Every Tuesday evening, from 6 until 8, there is a vigil outside the main entrance to the base. Throughout the freezing winter months the vigil has often been maintained by just two people – Anni Rainbow and Lindis Percy. Operating within defined legal rights (as defined in the case of Hirst and Agu v Chief Constable 1986) Lindis has quietly and safely stood in front of vehicles for about five to ten seconds holding an upside down US flag. In spite of this she has been regularly arrested and earlier this month Anni and Lindis attended a hearing at Harrogate Magistrates' Court in respect of these charges.
Having been found guilty of 5 offences (1 x 'obstruction of the highway' and 4 x 'obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duty') Robert Moore (Crown Prosecutor) made an application, said to be on behalf of the Ministry of Defence Police Agency and North Yorkshire Police, for an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) against Lindis Percy.
Robert Moore (CP) said he did not have to call any witnesses to give evidence in support of the damming application against Lindis. District Judge Roy Anderson said that on the evidence he had heard and looking at the list of convictions Lindis has he did not want to hear any more evidence. He agreed only to paper references that could be submitted on behalf of Lindis.
When ASBOs were introduced by Jack Straw in 1999 he said “Their purpose is to target activities which disrupt the lives of individuals, families or communities.” On Tuesday nights at Menwith most people who live there choose to leave the base by another exit. The handful of cars that chose to pass by Lindis and wait for a few seconds while she displays her message can hardly claim that their lives are being disrupted.
At recent vigils the Ministry of Defence Police Agency has used the Prevention of Terrorism Act as an excuse to search cars of people who are obviously there for a peaceful protest. As we are seeing with the events at EDO in Brighton, this is another case where peaceful legitimate protest is being ruthlessly attacked by using powers that were never agreed for that purpose by Parliament.