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November 13, 2015

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits United Kingdom

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits United Kingdom

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Friday, November 13, 2015

On Thursday, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi began a three-day diplomatic visit to the United Kingdom, in a push for increased relations between the two nations. The United Kingdom is home to one of the largest Indian diasporas.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi at 10 Downing Street.
Image: UK government.

Mr. Modi’s speech at Wembley Stadium covered many topics, notably the introduction of 10-year Indian rupee bonds to the London Stock Exchange; an estimated 60,000 people attended. On Thursday, he became the first Indian prime minister to address the British Parliament. Later in the week, a fireworks display will celebrate the visit, said to be the “largest firework display the UK has ever seen”.

Amid the commemoration, non-violent protests occurred, a major one being at Downing Street on Thursday. Many have blamed Modi for the 2002 Gujarat riots, which happened during Mr. Modi’s tenure as Chief Minister of the state of Gujarat. Also, on Monday, a projection appeared on the British Houses of Parliament (near Big Ben) caricaturing Narendra Modi.

Modi is scheduled to remain abroad until November 16.



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October 18, 2013

UK politicians weigh in as \’Plebgate\’ affair reopens

UK politicians weigh in as ‘Plebgate’ affair reopens

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Friday, October 18, 2013

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Andrew Mitchell in 2011.
Image: Chatham House.

Following an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) ruling on Tuesday, UK Prime Minister David Cameron and other senior British politicians have criticised the actions of three police forces in England for allegedly covering up the behaviour of police officers involved in the investigation of former Cabinet Minister Andrew Mitchell.

Andrew Mitchell resigned from his job in the Cabinet as Chief Whip following an incident in September 2012 at Downing Street. Mitchell had been told he could not ride his bicycle in Downing Street. The next day, The Sun newspaper reported Mitchell had sworn at the police officers and called them “plebs“. Mitchell agreed he had been rude to the officers and apologised but denied he had used the word “plebs”. A police log was later leaked to The Daily Telegraph which claimed Mitchell had told the officers to “learn [their] fucking place” and referred to them as “fucking plebs”.

The current controversy regards a meeting between Andrew Mitchell and officers and representatives of the Police Federation, the union for police officers. The officers claim Mitchell did not disclose the precise words he said during the altercation. A tape by Mitchell has since emerged of this meeting which casts doubt on this claim.

An investigation by the IPCC ruled on Tuesday that the officers involved should face gross misconduct proceedings as there was evidence they had deliberately set out to discredit Mitchell. The report, and the revelation that Mitchell’s taped version of the conversation does not match the police accounts, has led to senior figures in the government to call for the Police to apologise to Mitchell.

Despite internal recommendations, the chief constables of the relevant police forces — West Mercia, West Midlands and Warwickshire — have rejected the call for misconduct hearings.

David Cameron said of Mitchell: “He is owed an apology. The conduct of these officers was not acceptable.”

Nick Clegg said on his LBC radio show it was “perfectly legitimate for Andrew Mitchell to feel pretty sore” for the behaviour of the police officers.

Conservative minister Greg Clark told the BBC that David Cameron should reinstate Mitchell. Home Secretary Theresa May said the behaviour of the police in the Mitchell affair threatened the public’s trust in the police.

Sir Hugh Orde from the Association of Chief Police Officers said the chief constables need to be given chance to explain their reasons for not engaging in further disciplinary action: “It seems to me in this case there is no issue that the finding by the police service was the officers’ behaviour fell below the standard. The question is the quantum of seriousness and I think that’s why the chief constables are clearly determined to explain that.”

Next week, the chief constables are to appear before the Home Affairs Select Committee to discuss their decisions.



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March 31, 2013

Thousands take to streets protesting \’ratbag\’s Bedroom Tax

Thousands take to streets protesting ‘ratbag’s Bedroom Tax

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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Protester at Edinburgh’s anti ‘bedroom-tax’ demonstration.

