Pro-refugee demonstration in London

A ‘Refugees Welcome’ rally on the Millennium Bridge in London, 26 October 2016, makes its message very clear

From daily News Line in Britain:

Thursday, 27 October 2016


‘HAVE a heart London,’ chanted a whole crowd of Refugees Welcome demonstrators waving red hearts on the Millennium Bridge over the River Thames yesterday.

One of the protesters, schoolteacher and NUT member Natalie Zdrojewski, told News Line: ‘I’m here because what is happening to a lot of children is disgusting. We need to care for children regardless of where they come from. What is happening in Calais is horrible.

‘It’s bad that refugees have had to move from their country to live in squalor and are now having such an uncertain future. The government doesn’t care for people, whether they are working or not. They don’t care for education, they don’t care for health. There should be a general strike, where everybody unites to save our services and welcome all refugees.’

Meanwhile, fires raged across the Jungle refugee camp in Calais yesterday, with inhabitants accusing the police of preventing the admission of French firefighters to put them out for several hours. Many of the makeshift shops that had been set up in the camp were destroyed, as was a London bus used by a charity to help women and children.

Dorothy Sang, of the charity Save The Children, said: ‘We know that hundreds of children slept in the Jungle last night, under the bridge, while fires were burning around them. We know that lots of them ran. It’s a really, really dangerous situation for children right now.’

French bailiffs in hard hats and orange jumpsuits began smashing up the Jungle with sledgehammers on Tuesday, pulling down tents and shacks, with bulldozers standing by to be used later on in the week.

By the end of Tuesday, about 3,000 refugees had been moved out on coaches to centres across France, while another 1,000 unaccompanied minors had been given accommodation in lorry containers near the Jungle.

With over 1,200 police officers deployed in Calais and many more in reserve, the French interior ministry said yesterday that officers ‘might be forced to intervene’ if there is unrest during demolition of the Jungle.

London Klezmer Quartet, new record

This music video from London, England says about itself:

25 November 2011

A clip from The London Klezmer Quartet‘s performance at the Friday night music evening at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Featuring Ilana Cravitz on violin, Susi Evans on clarinet, Carol Isaacs on piano accordion, and Ruth Goller on bass.

By Michal Boncza in England:

London Klezmer Quartet

Tuesday 27th 2016

London Klezmer Quartet: To the Tavern (Proper Music) 4/5

SOME years ago BBC 4 aired a compelling Timeshift documentary on klezmer and the revitalisation of this traditional east European Jewish music, abandoned as surplus luggage in the 20th-century migrations.

But the void of a present without a past told and a new generation took a fresh look at its heritage. Dusted-off traditional klezmer reappeared alongside exciting modernised versions infused with jazz, folk and even rock.

The all-women London Klezmer Quartet, full of musical savvy, deliver an earthy mix of violin, clarinet, accordion and double bass here.

The instrumental compositions by Ilana Cravitz, Susy Evans, Carol Isaacs and Indra Buraczewska are melodically and texturally rich and played with much energising gusto — Dobriden, The Inn Keeper’s Wife, Summertime Waltz, Bulgar and Riga Runde delight, though the classics sung in Yiddish are perhaps less successful.

Big pro-refugee demonstration in London

This video from England says about itself:

Refugees Welcome Here 2016 Countdown – 3 days to go!

16 September2016

The ladies at Women for Refugee Women are making banners for the demonstration on Saturday.

This year’s march will be held on Saturday 17th September in London 12:30–17:00 starting at Park Lane. Join us to show that we stand for refugees and they are welcome here.

About Solidarity with Refugees:

In September 2015, SwR organised the biggest ever UK demonstration in support of refugees – about 100,000 people. Now we want policy change in the UK.

Find out more on the website.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Refugees Welcome Here protest: Thousands march on Downing Street calling on UK to resettle more migrants

Protest comes days before world leaders meet to discuss crisis at UN General Assembly

Lizzie Dearden

Thousands of protesters are marching on Downing Street to demand the British Government takes in more refugees as thousands of men, women and children continue to drown in desperate attempts to reach Europe.

Demonstrators were working their way from Park Lane to Parliament Square in London on Saturday afternoon, demanding action as a crucial United Nations summit on the crisis approaches.

Marchers chanted “refugees are welcome here” while waving banners reading “no-one is illegal” and “let’s help people”.

Amnesty International said actors Juliet Stevenson, Vanessa Redgrave and George MacKay as well as the Kaiser Chiefs’s Simon Rix would be among demonstrators.

