London Indymedia

Parliament Square Peace Campaigner Arrested

Emma Sangster | 10.05.2004 12:31 | Anti-militarism | Iraq | London

Brian Haw, the Parliament Square peace protestor, who has spent almost 3 years in a continuous anti-war protest vigil opposite the Houses of Parliament (1), has been arrested and his possessions / extensive protest display removed, in a sudden midnight police operation.

Reports 1 and 2

Update Sat 15 - Support Brian Haw at Bow St. Magistrates Court. Meet on Tuesday 18th May, at 10.00am outside the court.

Brian Haw at the Downing Street Demo against the Fallujah Massacre, Sun 11/04/04
Brian Haw at the Downing Street Demo against the Fallujah Massacre, Sun 11/04/04

At around 12.20am, he was approached by a number of officers under the command of Inspector Forsyth of Charing Cross Police Station. Apparently, police were concerned about a suspect vehicle, some distance away. They imposed a security cordon under the terrorism act and the area was cleared of other members of the public before an incident took place in which Mr Haw was arrested, and 3 supporters (including 2 women) who were present at the time, were also threatened with arrest.

Despite the supposed security threat the police van did not leave the scene for some time and Mr Haw was last seen being held down on the floor of the police van, having been detained by 4 officers. After Mr Haw's arrest, the suspect car was almost immediately identified to be posing no threat and the security cordon lifted.

Subsequent to his arrest, and despite there being no longer any current security concerns, the remaining officers removed all of Mr Haw's possessions and protest placards from the site. They even commandeered a passing WH Smith news lorry to effect the removal.

In March this year the police told Mr Haw and his solicitor that they were seeking to remove him from Parliament Square but were not able to say which legislation they would employ. This followed a landmark High Court ruling which found in favour of Mr Haw and his right to protest on the site (2).

Mr Haw has long voiced the concern that the various attempts to remove him have been, and continue to be, politically motivated.

Mr Haw is represented by leading human right practice, Bindmans. His solicitor, Michael Schwarz, said: "Brian Haw is peacefully campaigning on perhaps the most significant issue of the day at a place which is supposed to be the very heart of our democracy. It is difficult to think of a more compelling example of the deployment of the rights to protest".

Mr Haw is now being held at Charing Cross Police Station. He has suffered hand-cuff injuries.

Meanwhile, Mr Haw's supporters are currently continuing the protest in Parliament Square.

For more information contact:
Bindmans Solicitors: 0207 833 4433 (Brian's on-going solicitor is Mike Schwarz)
Maria (supporter on site and witness): 07812 355867 Emma Sangster or Gareth Evans on 020 8806 6272 or

Notes 1. Brian Haw has been in Parliament Square continuously since 1st June 2001 in protest against the US/UK support of economic sanctions in Iraq, the invasion of Iraq and the 'war on terror'.

2. On 4th October 2002 Westminster City Council's High Court proceedings against him for obstruction of the highway were dismissed on the grounds that Brian was exercising his freedom of expression and assembly under the Human Rights Act.

Emma Sangster


Hide the following 4 comments


10.05.2004 13:06

We should all go down to the square and proclaim 'we are all Brian Haw. What sort of democracy is this? Oh I know, the sort that evicts a peaceful protester just for embarassing a few M.P's.

manc one

Democracy - Bah Humbug!

10.05.2004 15:05

RE: Brian Haws sumarilly arrest and removal

Outrageous! I realised that they would have to come up with something faily obscure and indirect to circumnavigate the court's granting Brian his right to protest but this is a blatantly transparent use of over egged security considerations, fear used as a waepon of mass distraction again. Does this mean that suspect vehicles are going to begin to appear outside all the other places traditionally associated with free speach and expression? (watch out speakers' corner, nightclubs, pressure groups, and even any particularly outspoken artists - the WH Smiths van is comming to get you!) Dual purpose anti-terrorism laws are becomming an increasingly political tool to silence and undermine anyone who has an opinion that is not in line with the US/UK government policy. Its apalling behaviour for a nation who's current moral stance is of the agrressive promotion of 'democracy' in other countries. Democracy - bah humbug - Tony Blair wouldn't recognise it if it came up and bit him on the arse!


Jittery Bill

13.05.2004 11:53

You have to admire the Police’s tact and discretion for only using 4 officers and using aggressive tactics as well as commandeering a news lorry to arrest an elderly peace protester.

Sounds to me like they are really jittery or complete cowards…

mail e-mail:


22.02.2005 15:33

Im up for going down there and saying i am "BRAIN HAW" and maybe we could have a rota so we all protest for a hour or two then others will come down and we could take it in shift. We cannot let them get away with this, the day we cant protest is they day we are slaves!!!

email me at my spambot proof email if you want to arrange something or just chat about the nwo

mail e-mail: DRAGON underscore XTRALEAN at HOTMAIL dot COM


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