Day of the Dead vigil

Mexican Embassy, London. Thu 2 Nov 2017

Argentine human rights activist Nora Cortiñas of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo
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Justice Mexico Now came to the Mexican Embassy to remember the over 150,000 murdered in the Mexican Government War on drugs, and to pay their respects to the hundreds of journalists killed, the hundreds of victims of femicide , the hundreds of migrants murdered crossing Mexico, activists murdered seeking justice for others, the many victims of extrajudicial killings and the 43 Ayotzinapa students forcefully disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero.

People wore masks with Mexican decorations and Helen Goodman MP delivered a letter to the Mexican Ambassador. Others at the protest included Scottish Labour MP Danielle Rowley and Argentine human rights activist Nora Cortiñas from the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, whose son Carlos Gustavo Cortiñas was disappeared in Buenos Aires on April 15, 1977
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London Images

November 2017
Men in an alley off Fleet St
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I had a while to wait for a protest on Shaftesbury Ave and spent some time wandering around Soho and Chinatown and taking pictures. Although it was night the lights are fairly bright and I had no problems working with the Nikons.

Other pictures from Covent Garden, Soho, Haymarket, Charing Cross, Hyde Park Corner, Belgravia, Waterloo Bridge, Fleet St, the City, Moorgate, St James etc.
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