Lord Alf Dubs, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and Baroness Sheehan were also due to address a rally in Parliament Square.

Brendan Cox, the husband of killed Labour MP Jo Cox, said she had planned to join the protest before her death in June.

Writing on Twitter, he said he and their children Cuillin and Lejla “marched in her stead today imagining her by our side”.

It comes a year after around 100,000 protesters took to London’s streets calling on the UK to resettle more asylum seekers amid the international outcry over the death of Alan Kurdi, a three-year-old Syrian boy who drowned trying to reach Greece.

The Solidarity With Refugees group said Saturday’s protest aimed to “show our Government and the world that Britain is ready to welcome more refugees”.

“The UK should be leading the way and working with other states to give refugees safe, legal routes to asylum, ending the trade in people smuggling,” a spokesperson said.

“Since the referendum campaign and vote, divisive rhetoric has been ever more prevalent from a small but vocal minority. In the light of this, the need to come together in a spirit of welcome has become even more acute.”

The march was supported by charities and groups including the Red Cross, Asylum Aid, Save the Children, Hope Not Hate, Oxfam and the UN Refugee Agency.

Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, described the Government’s contribution to tackling the refugee crisis as “shocking” but praised local communities and volunteers for “taking matters into their own hands” to support migrants.

“This march is to show that ordinary people in Britain actually care deeply about refugees,” she said.

“Many of those seeking sanctuary have seen their families torn apart and homes destroyed. As one of the richest countries in the world, our government can and must do more to help.”

Mr Rix, the Kaiser Chiefs’s bassist, described the refugee crisis as a “global disaster” while Ms Stevenson called on world leaders to share responsibility, adding: “I hope Theresa May is listening.”

The show of solidarity comes as world leaders prepare for the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week.

A UN Summit on Refugees and Migrants on Monday will be followed by a separate summit on the issue hosted by Barack Obama the following day.

More than 3,200 refugees and asylum seekers have drowned attempting to reach Europe so far this year, with almost 300,000 completing the journey.

But thousands remain trapped in Greece after being automatically detained under the controversial EU-Turkey deal, under threat of deportation if their asylum applications fail.

Those granted protection face an increasingly difficult task reaching other parts of Europe as countries increase border controls and build fences to stop the flow of migrants.

Oxfam has warned that millions of refugees are being forced to flee from one warzone into another, while a report released this week found that attempted crackdowns in Europe were failing to significantly reduce refugee numbers and instead forcing migrants on hidden and dangerous routes.

In the wake of Alan’s death, David Cameron pledged to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees in the UK over the coming five years but there have been additional calls to re-home those who have already reached Europe, as well as asylum seekers coming from other conflict zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

Thousands of migrants hoping to travel to Britain remain in the Jungle migrant camp in Calais, where the government is planning to fund a controversial barrier to stop attempts to board lorries.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

Refugees deserve better

Saturday 17th September 2016

London fills with calls for Westminster to show true solidarity with Syrians

by Sofia Lotto Persio

PRO-REFUGEE demonstrators will flood the streets of London today to demand that the government make more effort to tackle the global refugee crisis.

Marching under the “Refugees Welcome Here” banner, tens of thousands of people are calling on Britain to take a fair and proportionate share of refugees from both within and outside Europe, beyond the existing commitment to resettling 20,000 Syrians by 2020.

They also want the establishment of safe and legal routes of passage to Britain, as well as universal access to fair procedures to determine eligibility for asylum.

Charities, aid agencies and religious leaders have put forward similar demands.

The Overseas Development Institute revealed recently that, while the number of people arriving in Europe has fallen, the rate of those taking hidden routes to Europe has not changed and is actually likely to increase.

“These covert routes can be more dangerous and make it harder for governments to monitor migration and design effective responses,” said the report’s author Marta Foresti.

Solidarity with Refugees, which organised the march, hopes to send a strong signal of international solidarity ahead of two major global summits on the crisis next week, which Prime Minister Theresa May is set to attend.

Solidarity with Refugees director Ros Ereira said: “The summits next week in the US are the best opportunity for our government to take proper action to tackle the refugee crisis, committing Britain to taking its fair share of responsibility.

“And this demonstration is the public’s best opportunity to show the government that’s what we want them to do.

“Britain is a country that should welcome people fleeing desperate situations — let’s make that message heard loud and clear.”

