Today is the ninth anniversary of long-term Parliament Square peace campaigner Brian Haw's presence opposite the House of Commons. New Prime Minister David Cameron wants to have Brian evicted from the Square as does London Mayor Boris Johnson. Surely this would be a negation of freedom of speech and free assembly which are long standing traditions in Britain.
In spite of dozens of arrests including one on the state opening of Parliament on Tuesday May 25th 2010 he is still in the Square.
Today, Wednesday 2nd June 2010 sees long-term Parliament Square peace protester Brian clock up nine years in the Square. His demonstration for peace started in June 2001 and thus pre-dates the September 11th attacks and the US led invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.
He has been on his peace campaign for 9 years now since June 2nd 2001. His protest was initially against the injustice and suffering caused to the people of Iraq by the UN economic sanctions and the bombing of the country by the US and UK. Nine years later, after invasion and occupation, Iraqis have lived through another terrible period and western troops have pulled out to continue their war in Afghanistan with the US and NATO bombing claiming many civilian casualties.
Today sees him reach day 3,287 of his vigil. Surely this is a very noteworthy performance – imagine living and sleeping in the cold and damp of Parliament Square for such a long time. He does not have the luxuries available to the honourable members opposite such as limed oak toilet seats or duck houses. Brian uses the public conveniences at Westminster underground station and gets food from supporters. Despite hassle from the police and others, Brian and his main supporter, Australian Barbara Tucker remain lawfully opposite Parliament reminding those in power of the costs of their wars. Barbara has been arrested a staggering 39 times in her 4 and a half years on the campaign including at least one arrest without a warrant, which is illegal.
The MPs (Members of Parliament) across the road in the House of Commons were in the news constantly in the run up to this year's election with details of many fraudulent expense claims. Remarkably this expenses scandal is continuing with the latest revelation over David Law's £40,000 expenses. By contrast, Brian Haw, the guy who sleeps directly opposite them, and who has not a corrupt bone in his body received virtually no media attention at all.
The 'Independent` did a two-page spread for day 3,000 of Brian’s protest in August last year:
Here are photos taken at Easter 2010:
Here are some photos taken at Hogmanay 2009:
Here are photos of Brian's display from 2005 (before it was reduced in size in 2006):
Brian has a website: http://www.parliament-square.org.uk/