Al Jazeera

Activists clash with bailiffs in battle over disabled man’s home

London, United Kingdom – Housing activists mounted a last-ditch fight on Thursday to stop a disabled man from being forcibly evicted from his home and left with “nowhere to go” to make way for private properties to be sold off at prices unaffordable to most residents.

Mostafa Aliverdipour, 50, who has required a wheelchair since injuring his back in a car accident five years ago, and his family are the last residents still living on the Sweets Way Estate in Barnet, north London, where campaigners accuse the local council and developers of waging a campaign of “social cleansing” against the poor and vulnerable.

A court ruled on Wednesday the family could be evicted with immediate effect as bailiffs watched by police and emergency services moved onto the estate to remove dozens of activists and squatters, many of them homeless, who had been occupying some of the empty houses for the past few months.

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Middle East Eye

UK arts officials raised censorship concerns over cancelled ‘jihadi play’

Senior figures at Arts Council England, the UK’s main arts funding body, raised concerns that the controversial cancellation of a play about radicalisation amounted to censorship and discussed whether they should step in to “help find a way to get this play shown”, newly released emails have shown.

homegrown

The emails, obtained via a Freedom of Information request, also reveal criticism of the National Youth Theatre over its handling of ‘Homegrown’, a production set and staged in a London school which had been promoted as a highlight of the company’s summer season until its abrupt cancellation just days before its opening night.

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Al Jazeera

Play about radicalisation in schools cancelled a week after police ‘asked to see script’

The creators of a play examining issues of Islamic extremism and radicalisation in a London school that was mysteriously cancelled earlier this month have described how police officers asked to see a copy of the script and told producers they planned to place undercover officers in the audience.

homegrown

Homegrown had been heavily promoted by the National Youth Theatre which still features actors from the play on its homepage.

‘Homegrown’ was partially inspired by the case of three schoolgirls from East London who ran away to Syria in February and had been marketed as one of the highlights of the National Youth Theatre’s 2015 season prior to its abrupt cancellation just 10 days before its opening night.

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Al Jazeera

‘Folk devils’: Anti-Muslim prejudice still rife 10 years on from London bombings

“I was preparing myself for death. I was thinking, ‘This is it. Today is the day that I die’.”

londonbus

An image of the bomb-shattered bus shown to the court during an inquest into the 2005 attacks.

A loud bang, human bodies tossed around as an explosion-shattered train jerks to a halt deep underground, black smoke, darkness and the sound of screaming. Those are Sajda Mughal’s memories of the morning commute to her London office 10 years ago on July 7, 2005.

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Al Jazeera

‘We have a clear enemy’: Thousands march against Tory austerity plans

London, United Kingdom – Activists and trade union leaders have called for a general strike and a mass campaign of civil disobedience to bring down the country’s new right-wing government as hundreds of thousands took to the streets of London and other cities to protest against austerity and public service cuts.

Organisers said a quarter of a million people had joined Saturday’s march from the Bank of England to the Houses of Parliament, with smaller protests also taking place in Glasgow, Liverpool, and Bristol, and pledged the event was only a beginning.

“We’ve got to get rid of this government quicker than five years. This government cannot last the full term,” Sam Fairbairn, national secretary of the People’s Assembly, the anti-austerity campaign group that organised the march, told a rally in Parliament Square.

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Al Jazeera

Police blockade Magna Carta-inspired ‘festival for democracy’

London, United Kingdom – Police have attempted to shut down a “festival for democracy” at an eco-village overlooking a site where dignitaries including the Queen gather on Monday for official events to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta.

The festival was planned by the residents of Runnymede Eco-Village, a community established three years ago in an area of neglected forest on the edge of London within a few hundred metres of the spot where the celebrated document – considered by many a symbol of civil liberties and the principle of equality under law – was signed in 1215.

Organisers and participants said the event, which included talks by academics and political activists as well as music and workshops, was a necessary alternative to the official programme that included a river pageant along the Thames, and the erection of a four-metre bronze statue of Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s hereditary head of state.

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Al Jazeera

Protests, anger and ‘constitutional crisis’: UK facing ‘rocky ride’ as Tories claim power

London, United Kingdom – Democracy campaigners and victims and opponents of austerity policies are planning a wave of protest, occupations and direct action amid widespread anger at the return to power of the country’s right-wing Conservative Party and warnings the UK is on its “last legs”.

Occupy activists pose with a proposed republican English flag [Simon Hooper]

Occupy activists pose in front of the Houses of Parliament with a proposed republican English flag [Simon Hooper]

The Conservatives, led by David Cameron, the prime minister since 2010, claimed an unexpected victory in national elections earlier in the month by winning a small parliamentary majority despite gaining the support of less than a quarter of eligible voters, and just 37 percent of votes actually cast.

That result triggered immediate anger on the streets with police clashing with protesters who converged on Downing Street, the prime minister’s London residence, carrying signs reading “I pledge to resist!” and “Stop the cuts!”; a reference to the Conservatives’ unpopular neoliberal austerity policies.

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