Tag Archives: Donnachadh McCarthy

24th Oct 2015, Occupy the Daily Mail – video report

On 24th October 2015, media and climate activists began a 48-hour vigil and protest outside the London HQ of the Daily Mail in Derry Street, Kensington.

Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party, joined one of the group, Donnachadh McCarthy, for a meeting with the Managing Director of the Daily Mail, Charles Garside, and their Environmental Correspondent.

During the meeting they presented evidence of misleading and unscientific headlines, which the newspaper staff undertook to respond to.

Later there was a candlelit silent vigil to remember the people killed by climate change (which the UN currently estimates is nearly half a million each year).

Several activists continued to camp outside the building until Sunday.

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Occupy Murdoch – Saturday Rally, Trial and Occupation

On Monday 23rd March, an occupy protest began in the shadow of the Shard building, outside Rupert Murdoch’s News International HQ in London Bridge Street.

The protest focuses on the power that Murdoch and four other right-wing extremist media billionaires have over public opinion in the run up to the May general election.

Each day of occupation concentrated on different themes, such as environment, democracy, poverty, health and NHS, and human rights.

Saturday promised a mock trial of Rupert Murdoch, and a larger rally leading to a non-violent direct action (NVDA).

Although the rain mostly held off, weather was characterised by howling winds, whipped up by the tall buildings. But the show went on.

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

The trial of Murdoch was of course part comedy, with a bumbling Boris included as a witness for the defence, along with a smarmy Cameron, but prosecution witnesses included a moving statement from an ex-Wapping print worker who described the heartless Union-bashing, police violence, and the effects on so many workers that led some to suicide at the behest of Murdoch.

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

Among other witnesses was a speaker from the Tax Justice Network, who pointed out the hypocrisy of Murdoch’s massive tax avoidance while his newspapers focus on tiny levels of benefit fraud.

The role of the Sun newspaper in promoting the lies that led to the Iraq war were also under scrutiny, showing that Murdoch was implicit in International War Crimes.

Found guilty on several charges, in the spirit of non-violence, reconciliation, love and respect that the Occupy movement prides itself on, his punishment was that he be exiled from the UK, stripped of his business empire, and forced to live as a lowly member of the 99%, but was also given rehabilitation with a heart and hugs.

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

A photo op was then set up to portray News International’s war crime involvement.

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

After the trial, celebrity economist Max Keiser did a short set, and handed out free money in the form of StartCoin cards, which he hopes people will use to invest in great crowd-fund projects on StartJoin, such as the Trews awnings springing up in London to replace newsagent Sun sponsorships.

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

An energetic and talented anarchist rock trio from Norfolk, ‘Shock Hazard’ then performed a few tunes to warm up the growing crowd.

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

As their loud amps ran out of battery juice, it was time for some Earth folk to lead a ‘Beating the Bounds’ ceremony round the building to the sound of drums and ancient horn.

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

All week, the protest has been under intense scrutiny from authorities. There was a continual array of private security guards, from the Shard, News International, London Bridge station and elsewhere. Intelligence-gathering Police Liaison Officers were always mingling with the crowd and trying to engage in conversation. There were red-coated Community Wardens, British Transport Police, and Met Police too.

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

A silver-windowed office over the road, which was an abandoned Ambulance Control Centre, was commandeered by police to provide a perfect viewing and meeting spot.

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

As the time for direct action approached, a police helicopter buzzed overhead, and a FIT team with police photographer and video operator turned up.

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

Before the moment of action, some very welcome sustenance, curry and fruit, was provided by the mobile Hare Krishna food cart.

Then, after a briefing to go through the ‘safe space’ policy, and to stress the non-violent nature of the exercise, a crowd (bolstered by activists who had attended the ‘This Changes Everything’ conference during the day) approached the main entrance of the News International building.

While a small number of ‘blac bloc’ activists scaled the wall and occupied the attention of the corporate security guards, others jumped over fences from behind, and made a run for the front doors. Organiser, Donnachadh McCarthy was briefly pinned against a wall behind the legs of a burly guard, but he slipped out and nearly made it to the revolving glass doors, while security guards tried to prevent others entering the area.

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

In the chaos, more people flooded the covered space in front of the doors, and security gave up holding that space and concentrated on stopping any entry to the building.

Then a dozen or so TSG officers pushed their way into the crowd and formed a further line in front of the entrance.

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

The brief excitement subsided. No-one, despite minor scuffles, had been hurt nor arrested, and an open mic session began with the megaphone, while protestors held the huge ‘occupy’ banner in front of police lines, and a variety of other banners and placards were displayed.

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

Later that night, many people drifted away, but a core group of a dozen or so continued the occupation, two tents sprang up, and police stepped down their presence so that the occupation settled in for a peaceful night, still buffered by strong wind, but sheltered from rain.

The occupation was of course symbolic, and didn’t actually shut down the news empire, as staff were seen scurrying in and out of a rear service door and through a fenced gate guarded by more security.

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

Certainly, the news-makers can not have been unaware of the protest, even though the papers were strangely muted about this news the next day.

