Thousands of people march in London to support the Kurdish resistance in Kobane against ISIS. A lot of anger was directed towards Turkey, who are supporting ISIS militarily and logistically, but no-one wants an occupation by Western powers either. The Kurds can take care of ISIS on their own, if they are given the arms and humanitarian aid to do it – and the PKK need to be delisted as a terrorist organisation too.
Please publicise the following demands:
1) Turkey must open a “corridor” for Kurdish forces to equip themselves against ISIS.
2) Provide military and humanitarian aid to the Kurdish forces and civilians fighting ISIS.
3) Do not permit a “buffer zone” and “no fly zone” in Rojava.
4) Delist PKK, the organisation of the Kurdish foghters resisting against ISIS.
5) Coalition forces mst stop supporting ISIS and allowing it to grow.
6) Impose economic sanctions on states directly supporting ISIS, especially Turkey.
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.
Today the Blacklist Support Group marked five years of inaction by the police by attempting to uphold the law themselves. Dave Smith, Helen Steele and a group of supporters visited the London offices of construction giant Sir Robert McAlpine Limited to make a citizens arrest. This weekend is the 5th anniversary of the raid by the Information
Commissioner’s Office that discovered the illegal building industry blacklist.
The target for arrest today by the protesters was millionaire construction boss Cullum McAlpine. When giving evidence to a Select Committee investigation into blacklisting Cullum McAlpine was forced to admit that he was the first chairman of the Consulting Association conspiracy (a post he held for 3 years) and that the first meetings of the shady organisation were actually held in his office at the Sir Robert McAlpine Limited offices in Grosvenor Crescent, Victoria.
It has to be said that staff at the aforementioned offices were not exactly thrilled by the arrival of Dave and his supporters. The only woman present amongst the Blacklist Supporters group, was assaulted by office staff for filming the proceedings on a mobile. The same staff expressed far less interest in stopping two male journalists from filming and photographing the proceedings. They called the Police who arrived in what can only be described as serious numbers in six vehicles. Though they expressed little interest in the illegal activities that had been plotted in this very building.
The illegal blacklist database compiled in these offices held secret files on 3213 individuals which included information such as name, address, national insurance number, phone numbers, car registration and particularly recorded trade union membership and incidents where workers had complained about health & safety on building sites. Those workers that appeared on the blacklist suffered years of unemployment, repeated dismissals and financial hardship. Dave Smith was one such individual who was victimised and blacklisted for his activities as a trade union health and safety rep.
During the building of the Olympics Stadium in 2008-9, Sir Robert McAlpine was invoiced in excess of £28,000 for blacklisting name checks – which equates to 65 name checks a day, 7 days a week for the period. So the irony of finding an original framed, signed newspaper cartoon on the wall of the office depicting the Olympic project was not lost on the activists present.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission is presently investigating police involvement in blacklisting and has already confirmed that Special Branch “routinely provided information about prospective employees”. This perhaps explains how hundreds of environmental protesters with little or no involvement in the construction industry have ended up on the list.
Dave Smith, secretary of the Blacklist Support Group said: “Blacklisted workers have lost their houses and our kids were on free school meals while Cullum McApline is the lord of the Manor in his £4.5million Grade 1 Listed Mansion in Cold Ashton. In any civilized society, McAlpine and his co-conspirators would be behind bars .We visited the birthplace of the Consulting Association to carry out a citizens arrest. We were pleased when the Met Police arrived and assisted in our search for Cullum McAlpine. It shows how seriously the authorities are taking corporate crime.”
Blacklisted activist Helen Steele said, “It has been 5 years since this conspiracy between big business and the police was discovered. Trade unionists and environmental activists have had their human rights violated. But 5 years later, no one has been brought to justice for the crimes they have committed. Its about time Cullum McAlpine was in the dock” Sir Robert McAlpine and seven other major construction firms involved in blacklisting are joint defendants in the High Court conspiracy case – next
court date April. The other companies in the High Court action are: Skanska, Costains, Laing O’Rourke, Kier, Vinci, Carillion and Balfour Beatty.
The strike by RMT and TSSA station staff on London underground is looking solid as it goes into its second day. The only line working appears to be the Northern Line, which is running a very limited service relying on ASLEF drivers and members who are not part of the dispute.
Last night a strike rally was held outside Euston station just before the dispute began. RMT Deputy General Secretary Steve Hedley told the assembled crowd that Transport For London had refused to negotiate and made the strike inevitable. He also commented on the hypocrisy of the media who had hailed station staff as heroes when they had rescued people trapped in tunnels during the 7/7 bombings but were now saying they were surplus to requirements.
This morning commuters were walking across central London bridges in their droves to get to work. Many more were waiting for a very long time for overcrowded buses. There were also chaotic scenes at many major stations.
The mainstream media have steadfastly refused to report on the real issues surrounding the dispute. Instead papers like the Mail and Sun have run irrelevant and childish stories about the holiday and living arrangements of RMT leader Bob Crow. Also complaining about his “fat cat salary”. Rank hypocrisy coming from news outlets whose owners earn billions while avoiding their taxes.
The strike centres around a plan by London Mayor Boris Johnson to close London Underground ticket offices losing nearly 1,000 jobs. This is against his own election pledge when he stood for mayor. Many campaigners fear that this will make public transport less accessible to the elderly, disabled and also foreign visitors on whom the London economy is so reliant. This morning Boris evaded many of the key questions being put to him by the media at London Bridge station while talking up the idea of a fully automated underground system.
The strike is due to run until 9.30 pm on Thursday with more action planned for next week.
