Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The weariness of the long distance snapper

Energy, chaos and anger fuelled one fast march today. Starting suddenly from Trafalgar Square with a Whitehall sprint a few thousand annoyingly fit students reversed, ran through the park and headed off towards St James leaving a trail of puffing photographers and red faced cops.

Then they sped up, Vauxhall Bridge Road, back to Westminster, Piccadilly, Regent Street, Oxford Street, Holborn, Aldwych, a few futile attempts by police to block the way were simply ignored. Then St Pauls, Barbican and back to Trafalgar Square. Quite a workout.
The sense of betrayal over the LibDems broken promises is getting stronger, not diffusing. Perhaps the Christmas break will let the pressure drop but there's still a couple of weeks to go and I wouldn't bet on it.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Schoolgirls try to save police van in violent protest

For some strange reason a rather old police van was left on its own, unguarded in the middle of the march. The results were predictable.

Then the schoolgirls arrived!
They were protecting the police van - apparently left in middle of demo by police to be trashed for the cameras. The girls were saying it was just to discredit the protest and were trying to stop the attacks on the van. 

Monday, 22 November 2010

EDL leader charged with assault on police

With one conviction for assaulting a police officer behind him the English Defence League's leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (with V-sign) who prefers to be known by the more marketable name of Tommy Robinson was up before the beak today once again charged with assaulting a police officer.
 The EDL are one of the most threatening groups seen on the streets for many years, Their 'literature' repeats again and again that they are not a racist group yet they march past mosques yelling "Allah is a paedo" and "Allah, Allah. Who the f**ck is Allah". They never miss an opportunity to insult Muslims by burning religious texts and selectively distorting Koranic quotations.
It's pretty clear that the EDL are intent on provoking violence by British Muslims and will continue to make trouble around the country in hope of kindling sufficient anger to attract white British racists to their number. They are the most unpleasant, corrosive and dangerous political group I've covered in 35 years of photographing Britain's pond life.


Saturday, 20 November 2010

Soft demo, no rain.

An energetic and confident Stop the War march today but smaller than I'd expected. And largely policed by the City police, not the Met. Some speculated that this was a friendly desire on the Met's part to share the overtime with Christmas coming, others that the Met were in the doghouse after Millbank Towers and our multimillionaire cabinet wanted a more reliable concierge service. Slightly more likely is that they were keen to get a lot more PCs experienced in public order work PDQ. I'd expected more nervous policing and glad to be disappointed.

 Remember the energy and determination of the 2003 march? Why was there no political group ready to organise that?

Monday, 25 October 2010

Topsey Turvey land comes to Kensington

After 35 years of photographing British racists as they scream, yell and hiss "Yid", "Hebe", "Hymie", "Ikey", "Kike" and other rather more biological words it's disorienting to see them waving Israeli flags, demanding that True British support Israel and watching them cheer an orthodox (if bonkers) Rabbi. A case of my enemies enema perhaps?

Yesterday's turnout was a bit rubbish, barely 200 bothered to turn up and chant their way from the pub to the pen the police had set up for them.

Someone tossed a cup of water onto the mixing deck, giving the vitriolic, hate filled speeches a nice 'from the bunker' feel but I still feel cleaner with these racists cursing Jews than I do when they are sucking up to them. Not that their love of Israel stops them trying to thump me at every opportunity.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Here come the cuts - and the protests begin

They do these things better in France, petrol bombs are so photogenic.
Just hours after the first cuts are announced 2-3,000 students marched angrily and energetically through central London to Downing Street for a rally and speeches.

All a bit predictable but this is just the first of what is going to be a long, steady, growing escalation of resistance as these attacks on living standards aimed squarely at the poorest and the least responsible for the financial meltdown start to bite.

While benefits, housing and education are slashed. While health services are flogged off to private 'enterprise' the rich (that's wheer the bank's money went) continue to swap their lavish houses, buy and sell their yachts and fly from club to jolly to beach to party untouched and svelte.

Remember the Poll Tax!


Monday, 13 September 2010

'nother day, 'nother bigot

I promised not to do yet another blog about the EDL but I don't think this one will offer much relief.
Saturday was the anniversary of the twin towers attack (or US/Zionist conspiracy if you prefer exciting nonsense). Anjem Choudry and the Headbangers strutted their noisy, meaningless stuff outside the US Embassy, eventually managing to burn a US flag for the kneejerk media. I'll spare you yet another photo of that crush of smoke and cameras and give you instead a corny shot of yet another mediaeval Mr Shouty.
The placard reads "Jesus will destroy the cross and follow the Quran".
Wonderful. One raving sober set of brown bigots await a dead semi-fictitious radical's conversion while 100 yards away a raving drunken set of pink bigots shout crude insults at the imaginary being the first set worship.
And next week we get yet another featherbedded nut in fancy dress and a silly hat on his Plank Man Promotion tour, spreading ignorance, prejudice and disease in the name of salvation.
It's hard to believe in human progress, sod the lot of them. Mickey Bakunin had it about right:

The idea of God implies the abdication of human reason and justice; it is the most decisive negation of human liberty, and necessarily ends in the enslavement of humankind both in theory and in practice.

