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Police clear XR from Oxford Circus

Oxford Circus, London. Fri 19 Apr 2019
Police carry away a protester after arresting him
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Soon after Emma Thompson spoke at Extinction Rebellion's Sea of Protest, while I had left the area for a few minutes, police surrounded the pink yacht and put a ring of officers around Oxford Circus.

They began the slow process of persuading protesters to leave by threatening them with arrest and cutting off those who were locked on around the bottom of the yacht. There were a number of arrests of protesters who refused to leave.

A few tried to get the large crowd to protect the yacht, but XR organisers persuaded them not to physically oppose the police action as this went against the non-violent principles of Extinction Rebellion. Many other radical groups have criticised their attitudes to the police, and their strategy of getting as many people as possible to be arrested at the protests.

The large number of arrests has put a great deal of stress on existing organisations which provide legal observers and arestee support, and although XR has provided some training for volunteers in these areas, much of the work duing their protests has fallen to Green and Black Cross, "an independent grassroots project set up in the spirit of mutual aid to support social and environmental struggles within the UK" whose members were handing out bust cards at the protest.

Green and Black Cross will also be supplying much of the legal assistance needed when the cases of those who are charged come to court, although probably many arrested will not be charged. Although XR has received rleatively large sums in donations, so far they have made no contributions for these services, somehing which has led to considerable criticism.
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Emma Thompson speaks at XR

Oxford Circus, London. Fri 19 Apr 2019
Emma Thompson shows her 'There is no planet B' bag
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Dame Emma Thompson came to speak at Extinction Rebellion's Sea of Protest in Oxford Circus around the large pink yacht, names after the Honduran environmental activist Berta Cáceres, assassinated in 2016.

Emma Thompson was a part of the day's activities to show 'Love For The Earth' on the 5th day of the occupation, but these were interrupted by police shortly after she spoke.

Some have criticised XR because she flew from New York to speak here; critics like to pick on irrelvancies such as this to attack the movement. There is little alternative to flying to travel from America to this country, and although Emma tries to fly as little as possible, some flights are necessary for her work. And as she says, she is in the fortunate position of being able to offset the carbon produced by paying for schemes such as planting trees.

Cutting our dependence on aviation isn't about individual journeys such as hers which are made for good reasons, but for making large cuts in the total numbers of flights.The cost of flying should reflect the actual costs by removing the current subsidies and imposing in their place a tax on journeys; a system with per person annual carbon allowances and heavy penalties for exceeding these might be more fair.

XR's protest continues demanding the government tells the truth and takes the urgent actions needed on the global climate and ecological emergency to avoid the extinction of life on Earth.
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Knife crime campaigners Operation Shutdown

Westminster, London. Wed 17 Apr 2019

Reality TV star Sandi Bogle's 23-year-old nephew Bjorn Brown was stabbed to death in Croydon 2 years ago
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Knife crime campaigners Operation Shutdown, a consortium of mums, dad's and other bereaved family members and loved ones supported by other campaigners, called for the community to unite and demanded more urgent action by the government to halt the growing epidemic of knife crime.

They held a rally at Downing Street and made a long list of demands, calling for new laws and stiffer penalties for knife and gun crime, as well as an end to cuts to local services including youth work and the restoration of these to pre-austerity levels, along with police budgets and numbers. They demand adequate safeguarding, a coordinated approach to trafficking and grooming and abuse of children and young people and a proper sharing of information and accountability for recently announced public health approach to knife crime.

At the end of the rally there where many representatives of bereaved families spoke, they marched the short distance to Bridge Streetwhere they presented two wreaths to the police close to where PC Keith Palmer was murdered before going on to block Westminster Bridge for more speeches.
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Drax Protest at BEIS

BEIS, London. Wed 17 Apr 2019
Axe Drax protesters and XR supporters outside BEIS tell it to stop rewarding the country's major polluter

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Axe Drax protesters against burning wood at Drax come to protest at the Dept for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy demanding an end to environmental subsidies for massive pollution.

Drax burns more wood each year than the UK produces, and it comes mainly from environmentally disastrous clear-felling of US forests. Drax also burns coal from opencast mining, again with huge environmental damage. The mining activities also disrupt some communities and lead to human rights abuses, particularly in Colombia.