A similar march last year gathered around 100,000 people after a photo was published of the lifeless body of three-year-old refugee Alan Kurdi lying on a beach in Turkey.

The image finally shook the world’s conscience over the thousands of people who, for years, have died crossing the Mediterranean sea seeking a better life on European shores.

Deaths have continued however, with over 3,200 of the 300,000 people who have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe having died or gone missing, according to the UN.

Tens of thousands are stranded in Greece and Italy in appalling living conditions.

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said: “The refugee crisis is worse than ever.

“Britain should be leading the way by accepting more people in need and working with other countries to give refugees safe, legal routes to asylum.”

Demonstrators will march at 12.30pm from Park Lane towards Parliament Square, where activists, MPs and religious leaders from various faiths will address the rally.

Amnesty International will be handing out placards with slogans reading messages including: “May, May! Let them in today!” and “Longer tables, not higher walls” at stations near the start of the march.

Demonstration report here.

UK steps up repression of migrant workers: here.

115 BODIES RECOVERED OFF EGYPTIAN COAST AFTER MIGRANT TRAGEDY A boat carrying an estimated 450 migrants heading to Europe capsized Wednesday. Only 150 are estimated to have survived. [AP]

Women’s rock festival in London

This music video from Britain says about itself:

Viva Zapata! – Running Through a Dream

24 May 2016

Fearless punk from Bristol inspired by the greats – Bessie, Nina, Kathleen and Mia. A new live song taken from an upcoming E.P. to be released Summer/Autumn 2016.

By Sally Jones in Britain:

Doing it for ourselves

Thursday 25th August 2016

With 25 acts representing the cream of punk, rock, indie and contemporary pop, Loud Women is set to be Britain’s biggest ever one-day women-led music festival, says SALLY JONES

LOUD Women is the brainchild of Cassie Fox of The Wimmins’ Institute and Thee Faction who, in October last year, put on a gig as part of the We Shall Overcome weekend of anti-austerity events taking place across the country.

“I looked at the list of gigs — hundreds of them — all starring men with guitars, male DJs and male organisers and I thought I’d try putting on a women-led live music night,” she says.

“It went so well it seemed natural to just carry on doing it as a regular night and, since then, we’ve put on 18 events, with 46 acts – and I have so many more on my ‘to do’ list.”

The timing for Loud Women, which takes place in Tottenham on September 3, is just right. There have been at least 10 new live music nights specialising in female artists set up in London alone in the past last year and, as ex-Melody Maker journalist Ngaire Ruth explains: “New women-led bands are being set up in reaction to the austerity cuts, which disproportionally affect working-class women.

“It’s nothing new. There are those issues — which is why we need to be loud – and a politically motivated scene, led by women.

“But it’s definitely a fresh approach. It started with Riot Grrrl — a movement, not a musical genre — and events such as LaDIYfest.

“Last time a movement like Loud Women came along, it was largely a peer group of the same age range and gender and everyone was at the stage of: ‘What do I think? Why do I think that?’

“Now husbands and boyfriends don’t call staying at home with the family ‘babysitting.’

“Today we embrace multiple feminisms for the same one cause.”

The anger in the air is being expressed through music, says Jenn Hart, from new punk band Viva La Zapata. “High-profile DIY bands like Pussy Riot have also inspired a new wave of women to learn instruments and play together.”

Encouraging access to the traditionally male domain of the punk rock show is key to this new wave of female-led music. Once a woman has had the inspiration to pick up an instrument and form a band, how’s she going to build a following if she can’t get a gig?

Fox is instrumental in helping answer that question. “I particularly love being able to offer a first gig to a new band who might otherwise have struggled to get a promoter to give them a chance. Awesome new bands like Dream Nails, Foxcunt and Mooncubs have formed this way.”

Female musicians are constantly faced with sexism, she asserts, from the male promoters who automatically put you bottom of the bill as a warm-up act for the male bands who play “proper music” to sound guys who mansplain how to operate your own equipment.

“I know one all-girl band who use a fictitious male manager for email correspondence with venues because ‘he’ tends to get a better response for bookings.

“It’s this sort of sexism that Loud Women seeks to wipe out, so we can just get on with the rocking.”

The Loud Women festival will take place at T Chances Arts and Music Centre, 399 High Road, Tottenham, London N17 on September 3, from 12 noon to 2am, admission £10. Children are welcome, entrance for under 16s is free and the venue is wheelchair accessible. Tickets:

Update: here.