Against Israeli Land Day massacre
Israeli Embassy, London. Sat 31 Mar 2018
A shocked crowd met to condemn the shooting of unarmed
Palestinians by Israeli forces
An emergency protest close to the Israeli embassy condemns the cold-blooded
shooting by the Israeli army of peaceful protesters near the separation
wall in Gaza yesterday.
Israel Defence Force snipers were placed in position on the wall and opened
fire on unarmed protesters several hundred yards using live ammunition.
17 Civilians were killed and over 750 seriously injured by live fire, with
others injured by rubber bullets and tear gas.
The massacre yesterday shocked the world and led the UN to call for an
independent investigation, which Israel have refused. It is hard to see
how anyone with the slightest streak of humanity or decency can fail to
condemn the cold-blooded shooting of unarmed civilians carrying out a peaceful
protest, but the coverage of the event in the UK media has been surprisingly
muted, with the BBC giving considerable air-time to Israeli state speakers
who have shamefully claimed the massacre was reasonable and fully justified.
The Palestinians were taking part in a mass popular march commemorating
Land Day, 42 years ago when Palestinian refugees demanded the right of return
to the homes and villages. Israeli forces in 1976 killed six Palestinians,
seriously wounded around a hundred and arrested many more. Over 70% of the
Palestinians in Gaza are from families that were ejected from their land
70 years ago, and are demanding the right to return. The march on Land Day
was the start of a six-week period of regular peaceful actions, 'The
Great March of Return' leading up to May 15th, the day after Israeli
Independence Day, celebrated as Nakba or Catastrophe Day by Palestinians
who were expelled from their homes and land in 1948.
Defend Afrin - Bring Anna Home
Oxford St, London. Sat 31 Mar 2018
A woman in a walking frame at the head of the protest
on Oxford St
People met in a street near Marble Arch to march to Parliament Square
demanding an end to the invasion of Afrin by Turkish forces and al Qaeda-affiliated
militias which aim to destroy a peaceful state and eliminate the majority
Kurdish population of the area.
The attack into north-west Syria is a clear violation of international
law, and air strikes have deliberately targeted civilian areas. Turkey has
NATO's second largest army and its weaponry comes mainly from European countries
including the UK, who recently signed a major arms deal. Turkish president
Erdogan has stated he intends to invade all the Kurdish areas of Syria and
"cleanse" the area of its Kurdish people.
The British government has expressed support for Turkey, claiming it has
a right to defend its borders, despite its attack being outside them and
the announced intention to push on to distant areas in Syria.
The protest called for an end to the invasion of Syria with an immediate
ceasefire to enable the body of YPJ volunteer Anna Campbell to be returned
to her family in Sussex, an end to all arms sales, to Turkey and other anti-human
regimes in the Middle East, for humanitarian relief for Afrin and other
areas of Syria and for an investigation into human rights abuses and war
crimes in Afrin.
BMXLife Charity Bunny Hop
Oxford St, London. Sat 31 Mar 2018
BMXLife ride for charity on Oxford St in an 8 mile
'Bunny Hop' ride around London
A large group of BMX bike riders dressed as Easter Bunnies taking part
in the 4th Bunny Hop ride-out in London by BMXLife to the streets to raise
money for children staying at Evelina London Children’s Hospital passed
me as I was walking along Oxford St and I took a few pictures.
BMXLife began after young Tommy Wright suffered a near fatal heart attack,
and his family wanted to give something back after the support they had
received at Evelina London Children’s Hospital. They have since raised
over £60,000 for the register charity Evelina Children's Heart Organisation
Land Day protest against supporters of Israeli state
Oxford St, London. Sat 31 Mar 2018
A protester takes a selfie at they protest against
Adidas supporting Israel
A rolling protest along Oxford St showed solidarity with Gaza and the
Land Day protests there where 17 unarmed Palestinian civilians were shot
dead by Israeli forces yesterday.
The protesters called on shoppers to boycott stores with business links
with Apartheid Israel. Land Day commemorates the 1976 protests by Palestinians
against the confiscation of Palestinian land by the Israeli state. Those
shot yesterday were taking part in largely peaceful protests for the 'Great
March of Return' which is continuing until Nakba Day on May 15th, the anniversary
of the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes and villages in 1948.