Drax's latest plans are to move from coal to buring natural gas - another carbon-based fuel, and likely to be produced by environmentally harmful fracking with a huge 3.6-Gigawatt gas plant - 2.7 times larger than the UK's existing largest gas-fired generator slated to come on line in 2015, the year by which XR says we need to aim for Zero carbon. And for all its incredibly polluting activities Drax is currently awarded huge environmental subsidies. You just could not make this up.
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XR around Parliament Square

Parliament Square, London. Wed 17 Apr 2019
A theatrical group of protesters in red for the blood of extinct species parade in front of Parliament
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Two days after Extinction Rebellion blocked the roads in Parliament Square it remained closed to traffic.

Activities continue in and around the square with new protesters arriving. They intend to continue the protest until the government takes urgent real action on the global climate and ecological emergency, tells the truth about the imminent disaster, halts biodiversity loss, cuts greenhouse gas emissions and is led by a Citizen's Assembly on climate and ecological justice.
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Drax wood burning must end

Grocers Hall, London. Wed 17 Apr 2019

Drax gets rewarded with a £789m subsidy for producing excessive amounts of carbon dioxide
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Protesters at the Drax AGM in the City of London demand an end to burning wood at Drax power station, the UK's biggest carbon emitter.

Drax emitted over 13m tonnes of CO2 from burning wood in 2018, and plans to become the largest gas powered generating station in the UK. AxeDrax demand an end to the environmental subsidies for burning wood for which Drax got £789m in 2018 and for an end to the nonsensical accounting sustem which makes it qualify for any subsidy despite the huge contribution wood burning makes to climate change.

The money for the subsidy comes from our electricity bills and is intended to combat climate change not contribute to it. These subsidies and more should be used to encourage genuine renewables including solar and onshore/offshore wind and more grants for home insulation and other energy saving measures.
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XR Waterloo 'Garden Bridge' continues

Waterloo Bridge, London. Wed 17 Apr 2019

Protesters sit on Waterloo Bridge behind a row of flowers
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Two days after Extinction Rebellion closed Waterloo Bridge turning it into a 'Garden Bridge' it remained closed to traffic despite a couple of hundred arrests.

Activities continue on the bridge with new protesters arriving. They intend to keep the bridge closed to vehicles until the government takes real action on the global climate and ecological emergency, tells the truth about the imminent disaster, halts biodiversity loss, cuts greenhouse gas emissions and is led by a Citizen's Assembly on climate and ecological justice.
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Save Lambeth Children's Centres

Brixton, London. Mon 15 Apr 2019

Mothers, fathers, children and staff call on Lambeth's Labour council to drop its plans
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Campaigners in Brixton, including staff, families and children protest opposite the council offices against plans by Lambeth Council to close 5 children's centres and make drastic cuts in another 7, with many staff losing their jobs.

A huge backlash from parents had delayed a decision until today's council Cabinet meeting, but no details of any suggested revisions to the cuts have been released.
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Extinction Rebellion at Shell

Shell South Bank, London. Mon 15 Apr 2019

Two protesters on the glass porch, one taking a rest as they protest against Shell's ecocide
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Extinction Rebellion activists forced their way into the Shell offices to protest at the companies activities, both in making a huge contribution to greenhouse gases through its promotion of fossil fuels, but also its terrible human rights record.

I was too late for the initial action which had been kept secret, but the protest was continuing when I arrived. Two protesters were occupying a glass porch above the main entrance and others had daubed slogans across the front of the building using spray chalk, and broken the glass in one of the doors.

The damage was deliberate, though fairly minor, with the protesters hoping that this would mean that their trial would be held in a court with a jury rather than by magistrates, enabling them to present the reasons for their action. There had been 3 arrests before I arrived.
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Extinction Rebellion Funeral Procession

Parliament Square, London. Mon 15 Apr 2019

The funeral procession with coffin and the blood of extinct species and XR flags on Parliament Square
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Extinction Rebellion closed the roads at Parliament Square for a New Orleans funeral procession with jazz band and a group of mourners in red to represent the blood of species made extinct and many others followed the coffin around the square.

After several circuits of the square the procession came to the centre of the square and was laid on the grass. After a silence there were improvisatory group activities.

XR intend to stay in the square until the government takes necessary action on the global climate and ecological emergency. They say it must tell people the truth about the disaster we are facing, halt biodiversity loss, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025, and set up and be led by a Citizen's Assembly on climate and ecological justice. They occupied the square and kept the roads blocked for over a week despite police efforts to remove them.
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Extinction Rebellion Marble Arch

Marble Arch, London. Mon 15 Apr 2019

One of the four or five road blocks that stopped all traffic in the area for over a week
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Extinction Rebellion environmental campaigners close the whole area around Marble Arch to traffic, with a stage and performers, various tents and activities and road blocks on the streets leading to the gyratory system.

