Al Jazeera

‘Shame on you Cameron!’ Sisi’s ‘red carpet welcome’ stirs up protests

London, United Kingdom – Egyptian opposition groups and human rights campaigners have called for the investigation and arrest of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and members of his entourage during his visit to London amid condemnation of the “red carpet” welcome extended by the British government to a leader accused of plunging his country into the worst human rights crisis in its history.

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Protesters brought traffic on Whitehall to a standstill on the eve of Sisi’s visit to Downing Street. [Photo: Simon Hooper]

Hundreds of protesters, including many Egyptian exiles, gathered on Wednesday evening outside 10 Downing Street, the prime minister’s official residence, where Sisi was due to meet David Cameron on Thursday morning, to express their opposition to the visit, carrying banners reading “Stop butcher el-Sisi” and “Killer Sisi not welcome in the United Kingdom”.

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Al Jazeera

UN investigating UK disability welfare reforms blamed for thousands of deaths

London, United Kingdom – The UK has become the first country in the world to be placed under investigation by the United Nations for violating the human rights of people with disabilities amid fears that thousands may have died as a consequence of controversial welfare reforms and austerity-driven cuts to benefits and care budgets.

UN inspectors are expected to arrive in the country within days to begin collecting evidence to determine whether the British government has committed “systematic and grave violations” of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

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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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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

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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Al Jazeera

Campaigners call for ‘real democracy’ ahead of UK vote

London, United Kingdom – Activists in the UK are braving a draconian crackdown on public protest to stage a “festival of democracy” outside the Houses of Parliament in London, demanding “system change not regime change” amid predictions that Thursday’s general election could pitch the country into political chaos.

Occupy Democracy campaigners gather in Parliament Square [Simon Hooper]

Occupy Democracy campaigners gather in Parliament Square [Simon Hooper]

“Occupy Democracy” campaigners have been gathering since May 1 in Parliament Square, a grass-covered traffic island populated by tourists and statues, to call for political reforms including restrictions on corporate influence and a “citizen-led constitutional convention for real democracy”.

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CNN

Close encounters with the English Defence League

An ageing, red-faced skinhead teases apart his open-necked checked shirt to reveal an image of a crusader’s shield and the words “No Surrender” on his chest. Inadvertently, he also exposes a fleshy triangle of beer belly as he clutches a can of lager in his other hand.

Ed Thompson’s photos capture the spirit of a movement which wears its allegiances on its skin. [Courtesy Edward Thompson]

It is an image, at once intimate, ridiculous and menacing, that captures recurring themes in Ed Thompson’s photo essay documenting the emergence of the English Defence League: bare skin, tattoos and identity and ideology inked onto knuckles, forearms, ankles and shaven heads.

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