My London Diary on hold
I don't know when I will be able to travel freely again and continue taking
For various reasons, largely because I have so many other things that need
to be done while I still can, I have been wondering for some time when and
how to bring 'My London Diary' to a conclusion.
The Coronavirus COVID-19 has halted virtually all events in London and
as someone at high risk because of both my age and my medical condition
as an insulin-dependent diabetic I am now in virtual self-isolation until
the current pandemic abates. Who knows if and when I will be able to continue.
I could post pictures from my 'isolated walks', some on my own and some
with my wife, but although I have put some earlier walks on line here, without
protests and other events this site would be very different.
International Women's Day block Oxford St
Oxford St, London. Sun 8 Mar 2020
Claudia from the UVW blows a whistle on the march
to Oxford St
London Women's Strike Assembly gathers at Cavendish Square to march
to Oxford St in solidarity with sisters and siblings across the world who
face exploitation and violence from a system meant to silence and oppress.
Many were from some of London's ethnic communities and grass roots trade
unionists. While celebreties marched along Whitehall to a rally in Parliament
Square, they took part in a livlier and considerably more political event.
From a brief rally in Cavendish Square they marched to Oxford St for their
main rally and a free clothes swap, stopping the traffic for the event.
Police arrived 3/4 hour later but were too few to have any effect and the
protest was continuing with a large group of women performing the Chilean
anti-rape anthem and blocking both carriageways blocked when I left.
Fortress Europe Greek Embassy protest
Greek Embassy, London. Sat 7 Mar 2020
'Killing Refugees is a Heinous Crime' read some of
the posters at the protest
Protesters opposite the Greek Embassy called on the EU to end its policy
of closing borders to those most in need and to demand justice for refugees.
The protest came after videos showed Greek coastguard officers trying to
capsize a boat full of refugees at sea and others with right-wing fascist
thugs attacking refugees.
The situation has worsened since Turkey recently opened their border with
Greece. The EU had come to an agreement with Turkey in 2016 restricting
the movement of refugees to Europe that the UNHCR and many NGOs says violates
Brixton Rally says end deportations
Brixton Market, London. Sat 7 Mar 2020
The Home Office was stopped from deporting this man
by legal action
Movement for Justice and Lambeth Black Workers held a rally in Brixton
Market calling for the Home Office to end charter flights to deport immigrants
and close detention centres.
One detainee who was refused medical treatment for a broken ankle for several
days by detention centre staff spoke over a phone link and a man who the
courts had ruled could not be deported told in person how he was taken in
a van to the airport and held in it for 14 hours in a compartment only just
large enough for him to stand.
Protests and legal action had saved over half of those selected from deportation
on the most recent charter flight to Jamaica. Shortly after this protest
a long-delayed report on the Home Office and its handling of Windrush families
was released. Although the words 'institutional racism' were censored from
an earlier version it remained a damning indictment of racism by the Home
Office over immigration issues, showing clearly that it was institutionally
racist. Unfortunately it seems unlikely that this will change under the
current government, who are clearly committed to bringing in more racist
immigration controls as a part of Brexit.
Million Women Rise 2020
Oxford St, London. Sat 7 Mar 2020
Some women wore masks with the names of women murdered
Hundreds of women meet for an all-women march against male violence
through Central London to a rally in Trafalgar Square.
Among those present were many from London's Latin American and Turkish/Kurdish
communities as well as from anti-rape and other womens' groups around the
I left as the march was about to start to go elsewhere, and as men are
not welcome during the march and rally.
Uniqlo Cheat Indonesian garment workers
Oxford St, London. Sat 7 Mar 2020
CEO Tadashi Yanai holds a poster 'I Don't Care About
People from the Clean Clothes Campaign and Labour Behind the Label
protest outside the Uniqlo flagship store in Oxford St against Japanese
fast fashion company Uniqglo which is cheating workers who made clothes
The protest featured a man wearing a giant head of CEO Tadashi Yanai, the
31st richest person in the world who explained how he got rich by not paying
2,000 Indonesian women garment workers who made clothes which were sold
in Uniqlo after their factory went bankrupt in 2015. The workers have not
been paid for making them.
Their legally required severance pay is $5.5million and most have been
unable to find other work and are living in dire poverty. The protest called
for him to pay up the debt to the workers of the Jaba Garmindo factory.
Staines, Middx. Sun 1 Mar 2020
A former gravel pit in late afternoon sun
We went for a short walk as the sun went down.
I'd been too tired after several busy days to go out to photograph events
and had been sitting in front of a computer most of the day and needed to
get some fresh air.
Staines is in the borough of Spelthorne, an area which should have become
part of Greater London in 1985 but local conservatives from the posher end
of the area revolted against the idea of being joined with Hounslow and
instead it became a part of Surrey. Though never real Surrey, and it is
still often forgotten by those who run Surrey.
I think the borough is roughly two-thirds water, with rivers including
the Thames (usually its south and west boundary) and Colne, huge reservoirs
and many worked out gravel pits. It's cheaper for the gravel companies not
to reclaim these but to leave them for various other 'uses', often completely
disused. Some close to the centre of Staines are now a nature park, and
we walked through this between the lakes.
We had meant to go under the Staines Bypass and walk across a field to
Moor Lane, but found this field was waterlogged, and instead took a shorter
route along a metalled path towards Moor Lane, leaving it shortly before
there to go down a footpath to Vicarage Lane and then across to Church St.
By the time we reached there the sun had gone down and it was getting dark.
I took very few pictures except those of the few events I went up to London
to photograph - and have only these three I'll share with you, the last
of the moon taken as I reached home.
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