Protesters assembling around the modern art in St Andrew Square, Edinburgh with Jenners department store in the background.
Image: Brian McNeil.

Demonstrations took place across the UK over the holiday weekend, echoing the message personally delivered to Iain Duncan Smith at a Capita-sponsored talk last week. Chants of “Axe, axe, axe the bedroom tax” could be clearly heard throughout Edinburgh’s demonstration. At the end of his minute-long tirade at the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Willie Black labelled Duncan Smith a “ratbag”; several people turned up with this printed on their tee shirts.

Wikinews photographed the march from Edinburgh’s St. Andrew’s Square to the Scottish Parliament. Various estimates put the number in-attendance between 1,200 and 1,600.

Other protests took place in London, with an estimated 1,000 at Trafalgar Square and Downing street. Glasgow saw around 2,500 take to the streets. Those demonstrating equated the package of changes that see benefit rises at a below-inflation 1%, and housing benefit cut by 14% for those with one spare room, 25% if they have two or more spare rooms, with the ‘poll tax’ which saw riots in England during Margaret Thatcher’s time as Prime Minister.

Head of the UK’s National Housing Federation David Orr commented: “It’s bad policy, it’s bad economics, it’s bad for hundreds of thousands of ordinary people whose lives will be made difficult for no benefit — and I think it’s about to become profoundly bad politics.”

With the policy coming into effect now, protesters are intent on a “can’t pay, won’t pay” civil disobedience campaign.

Images from the Edinburgh protest

Panoramic shot of the protesters gathering outside the Scottish Parliament.
Image: Brian McNeil.

There was a widespread belief amonst the protesters that the cuts being imposed by Westminster are the upper-class attempting to reassert themselves.
Image: Brian McNeil.

Protesters gathering in Edinburgh’s St. Andrew’s Square.
Image: Brian McNeil.

One protester’s hand-made signs demands rent controls.
Image: Brian McNeil.

The ‘Yes’ campaign for Scottish independence attended.
Image: Brian McNeil.

Some Edinburgh members of the UNISON union joined the march.
Image: Brian McNeil.

The Grim Reaper puts in an appearance at parliament.
Image: Brian McNeil.

The Scottish Green Party‘s banner arriving at Parliament.
Image: Brian McNeil.

Protesters setting off from St. Andrew’s Square, marching to the Scottish Parliament.
Image: Brian McNeil.

Police, who gave an on-the-spot estimate of 1,200 at Parliament, prepare to close streets for the march.
Image: Brian McNeil.

Protesters walking out of St. Andrew’s Square, with wheelchair user’s sign reading “Do you want my carer to sleep in my bed?”
Image: Brian McNeil.

Marchers line up whilst press talk to police in-attendance.
Image: Brian McNeil.

“Axe the Tax”, a popular slogan and chant during the march.
Image: Brian McNeil.

St John’s Episcopal Church, at Edinburgh’s West-End, has a mural skewering the tax with a religious theme.
Image: Brian McNeil.

Many disabled people face benefit cuts over a spare bedroom a carer may sleep in a few nights each week.
Image: Brian McNeil.

The march heads down towards Princes Street.
Image: Brian McNeil.

Princes Street, with the Scott Monument in the background.
Image: Brian McNeil.

The head of the march passing the £310-a-night Balmoral Hotel
Image: Brian McNeil.

The march waits as the last people join from St. Andrew’s Square.
Image: Brian McNeil.

Press, foreground, photographing protesters sitting in the road.
Image: Brian McNeil.

More join the sit-down protest.
Image: Brian McNeil.

The march moves up onto Regent Road, which skirts the city’s Calton Hill.
Image: Brian McNeil.

View of the march from the foot of the steps to the City Observatory.
Image: Brian McNeil.

The march towards the Scottish Parliament with the city skyline as a backdrop.
Image: Brian McNeil.

The march around Calton Hill passes the Dugald Stewart Monument.
Image: Brian McNeil.

Slogans and visuals on placards equate David Cameron with Margaret Thatcher.
Image: Brian McNeil.