Sunday was planned to be the final day of the week-long protest, on the theme of alternative media, with strong representation from the soon to be launched ‘Real Media’ platform.

 

 

Occupy Murdoch – Day One

With more than fifteen hundred people signed up to the Facebook page, hopes were high for a good turn-out this morning. Truth be told, the dozen or so protesters were completely outnumbered by police, security and journalists, as they gathered at London Bridge this morning.

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While the half dozen blue-tabarded ‘Police Liaison Officers’ mingled with the activists trying to gain intel as they do, a Forward Intelligence Team was sightseeing from a distance, pointing their video camera at the gathered journalists, having filmed the Occupiers from every angle.

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There were also security staff (the men in black) from the Sun offices, and other unknown undercovers watching from a distance.

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After a photo-call, the small group set off for the ‘mini-shard’ Sun HQ where again they posed for pics and organiser, Donnachadh McCarthy, gave a short speech, before delivering their ‘arrest warrant’ for Mr Murdoch.

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Opposite the modern Shard entrance to London Bridge station is a small area where works are in progress behind blue fencing. There’s not much through footfall here, and there are some benches to sit on, making an ideal spot for the week-long occupation.

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Soon, banners and posters were fixed on the fence, a symbolic tent and a children’s play pen were set down, and the first speaker, Occupy’s George Barda turned up.

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The full week’s activities are up on the web page, along with ideas for solidarity actions for those that want to support but can’t make it to London Bridge.

The organisers believe a civil injunction will be fast-tracked to try to move them off the land, and a call-out for peaceful resistance will no doubt go out on their twitter feed when that happens.

The biggest event of the week will most likely be on Saturday, but in the meantime there are some fab speakers and some excellent cabaret lined up, along with daily assemblies.

National funeral for the unknown victims of traffic violence in London.

A year ago, there was a spate of six cyclist deaths in London over a period of a few days, sparking the ‘Stop Killing Cyclists’ campaign, which staged a huge die-in outside the Transport for London offices.

Since that event, and despite one PR release after another from Boris Johnson, the reality is that not a single penny extra has been spent on improving cycling infrastructure, and in fact, in the interests of “traffic flow”, the Mayor has cut the times on pedestrian crossings, making pensioners and disabled people even more vulnerable to traffic violence.

So the campaign has broadened, becoming Stop The Killing, and yesterday’s funeral and die-in was a public call for ten demands to stop the cull – 2.4 million people have been killed or injured in road accidents in the past decade.

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Several hundred people gathered in Bedford Square and followed a horse-drawn hearse in a slow protest march along Oxford Street, handing out hundreds of flyers to passers-by.

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At Marble Arch, the crowd listened to some poetry and singing, including ‘Ode to Freedom’ and ‘Ave Maria’, before flowers were laid on the coffin and a powerful ten-minute die-in took place.

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A wide variety of speakers then addressed the packed area. Tom Kearney (Safer Oxford Street Campaign) spoke of his near-death experience after being struck by a bus on the UK’s most polluted and London’s most dangerous street.

Professor Brendan Delaney spoke about how Dutch style cycle facilities could transform our city and lessen the 4000 deaths per year caused by particulate pollution, as well as reducing diabetes and obesity rates, with huge savings to the NHS.

Bart Chan also thanked the NHS for saving his own life after he was hit by an HGV while cycling in the City of London, where the authorities maintain a ban on segregated cycle lanes.

Andrew Smith, a professional actuary, told us that among 20-40 year old women, the biggest cause of death was road collisions, while among men in the same age range it was only second to suicide. Traffic pollution accounts for 1 in 5 cancer deaths, and obesity, which is partly due to car culture, inactivity, and lack of exercise, is linked to more than half the death rate in our society.

Dominique Vesco, the mother of a French student living in London who was killed, aged 19, while cycling with friends to Brighton, spoke of the fact that the driver was never prosecuted, and gave her support for the need for a “Liability Law”.

Terry Hurlstone took the stage and described how he helped organise a sit-down by around 150 protesters in Oxford Street 42 years ago, bringing traffic to a stop with a huge chain between lamp-posts across the road. He was arrested and given a large fine, but with the help of Peter Hain (one of the demonstrators), an appeal was launched, the police withdrew, and he was left without a blemish on his name.

terry hurlstone

terry hurlstone

Islington Green Party councillor, Caroline Russell, made the link with climate change. Around a fifth of carbon emissions are from transport, and it continues to expand. She said we need a huge shift in culture and transport systems in cities, pointing out that we have the means, but not the political will.

Donnachadh McCarthy, one of the main organisers of the event, finished the afternoon by comparing UK and Dutch expenditure on cycling. In Holland, the government spends £28 per person on cycle infrastructure, whereas in the UK, Labour spent only £1, and the Con-Dem govt, just £2.

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He took us through the ten demands that the campaign is making, finishing on a positive note, thanking the hundreds who had attended the event, and reminding us of the benefits to climate, health, and community, as well as the economic benefits, lessening the strain on the NHS, and changing the quality of life and culture of cities.

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