Many had been there overnight and they intend to stay and block traffic until the government takes necessary action on the global climate and ecological emergency. They say it must tell people the truth about the disaster we are facing, halt biodiversity loss, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025, and set up and be led by a Citizen's Assembly on climate and ecological justice. It was only after ten days that police managed to get the traffic moving again, and XR decided to call an end to the camp there the following day.
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Anti-capitalist environmental action

St Paul's Cathedral, London. Mon 15 Apr 2019

Anti-capitalists were slow to arrive for the protest and I gave up waiting
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A small group met in front of St Paul's Cathedral for a protest organised by the Green Anti-Capitalist Front, Earth Strike and London Students for Climate Justice.

While supporting the environmentalist actions by Extinction Rebellion they wanted to go to workplaces at the heart of the capitalist system in the City of London to make it clear that climate struggle is class struggle.

People were slow to arrive and the protest didn't seem to be likely to start for some time, and I left before anything happened, missing the action.
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Extinction Rebellion Sea at Oxford Circus

Oxford Circus, London. Mon 15 Apr 2019

A dance theatre group in red to represent the blood of species extinct or under threat
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Extinction Rebellion campaigners close Oxford Circus to traffic and create a "sea of protest" around a large pink yacht, named after the Honduran environmental activist and indigenous leader, Berta Cáceres, assassinated for her activism in 2016.

XR intend to keep the roads closed until the government takes necessary action on the global climate and ecological emergency. They say it must tell people the truth about the disaster we are facing, halt biodiversity loss, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025, and set up and be led by a Citizen's Assembly on climate and ecological justice.
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Extinction Rebellion Garden Bridge

Waterloo Bridge, London. Mon 15 Apr 2019

A band plays on Waterloo Bridge and marches past the new trees
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Waterloo Bridge was closed to traffic by Extinction Rebellion activists who were bringing trees and plants and to turn it into a 'Garden Bridge'.

They intend to keep the bridge closed to vehicles until the government takes necessary action on the global climate and ecological emergency. They say it must tell people the truth about the disaster we are facing, halt biodiversity loss, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025, and set up and be led by a Citizen's Assembly on climate and ecological justice. Despite many arrests the bridge remained occupied by the gardeners and closed to traffic for over a week.
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Brexiteers march at Westminster

Westminster Bridge, London. Sat 13 Apr 2019

One woman is one of very few Black faces among the Brexiteers
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Extreme right Brexiteers, many wearing yellow jackets, continue their protests walking around London every Saturday holding up traffic.

As well as Union flags and England flags they have flags and banners supporting members of the armed forces and also for the Islamophobic campaign 'Our Boys' which seeks to have a drunk driver of Hindu origin who killed three young men prosecuted as a terrorist.

Sewol Ferry Disaster 5 years on

Trafalgar Square, London. Sat 13 Apr 2019
Sewol Ferry Disaster - 16/04/2014, 304 killed, 250children
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Five years after the Sewol Ferry Disaster of 16 April 2014 campaigners meet for the 60th monthly vigil in remembrance of the victims and in support of their families.

They call for a full inquiry, the recovery of all bodies of victims, punishment for those responsible and new laws to prevent another similar disaster. They tie cards on lines with the class and name of the 250 high school children who were drowned after being told to 'stay put below deck'. The tragedy has claimed 304 lives.
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Love the Elephant

Elephant & Castle, London. Sat 13 Apr 2019
'Demolish Delancey' and 'Love the Elephant - Hate Gentrification' banners
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A rally and procession by Southwark Notes, Latin Elephant and Up the Elephant at the Elephant & Castle shopping centre keeping up the pressure on Southwark Council and developers Delancey to improve their plans for the redevelopment of the area.

The campaigners, who are seeking judicial review, say the Elephant should be developed for the existing population and users, rather than as social cleansing to attract new, wealthier residents and shoppers. They would like to see a development that retains the existing character of the area which has become very much a centre for South London's Latin community many of whom live in the surrounding area.

They say the development should include more social housing and call for fairer treatment of the market traders, who should be provided with 'like for like' new spaces at affordable rents and be given adequate financial compensation for the disruption in business the development will cause.