The protesters met up outside the Oxford St Marks & Spencer where regular
protests have been held for many years, handing out leaflets and collecting
signatures for a petition, and then left to walk along Oxford St, stopping
for short protests outside other businesses which sell Israeli goods, calling
for shoppers to boycott them. While I was with them they also protested
outside Selfridges, which sells Israeli wines, Adidas which supports the
Israel football team, Boots which sells cosmetics made in Israel and Carphone
Staines Good Friday Procession
Staines, Middx. Fri 30 Mar 2018
Bad weather meant the High St was rather less busy
As in previous years, Staines Council of Churches held a Good Friday procession
of witness, marching from the Methodist Church behind a Salvation Army Band
through the market in the High St to the Two Rivers retail park, where they
held a service and gave out hot cross buns with an Easter message to shoppers,
inviting them to take part and come back to the church at the end of the
event for tea and coffee and to find out more.
The service included hymns, songs, prayers, readings and an address about
Christ's passion and resurrection with contributions from leaders of many
Staines Christian groups. Bad weather, with some heavier showers of rain
meant that the band had to move to shelter under the covered area in front
of the shops and probably explained the lower attendance at the event.
Shut Down Yarl's Wood
Yarl's Wood, Bedford, UK. Sat 24 Mar 2018
A woman sits at a window of the prison holding a poster
'Release Torture Victims Shame' and a pink bra
Movement for Justice held their 13th protest at Yarl's Wood Immigration
Removal Centre, calling for all immigration detention centres to be closed
down, with other groups including Sisters Uncut for the first time separately
organising for the protest following revelations about the mistreatment
of former MfJ activists.
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, mainly by former detainees from Yarl's Wood and
elsewhere, on the MfJ's powerful public address system. 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.
The other groups mainly protested separately a little further along the
fence. The protesters could also clearly hear the voices of the women as
they shouted together with them, and a several spoke from inside over phone
links as well as holding posters calling for freedom and justice to their
windows and waving clothing, mainly bras; some of the protesters waved bras
back to them.
MfJ have a record since around 2014 of organising many protests at detention
centres including this and elsewhere, and and of working with detainees
inside them and after their release, preventing deportations etc, and clearly
have earned and retain the support of many former detainees. They have put
countless hours into leading the fight to get detention centres closed,
and to stop deportations as well as considerable expense. It has been a
fight that has been a consequence of their clearly stated political position,
consistent with their other actions since I first met them in the late 1990s
in Brixton and Tottenham.
It's good to see that more other groups are getting organised, however
regrettable the incident that prompted this. I hope it will lead to more
and bigger protests in the future, including some on other occasions to
those organised by MfJ.
Cleaners protest at Royal Opera House
Royal Opera House, London. Wed 21 Mar 2018
Royal Opera House security help a CAIWU protester
out of the foyer
Cleaners union CAIWU held another of their series of protests at the
Royal Opera House following the dismissal of five workers and a final warning
to a sixth, victimised because of their trade union activities.
The cleaners briefly protested in the foyer and then stood on the pavement
outside handing out leaflets and making a continuous loud noise for around
half an hour as people entered for tonight's opera.
The six, all members of the CAIWU, were sacked or warned over minor timekeeping
misdemeanours despite long records of loyal service at the Royal Opera House
by cleaning service provider Kier who have a record of blacklisting trade
unionists. The dismissals occurred a month after the union members had been
active in a successful campaign to get the workers the London Living Wage.
Since an earlier protest on March 8th, the CAIWU have held daily evening
protests since March 15th, at the first of which union organiser Alberto
Durango was assaulted by an opera-goer arriving for a performance. The union
intends to continue these daily protests at least until the end of the month.
Support for Yarls Wood strikers
Home Office, London. Wed 21 Mar 2018
Protesters call for all immigration detention centres
to be closed
A protest at the Home Office supports the Yarl's Wood strikers who
today announced they were ending the hunger strike they began a month ago,
refusing food, refusing to work, and refusing to use services inside detention.
They demand an end to indefinite detention and a return to the original
plan for a 28 day limit, respect by the Home Office for human rights conventions
and due process, including an end to deporting people while their cases
are still being decided, for the authorities to introduce a fair bail process
and the disclosure of all evidence to immigration tribunal courts.
