About 60 people in all probably, half of them are media, half of those independent media and campaign groups media.
At about 12.30, the police turned up and the officer in charge said he thought this was an illegal demonstration and read out the offensive law (which I cant remember what exactly it is called) and told people that if they had not dispersed by 1.15 then they would all be arrested.
None of the people there are demonstrating! they told the cop that this was a social gathering and had little to do with a demonstration but he would have none of it.
Its now 1.05 we shall see what happens.
The government has introduced an exclusion order for the area around Parliament this exclusion zone prohibits demonstrations, even one-person demonstrations, unless the police expressly permit them. Failure to comply can lead to arrest. The zone covers a very wide area around Parliament as far as the London Eye, Charing Cross embankment and up to (although not including) Trafalgar Square. This zone is ostensibly to deal with one protest, Brians the exclusion order’s range will prohibit a large number of other protests outside parliament, Downing St and government buildings.
Cindy has arrived and is chatting to people.
There has also been a group doing a picnic, handing out cups of tea to people there. They have now been formally asked to move outside the exclusion zone even though noone is actually demonstrating.
My contact says there is only 1 police car and 1 van and a handfull of cops so they will need more if they want to arrest everyone.
This impromptu demo is the direct result of the police harresment of a peacefull social gathering.
NEXT UPDATE coming faster than I can type 1.50pm
The impromptu demo has reached Downing Street and Mark Barrett (apartntly featured in yesterdays Independent newpaper) who is one of the people who orginised the picnic has been told that if he swears again he will be arrested.
NEXT UPDATE 2.00 pm
Cindy Sheeehan is trying to enter Downing Street to talk to the co conspiritor of the Iraq war Mr Blair. Officer CX3 is talking to people in the crowd trying to get them to move on up to Trafalger Square out of the exclusion zone. (with little success it sounds like
The rest of the crowd has (so as not to jeopardize this meeting) agreed to move on up to Trafalger Square.