There is genuine anger behind some of the messages aimed at Westminster, by people who feel they are being penalised to enrich bankers and the country’s richest.
Image: Brian McNeil.

Pro-Scottish independence supporters arriving at parliament; many feel the current UK government does not represent Scotland, which returned only on Tory MP at the last election.
Image: Brian McNeil.

The lead marchers stopped several times to allow people to catch up, but some gaps between groups were noticeable when arriving at the Parliament.
Image: Brian McNeil.

Passing the gates to Holyrood Palace.
Amongst the chants during the march were “They say cutback, we say fight back.”, “Tory, tory tory, scum, scum, scum!” and “We won’t pay your bedroom tax!”
Image: Brian McNeil.

All ages took part in the march to the Scottish Parliament.
Image: Brian McNeil.

Many see the bedroom tax as a policy which would not be in-place were the country independent.
Image: Brian McNeil.

Edinburgh’s James Connolly society arriving at the Parliament.
Image: Brian McNeil.

A small section of the crowd assembled at the Scottish Parliament.
Image: Brian McNeil.

Occupy protesters rub shoulders with ‘Yes’ campaign supporters, observed by part of the contingent of Lothian and Borders Police in attendance.
Image: Brian McNeil.



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June 27, 2011

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao visits Shakespeare\’s birthplace

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao visits Shakespeare’s birthplace

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Premier Jiabao
Image: World Economic Forum.

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao paid a visit to the birthplace of English playwright and poet William Shakespeare on Sunday. The visit to Stratford-upon-Avon was included in his three-day tour of various industries in Britain. The UK is one of China’s biggest trading partners, second only to the EU.

Cquote1.svg [Stratford-upon-Avon] has produced a figure who belongs not only to the UK but to the world. A great man who belongs not just to his era but to entire history. Cquote2.svg

—Premier Wen Jiabao

The 68-year-old Wen, reportedly a fan of Shakespeare, was met upon his arrival at Stratford-upon-Avon by dozens of flag-waving individuals from the UK’s Chinese community. He visited Shakespeare’s birthplace, which is now a museum and then attended a scene from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet“, his favourite play, while sitting in the “sun-drenched” garden. He toured the collection of treasures at the town’s Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. On his tour at the Trust, lasting half an hour longer than planned, he looked through a 17th-century folio of Shakespeare’s famous plays. Trust director Diana Owen, who talked with Wen during his informal tour, said Wen described Shakespeare as “the greatest writer of all time.”

Wen told Sky News that his love of Shakespeare began as a child.

“The local people here have every reason to take pride that this place has produced a figure who belongs not only to the UK but to the world,” Mr Wen said to Sky News. “A great man who belongs not just to his era but to entire history.”

The Chinese leader’s arrival in England came days after the announcement of activist and dissident sculptor Ai Weiwei‘s release by Beijing last Wednesday, after a global call for his release. The announcement, made before Wen’s meeting today with British Prime Minister David Cameron, was likely discussed along with the issue of China’s record on human rights and trade deals. There were several protesters outside Downing Street, who held a banner that read “Cameron and Wen: human rights before trade”.

The goal of the visit, part of a three-nation tour of Europe, is the strengthening of economic ties between the two countries. China is increasingly outsourcing its own manufacturing to less costly labour markets and wants to increase its investments in established European brands. Today, China and Britain announced contracts worth over one billion pounds.

John Shakespeare’s house, believed to be Shakespeare’s birthplace, in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Image: File Upload Bot (Magnus Manske).

Cquote1.svg I am hoping that a billion Chinese might see some pictures on their TV of their premier coming and visiting the birthplace of Shakespeare, and thinking: ‘Well, I’d like to go there as well.’ Cquote2.svg

—Jeremy Hunt, British Culture Secretary

British Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, whose wife is Chinese, was hopeful that Wen’s visit would have a positive effect on the country’s tourism industry. He told Sky News, “I am hoping that a billion Chinese might see some pictures on their TV of their premier coming and visiting the birthplace of Shakespeare, and thinking: ‘Well, I’d like to go there as well.’ ” Hunt noted that 150,000 Chinese visit the UK yearly and thinks that is “the tip of the iceberg”.