They want proper health care in detention and an end to menial work paid
at £1 per hour as well as an end to the detaining of vulnerable people
including victims of rape, torture, the disabled and the mentally ill. They
call for an end to deportation by charter flights and an amnesty for those
who have lived in the UK for over 10 years.
The protest was organised by Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, Detained
Voices, East End Sisters Uncut, The London Latinxs, NELMA North East London
Migrant Action, Right to Remain, BLMUK Black Lives Matter UK, End Deportations
and SOAS Detainee Support and supported by others, with several women form
the All African Women's Group speaking about their terrible treatment in
There were also protests today supporting the Yarls Wood strikers in Manchester,
Leeds, Liverpool, Bristol and Glasgow.
Alfie's Army at Downing St
Downing St, London. Tue 20th Mar 2018
Alfie's army support Bootle infant with a degenerative
A small group from 'Alfie's army' protested opposite Downing St after
the High Court ruled that Alder Hey Childrens’ Hospital can remove
his life support.
Later the Supreme Court refused to consider the case. The hospital say they
have made every effort to investigate and find a way to treat Alfie. Because
Alder Hey is a specialist centre we have good links with other centres and,
including contacting the experts in Rome and others who Alfie's family say
should be allowed to treat him, and "all are unanimous in their
agreement that Alfie’s condition is irreversible and untreatable."
British Museum Carillion staff
British Museum, London. Tue 20th Mar 2018
Candy Udwin from the National Gallery was one of the organisers of the protest
Staff at the British Museum whose jobs were privatised despite union
oppositions and became Carillion employees and have been left in limbo after
the collapse of the company protested.
They say that so far the management of the British Museum has refused to
talk with their unions, the PCS and Unite. They want the management to bring
the staff back into direct employment and protect their jobs, pensions and
terms and conditions.
Speakers at the protest included PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka, Clara
Paillard, President of PCS Culture Group and Zita Holbourne. Shadow Chancellor
John McDonnell MP had intended to be there but had to attend a privy council
briefing and sent a long message which was read out. There were also speakers
from successful campaigns at SOAS and the LSE to have workers there brought
back in house, as well as support from other trade union groups.
After a rally outside the museum main gate, the protesters marched around
the block, protesting outside the management offices and the rear entrance
before returning to the main gate to end the protest.
Staines & Shortwood Common
Staines, Middx. Sun 18 Mar 2018
There was a little snow still on the common
I was persuaded to go for a short walk in the late afternoon.
Unfortunately the South West Railway has closed the crossing across the
railway we used to use to go from one part of Shortwood Common to the rest
and we had to go a longer way round, crossing the railway at the footbridge
by the station. The lane leading to the crossing is a public right of way,
but the crossing was not registered as such and the railway appear to have
been able to close it on a whim.
It would have been relatively simple to provide an alternative route, as
the track leads on under the bypass, and steps up could lead to the footpath
on the east side of this and over the railway. Steps down could then lead
to the lane on the opposite side of the railway. Instead to get to the other
side involves a detour of 1.5km.
Of course few people want to travel between those two points, but some journeys
will be lengthened by a considerable amount. I used to occasionally use
the crossing on my way to work mainly because it led to a nice path to Ashford.
There was a decent covering of snow on the common, thin in some areas but
several inches in others. Walking was a little tricky in parts as the ground
under the snow wasn't frozen but a little muddy in places.
We walked up beside the pond towards the London Rd and then across to a
stile quite close to the corner taking us onto the path by the London Rd.
Then along to the footbridge across Staines Road West, the first section
of the by-pass to be built, opened a few years before the rest. When it
ended here at the Crooked Billet roundabout it was something of an anti-bypass,
bringing more traffic to the desperately overcrowded Staines High St.
March Against Racism
BBC to Whitehall, London. Sat 17 Mar 2018
'Never Again! No to the Nazis' placard held by a
'Love Music hate Racism supporter
Over five thousand turned up to march through London on the March against
Racism on UN Anti Racism Day despite apocalyptic weather forecasts, an amber
weather warning, a temperature around zero with the occasional snowflake
and a chilling east wind.
The march hosted by Stand Up to Racism began with speeches outside the
BBC on Portland Place and ended with a rally in Whitehall, where angry Kurds
protested in front of Downing St calling for the government to take action
against Turkey to stop its invasion of Afrin.
