Please ask your organisation to sign this petition to defend all of our right to protest in Parliament Square. Time is short, please return your organisation’s contact details and your signature by the Friday, 29 October, if possible, as the Government wants to include this legislation in the Queen’s speech next month. Return your endorsement to the Global Women’s Strike by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax or post. Please indicate if you are signing for your organisation or as an individual.
UK government attempts to stifle dissent and protest have escalated over the last couple of years. A raft of repressive laws makes it less than “respectable” and even criminal for the public to protest. People accused of ‘terrorism’ are now deprived of the most basic legal and human rights, especially if they don’t hold a UK passport. Many have been locked up without charge – Guantanamo is right here in Belmarsh. People of colour, especially those of us who are Muslim, have been targeted, expressing and fuelling racism generally. Demonstrators are routinely corralled and photographed. People’s right to travel freely (internally or abroad) has been curtailed.
Now a deliberately misnamed government consultation document, “Modernising Police Powers to Meet Community Needs” includes a proposal to “impose conditions on all demonstrations in the vicinity of Parliament Square”.
This is an attack, first of all, on Brian Haw’s visually impressive, three-year, 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week peace camp, and the weekly, loud and lively Global Women’s Strike Anti-war, Community Speak-out which bear witness to the warmongering atrocities committed daily in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, the Congo … by the US-led British government or with their consent. The government may use recent demonstrations against a fox-hunting ban as an excuse to change the law, but that’s because their attempts to remove Brian Haw and the anti-war picket have proved illegal. Parliament Square has seen many demonstrations, starting with the long–running anti-Pinochet picket which was key to winning the initial decision to prosecute this mass murderer (shamefully freed by then Home Secretary Jack Straw). “The government is aiming to clamp down on any manifestation of the massive anti-war movement here and around the world which they have tried so hard to ignore -- our protests right in front of the Parliament that voted for this war, are a deep embarrassment to them.” said Kay Cherry of the Global Women’s Strike.
Despite a precedent ruling based on the right to freedom of speech which was won by Mr Haw, and despite support for Mr Haw and the community speak-out from inside and outside Parliament, the police have often refused to protect Mr Haw or his property from attack. Brian Haw says, “Government is supposed to support human rights legislation against genocide, then why is it threatening to prevent demonstrations against genocide? What’s their problem?”
The Government has given a deliberately short consultation period on this proposed legislation. Sign now and deliver your response.
We demand that the government drop any attempt to take away the right to protest in Parliament Square.
Please indicate if you are signing for your organisation.
Please return to the Global Women’s Strike, 230 Kentish Town Rd. London NW5 2AB
Tel: 020 7482 2496 Fax: 020 7209 4781
email: email@example.com website: www.globalwomenstrike.net