Sat 14th April 2018: Tour of London’s land & housing crisis by the Land Justice Network

THE LANDLORD’S GAME: A tour of London’s land & housing crisis
Saturday 14th April 2018

Join the Land Justice Network for a walking tour of London’s land and housing crisis on Saturday 14th April 2018, 1pm-4pm. Meet 1pm in Brown Hart Gardens on Duke St, near Bond St Tube. Facebook event here.

London faces a housing crisis of epic proportions, with homelessness rife, house prices sky-high and many people unable to afford a home.

At root, the housing crisis is a land crisis. London is home to millions of people – but the land on which it’s built is effectively monopolised by a handful of wealthy estates.

Join us for a tour of some of the most expensive locations on the Monopoly board: places that Dukes and Earls inherited as fields hundreds of years ago, but now – thanks to a lucky roll of the dice – is some of the hottest super-prime real estate on the planet. Along our route, you’ll see Mayfair mansions left empty for nearly 15 years, discover properties owned in offshore tax havens, and find out the truth about who owns London.

It’s time for change. The Land Justice Network has organised this tour to showcase some of the root causes of London’s land and housing crisis – and call for change.

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The Landlord’s Game is part of a wider Week of Action…..

LORD vs COMMONERS: A Week of Action for Land Rights, 14th-22nd April

The Land Justice Network (LJN) has called a Week of Action around the theme of ‘Lords vs Commoners’ for the 14th-22nd April.

According to the Country Land and Business Association, 0.06% of the population own 50% of the rural land of England and Wales.

The Week of Action is intended to draw attention to the current unequal distribution of land in England and Wales, by inviting you to organise an event in your area and share photos and stories of what you do. This could be a public meeting or protest or maybe a banner drop, occupation or mass trespass.

You can find out more on the LJN website here and on the event Facebook page. Leaflet here

Sat19May, COUNTY MAYO Irish Famine Walk 2018

Afri, Action from Ireland

Date for the diary: Famine Walk 2018

Date for the diary: Famine Walk 2018 by Afri

Saturday 19th May, Doolough Co. Mayo

http://www.afri.ie/news-and-events/date-for-the-diary-famine-walk-2018/

Registration from 12.45pm in Louisburgh Town hall

Beginning at 1.30pm

Walk Leaders: Richard Moore, Fatin al Tamimi

Music: Lisa Lambe

Famine Walk 1988-2018

Register online here (alternatively you can raise sponsorship for Afri – just bring this to the registration desk on the day) and see who’s going on Facebook

Saturday 19th May 2018 will see the 30th anniversary of the Famine Walk from Delphi Lodge, Doolough to Louisburgh in Co. Mayo. Afri first organised the walk in 1988 to commemorate the Great Hunger of 1845-50. Regions such as Mayo illustrated how a natural setback such as potato blight can mutate to disaster in the context of unchecked market forces, lack of democratic structures and resources, and a pitiless, moralistic ideology. While some £9.5 million was eventually spent on late and poorly-designed ‘Relief’, £14 million went to sustain the military and police forces.

Our walk retraces a journey of horror which occurred on 30th/31st March 1849. Two poor-law commissioners were to assess people in Louisburgh, entitling them as ‘paupers’ to meagre relief rations. The inspection never happened, but the people were instructed to appear at Delphi Lodge (ten miles away) at 7 the following morning. They walked the hilly road in wintry conditions, including snowfall. At Delphi Lodge they were refused food, or admission to the workhouse, and so began their weary return journey, on which many, even hundreds, died.

Afri, drawing on the local history of Louisburgh and Doolough, recalls the dead and displaced of the Great Hunger – and all those facing the same grotesque and avoidable cruelties in today’s world, from the so-called ‘War on Terror’ to the indignities of ‘Direct Provision’. We walk the famine road to remember the causes of hunger and poverty in our world – political, military, economic and environmental – and our failure to learn the lessons of our own history. Our Walk Leaders eloquently represent the spirit of resistance and transformation:  

In the twentieth-anniversary year of the Good Friday Agreement we welcome Richard Moore, who was blinded as a 10-year-old child by a rubber bullet fired by a British soldier during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. He reacted by founding Children in Crossfire, declaring: “I learned to see life in a different way. I may have lost my sight, but I have my vision”.