Many went home or found somewhere warmer at this point, and the crowd staying
to listen to the speeches in Whitehall was considerably smaller than the
march. And I left after just a few of the speeches as it was really too
cold to stand around in the open air, and missed most of the main speakers.
University teachers march for pensions
Bloomsbury to Westminster, London. Wed 14 Mar 2018
Jeremy Bentham, one of the founders of UCL - his body
is still in a cupboard there
Several thousand striking London Region UCU members and supporters, including
many students, march through London to a rally in support of their continuing
strike against the attempt by the universities to abandon the USS pension
scheme which many have been contributing to for years and move to a highly
They call the calculations that are behind the employers' move because
of a pension deficit 'bullshit' and reject the need for the change. The
strike has brought the two sides to talks with a fresh proposal from the
employers but this was rejected by the union yesterday and the strike continues.
Lecturers see the pensions move as a part of the continuing monetisation
of education and want to end the reliance by the universities on cheap labour
from part-time workers, graduate student and others on zero hours contracts.
Kurds protest Turkish Invasion of Afrin
Parliament Square, London. Wed 14 Mar 2018
Women sit with dolls, some wrapped in cloths and hold
pictures of those killed and wounded
Kurds continue their protests in London trying to get the UK and other
western countries to take action to stop the Turkish invasion of Afrin,
a Kurdish area of Syria on the Turkish border.
They came to Parliament Square and blocked the roadway for several hours
before police persuaded them to move back onto the pavement where they continued
to protest for some hours.
Turkish forces, aided by Russian air support and the Free Syrian Army which
includes many former ISIS and al-Qaeda fighters are attempting to eliminate
the Kurdish population in the area, claiming that they are all terrorists.
The Kurdish forces played the major role in the defeat of ISIS which was
supported by Turkey but are now being attacked by far better equipped forces
with weapons supplied to Turkey as a member of NATO and Russian warplanes
The attacks have been targeted on civilians areas with several hundred
civilian deaths and many more casualties, but despite many accounts, reports
and videos of the continuing genocide it has been largely ignored by Western
media and governments. The Syrian regime has protested against the incursion
on its territory but appears to have done nothing to oppose it, and the
US have done nothing either, abandoning the Kurds who had been their allies
Chiswick House Gardens
Chiswick, LB Hounslow. Mon 12 Mar 2018
Amphitheatre, Obelisk and Ionic Temple, Chiswick House
A family outing on a wet Monday to Chiswick House Gardens and the exhibition
in the glass house there of camellias.
I wouldn't go very far at all to see a show of camellias, but others in
our group were keener, and at least the conservatory was out of the rain
which was coming down pretty steadily. Had it been a nicer day, the small
car park might have been full and we could have had to queue in the cafe,
so there were some compensations.
I probably first went to these gardens sixty or more years ago. My father
was a keen gardener (and looked after the fine gardens of a Mr Miller in
Hounslow a few hours a week) and family outings were often to Kew, but I
think also at least once or twice to Chiswick House which had become a public
park in 1929 - and entry to the park was free. The whole place was then
rather run down, and the Grade 1 listed conservatory which houses the ancient
camellias was in poor shape, though perhaps more picturesque for this. Fortunately
camellias don't really need a greenhouse to flourish.
Back then we all thought the conservatory had been built by Joseph Paxton,
but it actually predated his time here, and it probably provided the inspiration
for the hot-house he built at Chatsworth after having been poached by the
Duke of Devonshire, and later the Crystal Palace. It's certainly a large
greenhouse, but hardly deserves its listing as it has been rebuilt several
times over the years, most recently in this century. Though the latest was
doubtless a careful reconstruction, the earlier rebuilds were almost certainly
rather less sympathetic.
More recently, back in the 1980s and 1990s this was a park we used to bring
photography students to, letting them loose around the extensive and picturesque
grounds - where Bill Brandt had made a fine image or two and, perhaps of
more interest to them, the Beatles had been filmed for one of the early
The students, mainly 16-18 year olds but with a few more mature, were set
loose with firm instructions to go back to nearby Chiswick station for a
particular train, on on one occasion two failed to turn up. The rest of
the group set off with a member of staff and I waited half an hour for the
next train, finally giving up and returning to college, where there was
still no sign of them. Parents were phoned and we hung around waiting, before
finally I gave up and went home. The following day we found that they had
been running to get the train and were stopped by police, who then held
them for several hours, refusing to let them contact anyone - parents or
college and failing to check their story with the college. There were firm
complaints about the police behaviour, but as usual with no result.
