GMB are protesting about the poverty wages paid to their staff by Medirest, an outsourcing contractor at Watford General Hospital. The staff get only 10 pence more than the legal minimum wage, despite the parent company making over £1.4 billion operating profit in 2016 and are paid this same low rate for nights, weekends and even Christmas day
Disabled People Against Cuts protest in Birmingham over the thousands of people killed by the Government through cuts, using direct action along the way to highlight the many accessibility problems disabled people face every day, and finishing the protest with an inspiring call to arms.
Workers protested outside Fawley oil refinery as it emerged that some workers are getting paid just 60 euros a day for a minimum 10 hour shift…that’s £4.80 an hour at most, well under the minimum wage. The proper rate is at least four times as much. There has already been a victory against similar illegal practises in Teesside after a sustained campaign of mass direct action – if Fawley don’t pay the proper rate, more protests will follow. UPDATE: VICTORY!! AFTER A DAY’S STRIKE ACTION, ALL WORKERS ARE NOW BEING PAID THE PROPER RATE
A loud and lively protest at a council meeting to discuss £1.6 million cuts to youth services, which will leave the service 64% worse off than in 2011. This is a result of government cuts to funding and is affecting youth services all over the country. Protestors are demanding that the Labour council do not implement the cuts, and that the government funds statutory youth service provision.
On a recent trip to Hamburg in northern Germany REEL NEWS witnessed first hand the brilliant response from ordinary German people and activists to the unfolding European refugee crisis.
In the main rail station activists have set up a permanent reception area for refugees arriving by train. They are given food, tea and advice on how to claim asylum or travel onto further destinations if they wish. Meanwhile the city’s main conference centre is presently hosting 1,200 refugees with the adjoining exhibition space being used to sort tons and tons of clothes, tents and toys donated by local people and businesses.
It is a considerable task. At weekends a car or van arrives with donations every 30 seconds. Each day 6-700 volunteers come through the building to help process the numerous items. Sanitary packs are made up for women and children. Clothing and toys are safety checked then bagged up for either immediate distribution or to be sent elsewhere in Northern Germany. Such is the scale of generosity in this one city that they are now exporting aid to other areas.
As volunteers leave the building after their shifts, they stick their nametags to the corridor around the exit. In just a few days the area has become literally wallpapered with the names of those taking part in the relief effort. A visual testament to the scale of this one aid operation.
Meanwhile activists are also responding in solidarity with deteriorating situation for Kurdish people both in Turkey where a bombing campaign by the government has recently begun. Also in Europe, where small Kurdish communities are being threatened. By both repressive anti terror laws (the PKK is falsely branded a terror group), and also from local Turkish nationalists.
On Friday September 11th local antifascists staged an impressive show of force against in solidarity with both German Kurds, recently arrived Kurdish refugees and those fighting for autonomy. Particularly in the Rojava rejoin of Northern Syria where Kurdish forces are reclaiming territory taken by the murderous islamist ISIL group.
The protest marched through the city led by Kurdish groups and finished with speeches and music outside the local detention centre. Flares and fireworks were let off on the roof of an occupied social centre on the route of the march. Anti fascists are clearly making the link between the current situation in Turkey and the activities of far right Turkish nationalist groups like the Grey Wolves who had a protest planned for Hamburg the following Sunday.
Then on Saturday September 12th Hamburg became a police state as a modest 2,800 riot cops were drafted in from all over the country along with 10 water cannons and a helicopter. The reason? A threatened march by German neo Nazis. The police had argued that the march should be banned as they did not have the resources to control the backlash from local people. A feeble excuse, given the size of the police operation.
For those residents wishing to oppose the Nazis without actually having to look at them a non-confrontational protest was organised in a square addressed by the mayor and other politicians.
Meanwhile local antifascists, trade unions and leftist groups organised a march starting from the main station where Nazis defying the ban were expected to arrive. The police estimated the total attendance of both protests to be at over 20k.
As the march from the station began Antifa called their activists into the station as a train carrying a small group of boneheads was spotted arriving. Concerned that the Nazis trapped in the carriage might be overheating; the anti fascists took immediate steps to improve the ventilation of the carriage with those conveniently sized rocks that lie around railway lines in abundance. Riot cops were briefly prevented from getting to the platform in question as more anti fascists linked arms to obstruct their passage. The Nazis remained trapped on their train, any plans of marching in Hamburg destroyed by militant action.