After a rally with several speakers including local councillor Jack Buck and Tanya Murat of Southwark Defend Council Housing, a brief procession went up to the centre entrance and then back through the market area, where there were a couple of speeches from the traders before security officers came to move the protesters on.
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Against extinction and trophy hunting

Cavendish Square, London. Sat 13 Apr 2019
Quite a few on the protest came as elephants
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People meet in Cavendish Square to march through London to a rally opposite Downing St as a part of the 2019 Global March for Elephants and Rhinos.

The marchers called on the UK government to impose a ban on the import of hunting trophies of endangered species to the UK, and supported an increase in the protection under CITES for elephants and opposed attempts to downgrade protection of endangered species or reopen trade in ivory and other body parts.
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Times end transphobic articles

News Corp, London Bridge, London. Thu 11th Apr 2019
Protesters outside the offices of The Times say stop publishing transphobic articles
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Campaigners from Transmission, a group supporting the rights of trans people, protest outside the offices of The Times newspaper against their publication of transphobic articles.

An unfair article criticised The Tavistock Centre and all medical services for trans children, which the protesters say are vital and clinically proven to help cure gender dysphoria and lower mental health and suicide rates.

They say journalist Lucy Bannerman has earlier targeted the trans charity Mermaids and ostracised trans athletes for competing in sports, and call on The Times to end publishing transphobic propaganda.
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Regent's Canal

Bethnal Green & Hackney, London. Thu 11th Apr 2019
Graffiti under the railway bridge and a view of the gasholders
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Photographs from the Regent's Canal on the Bethnal Green and Hackney border close to Cambridge Heath Road.

I walked up The Oval to the canal, photographing on the route. What was once an industrial area next to the gas works is now part of a creative area, with the former car park a mixed use arts and event space with a stock of containers in use as artists' studios. The buildings which used to serve as offices for Empress Coaches in Corbridge Crescent are still standing but the yard around them is currently under development.

An alley leads down from under the railway bridge back to the Oval, and I walked down there before coming back and along Hare Row onto Cambridge Heath Road. I walked back up towards Mare St, turning down Andrews Road to access the tow path, and then walking along that at first to the east, then turning around to come back to Broadway Market before heading back to catch a bus on Mare St.
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Scrap Universal Credit Jobcentre protest

Tottenham Jobcentre Plus, London. Thu 11 Apr 2019

A cyclist rides through the protesters outside the jobcentre
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Activists protested at lunchtime outside Tottenham Jobcentre Plus, speaking and handing out leaflets calling for Universal Credit to be scrapped.

The introduction of Universal credit by the DWP has inflicted great misery on many of those who have been forced to claim it, often leaving them for weeks or months with absolutely no money to live on. Most have had to rely on food banks, which have seen a huge rise in people seeking help because of UC, even in relatively affluent areas such as Surrey. Some have starved or died because they cannot afford to heat their homes.

Those hardest hit have been the working poor, single mothers and those with disabilities. From the start it has been marked by delays and inconsistencies by the DWP and a harsh benefits sanction regime that has unfairly penalised many, causing great suffering, huge rent arrears and making 1 in 38 new claimants last year homeless.

The protesters handed out leaflets calling for UC to be scrapped to people walking past and those entering and leaving the job centre; some stopped to talk and shared some of their experiences of hardship.
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Tottenham and Spurs

Tottenham, London. Thu 11 Apr 2019

Tottenham Hotspur's new stadium which opened a week or so earlier
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Spurs have a new stadium which opened recently, and I took a few pictures of this from the road, as well as others on my way from Seven Sisters.

The new stadium looks impressive, but Spurs have annoyed many Tottenham residents and other Londoners by wanting the change the name of the nearby Overground station from White Hart Lane to Tottenham Hotspur. TfL apparently wants to sell off the station name and Spurs are said to be paying £14.7m. Many years ago in 1932, Gillespie Road on the Piccadilly Line had its name changed to Arsenal, though that seems a little silly now when Arsenal have moved to a new stadium which now is called Emirates.

It's a rather annoying piece of corporate branding. The station will remain where it is in White Hart Lane (though I imagine some of that £14.7m will go on giving it a rather necessary facelift) and I'm sure Spurs fans will keep calling there station White Hart Lane (or perhaps for a while New White Hart Lane.)