I couldn't work up much enthusiasm for these vicious new puritans but here's a minimal gallery. I would have done more but I just need a bit of fresh air.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

More boring EDL stuff. Sorry.

I wanted to give us all a rest from this EDL nonsense but seeing as they put so much effort into entertaining us it seems mean not to give them one more little splash. They had the Kronenberg Choir organised and a brave attempt at their signature number "Allah is a Paedo" was only partly drowned out by the sound of passing sparrows farting.
Some of the less dedicated press started to drift off at that point so they quickly launched into a round of Scary Pointing At The Photographer.
That just left time for the glorious Flag Finale - pity they'd not had time for a rehearsal
before they sloped off back under their flat stones once more.
Ho hum. I'll do something more interesting next time, I promise.

slide show

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Jewish Defence League - Schmooish Defence League

A surreal afternoon and I'll write about it later. A pro Palestinian group pickets a shop selling products from the occupied territories and the Jewish Defence League, a tiny sub group of the EDL, picket the picket.

Each side scampered around photographing each other, shouting slogans and doing the Testosterone Strut until boredom overcame commitment and we could all go off for a nice cup of tea.


Monday, 2 August 2010

Boozers Against Burkas

A sunny Saturday afternoon, a couple of hundred drink fuelled racists riding the nationalist bandwagon - "Ban the Burka", "No More Mosques", "We Want Our Country Back" as they yell, stomp and intimidate their noisy way from Westminster to, err, Westminster.

I'm always puzzled by the way this bunch make such an effort to put on an impressive show with their St George's masks, home made placards, T-shirts, big flags and banners - and then attack the photographers reporting it. Most of us were sworn at continually. Obscene, drunken spit sprayed threats competed with aggressive barging and uncoordinated grabs at our cameras. One colleague was hit on the head with a banner pole, another was punched. One clumsy drunk was so keen to push me down the steps that he nearly fell down them himself.

And then the leader of one contingent went out of his way to push aside the thugs surrounding me, praise my coverage and invite me to cover their future events. Funny bunch.


Friday, 30 July 2010

Still No Justice, Still No Peace

There was hardly anyone among the two hundred or so angry, loud protesters whose lives had not been touched by a police killing. As well as Ian Tomlinson's name the streets echoed with those of a long list who met the Met in a terminal way. 

Fred Tokunpur Akiyemi, Christopher Alder, Arthur Allison, Roger Allotey, James Ashley, Peter Austin, Noorjahan Begum, Mr Benmerabet, Derek Bennett, Ricky Bishop, Ziya Bitirim, Stephen Bogle, Nicholas Bramble, Derek Buchanan, Edwin Carr, Paul Coker, Simeon Collins, Joseph Crensil, Asif Dad, David ‘Duke’ Daley, George Bosie Davies, Brian Douglas, Wayne Douglas, Marlon Downes, Lee Duvall, David Ewin, Michael Ferreira, Henry Floyd, Giles Freeman, Herbert Gabbidon, Ahmed El Gammal, Joy Gardner, Kevin Gately, Robin Goodenough, Ian Gordon, Leroy Gordon, Vincent Graham, Sponford Antonio Green, S. Singh Grewal, James Hall, Mark Harris, Tunay Hassan, Nenneh Jalloh, Cynthia Jarrett, Kebba ‘Dobe’ Jobe, Andrew Jordan, Nadeem Khan, Sultan Khan, Shiji Lapite, Franklyn Lee, Caiphas Lemard, Patrick Louis, Leon Marshall, Michael Dean Martin, Clinton McCurbin, John McDonnell, Jason Oscar McPherson, Shohik Meah, Jean Charles de Menezes, John Mikkelson, Daniel Morgan, Joseph Nnalue, Richard O’Brien, Nicholas Ofusurank Ogburu, Oscar Okoye, David Oluwale, Joseph Palombella, Mohammed Parkit, Vandana Patel, Leon Patterson, Matthew Paul, Blair Peach, Peter San Pedro, Mikey Powell, Oliver Pryce, Oakley Ramsey, Sean Rigg, Colin Roach, Azelle Rodney Winston Rose, James Ruddock, Nuur Saeed, Ibrahima Sey, Lytton Shannon, John Shorthouse, Randhir Showpal, Changa Singh, Shkander, Singh, Kwanele Siziba, Harry Stanley, Jamie Stewart, Roger Sylvester, Sarah Thomas, Fosta Errol Thompson, Ian Tomlinson, Habib ‘Paps’ Ullah, Mark Ventour, Spencer Weston, Donovan Williams, Tyrone Wilson, Kwame Sasu Wiredu and Paul Yorke.
These are just the ones we know to have died at the hands - or boots, or clubs, or guns - of the police. More have been hidden as accidents, suicides. Never a prosecution, the police enjoy their impunity, the killings continue.
No Justice, No Peace.


Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Sex in the garden

There's something about these long light warm evenings.
And the babies will eat the blackfly on my runner beans.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Zombie Law

Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 never had much going for it other than its use by dim plods for harassing photographers. A bastard child of Thatcherite paranoia fostered and festered in the foul innards of New Labour it spent its brief decade of life reviled and jeered at by all but the most abject self deluders.

Finally given the coupe de grace by the European Court of Human Rights it is now a dead law walking. A law declared unlawful. But in true zombie fashion it staggers on, treading freedoms won over centuries into the gutter, enforced with enthusiasm and vigour by Met Police, Home Office and kneejerk coppers across the country.

It may be dead, it may be stinking and rotten but today 60+ photographers turned up at the Mausoleum for a joyful foxtrot on its empty grave.
Even in this digital age photographers can still amass enough silver to make one final bullet to lay this shameful, abusive law in its grave for once and for all. And we will.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Energy, anger and a lot of running about

It's genuinely inspiring to see the energy and GoForItness of the Bengalis in Tower Hamlets

but I can't help seeing thousands of angry people with no political leadership, analysis or direction as more a time bomb than an anti racist movement.

no time for nudity today

I really enjoyed last weekend's Naked Bike ride despite the ever growing number of sad wusses, bonded to their textile existence.
I still have 40 files to process but no time yet so here's a teaser to keep you interested until I get round to doing the rest just as soon as the world slows down a bit.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Dinner in the Land of Cockaigne

Celebrated my birthday this year (a good number - 8^2, 4^3 or 2^6, 3 years since the last prime and 3 years till the next) in the Land of Cockaigne courtesy of Trolley Gallery.

Waiters and waitresses flit beneath our feet. Flying pigs, nun's bottoms, fish out of water and asparagus hoists distracted us from counting the copious glugs of wine as we excessed our way through a confection of perfection.


Sunday, 30 May 2010

Pagans, Beltane and London

A splendid bunch of pagans, witches, warriors and true British eccentrics laughed and danced their way through London sunshine in celebration of spring, life, friendship and a love of sensual joy.

Things can get a bit heavy these days but occasionally it's just magic

Saturday, 22 May 2010

EDL "Patriot" march, London

A few hundred confused and stroppy islamophobes knocked back a lot of beers in the sunshine before making a noisy attempt at a march through Westminster. The atmosphere became a bit testy at the end and they could be heard complaining over the price of ice cream.
Disappointing really, they'd promised thousands.

slide show

Monday, 3 May 2010

World Press Freedom Day

Today, Monday May 3, 2010 is World Press Freedom Day
UNESCO have called for a minutes silence in newsrooms round the world to remember the journalists who have paid with their lives for our right to know. In 2009 UNESCO condemned the deaths of 77 journalists, most of whom were reporting local stories, not war.
UNESCO calls on media workers to denounce the murder of journalists and to demand an end to impunity for their killers.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Time for a change

After all the intoxicating passion of a Trade Union march from Clerkenwell to hear the necessary and exciting speeches from our selfless, dedicated Trade Union leaders the more forward thinking revolutionaries got drunk on Special Brew and headed off to Parliament Square for a spot of executing.
Cameron and Clegg anticipated the new parliament by being tidily hanged by the People's Executioner. Nazi Nick Griffin was torn to pieces by the celebratory crowd and then we all settled down to enjoy Gordon Brown's beheading.
Heavy rain washed away the blood and confetti and so we all went home for a nice mug of cocoa.


Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Police report reveals Blair Peach killer

"Commander Cass's biased and prejudiced report on the killing of Blair Peach was released by the Met Police today. Cass justifies the killing by describing Blair as part of "a rebellious crowd".

Celia Stubbs, Blair Peach's partner stands outside New Scotland Yard today. She still awaits a reply to her request to meet the commissioner.

The six officers with the SPG (the forerunners of today's brutal and equally notorious TSG) are known to be Insp Murray, PC White, PC Richardson, PC Scottow, PC Freestone and PS Lake. Although the published version has been censored by the Met to obscure the truth it seems impossible to avoid the conclusion that Blair Peach was killed by a blow from Inspector Murray's police radio.