Hunt stressed that Wen’s visit is not only about jobs. It is also about developing broader cultural ties “which is the best possible way to make sure we understand each other and avoid the kind of misunderstanding that so can bedevil relationships, as has happened in the past,” he told the BBC.

The Chinese are interested in British happenings. About 30 million Chinese watched the recent Royal wedding.



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November 24, 2010

UK students protest for second time this month

UK students protest for second time this month

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

At least three hundred students gathered outside the gates of Cardiff University.

Mass-walkouts took place today in cities throughout the United Kingdom, as students campaigned against rising tuition fees and government cuts.

Protests took place for the second time in as many weeks in places such as Aberystwyth, Cambridge, Southampton, Liverpool, and Brighton. Events included a ‘study-in’ at the Edinburgh Liberal Democrat headquarters, a 10am protest in Trafalgar Square attended by thousands, and a ‘dress in red’ march in Manchester.

In Cardiff, at least a hundred students rallied outside the main gates of Cardiff University‘s main building, in an event organised by a group named Actions Against Cuts Cardiff, with the support of a member of the National Union of Students executive committee. Occupations of university buildings have also begun in Birmingham, Plymouth, and the Royal Holloway.

In London, students are infuriated by what they say is London South Bank University‘s decision to ban anti-cut related meetings from their campus earlier this month. One student described it as “undemocratic and scandalous” as, according to the students, they were forced out of their booked room by security guards, and prevented from partaking on any on-campus meetings — but South Bank University maintains that it was a “misunderstanding” due to a double-booked room. Dr. Phil Cardew, Pro Vice-Chancellor of LSBU, maintained that “freedom of speech lies at the very heart of the higher education community whether it is academic, political or social debate”, and that “the students were encouraged to continue their discussions in the Students Union”.

A police van was vandalised in Trafalgar Square.

Not all the demonstrations were peaceful. Central London saw two officers injured as the police attempted to hold back the protesters, a police van attacked and vandalised, and three arrests were made. Police, keen to make sure that the 30 Millbank occupation was not repeated, were out in force, clashing with students in Cambridge, where two arrests were made, and kettling protesters of up to a thousand, according to protest organisers, as dusk approached.

The group that organised the protests, the “National Campaign Against Fees And Cuts” (NCAFAC), told students in the run-up to the protests to not “be afraid of blocking traffic if you have enough people”. On their blog, they stated that “[they] would like to see university students planning to march around their campus, bursting into lecture theatres and spreading the word”, a move that would breach many University codes of conduct. When contacted by Wikinews, the group did not respond to requests for clarification.

Universities are facing more than £900m ($1.4bn) cuts in the next three years. This protest comes as, earlier this month, 50,000 students and lecturers took to the streets in a National Union of Students organised rally, which culminated in the violent occupation of the Conservative Party campaign headquarters at 30 Millbank. In Westminster, a student suspected of throwing a fire extinguisher off the headquarters’ roof pleaded guilty in court today, under the charge of violent disorder, and will appear in Southwark Crown Court at a later date for sentencing, the maximum of which is five years imprisonment. Some protesters involved in the 30 Millbank occupation led an ‘energising meeting’ in Cardiff yesterday, prior to today’s demonstration.

Many students do not understand the reasoning behind the cuts. The Trotskyist student group, Cardiff University Socialist Students, wonder why, compared to the “£120 billion the government throws away every year on evaded, avoided and uncollected taxes”, the “few billion” required to pay tuition fees is “tiny”. The group also advocates cutting the Trident nuclear deterrent in order to pay for fees, and wonder why the vice-chancellor of the university was awarded a 4% pay rise (to £275k p.a.) compared to last year, whilst during the economic recession.