2018 is also significant in that it marks the 70th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, and in this context, we are also honoured to welcome Fatin Al Tamimi, Chairperson of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

The extraordinary voice of Lisa Lambe will provide the music for this year’s walk. We are delighted to have Lisa as part of this year’s walk line up.

Register online here (alternatively you can raise sponsorship to help Afri continue our work – just bring this to the registration desk on the day) and see who’s going on Facebook

Read an article about the Famine Walk and BBC Radio 4 Ramblings Show.

Find out about our ‘Music From A Dark Lake’ CD, a compilation of songs from past Famine Walks.

Support the work of Afri in tackling the root causes of hunger, poverty and conflict in the Global South.

Afri’s vision is of a more just, peaceful, equal and sustainable world. Afri seeks to inform debate and influence policy and practice in Ireland and internationally on human rights, peace, global justice, and sustainability issues.

Contact Details
134 Phibsborough Road,

Dublin 7, D07 V882

Ireland.

Tel: +353 (0)1 882 7563/7581

E-mail: admin@afri.ie

Charity No. 7627

Charity Registration No. 20017262

Nine Gaza land protesters shot dead by IDF snipers, at least six journalists shot and wounded

Journalist among 9 killed as 20,000 Palestinians protest at Gaza border

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/04/06/palestinian-man-killed-fresh-gaza-protests-officials-say/

Deadly clashes on Gaza border erupt from Palestinian protest

Raf Sanchez, Gaza city – Sat 7 APRIL 2018

At least nine Palestinians, including a journalist, were killed by Israeli forces on the Gaza border on Friday, as thousands of demonstrators burned tyres and sent towers of thick black smoke billowing over the isolated Mediterranean enclave.

The latest fatalities mean that 31 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli snipers since Gaza residents last week began “the Great March of Return”, a series of weekly border protests demanding the right to return to their ancestral homes in what is today Israel.

Around 20,000 Palestinians flocked to five protests site along the border, according to the Israeli military. A 16-year-old and a well-known Palestinian journalist were among those killed, Gaza health officials said. The health ministry said 408 Palestinians had been taken to hospitals and medical centres for treatment. Hundreds more suffered other injuries, including tear gas inhalation, the officials said.

Early on Saturday, Palestinian health officials confirmed that Yasser Murtaga had died from a gunshot wound sustained while covering demonstrations near the Israeli border in Khuzaa. The area was the scene of large protests Friday, and was covered in thick black smoke.

Murtaga was over 100 meters (yards) from the border, wearing a flak jacket marked “press” and holding his camera when he was shot in an exposed area just below the armpit. Journalists were in the area as protesters were setting tires on fire.

 

The Israeli military has said it fired only at “instigators” involved in attacks on soldiers or the border fence. It had no immediate comment.

Demonstrators burned hundreds of rubber tyres all along the Israeli frontier, creating a wall of smoke which they hoped would blind Israeli marksmen. Israeli forces used fire hoses to try to put out the flames and large turbine fans to keep the noxious smoke from blowing into Israel.

The overwhelming majority of the protesters were unarmed and the small handful who did carry weapons were wielding small axes, knives, or heavy shears to try to cut through the Israel fence. The Telegraph saw no firearms in the crowds.

 

The Israeli military alleged that Hamas operatives had tried to use the chaos of the riots to damage the border fence. A spokesman said there were at least four attempts to throw improvised bombs towards Israeli forces.

No Israelis were killed or wounded during either Friday’s demonstrations or the clashes last week.

António Guterres, the UN secretary general, had earlier appealed to the Israeli military to use “extreme caution with the use of force in order to avoid casualties” among Palestinian demonstrators.

 

Human rights groups have criticised the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) for their policy of directing sniper fire on those who come too close to the fence, arguing that lethal force is only permissible to counter an imminent threat to life.

Lt Col Jonathan Conricus, a spokesman for the IDF, said Israel was “using less lethal means to the greatest extent possible before using lethal means”. He said Israeli forces were justified in opening fire to prevent Palestinians breaking through the Gaza border fence.

“The reason we are so adamant about the integrity of the fence is because it is all that separates thousands of rioters from the nearest Israeli target, which could be a kibbutz, or a farm, or other Israeli communities, or Israeli soldiers,” he said.