Having seen the flowers we had lunch in the cafe. I can't recommend it,
though the coffee was OK. Almost any pub lunch would have been preferable,
then Linda and I did a quick trot around the deservedly Grade I listed grounds
in the rain on the way back to the car park.
Don't Bomb Syria
Downing St, London. Sun 11 Mar 2018
A small group of Syrians with posters opposite Downing
A small group of Syrians protested opposite Downing St calling on Theresa
May to take actions to stop the bloodshed and killing of children in Syria.
Remember Fukushima, 7th Anniversary
Japanese Embassy to Parliament, London. Sun 11 Mar 2018
Waiting outside the Japanese Embassy for the start
of the march
A march from the Japanese embassy to a rally outside Parliament organised
by Kick Nuclear (London) and Japanese Against Nuclear London with the support
of CND remembered the victims of the continuing Fukushima disaster and all
victims of nuclear power and nuclear bombs.
It was on the seventh anniversary of the nuclear disaster, the radiation
from which is still escaping; between 100-650 people are expected to die
from long term cancers caused by the immediate radioactivity leak and many
more from the continuing release.
The march stopped briefly outside the Lower Regent St offices of Lockheed
Martin, one of the companies which manufactures nuclear weapons and then
went on to Old Palace Yard, opposite the Houses of Parliament where they
held a rally.
Speakers condemned the continuing nuclear power programme which has always
been closely linked with the production of nuclear weapons and, never an
economically viable method of power production, has now been rendered entirely
obsolete by improved renewable energy sources. As well as speeches, there
were musical performances and a poet read one of her poems about Fukushima.
I had to leave before the rally concluded with a die-in.
London March for Freedom for Tibet
Downing St, London. Sat 10 Mar 2018
and supporters prepare to march at Downing St
The annual Tibet freedom march in London commemorating the 59th anniversary
of the Tibetan National Uprising, with around a thousand people, including
many Tibetans and supporters gathering at Downing St before marching to
a protest at the Chinese Embassy.
Before the march left there was a minute of silence for those who have
died, including by self-immolation, and a long Tibetan prayer, followed
by the singing of the Tibetan National Anthem.
Against attacks on Afrin
Parliament Square, London. Sat 10 Mar 2018
People with Kurdistan flags and posters
A row of people across the front of Parliament Square hold posters
about the continuing Turkish siege of Afrin, where the local authority reports
that 220 civilians have been killed and 600 injured.
The Turkish forces have taken advantage of the media concentrating on Eastern
Ghouta and largely ignoring what is happening in the Kurdish area of northern
Syria, where up to a million civilians are coming under attack.
Turkish forces are augmented by hard line Islamic extremists from the Free
Syrian Army, many of whom fought with ISIS and al-Qaeda and are determined
to have revenge on the PKK Kurdish forces which were largely responsible
for their defeat.
Sri Lankans protest Buddhist mob violence
Downing St, London. Sat 10 Mar 2018
Women on the march to the Sri Lankan Embassy
Sri Lankan Tamils gathered for a rally at Downing St to protest against
the continuing violence by Buddhist mobs in Muslim neighbourhoods around
Kandy which have destroyed shops and restaurants despite the state of emergency
declared last Tuesday with a curfew and the deployment of soldiers to towns
in the troubled area.
In similar violence last month a mosque was destroyed. The government has
also closed down social media websites which they say were used to organise
the violence. The majority Sinhalese population is predominantly Buddhist
while the minority Tamils include Hindus, Muslims and Christians.
As protesters left to march to the Sri Lankan High Commission there were
some arguments as some men tried to force women protesters to the back of
the march, but were met with some defiance. They were held back while some
men with banners went to the front of the march, but soon joined it.
Protest forcible religious conversions
Parliament Square, London. Sat 10 Mar 2018
dressed in black wear head bands 'Free Our Faith'
People stood in rows in Parliament Square for a protest by members
of many faiths calling for religious freedom and against Coercive Conversion
Programmes which attempt to forcefully change an person's belief through
psychological intimidation, verbal and physical abuse.