Then around 45 minutes later a second group of fascists arrived. This time they managed to leave the station as the march had left. But within about 2 minutes they were running for their lives back inside as reports from spotters reached the demo.
Protected by a ring of many riot cops the Nazis (most of whom looked like a cross between hipsters & metal fans) started doing that usual thing that the far right specialise in. I.E. acting all tough and doing their utmost to provoke the increasing numbers of anti fascists, while enjoying the protection of the state. Before long, it was raining cobblestones on the police lines whom brought in water cannons for protection.
The fascist were then informed by their protectors that they would be searched ID’d and then removed from the city for their own protection. By now hundreds of Antifa and other activists were had them surrounded and more cops were brought in to keep them at bay.
Antifascists jeered at the Nazis as they were searched and corralled. Not exactly shining examples of Aryan perfection that they claim to be the ‘masterace’ whined that they were being victimised while dodging flying bottles and masonry. All in all it was a very bad day for National Socialism as those of them who accepted the ban on their event in Hamburg were also attacked and prevented from marching in Bremen.
Here at REEL NEWS we are very far from naïve about the real reasons for the supposed generosity of Angela Merkal towards refugees. Not least the economic incentives for recruiting grateful workers from desperate situations. However a weekend in Hamburg has done much to boost our faith in the ability of ordinary people and activists to organise in solidarity with refugees and against the moronic racists who are trying to exploit this crisis for their own purposes. Nice one Hamburg!
Across the world anger is growing over the constant bombardment of the Gaza strip by the Israeli Defense Forces. The Palestinian death toll has now reached over 400 as the densely populated Hamas controlled area is pounded by shells, missiles and guided bombs. Meanwhile the Israeli death toll after over 1,000 launches of Hamas’ near useless rockets remains at two. One of those being and Israeli soldier killed by his own side which exposes the lie about how “careful” they are being to avoid the deaths of innocent people.
Another source of great anger has been the outrageously biased coverage by most of the mainstream media. Media outlets like the BBC and CCN to name just a few insist on describing these events as a ‘war’ or a ‘conflict’ giving the impression of two equal sides. Gaza has no air force, no air defense and very little capacity to strike Israel as the body counts shows all too well. On Wednesday July 15th protesters took their disgust at the nature of the coverage directly to the BBC in central London.
Despite it being Ramadam thousands of mainly Muslim demonstrators blocked the main road outside of the BBC for several hours. The event remained peaceful with just one minor scuffle when police over stepped the mark trying to prevent people from boarding a stranded bus. They backed off and the vehicle reversed out away from the crowd. Two Zionists also showed up and demonstrated their jaw dropping arrogance by trying to argue down and increasingly hostile crowd. Well done to the demonstrators for refusing to be provoked.
On Friday July 18th activists tried a more direct approach to getting the attention of the UK government by occupying the Cabinet Office in Whitehall with the demand that the UK and others stop supplying arms and money to a rogue state that flouts international law on a daily basis.
It is no secret that Israel would neither be financially nor militarily viable were it not being armed and funded by the west to the tune of several million dollars a day. It is clear that only thing that will make Israel behave itself is intervention from its foreign sponsors. Not that activists have high expectations from a government that favors Israel at every level. The blatant hypocrisy of the UK government who are turning a blind eye towards British Jews who are fighting with the IDF while arresting British Muslims who take action against the Assad regime in Syria is a recent case in point.
Finally on Saturday July 19th London saw its biggest anti war protest for many year with tens of thousands of people marching from Whitehall to the Israeli embassy.
The organisers claimed that over 100,000 people were in attendance while the BBC and Daily Mail both claimed that around 15,000 had participated. Whatever the actual figure it was clear that yet again a mostly Muslim m0bilisation had brought central London to standstill in blistering heat. During a time of year when most were fasting from sunrise for Ramadam.
It is clear that with a useless neocon like Tony Blair as Middle East peace envoy (what a sick joke!) and no sign of Israel growing a conscience any time soon, that the slaughter will continue. So are the protests expected to increase in their size and anger.
The escalating violence in occupied Palestine saw angry scenes on the streets of London on Saturday July 5th. This was part of a worldwide protest over recent human rights violations by the state of Israel.
