Supporters of Brian Haw and right to protest | 30.07.2005 11:14 | London
2. Everyone else's rights to protests still affected - protests next week
3. Training workshop and legal briefing if you are taking part in protests
4. Press article re: High Court victory
1. Brian will NOT be evicted next week
As many of you will have heard, Brian won another victory in the courts this morning. This time it was against the government's attempt to evict him using the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act. Two out of three judges ruled that the Act does not cover 'continuing' protests such as Brian's, but only those starting. Therefore Brian does not have to apply for authorisation before continuing his protest and can stay in Parliament Square without being subject to any restrictions. It is likely that the Home Office will be appealing the decision and/or Parliament will amend the legislation and Brian will face eviction at a later date. See the BBC article below for more details.
However, the ban on unauthorised protests and the restrictions on protests that do receive authorisations STILL APPLY TO EVERYONE ELSE from 1 August. See below
for details of actions that will defy the new law. Please get involved if you can.
Rota: As a result of today's hearing we will not be organising the rota of support for Brian. Thank you to those who said they would help out with this. Your help may be needed in
the future! You are more than welcome to join Brian for a few hours in any case.
2. There will be PROTESTS NEXT WEEK to defy the new law as follows: see www.parliamentprotest.org.uk for more info.
1 AUGUST - Stop the War have called a demonstration at 2pm on Monday 1st August in Parliament Square against the new protest exclusion zone. www.stopwar.org.uk/ExclusionZone.htm
3 AUGUST - Anti-war Community Picket organised by the Global Women's Strike will take place as always from 5.30 to 7pm in Parliament Square. www.globalwomenstrike.net. Join the picket and show solidarity.
7th August - MASS ACT OF DEFIANCE For the Right to Protest
Assemble 12 noon, Sunday 7 August, Parliament Square
This law will affect *all* activists and campaigners. Everyone should bring their own banners, leaflets, placards and campaigns - for peace, human rights, asylum rights,
labour rights, animal rights, social justice, international solidarity, the environment etc - to this action to defy the new anti-protest legislation and defend the right to demonstrate
near Parliament. Called by the Mass Act of Defiance Group. For more info. e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
3. There will be a TRAINING WORKSHOP AND LEGAL BRIEFING this weekend for
those thinking of taking part in the protests:
TAKING PART IN THE PROTESTS? COME TO THE TRAINING WORKSHOP & LEGAL
A nonviolent direct action training workshop and legal briefing for those taking part in the protests will take place on Sunday 31st July: 11.30am to 5pm, St Martins Community
Centre, 43 Carol Street, London NW1 (nearest tube Camden Town). Please note that there is NO parking near the centre.
The workshop will cover strategies for creating empowering and effective actions and so will be useful for anyone taking part on the protests around Parliament.
It will be particularly useful if you have never been arrested before or if you're intrigued but feel you lack the confidence or knowledge to take things further.
4. Press article re: High Court victory
Last Updated: Friday, 29 July, 2005, 12:34 GMT 13:34 UK
Parliament protester wins battle
Mr Haw has been protesting outside Parliament since 2001
A man who has held a four-year anti-war protest outside Parliament, has won a legal battle to continue his vigil.
From 1 August all protests in a half-mile zone in Westminster, London, must have prior permission from police.
But the High Court has ruled Brian Haw, 56, from Worcestershire, who claimed he was exempt as his protest pre-dated the new laws, can continue his protest.
The government said Mr Haw posed a potential security risk and described his argument as "absurd".
Lawyers for Mr Haw said his demonstration had begun four years ago and therefore he did not have to apply for authorisation, even though the law was actually targeted at him.
Home Office lawyers accepted the original drafting of the 2005 Serious Organised Crime and Police Act, which was passed in April, was flawed.
The court heard the Home Office attempted to correct the flaws in June through an order which stated the law applied to all demonstrators whether starting or continuing their protests.
But on Friday judges ruled by a 2-1 majority that secondary legislation could not be used to catch Mr Haw, who sleeps in the square in front of a large display of anti-war banners,
placards and flags.
They also granted a declaration that Mr Haw is not required to seek authorisation to continue his protest.
Lady Justice Smith, sitting with Mr Justice McCombe and Mr Justice Simon, said the new law did not catch Mr Haw because of a drafting error.
She said she was surprised that it had been suggested that such an order could be used "to criminalise conduct which would not otherwise be criminal".
"If Parliament wishes to criminalise any particular activity, it must do so in clear terms. If it wishes to do so, Parliament can amend this Act," she added.
Outside court, Mr Haw said he would continue his demonstration for as long as it takes.
"I am gutted because people are still dying. Politicians have gone on holiday. The noble lady and gentlemen who delivered this good verdict today are going off for a well-deserved break, but the people of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine are still dying in these war-torn countries.
"It has got to stop. I can't stop until that stops," he said.
His solicitor David Thomas added that the ruling was likely to cause embarrassment to the government.
He said: "We are very happy that the court has upheld the very important principle that, if you are legislating for a criminal offence, you have to be absolutely clear about what you are doing."