Last week, three hundred sixth-formers marched in Finchley, Margaret Thatcher’s old constituency, throwing shirts at the local Tory headquarters, echoing the phrase “They ripped the shirts of our backs”. Lower income college students are hit badly by the budget cuts, as plans to abolish Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA), the up-to £30 a week subsidy for 16-19 year-old full-time students with household incomes of £30,810 or less.

The protests were primarily organised on the popular social networking site, Facebook. One Facebook user said earlier this week that the protests were “a perfect opportunity for students to show how disappointed we are with Nick Clegg”, who was advised by security officers earlier to desist from cycling from his home in Putney to Downing Street over fears that he could be pounced upon by angry students en route.



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September 15, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI heads to the UK amid protests

Pope Benedict XVI heads to the UK amid protests

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Benedict XVI travelling (USA, 2008)
Image: Shealah Craighead / White House.

The Roman Catholic Pontiff is visiting the United Kingdom for the first time since 1982, when his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, was in Britain. The Catholic Church has been preparing an official visit of Benedict XVI for some time, with the visit starting tomorrow. The initial plans were made last September; the visit was only announced on March 16, 2010 when it was officially confirmed by the Vatican. The tour extends through Sunday, and includes stops in Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, and Birmingham, at the latter of which the Pope is going to celebrate the Beatification of Cardinal Newman.

Portrait of Cardinal Newman by Sir John Everett Millais

When Pope Benedict departs from Rome Ciampino Airport at 8:10 am, he will first head to Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh, to meet Queen Elizabeth. After he has presided over several celebrations in Scotland, including an open-air Mass at Bellahouston Park, he will fly to London.

On Friday and Saturday the papal delegation and its leader will remain in the British capital to meet several religious authorities, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, leader of the Church of England. Furthermore Benedict XVI will receive courtesy calls from Prime Minister David Cameron as well as the leader of the Opposition Harriet Harman and other political and institutional personalities.

On the last day, Sunday, the Pope will travel by helicopter to Cofton Park, Birmingham, for the Beatification of Cardinal Newman (1801–1890), a priest in the Church of England who converted to the Roman Catholic Church. Newman was defined as “man of conscience” by the Pope in his speech for the centenary of Newman’s death, in 1990.

The first recent source of conflict between British policies and Vatican positions emerged in February in the form of the Equality Bill, aimed at preventing discrimination against heterosexual, homosexual, and transsexual people.

Richard Dawkins
Image: Marty Stone.

In the same period, the National Secular Society launched an online petition called “Make the Pope Pay”. At the deadline of the petition, June 6th, 2010, it counted 12,340 signatures.

On April 11th Richard Dawkins, with Christopher Hitchens‘s support, interviewed by The Sunday Times, said that they were trying to initiate criminal proceedings against the Pope – on the occasion of his visit to UK – over his alleged cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

David Miliband, Foreign Secretary until May 11th, 2010
Image: Shelley and Alan Heckman.

A further incident happened at the end of April 2010 when a British Foreign Office internal memo (attached to an official document which listed brainstormed ideas for the Pope’s tour) suggested many sarcastic ideas for Benedict XVI. This included launching a condom brand marked “Benedict”, or, during his visit in UK, inaugurating an abortion clinic, blessing a homosexual couple, or ordaining women as priests. The Ministry immediately apologized and explained that the document was only brainstorming that didn’t represent the political positions of the Foreign Office. The Vatican answered via Benedict XVI’s spokesman the Rev. F. Lombardi who said “[a]s far as the Vatican is concerned, the case is closed. There never was the slightest doubt about the trip.”

In the United Kingdom in July, many of the people opposing the Pope’s State visit gathered thanks to a new web site named Protest The Pope, which intends to organize protests against the visit. The events suggested and organized by the site include marches, protests, and cultural events.

Protest The Pope plans the biggest march for Saturday in London, when the Catholic Pontiff will stay in the capital for his tour. The march will start at 1:30 pm from Hyde Park (Piccadilly side) toward Piccadilly Circus, then to Trafalgar Square, Whitehall and Downing Street.