This was a one of a number of protests around the world called by the South
Korean based NGO The Association of Victims of Coercive Conversion Programmes
(AVCCP) which raises awareness of human rights abuses caused by religious
conflicts after the death of a Korean girl, Jo In Gu, allegedly suffocated
by her parents for refusing to take part in a religious conversion programme.
Million Women Rise
Oxford St, London. Sat 10 Mar 2018
Latin-Americans in Orchard St where the march gathered
Women march through London against male violence against women, part
of the Million Women Rise movement against the global pandemic of male violence
Many carried feminist placards and there were groups from various women's
organisations around the country, including from various ethnic communities.
They were marching along Oxford St to a rally in Trafalgar Square.
Unilever & Myanmar's Rohingya genocide
Unilever House, , London. Thu 8 Mar 2018
Unilever told their investments in Myanmar are supporting
rape and genocide of Rohingya
A protest on International Women's Day at Unilever House called on
Unilever to disinvest from Myanmar where they have a $667 million investment
as the military government there are committing systematic rape and other
torture with total impunity as part of their genocide against the Rohingya
Unilever claims to to embody principles that respect the dignity and rights
of women and girls, especially in their marketing of Dove products and as
'Impact Champion' appointed by UN Women, and a company which makes
the claims that "UNILEVER aims to improve safety for women and
girls in the communities where they operate."
The protest was organised by Global Women's Strike in support of the call
by Sisters of Rohingya for Unilever to divest from Myanmar.
Reinstate the Royal Opera House 6
Royal Opera, Covent Garden, London. Thu 8 Mar 2018
CAIWU members outside Covent Garden Royal Opera House
Cleaners from CAIWU were supported by a a large crowd from the London
Womens's Strike in a protest outside the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden
against the victimisation of cleaners working there for taking part in trade
In January, actions by Independent Workers Union - CAIWU (members were
successful in getting the cleaning service provider Kier to pay its workers
the London Living Wage. Only a month later, Kier, a company who have a record
of blacklisting trade unionists, fired four cleaners and porters from their
jobs for minor timekeeping misdemeanours. Another is being disciplined and
a sixth is on a final written warning. All are CAIWU members and are clearly
being victimised for having taken part in the successful campaign at the
Royal Opera House.
The protest was so large that it blocked Drury Lane for some time before
returning to Covent Garden Market. Police came and talked briefly with both
the protesters and those inside the Royal Opera House, then came out, removed
all the posters and fliers from the police car, got in and drove away.
The campaign against victimisation is continuing with a whole series of
protests scheduled for later in the month at times when customers will be
going in to performances there.
Solidarity with Yarl's Wood hunger strikers
Home Office, London. Thu 8 Mar 2018
group from Manchester at the London protest with a Shut Down Yarl's Wood
Protesters come to the Home Office to show solidarity with those held
in Yarl's Wood on International Women's Day, and in particular with those
who began a hunger strike 15 days ago against their imprisonment and the
conditions and treatment by the detention centre staff and the Home Office.
Since then this has gathered momentum and escalated into an all-out strike:
work strikes, occupations, and a general refusal to co-operate, and long
lists of the detainees demands have been published by Detained Voices.
So far the Home Office has issued denials that the action is taking place
and has sent those taking part letters threatening them with accelerated
deportation because of their actions. The protesters call for an end to
all immigration detention. Hundreds of people including some at this protest
were fasting today for International Women's Day in solidarity with those
inside Yarl's Wood.
London Women's Strike
Russell Square, London. Thu 8 Mar 2018
A woman holds red roses and a poster about smashing
Over a thousand people, mainly women, are at the London Women's Strike
in Russell Square on International Women’s Day.
There were a series of speeches, singing and events to mark the day of
strike by women, refusing to do work either paid or unpaid, including housework
and domestic work. The organisers say the "Women's Strike is a
strike for solidarity between women - women of colour, indigenous, working
class, disabled, migrant, Muslim, lesbian, queer and trans women"
and "is about realising the power we already hold - activating
and nourishing resistance."
Here is a part of one of their statements:
• For every woman who is sick to death of being sexually harassed
and bullied at work.