Spurs had rather hoped to get another corporate deal and for the new stadium to carry the Nike name, but that branding fell through. Many hope this one will too.
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Brexit protesters

Parliament, London. Wed 10 Apr 2019
Pro and anti-brexit protesters were protesting side-by-side without arguments getting out of hand
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Just a few pictures taken walking past Parliament. Things were very quiet with no yellow jacketed protesters and no insults, just the occasional good-natured exchange of views and mild banter.
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Living wage at Dept of Business

BEIS, Westminster, London. Wed 10 Apr 2019

Protesters on the pavement in front of the Dept or Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
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Campaigners at the government department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) show solidarity with catering workers at the end of their three day strike for a living wage and decent terms and conditions.

The workers are on poverty pay, outsourced by BEIS to Ararmark who have responded with threats of redundancies to the workers and their PCS BEIS London and South branch representatives. Many are also struggling financially because of their employer withholding of some of their pay following a change to their pay cycle.
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Staines Walk

Staines, Middx. Sun 7 Apr 2019
The Swan Hotel is just across the river from Staines, in Egham Hythe
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We took a short walk going across Staines Bridge to the towpath and Egham Hythe.

Going downriver the tow path ends jut before Staines Railway Bridge. Boats would be towed along and the horses unhitched, the boat steering across to the opposite bank and the horses going across Staines Bridge and down Thames St to rejoin the towpath under the railway bridge. We just went down a footpath to Chertsey Lane and walked along this to the Hythe the back across Staines Bridge towards home.
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Brunei Sultan gay sex stoning protest

Dorchester Hotel, London. Sat 6 Apr 2019

Class War pushed aside the barriers and the other protesters followed them to the hotel steps
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People protested outside the Dorchester Hotel in Mayfair against the multi-billionaire Sultan of Brunei who has announced death by stoning as a punishment for gay sex, adultery and blasphemy.

They demonstrated against this barbaric abuse of international law and human rights and calling for a boycott of his hotels around the world. After speeches and around an hour of noisy protest behind barriers keeping them away from the hotel, Class War took the initiative and pushed the barriers aside to protest directly in front of the hotel doors, and were quickly followed by the other protesters.
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Sudanese for Freedom, Peace and Justice

Sudan Embassy, London. Sat 6 Apr 2019
A Sudanese woman makes a victory sign for me to photograph
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Thousands of Sudanese gather outside their embassy on the 34th anniversary of the 6th April revolution in the Sudan that overthrew dictator Jaafar Nimeiri in 1985 to support the revolutionary movement in Sudan that has protested for 17 weeks demanding freedom, peace and justice.

The peaceful protests in the Sudan have been met with extreme violence with over 70 protesters being killed and thousands injured. The protesters in London joined them in calling for an end to the violent and corrupt Sudanese regime and for president Omar al-Bashir to 'Just Fall' and stand trial by the ICC for genocide in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains and South Blue Nile. I left before they began their march to Downing St to demand the UK government end support for the Sudanese regime.
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Private hire drivers protest congestion charge

London Bridge & City Hall, London. Thu 4 Apr 2019
After blocking London Bridge the drivers went to protest at City Hall
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Private hire drivers parked their cars to block London Bridge in protest against TfL making them pay the congestion charge from April 8th.

The drivers accuse TfL of discriminating against private hire drivers who are largely from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups while black cabs, whose drivers are largely white are still exempt. They have taken their legal case to the HIgh COurt, who today decided to hear their Judicial Review in July, but refused an order to delay charging until them.

After blocking both carriageways of London bridge they left their cars in place and marched to a noisy protest at City Hall, where an officer came out to speak, telling them he understood their problem and promised to do what he could for them.

 

 

Windsor walk

Clewer, Windsor, Berks. Mon 1 Apr 2019
Cowslips in bloom
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A short family walk around a part of Windsor Great Park on the edge of Windsor.

Clewer is at the west of Windsor, and we parked on a road at the south, next to Windsor Cemetery in a short road, Hermitage Lane, with a gate onto Windsor Great Park. Most of the others walking around here were obviously professional dog walkers. A footbridge took us across the Bourne Ditch and we made our way to a densely wooded area (Queen Mary's Plantation.) We followed a path through the trees, which eventually gave out, but were able to make our way back to the Bourne Ditch at the point where it turns north from the plantation.

We walked along a path roughly parallel to the ditch to a footbridge, and crossed that to a bank, probably a flood barrier, that was spotted with clumps of cowslips in bloom, before walking back to where the car was parked and making for a nearby pub for a couple of pints of a decent local brew and an unexciting meal.
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