The British Government is expected to spend for public safety and public policy in general more than £12 million (14 million). £1.5 million (€2.2 million) alone is for the evening at Hyde Park.



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May 10, 2010

UK elections: Gordon Brown offers resignation to secure Labour-Liberal coalition

UK elections: Gordon Brown offers resignation to secure Labour-Liberal coalition

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Gordon Brown became Prime Minister in 2007
Image: World Economic Forum.

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In the latest developments in discussions between the Liberal Democrats and the two largest parties, Gordon Brown has announced his resignation as Labour Party leader and Prime Minister.

Gordon Brown made his statement at 5.00 pm local time in front of 10 Downing Street, London, following a meeting he had yesterday with Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party.

He stated that a strong and stable “progressive alliance” of the Labour and Liberal parties would be in the best interest of the country and made his resignation as a means to forward this, saying that he would set in motion the process needed for a new leader of the Labour Party to be selected and that a new leader will be in place in the autumn by the time of the next Labour Party Conference.

However, unlike a Conservative-Liberal alliance, a Labour-Liberal one would not command a majority in Parliament. For the “progressive alliance” to have its majority, it would therefore need to bring in MPs from the smaller parties, something that both the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru have stated they would be amenable to.

The current move follows the return of a hung parliament in the United Kingdon general election on Thursday. The Liberal Democratic Party, who hold the balance of power, have been in negotiations with the Conservative Party.



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July 4, 2009

Wife of British Prime Minister attends gay pride parade in London

Wife of British Prime Minister attends gay pride parade in London

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sarah Brown, wife of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Gordon Brown, attended an annual gay pride parade in London on Saturday. Organizers of the event met with Sarah and Gordon Brown at 10 Downing Street.

Sarah Brown in 2008
Image: White House photo by Chris Greenberg.

The Associated Press reported that five hundred thousand individuals attended the event, which was organized by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups. Sarah was seen in the march holding a pink Union Flag while marching on Regent Street and Oxford Street and through the city’s shopping district. Drag queens wearing large blond wigs and Union Flag attire marched behind her.

Cquote1.svg This Government is committed to standing at your shoulders in the fight for equality… Cquote2.svg

—Gordon Brown

Prime Minister Brown stated that “massive strides towards equality” had occurred in Britain, such as civil partnerships for homosexual couples. “This Government is committed to standing at your shoulders in the fight for equality and we are guided by one very simple principle when it comes to LGBT rights: you can’t legislate love,” said Brown. Boris Johnson, mayor of London, addressed march attendants through video, and stated “how proud” he felt to be supportive of the pride parade.

Peter Tatchell, an Australian-born British human rights activist, said that civil partnerships were “a form of sexual apartheid”. Tatchell marched during the pride parade carrying a sign that read “Gordon and Sarah can marry, gays can’t. End the ban on gay marriage,” and said he would request Sarah Brown speak with the Prime Minister regarding permitting homosexual couples to get married in the same manner as their heterosexual counterparts, as opposed to civil partnerships.



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May 30, 2009

Protesters against police violence surround London\’s Scotland Yard

Protesters against police violence surround London’s Scotland Yard

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Protestors rally at Scotland Yard

Protesters against police violence marched Saturday, May 23, from Trafalgar Square to New Scotland Yard in central London. The protest, organized by the United Campaign Against Police Violence (UCAPV) and with the support of several UK trade unions and activist groups, including from the 6th largest UK trade union; the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS).

Protesters marched against police violence in the UK, including as perpetrated by riot police against activist activities and by other police towards members of black and ethnic minority communities. The protest also called for an end to containment of protesters by police on demonstrations, a controversial tactic known as “Kettling” and for freedom to protest without intervention by police.

