When is a demonstration not a demonstration? That's a question that SOCPA followers have been asking for almost a year now, with ever more people coming before the judge as Serious Criminals. Since Brian Haw's protest was trashed early in the morning of 23rd May by 50 police there have been many reports of challenges to the Act's restriction on protest and its uneven enforcement by the police.
Police check the legality of the march.
Starting with a guilty verdict for one protester there was a report on Brian's diminished display. A 'forgotten' protester in Parliament Square was removed to Colnbrook and faces deportation. There was a 'day of seriously disorganised police farce' then a violent SOCPA arrest outside Downing street followed by a successful challenge to SOCPA. Is carrying a 'Vanity Fair' article 'politically motivated' material which is likely to get you arrested? Finally, the illegal protest by the Institute of Directors and 'One SOCPA for them, another SOCPA for us'.
On Sunday 3rd July a singing woman outside Downing Street, wearing a small placard about bullying, was threatened with arrest, which would involve her child being taken into care. On the same day a demonstrator in Parliament Square, campaigning against restrictions on freedom by Blair's government, was not harrassed by police. Following his court victory, Brian Haw will now be allowed the limited use of a megaphone, 'subject to noise tests and various other criteria'.
i noticed in the picture of the institute of directors police visit above, that the woman police officer is the very one that started off the train of events leading to the violent assault (once again) of innocent peace activists barbara tucker and steve jago outside downing street this sunday the 9th july. so she let off the suits, and arranged the beating up of the peaceful activists! full sickening story on this at http://indymedia.org.uk/en/2006/07/344564.html
news on court dates:
brian haw was due to appear infront of magistrates at horseferry road on tuesday 11th july, but the case has now been adjourned until the 24th july. supporters are welcome outside the court in the morning - the hearing is at 10am. brian is charged wtih breaking conditions enforced on his demonstration after the high court accepted the government's appeal earlier this year and ruled that brian's demo did have to conform to the serious organised crime and police act legislation.
after all the bad publicity in mainstream press recently including the independent, the observer and the evening standard, inspector terry begged barbara tucker to come to a meeting at charing cross to discuss her 'ongoing situation'. she went along out of pity with her friend, steve jago, who featured on the front page of the independent newspaper after his violent arrest at the hands of charing cross thugs. the super was there with chief inspector robinson, and they kept running in and out to check with their own lawyers as steve showed he had a rather better grasp of the legislation than they. they are trying to force barbara to fit their rendition of the law, while she maintains that she has done everything necessary to comply with the law while they have broken it by not giving her authorisation for her ongoing and notified protest. she awaits a further email from them, but after this weekend's shocking events it seems clear that they are resorting to bully-boy tactics and harrassment rather than follow proper legal processes.
radical comedy activist mark thomas continues his series of socpa related demos. he has applied for and received authorisation to hold a demo calling for the SACKING OF SUPERINTENDENT TERRY at charing cross police station.
he is also asking you all to come along to charing cross police station next monday 17th july, at 5.30pm to hold a mass notification of demos for the following monday. the idea is to get as many people as possible to fill in individual notifications of solo demos, and clog up the paperwork system. it might also be a sensible idea to make your notification along similar lines to barbara's. there is nothing in the legislation to prevent you from requesting to start your demo and then hold it at any time until this government goes, and as a lone protestor, it would be very difficult for the police to reasonably put any conditions on you - the grounds for conditions are laid out in detail in the act, and a peaceful solo demonstrator would be unlikely to cause any of the problems listed.
come along to mark's 'notification fest' next monday.
full report with pictures at http://indymedia.org.uk/en/2006/07/345231.html
chris coverdale defends his socpa charge in an appeal at southwark crown court on thursday morning. he is using his study of international war crimes to bring the government on trial.
friday sees peter d in court at horseferry road. he was violently assaulted by police leaving a scarred face and blood on the pavement. his crime - an unauthorised protest. support him on friday morning.
in response to the israeli attacks on lebanon, there have been two spirited demos in paliament square. the first was authorised but organisers expected far fewer than turned up. this proved to be a challenge to the socpa law, but with help from the protestors' own stewards, police cleared the square quickly.
a couple of days later, the lebanese protestors were back, and what had been described as a candlelit vigil, turned into a road occupation right in front of westminster during their late-night sitting. again, organisers helped the police to clear the protest.
on monday this week, mark thomas and 14 other people each held lone 'authorised' demos in the square
but afterwards, things turned sour for some long-time activists outside downing street
film to follow relating to this last story.