• For every woman who is hungry and unable to heat her house.
• For every woman suffering because of benefit cuts or poverty wages.
• For every woman who is expected to earn less than her male colleagues
and then come home and start a second shift of cooking, cleaning and caring.
• For every woman who is kept powerless by whore stigma.
• For every woman of transgender experience who is subject to violence
and whose womanhood is denied by the state, her doctor, her employers,
and those around her.
• For every woman who is told she is just going through a phase,
that she's too pretty to be a lesbian or too ugly to be straight and has
endured homophobia, biophobia or queerphobia at home, at work and in the
• For every woman who has worked herself to the bone to keep the
national health and education systems functioning and yet has not received
a pay rise in years.
• For every woman who has suffered violence at the hands of partners,
friends, colleagues or bosses and is not believed.
• For every woman who faces violence at the hands of the state through
immigration raids, mass incarceration and racist policing.
Groups of those on strike took part in a number of events elsewhere, including
several protests in support of cleaners at the TopShop and The Royal Opera
in Covent Garden, and cinema workers at Picturehouse, calling for an end
to immigration detention an in solidarity with the Yarl's Wood hunger strikers,
for Unilever to withdraw its investment in Myanmar where its presence supports
a government that has brutally raped, tortured and killed many Rohingya,
and supporting sex workers by calling for the decriminalisation of prostitution.
Family Courts put on Trial
Old Palace Yard, London. Thu 8 Mar 2018
A finger points at one of the two judges the protesters
say are stealing children from families
Global Women's Strike mock trial of the Family Courts in an International
Women’s Day protest in front of Parliament. Speakers included mothers
who have had children unjustly removed and others who read out their statements
as well as the shocking comments made in court by judges as well as those
from groups which assist women to try and keep their children or who have
had children taken without good cause.
The UK has the highest rate of adoptions in Europe, almost all without
consent of their birth family. In some working class areas, 50% of children
are referred to social services and that families of colour, immigrant and
disabled are all disproportionately affected.
They say that poverty, often a result of benefit cuts and sanctions, and
lack of proper housing is often mistaken for neglect and that instead of
help being provided as the 1989 Childrens Act instructed, children are taken
into care and then put up for adoption when they have mothers or grandmothers
who are capable of good parenting and only need support.
Victims of domestic abuse are often accused of 'failing to protect' their
children and vague charges such as putting children at risk of future emotional
harm and neglect are used by the secret courts to remove children from mothers
The campaigners want hearings with proper public scrutiny, an end to the
gagging of mothers and families, the greater use of kinship carers (only
9% of looked after children are placed with these in the UK, compared to
almost half in Spain) and the proper implementation of the 1989 Children
Act, and the Care Act 2014 which entitles disabled mothers to extra help.
Shut Guantanamo at new US Embassy
US Embassy, Nine Elms, London. Thu 8 Mar 2018
Guantanamo campaigners in front of the new US Embassy
The London Guantánamo Campaign held the first of their monthly protests
outside the US Embassy calling for the US prison camp to be shut down and
the remaining 41 prisoners to be released.
They have protested at the Grosvenor Square US embassy every month since
2007 and will continue outside the new embassy until the illegal and immoral
camp is closed down. They say that with President Trump's plans to keep
Guantanamo open and possibly send more people there it is important to continue
to stand against this shameful injustice. There is no evidence against most
of those held and tortured there which would stand up in a court of law,
and some were simply foreigners in the region seized by merely to gain cash
rewards from the US forces.
The protests normally take place on the first Thursday of the month, but
March's protest was postponed for a week because of last week's snow. This
meant that some regular protesters were unable to attend, and the protest
started a little later than usual as some had problems finding the new location.
I had to leave after a few minutes to photograph another event and more
people may have turned up later. more pictures
Nine Elms, London. Thu 8 Mar 2018
The US Embassy has a 'moat' water feature in front
I walked from Vauxhall to the US Embassy for a protest, but was a few minutes
early (or the protesters were late) so had time to take a few pictures of
the embassy and its surrounds in what estate agents call the Embassy Quarter.
