crowd listening to speeches
police warning leaflet
a crowd of troublemakers
the arrests begin
"shame on you"
brian giving super simpson an earful
a protest voice silenced
the good-natured people enjoyed some sunshine while listening to speakers including brian haw. the law is thought to have been drafted in order to remove brian's 4 year long vigil in the square, but in an ironic twist he won a case in the high court against charles clarke giving him the legal right to continue his own protest as it had started before this bill was made law.
police handed out some copies of their ' notice of an unauthorised demonstration' but embarrassingly soon ran out, and many people were not even aware of the official warning.
there were many vans of police around the square and four empty vans moved into place ready for arrests.
at 3.20 a group of around 25 police moved in on the crowd and people chanted 'shame on you' as they arrested four people (two women and two men) and took them to the waiting vans and then onto walworth police station.
despite this provocation, the crowd remained peaceful and resolute, and although some of the crowd had dispersed, many remained, and the police withdrew, job done.
police ringleaders were overheard talking about needing six arrests in all, but witnesses only saw four. it was clear that these were symbolic arrests, perhaps of those deemed as organisers.
one of those arrested was maria gallestegui, who has worked with brian haw for four years and is mentioned as his campaign manager when he recently stood for election. the recent high court decision implies that anyone involved in brian's ongoing protest should be exempt from the new law on the same basis as brian.
brian spoke to superintendent malcolm simpson who was in charge of the operation. he asked simpson about maria, and pointed out that it would be a matter of grave concern if an election candidate campaign manager had been illegally arrested under the new bill despite the law lords' recent decision. simpson agreed that it would not look very good, but stated that he was not aware of the reason the arresting officer had for the arrest.
mainstream media were in attendance and the bbc covered it in the local news at 6.30 although itv thought competitions and a look at the work of highway agency traffic officers was more important than then end of the right to peaceful protest in this 'democracy'.