The march began in Trafalgar Square, central London, where police and private security attempted to move the rallying protesters, but did not succeed. Protesters marched on towards New Scotland Yard; the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Service, passing Downing Street and Parliament in the Palace of Westminster, encountering minor police resistance and cheering Tamil Tigers protesters in Parliament Square as they marched past.

Slogans chanted throughout the march included “No Justice; No Peace” and calls for the dissolving of the police Territorial Support Group (TSG), who have allegedly perpetrated acts of serious violence against protesters; a large proportion of the allegations of brutality during the G20 summit protests accuse the TSG. Among these calls were questions of ‘How many skulls have you cracked today’ and call-and-response of ‘Hey Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, The TSG Has Got to Go’.

The procession was accompanied by several police vans, officers on foot and Forward Intelligence Team (FIT) members. Policing of the event was mostly provided by CO11, the Metropolitan Police public order unit.

The protest crossed an SOCPA zone without police permission. Because of the illegality of the protest, it was not facilitated by police. Due to this, the police did not assist with traffic flow or close roads, including the road outside the main entrance to New Scotland Yard where the end rally was held.

The protest ended at the New Scotland Yard building, where activists gradually tried to surround the building by linking arms and hands, although did not succeed in fully encircling it. The attempted “kettling” of the building was followed by speeches from people affected by police violence, including member of the United Friends and Families Campaign, Doreen Bishop, mother of Ricky Bishop who died in police custody in 2001. Also speaking was Sam Rigg-David, representing the Sean Rigg Justice & Change Campaign; Chris Nineham from the Stop The War Coalition; Martin Smith from the Socialist Workers Party and political rap performer/poet Lowkey and many other representatives from campaign groups and those representing affected families and groups.

As speeches ended, protesters held an open mic in the road next to the entrance to the scotland yard building. The road had not been closed and police had allowed traffic to attempt to continue along the road. However towards the end of the rally, protesters blocked 2 coaches from attempting to traverse the road by blocking the roadway, some sitting on the ground.

Three protesters were arrested during the event. Wikinews learned from an anonymous legal observer from the Legal Defence and Monitoring Group on 28 May that one man arrested was believed to have an outstanding warrant following an animal rights activism related offense. A woman, believed to be his girlfriend, was reported to have been arrested for pushing and swearing at police after the male was arrested, and was arrested under section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986, for causing the police intentional harassment. The third, a man, was believed to have been arrested after allegedly urinating on the wall of the Scotland Yard building, in public view, and was arrested under either section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986, for causing the police intentional harassment or for indecent exposure under Section 66 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003; reports are unclear as to which.

The three arrested were taking part in the surrounding of Scotland Yard, and were arrested by police on the side of the building away from the main speeches and people; protesters were not aware of this until towards the end. The three are believed to have been taken to Charing Cross police station.

According to the United Campaign against Police Violence; the protest organizers, they will be continuing to protest on this issue, the next protest being on July 10th 2009 outside the office of the Independent Police Complaints Commission. Furthermore, according to information released by the UCAPV; the University and College Union (UCU), representing lecturers, has officially affiliated to the campaign nationally.



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September 11, 2007

Downing Street welcomes new resident cat

Filed under: Archived,Downing Street,London,United Kingdom,Wackynews — admin @ 5:00 am

Downing Street welcomes new resident cat

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A new cat has moved into 10 Downing Street, the residence of now British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, following in the footsteps, or rather pawsteps, of previous Westminister cats “Humphery” and “Wilberforce”.

“Sybil”, named after “Sybil Fawlty”, a character in the British sitcom Fawlty Towers, belongs to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, who now lives in residence in a flat above 10 Downing Street (11 Downing Street) itself, having previously lived in Darling’s residence in Scotland.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, “The prime minister and Sarah (wife of Brown) do not have a problem with it. I am sure the cat will appear at some point.”

The cats at 10 Downing Street are often referred to as the, “10 Downing Street mousers” and are given the job of getting rid of mice. There has not been a cat in residence at the house since 1997, after Tony came to power. There were several rumours that Blair’s wife, Cherie, was behind the move.



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