IWGB protest at Graduation Dinner
Chi swell St, London. Tue 6 Mar 2018
A woman holds a baking tray with the message 'No To
Outsourcing - Keep Us In
Outsourced workers, including cleaners, security officers, receptionists,
porters and gardeners who keep the university running smoothly protested
noisily outside University of London Vice Chancellor Sir Adrian Smith's
graduation dinner, calling on the university to employ them directly, for
an end to zero hours contracts and to implement promised pay rises.
Currently they are employed by contractors under worse holiday entitlements,
sick pay, pensions and paternal leave than university employees, and are
often subjected to discrimination, bullying and unfair deduction of wages.
The university management has repeatedly refused discussions with the workers
and their trade union, the IWGB, who are this week balloting for further
strike action after months of campaigning.
The workers and supported marched from Barbican station to the dinner venue
and watched by police and security staff as they held a noisy protest and
handed out flyers to those attending the dinner.
Staines, Middx. Sun 4 Mar 2018
Former gravel pit, Church Lammas, Staines
It was late afternoon when we set out for a walk - I'd been working
at the computer all day and needed some fresh air and a little exercise.
We walked down to the Thames and then along what used to be the tow path
upstream to the Lammas Park. From 1812 to 1885 there were bitter and sometimes
violent battles over the enclosures of common land around Staines, and particular
resentment when John Ashby (whose family owned among other things Staines'
leading brewery) bought and enclosed this area. The resentment didn't go
away, even when the area was donated as a park to the town in 1922, and
although officially then called the Ashby Recreation Ground, locals refused
to use that name, and 71 years later the local council capitulated and changed
it back to The Lammas. Hopefully it won't take quite so long for the council
to change the official name of the town back to Staines, from the asinine
Walking through the Lammas we crossed the road to another area of the Lammas
fields now called Church Lammas Lakes, as the fields were dug up for gravel
in the 1980s and 90s. Rather than restoring them to fields the pits were
left and at fairly minimal expense (a couple of gates, a few paths and benches)
turned into a nature reserve open to the public. The borough has far too
many such former gravel pits - and of course also large areas of water in
a number of reservoirs.
At the west of the site is a small ditch, the COunty Ditch, which forms
the boundary of Middlesex - and now of the Borough of Spelthorne, and we
walked by its side t the northwest corner of the reserve by the Staines
Aqueduct, where we turned east to go to a footpath leading over the aqueduct
and then under the bypass and across a field to Moor Lane, turning south
on that to come back under the bypass and over the aqueduct again, then
taking a footpath that leads to Vicarage Lane and on to Church St, returning
to the towpath by Bridge St to make our way home. By that time is was getting
No More Deaths On Our Streets
London. Sat 3 Mar 2018
Police stop the march briefly close to Piccadilly
Supporters from March With The Homeless - #solidaritynotcharity, Streets
Kitchen, Homeless Outreach Central, and London: March for the homeless gathered
at Downing St after rough sleepers have died on the streets of London in
the recent cold snap to say enough is enough - no more deaths on our streets.
After blocking Whitehall for a short time they marched along the Strand
and through Covent Garden before making their way towards Piccadilly Circus
and then on to the squatted Sofia House which is offering shelter and food
to the London's street homeless.
Police made several attempts to stop their march with a small force of
officers including two poorly controlled horses who endangered the public
on some of the crowded West End streets. They kept trying to stop the march
going where it intended and making it go back to Downing St, but there were
not enough of them to stop people simply walking around their various cordons.
Eventually at the top of Haymarket the police appeared to come to some
agreement with the marchers that would allow them to proceed, and I left
Protesters blame the government for failing in its duty to provide social
housing and to look after its citizens, and that government cuts in benefits
and money for welfare services are killing people who are poor, disabled
or suffering from mental health conditions. They say the authorities should
take over some of the many empty properties to house the homeless - there
are around ten times as many empty homes in the UK as there are homeless
There are also many large empty commercial properties like the one that
some of those on the march have squatted in Great Portland St and made into
a temporary refuge. Without people making initiatives such as these and
the work of groups like Streets Kitchen feeding the homeless many more would
have died, particularly in the cold nights and snow of the past week. The
squat provided food and overnight shelter for around 30 people on the night
of the march.
South Bank from Waterloo Bridge
Taken on my travels around London on buses and trains and occasionally
Includes pictures from Westminster, Holborn, New Malden, Vauxhall, Hyde
Park Corner, Smithfield and more.
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