World Naked Bike Ride London – Westminster Bridge – 10 June 2017

The World Naked Bike Ride in London is a friendly protest against car culture, pollution and oil dependency, and gives people the chance to prove that the bike is a great alternative mode of transportation for travelling the city. Full or partial nudity is encouraged as well as creative expression, but is not mandatory. The event attracts all shapes and sizes, ages and genders. Groups start at various collection points around the city before converging in Westminster and riding a looped route to finish at the Wellington Arch.

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Demonstration Outside Palace of Westminster – London – 20 February 2017

Another of the protests against the planned state visit to the UK by Donald Trump, his travel ban executive order, Brexit, austerity and other far right trends took place on Parliament Square outside the Houses of Parliament to coincide with the debate on Article 50 by the House of Lords. Speakers included Diane Abbott MP, whose appearance triggered a protest from one member of the crowd that required the intervention of stewards. The event otherwise passed off peacefully.

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World Naked Bike Ride London -11 June 2016

Following on from Trooping the Colour, was an ‘altogether’ different event. The World Naked Bike Ride in London is a friendly protest against car culture, pollution and oil dependency, and gives people the chance to prove that the bike is a great alternative mode of transportation for travelling the city. Full or partial nudity is encouraged as well as creative expression, but is not mandatory. The event attracts all shapes and sizes, ages and genders. Groups start at various collection points around London before converging in Westminster and riding a looped route to finish at the Wellington Arch. At both locations covered here – Westminster Bridge and the Wellington Arch – the numbers of cyclists, photographers and general public were so great as to block traffic. Many of the drivers caught up in the mayhem probably couldn’t believe what they were seeing!

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World Naked Bike Ride – London – 13 June 2015

The World Naked Bike Ride in London ‘gives people the chance to prove that the bike is a great alternative mode of transportation for travelling the city and a celebration of the human body’. Although not a protest, it is designed to also raise awareness of pollution and the politics around fossil fuels. Full or partial nudity is encouraged, as well as creative expression, but is not mandatory. Groups started at various points around London before joining up into a large group and circling the city and eventually converging on the Wellington Arch. The event drew such a large crowd on the ‘north’ end of Westminster Bridge that it inadvertently created a traffic free zone! This is illustrated by the second image below, with photographers jockeying for clearer views and spilling out into the road. A quick re-positioning allowed for clearer images as the cyclists crossed into south London, with another move catching them heading down The Mall towards Buckingham Palace.

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HMS Westminster visits HMS Belfast to celebrate her 75th anniversary

Museum ship HMS Belfast

Museum ship HMS Belfast

Royal Navy frigate HMS Westminster ‘sailed’ up the Thames and under Tower Bridge to moor alongside museum ship HMS Belfast, on Wednesday 13 March 2013. The ship’s visit to the capital was an opportunity to strengthen and renew the affiliations that HMS Westminster has with a number of London-based organisations.

The Type 23 frigate, which is affiliated to its namesake borough, transited through Tower Bridge at 3.30pm for the start of a six-day regional engagement visit.

HMS Westminster under Tower Bridge

HMS Westminster under Tower Bridge

HMS Westminster and her Lynx

HMS Westminster and her Lynx

Unfortunately her passage coincided with a wintry storm and very dark conditions.

The ship’s commanding officer, Captain Hugh Beard, will pay a visit to the Lord Mayor of Westminster and host invited guests and dignitaries on board for a reception and capability demonstration. On Sunday, March 17, members of her ship’s company will parade at the service at Westminster Abbey.

The ship recently received the Frigates Efficiency Award, presented by Rear Admiral Jess (ACNS Support) at the end of January, much to her crew’s delight following an action packed 2012 of anti-piracy patrols, drugs busting, Gulf patrols and mid-Atlantic tasking. The ship is one of the Royal Navy’s 19 highly capable multi-role frigates and destroyers – together with their embarked helicopters and Royal Marines Units – which are the workhorses of the Fleet, providing a highly-trained input to anti-piracy, counter-narcotics and anti-terrorism operations around the world.

Later this year, the ship will be assigned to the UK’s maritime quick-reaction force, the Response Force Task Group, deploying on an exercise to the Mediterranean called Cougar 13. From the autumn, she will deploy to the Middle East region.

HMS Westminster was built by Swan Hunter Shipbuilders on the Tyne, launched by Lady Livesay on February 9, 1992, and accepted into service at the end of 1993. She is the eighth ship to bear the name.

HMS Westminster-HMS Belfast

HMS Westminster-HMS Belfast

South Bank of the Thames

South Bank of the Thames

Former Visteon workers protest against Ford over pensions

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On the 13 March a number of former Visteon workers marched on Parliament in protest against the actions of the company’s former owners Ford, who they believe are not honouring pension schemes. The date marked the fourth anniversary of Visteon going into administration.

The car components firm had been in business since taking over some Ford operations in 2000. The former employees claim the value of their pensions dropped substantially when Ford transferred their retirement funds to the care of Visteon. The union Unite began legal action against Ford over the issue in the High Court in January 2011. Former worker John Elvins said: “We only transferred on the basis of the promises that Ford were making to us. We’re asking Ford to uphold these promises. I’ve lost nearly 40% of my pension that I was told I would get on retirement. The effect of it is that after 40 years, and working for seven years at Visteon, I’ve ended up with a 26-year pension.”

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Plaid Cymru Assembly Member Bethan Jenkins (seen speaking above) said: “Hundreds of Welsh workers have lost significant sums of money after being misled in the most callous way. They continue to wait for Visteon and Ford to own up to their responsibilities and pay the £350m deficit that they owe.The issue will not go away until workers have secured a fair settlement, and the sooner that happens, the better.”

Ford says it views the claim as being without merit, and will defend its position vigorously.

Other speakers as the rally arrived at Westminster included MPs Nick de Bois and Geraint Davies who are pictured below:

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