Brian Haw on Friday 7th May – shortly before his arrest. Vigil Day 1,072.
Brian’s bed in Parliament Square.
Part of Brian’s large display.
Brian back on Wednesday 12th May after his release. Vigil Day 1,077.
Brian Haw, the Parliament Square peace protestor, is close to clocking up 3 years on his one-man 24-hour vigil against government policy on Iraq. He has been protesting against the sanctions and now the occupation of Iraq. He sleeps day and night in London’s Parliament Square opposite the House of Commons. He has attracted interest from Spanish TV and CNN but the British media tends to ignore him. Brian is a father in his fifties from Gloucestershire who says he will stay on his protest for `as long as it takes`. He jokingly says his office hours are 0700 to 0700.
He has survived numerous attempts to evict him. The latest attempt came shortly after midnight on Monday 10th May when he was arrested at 00.20hrs and his possessions/extensive protest display removed, in a sudden midnight police operation. 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. Mr Haw was held at Charing Cross Police Station. He has suffered handcuff injuries. Mr Haw has long voiced the concern that the various attempts to remove him have been, and continue to be, politically motivated
Brian has now been released and has been speaking to lots of press in the Square. Westminster City Council turned up very shortly after his removal with a police order to finish clearance of the site but one of his friends (Maria) managed to hold on to Brian's personal possessions.
I spoke to Brian on the evening of Wednesday 12th May and apart from sore hands from his handcuffing he is in good spirits and is determined to continue his protest.
Paul O’Hanlon [Edinburgh Stop the War www.edinburghstw.org.uk]
1/ Brian Haw on Friday 7th May – shortly before his arrest. Vigil Day 1,072.
2/ Brian’s bed in Parliament Square.
3. Part of Brian’s large display.
4/ Brian back on Wednesday 12th May after his release. Vigil Day 1,077.