Demonstrations and civil disobedience across the UK in the first ever national day of action over blacklisting – called by the TUC but organised and built by the Blacklist Support Group – culminate in a blockade outside the Houses of Parliament.
There is now a huge clamour for a public enquiry into this human rights abuse, where building companies deny employment to trade unionists raising health and safety concerns. The result: 2,800 building workers dead on UK building sites over the past 25 years, and 3,214 building workers whose lives have been ruined through being on an illegal blacklist – some of whom have been driven to suicide.
Those responsible for these criminal acts will be getting worried now as they see how huge this campaign is becoming. Blacklisted workers have already rejected an insulting compensation scheme from the building companies – a pathetic and desperate attempt to settle out of court before the start of the high court conspiracy trial next week.
Next protest: Friday November 29, 9am, outside the High Court in the Strand when the trial starts.
Veterans for Peace (VFP) gathered today in Trafalgar square and then marched with their supporters to the Cenotaph under a banner saying ‘NEVER AGAIN’. Present were organiser Ben Griffin a former special forces soldier who left the army in disgust over its actions in Iraq and Joe Glenton who was jailed for refusing to be deployed to Afghanistan.
The organisation, which was set up by ex servicemen to raise awareness about war towards its abolition as a foreign policy, had not contacted the authorities about today’s action. Police stationed around the Whitehall Cenotaph, for what is one of the most rigidly stage managed days of the year, were initially baffled by the veterans action but allowed them to go ahead after some negotiation.
Upon reaching the monument a wreath of predominantly white poppies (symbolising peace) was laid and a veteran of D-Day sang the anti war song 1916. Following this another veteran of the more recent Afghan conflict recited the famous poem ‘Suicide in the trenches‘ by Siegfriend Sassoon. The ceremony ended traditionally with the playing of The Last Post.
Though smaller than its counterpart in the USA the UK veterans movement is increasing in popularity with ex service personnel following the disastrous deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.
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.
On Saturday Sept 7th the racist English Defence League (EDL) had promised to bring thousands of its intellectually challenged supporters to the multi-faith East London borough of Tower Hamlets. Their previous attempt to march past the East London Mosque in 2011 had ended in failure with the EDL being kept out of the area, harassed by anti fascists around Liverpool street and one of their coaches being trashed. This time they announced that they would rally in Altab Ali park, a community space named after a Bangladeshi textile worker whom was killed in a racist attack in 1978.
A broad range of organisations including East End United, London Anti Fascists and Unite Against fascism vowed to stop them entering Tower Hamlets supported by the TUC, RMT, CWU, UNITE and various other trade unions and faith groups. By 11am thousands of people were in the park while the EDL (who numbered between 5 & 700) gathered south of London bridge. The racist mobilisation was far smaller than the recent gathering of the EDL in Birmingham despite the murder of Lee Rigby in South East London and the date having no domestic football fixtures, which would have boosted the EDL’s hooligan contingent.
The previous attempt by EDL leaders to enter Tower Hamlets had ended in humiliation with their self-styled leader Tommy Robinson getting arrested while crying to the police after being smacked by an anti fascist. This time the EDL were prevented by the police from entering the borough after seeing the size of the opposition to their presence. Robinson (aka former BNP organiser Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) was arrested again, this time for breaching his bail conditions and incitement.
A determined group of militant anti fascists attempt to confront the EDL as they crossed Tower bridge but were detained by a massive police operation. Meanwhile anti racist groups and local people left Altab Ali park and blocked the main route through Whitechapel to ensure the EDL’s non attendance. They then marched to East London Mosque after the EDL had been escorted back across the river in defeat. By this stage it was clear that anti fascists were outnumbering the EDL by at least 3-1.
Meanwhile the police detained everyone who had left the designated protest area in two ‘kettles’ for several hours. They then systematically arrested all the detainees and put them onto buses that had been clearly prepared for the occasion. They had employed similar tactics back in June when the UAF and South London Antifascists had ruined their plans to facilitate a march by the fascist BNP from parliament to Whitehall.
In the end over 280 antifascists were arrested. Most of them released after a few hours with bail conditions that prevent them from going near racist and fascist organisations.
More worryingly the police also arrested Legal Observers from Legal Defence and Monitoring Group (LDMG) treating them with the same measures as the demonstrators. In the past the police have not exactly be pleased to see the volunteers from LDMG but have allowed them to do their job and recognised their role as observers rather than participants.
The behaviour of the police towards the detained protestors and legal observers raises several questions about civil liberties. If no charges against the detained are pressed or they are found not guilty then legal action against the police is very likely. It is possible that the European Convention on Human Rights was violated in several areas including article 10 (freedom of expression) and article 11 (freedom of assembly). Meanwhile the confiscation (and no doubt copying) the legal observers notes is in contravention to article 6 (right to a fair trial).
The arrest of five clearly identifiable legal observers in the Mansell street kettle has resulted in an angry statement from LDMG with more expected to follow. Tony Martin one of the coordinators said “The arrest of five Legal Observers is outrageous. Although we have had individual Legal Observers arrested before, this is a very rare occurrence. What is different on this occasion is that the decision was taken at a very senior level of the Metropolitan Police.”
Today another lone activist managed to close the supply road to the fracking site as part of the ongoing month of rolling blockades. The man d-locked himself to the top of a tripod in the middle of the road at about 8am. Specialist police teams were brought in to remove him. The road was still closed when REEL NEWS left at 2pm.
The response of the police was to impose what we believe might have been a Section 14 on the area around the Cuadrilla site. Unfortunately the announcement was made via the PA in a police van which had such poor sound quality that the exact words of the officer (a bronze commander) were completely unintelligible. As no one could understand the meaning of the announcement it was possibly invalid.