More than 30 years on no officer has been charged with the killing or with the many offences committed in the course of the cover up.  No justice, no peace.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Plod for Public Services and Pensions

Bit of an unenthusiastic demo today over welfare, public services and pensions. In the pre election limbo it felt a bit unfocused but it was a nice sunny day and the police kept away.

slide show

Saturday, 3 April 2010

International Pillow Fight Day, London

I love pillow fights, sort of 'riot lite'. A really good workout this afternoon outside St Paul's. Was great to bemuse the tourists and cheered me up after the depressing memorial for poor Ian Tomlinson on Thursday.

All I was wearing is in the wash, I'm still coughing up feathers and now I need to hoover my cameras. Then a large drink and very belated lunch.


Thursday, 1 April 2010

Blair Peach 1979. Ian Tomlinson 2009. No Justice, No Peace.

In 1979 they called them SPG. They got such a bad name for violence, arrogance and untouchability that they changed the name to TSG. They changed nothing else. Thirty years on we still see the same failure to control police violence as the massive cop who batoned Nicola Fisher walks exonerated from court. Back in '79 the cops who killed Blair weren't even charged.

And thirty one years on, the policed still cry for justice. Here Julia Tomlinson, Ian Tomlinson's widow, weeps as she lays flowers with other family members at the spot where Ian died after being attacked by TSG officers.

And after getting on for forty years in this job I'm still walking home with the voices of the bereaved echoing in my ears. "No justice, no peace. No justice, no peace."

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Sunday, 28 March 2010

St Peter calls for Pope to resign

Showing how seriously the Catholic Church takes its responsibility to the thousands of children abused by its priests Pope Benedict XVI defiantly maintained the abuse revelations were 'part of a conspiracy' against the Church.

So much for any hope of a thorough investigation and a change in church attitudes then.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Kids to go?

Excellent policy

and a decent banana split too

The Fish House
126 Lauriston Road
London E9 7LH

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Cops undermine, distort and suppress protest

Cops penetrating genuine protest movements raise the level of violence to discredit the cause and then use that to prevent the group from effectively raising debate on the issues.
A powerful, unaccountable and secret anti democratic force at work.
Observer article
I'm going to have to check my other photos to see if I can spot any of the buggers.

Monday, 8 March 2010

EDL. Not racist. No, just Islamophobic and violent.

Their leaflets say "EDL is not racist in any way. shape or form." And they chant their sickening,  anti Islamic, anti Asian songs and slogans in the places where they will be the most provocative.

It takes a lot to make Westminster a fouler place than normal. This lot manage it easily.

If you scrape the scum off the BNP it will look a lot like this.

gallery (new, better, bigger, yummier)

Friday, 5 March 2010

EDL can't sing

Lovely day and an enthusiastic crowd of serious drinkers chanting their way from the Tate to Parliament. Bottled up by police on the far side of the road with the anti racists bottled up opposite the two factions fought a hard and bloody battle of slogans, chants and taunts.

They're always so pleased to see me.

Gallery later, blood alcohol level getting low.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

The Pope, the Sisters and 300 cross gays

Valentine's Day at Westminster Cathedral. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence joined the Humanists, a few hundred outraged gays and three very confused religious nuts to chants of "KEEP YOUR ROSARIES OFF OUR OVARIES" on a march to the Italian Embassy.

Sweet Sister Angel Popstitute gave me a Valentine gift of Fox's Glacier mints, 2 condomi and a generous pack of lube so I'm showing a profit on the day for once.


Friday, 12 February 2010

Protest Against Iranian Regime

31 years after the US and UK backed Shah of Iran's corrupt  and oppressive government was overthrown there are growing protests against the corrupt and oppressive Islamic State that has replaced it. That's revolution for you.

How much these protests reflect a real desire for change and how much they reflect the huge sums that the UK and the US are pumping into Iranian opposition movements to destabilise the regime is anyone's guess.

slide show

Friday, 29 January 2010

Bloody Blair!

A small but angry crowd turned up early on this cold January morning to express their feelings as Tony Blair slunk in through the back door for his appearance at the Chilcot Enquiry.

The soft and rambling questioning saw Blair's initial nervousness turn to confidence as he realised that the whole point of the show was to let this slippery war criminal off the hook.


Saturday, 23 January 2010

I'm A Photographer Not A Terrorist

What a splendid day! There were THOUSANDS of us!

And the stroppy security guards just made great pics.

It's been a long campaign, but over the last couple of years we've made real progress. S44 is being reined in and even the cops are beginning to notice that photographers really aren't terrorists.

A totally uplifting day, even if I did get busted by the Vigilance Committee.


And it didn't rain!