DEMONSTRATION ON MONDAY 7 FEBRUARY 2-8pm IN PARLIAMENT SQUARE -
At this stage MPs can make amendments and the Bill will probably be voted through to its next stage in the House of Lords.
LOBBY YOUR MP
This is an important time to lobby your MP, make them aware of the issues and ask them to oppose, or make amendments to, the legislation. You can get in contact with your MP is a variety of ways - see details below.
URGE THEM TO SIGN EDM 299
At the end of this email is the text of Early Day Motion 299 about Parliament Square Peace Protests and the list of current signatories. If your MP has not signed please ask them to.
Liberty statement on the incompatibility of this legislation with the Human Rights Act: "The right to peaceful protest is at the heart of the British tradition of liberty. It is an indictment upon the Government that they seek to pass primary legislation to stop one man's protest using the justification that it spoils the view...It is difficult to see how Clause 123 can be compatible with Article 11 of the Human Rights Act (the Right to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association)." from 'Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill', Liberty's briefing for the Second Reading in the House of Commons, Dec 2004
Brian's protest cannot be said to be 'hindering any person from entering or leaving the Palace of Westminster' or 'hindering the proper operation of Parliament' (the first to 'behaviours'). These are covered by Sessional Orders.
The legislation would lead to most protest within 1km from Parliament Square being subject to severe restrictions or stopped, including Trafalgar Square and Whitehall - all in order to avoid 'spoiling the visual aspect' or 'the enjoyment of members of the public' (the third 'behaviour' the legislation covers'.
Although this legislation is aimed are removing Brian it will be used for other purposes for which there is absolutely no justification for, or call to bring in, new laws to stop.
A single police constable will have the power to judge whether the visual aspect or enjoyment is being spoiled and failure to comply with their directions will lead to peaceful protestors entering the criminal justice system.
Does 'spoiling the visual aspect' etc matter more than freedom of speech? Many MPs seem more concerned about tourist revenue, heritage etc than democracy etc.
Whether or not you agree with Brian's protest, he won the right to make it at the High Court in October 2002 when the judge ruled that Brian was exercising his right to freedom of speech in Parliament Square and the pavement obstruction was not 'unreasonable'.
Brian has shown himself to be incredibly serious and dedicated to the peace and justice issues he is raising and has support from all parts of the world.
The presence of Brian and the freedom to protest around Parliament demonstrates that we live in a democracy (?) and any attempt to remove that right would be very damaging for the Government.
Throughout history protest has led to important changes that we now take for granted and must be protected etc etc.
Urge your MP to visit Brian and see for themselves what he is doing and to hear what he has to say.
Refer to www.parliament-square.org.uk for more info.
CONTACTING YOUR MP
Write to any MP at: House of Commons, Westminster SW1A 0AA
Find out who your MP is by clicking on www.locata.co.uk/commons.
Find out their email at
www.parliament.uk/directories/hciolists/alms.cfm. Most email addresses
are in the form @parliament.uk.
You can go to www.faxyourMP.com to send them a fax.
PARLIAMENT SQUARE PEACE PROTESTS 06.12.04
That this House expresses deep concern at the Government's renewed attempts to stifle protest, by proposing to impose conditions on all demonstrations in the vicinity of Parliament Square and to ban permanent encampments and the use of megaphones; notes previous unsuccessful attempts to remove anti-war protester Mr Brian Haw, who has been there in all weathers for over three years, and the Global Women's Strike weekly picket, which has been there for a year and a half; considers it misleading and inappropriate to use anti-gangster legislation such as the Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill against peaceful, principled political protest; and calls upon the Government to guarantee the democratic right of all to protest where they can be seen and heard by