The protests on Friday were significantly less bloody than last week, when 16 Palestinians were killed during the day and others died later from their injuries. The IDF said that it had not changed its rules of engagement but that fewer demonstrators had attempted to breach the fence.

 

Palestinians at a protest site east of Gaza City said the vast plumes of tyre smoke had also reduced the killings. “The burning tyres helped us because snipers can’t see us. But also people did not go as far as this week because they did not want to go past the smoke,” said one man.

Many women and children stood amid the crowds at the border and young Palestinians flew colourful kites into the blackened skies, where they shared airspace with Israeli surveillance drones.

Israel claims that Hamas, which is considered a terrorist group by the US and UK, was behind the demonstrations. Several senior Hamas leaders didi visit protest camps during the day on Friday.

But most of the people gathered at the border said they were not affiliated with Hamas or any other faction. All said they were there to protest for the Right of Return, while many unemployed young men said they were also simply there for the excitement.

“It’s useless, we’re resisting alone,” said Ali Abu Hasira, a 23-year-old as he gestured towards Israeli forces in the distance. “The Arab countries have abandoned us.”

Several protesters burned images of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the heir to the throne of Saudi Arabia, after he said the Jewish people had the right to a state of their own in the Middle East.

The protests are expected to continue every Friday until May 15, when Palestinians commemorate “the Nakba”, the Arabic word for catastrophe, when they were displaced from their homes in 1948.

The IDF said they were prepared for weekly confrontations but were encouraged that the protests were smaller than they had been on March 30. “We are not going to tolerate riots like that being a weekly Friday occurrence,”  said Lt Col Conricus.

At least six journalists were shot and wounded, according to a statement from the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate. A spokeswoman for the Israeli army had no immediate comment on the statement.

US blocks UNSC statement on Israel’s use of force on Land Day

Friday’s rallies in the Gaza Strip coincided with Land Day, which commemorates the murder of six Palestinians by Israeli forces in 1976
Friday’s rallies in the Gaza Strip coincided with Land Day, which commemorates the murder of six Palestinians by Israeli forces in 1976

The United States has blocked a draft statement by the United Nations Security Council that called for an investigation into the killing of 17 unarmed Palestinian protesters near the Gaza Strip‘s eastern border.

The statement, which was proposed by Kuwait, demanded an “independent and transparent investigation” under international law into the bloody events on Friday’s Land Day protests.

The statement also expressed “grave concern at the situation at the border” and stressed “the right to peaceful protest”. 

However, the US blocked the statement on Saturday, with US representative to the UN Walter Miller saying “bad actors” were using the “protests as a cover to incite violence” and to “endanger innocent lives.”

US, UK ‘complicit in Israel’s occupation’

Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee, condemned the US’ decision, describing the US and the UK as beingcomplicit in Israel’s persistent violations and violence.

“The Israeli army used unbridled violence, unleashing more than 100 snipers and firing live ammunition, tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets against the protesters before the very eyes of the entire international community,” Ashrawi said in a statement on Saturday.

“Yet, the UN Security Council failed to agree on a statement condemning the egregious violations that occurred at the hands of Israel.

“Such a counterproductive stance can render them [the UK and the US] complicit in Israel’s military occupation and in its persistent violations and violence,” she continued. 

“Neither one has displayed the moral or political courage to hold Israel to account and to curb its illegal behaviour.”

Meanwhile, Israel’s minister of defence Avigdor Lieberman rejected calls for an inquiry into the actions of the Israeli army.

“Israeli soldiers did what was necessary. I think all our soldiers deserve a medal,” Lieberman told Army Radio on Sunday. 

“As for a commission of inquiry – there won’t be one.”

Great March of Return

More than 1,500 others were wounded on Friday’s protest when Israeli forces fired live ammunition at protesters to push them back from Gaza’s border area, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

On Saturday, 49 more people were wounded in the ongoing demonstrations.

The mass protests, called “the Great March of Return”, were organised by civil society groups and supported by all political factions to call for the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

It marked the beginning of a six-week sit-in, starting on Land Day, an event that commemorates six Palestinian citizens of Israel who were shot dead by Israeli forces after protesting the government’s confiscation of large swaths of Palestinian land on March 30, 1976.

The sit-in ends on May 15, or Nakba Day, which will commemorate 70 years since the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians by Zionist militias from their villages and towns.

What's behind the protests in the Gaza Strip?