The recent murder of 3 teenagers from an illegal settlement has seen Israel react with a series of raids, house demolitions and bombings of targets on the Gaza strip. There is no evidence to link Hamas to the murders. In a truly horrific revenge attack settlers kidnapped a Palestinian boy in East Jerusalem and tortured and murdered him. Autopsy finding suggest that he was burned alive by his attackers. Arrests have been made though the homes of the detained individuals face no threat of destruction despite being on stolen land. In another incident caught on camera a cousin of the murdered boy was badly beaten by Israeli police. He is an American citizen so the attack has attracted more publicity than is usual with these cases.
In London, up to 1,000 people attended a protest outside the heavily protected Israeli Embassy in Kensington. A symbolic ‘die in’ at the Embassy gates became a full on blockade with hundreds of people in the road forcing the police to close it. Traffic was briefly diverted and buses stacked up nearby until the police brought in around 80 officers to push the protesters back into their pen across the road from the entrance to the embassy. REEL NEWS remains baffled at how such unlimited police resources remain available to protect the Embassy of a rogue state in these times of cuts and austerity. Meanwhile no officers were available to stop just 7 racists from the fascist Britain First group from invading 2 Mosques down the road in Kent during Ramadam.
The EDL managed to attract just 150 hate-filled racists to Slough for their “National Demo” on Saturday. Their smallest national turnout ever. One of their coaches had just 8 people on it and their organisers were heard begging their supporters for cash at their rally in the town centre. Splits and internal rows have clearly taken their toll. If calling this protest was an attempt a energizing an organisation that is in rapid decline, it seriously backfired. Many of them were complaining about the low turnout and poor organisation on twitter before the event even started.
Will no pubs open to get tanked up in before the march began. Bored EDL supporters were contained by the police at the station for nearly 3 hours. Nearby anti fascists jeered and heckled as half empty mini buses rolled in with the dregs of what is left of their active base. A group of local Asian men got as close as the police would allow to the racists and unfurled two unions jacks chanting: “St George was an Arab” at them.
When the march eventually started, what should have been a ten minute walk, took over an hour as antifascists blocked the route. A counter protest called by Slough Trades Council & local UAF attracted well over 100 people. The same numbers were mobilised by the Anti Fascist Network and at least a further 100 local youths turned out and joined the antifascists leaving the EDL massively outnumbered and in need of heavy police protection.
The police did disappoint charging into the counter protest on the high street with shields and horses. This to clear the route for the EDL, who threw glass bottles into the midst of the contained anti fascists injuring at least one person. Having pushed the counter protest back towards the shopping centre the police were then met by a mixture of anti fascists and local youth further down the road. The stand off was eventually broken when the police charged again with batons dogs and horses also scattering terrified locals out shopping with their children. Many local people were furious finding themselves banned from their own high street or imprisoned in shops until the EDL rally had finished.
Despite locking down the entire town centre the police found getting the EDL back to the station just as difficult. Many anti fascists had regrouped and continued to heckle the racists and block their way home. As usual the ‘master race’ challenged everyone to a fight from the safety of their mobile kettle behind their riot cop protectors. The locals laughed and jeered at them telling them to come back without their security guards. More dogs and horses were deployed to clear anti fascists blocking the road near the station.
Slough can now add its name to the proud role call of places that are no go areas for the shrinking remnants of the EDL. Anyone interested in witnessing the agonising death of this loathsome phenomenon in person should head to Brighton for their next grand humiliation on April 27th.
Here at REEL NEWS we’ve never really understood why people celebrate November 5th? This is after all the date that Mr Fawkes and his comrades saw their mission fail. It is like having an annual night of celebration for still not finding a cure for cancer. However we love fireworks and setting stuff alight so we went to have a look at the London arm of the worldwide Anonymous Million Mask March.
Attempts by the Police to keep protesters out of the road when they arrived at Parliament Square failed miserably as hundreds of people poured into the area around Parliament and set up several sound systems. A number of vehicles including a bus were trapped in the crowd so the TSG were deployed to rescue them. This resulted in scuffles but without any violence. More protesters came to join the party from Westminster Bridge where the Peoples Assembly had been holding a rally and blockade.
The sound systems were complimented by the performances of hip hop artists and also a fire breather. A large part of the crowd then went for a walk towards Buckingham Palace before heading into the West End with outnumbered police trying to keep up. There were further scuffles at a McDonalds and a firework was shot at Buckingham Palace.