The GLA have now posted a reply on my Blog which I print in full with my own reply to them:
GLA Spokesperson said...
The Greater London Authority asked those unlawfully camping on Parliament Square to leave the square. This request explicitly excluded Brian Haw, whose peaceful protest against the Iraq War will be respected.
Those responsible for the tents on the square were notified that they were in breach of byelaws under the Greater London Authority Act and that they had to leave the square.
The unauthorised camping changed the square from an historic landmark enjoyed by Londoners and visitors to an unwelcoming eyesore and a public health hazard. Since the campers arrived, rubbish including glass and plastic bottles has littered the site and the square has been used as an open-air toilet, leading to damage of the grass area and flowerbeds surrounding the square.
The campers had been made aware of the fact that they were not allowed to camp on the square over a long period of time. They had been repeatedly advised by the GLA’s wardens that they did not have permission to camp on the square. They were each given a letter on the weekend of August 11/12 and again last Thursday (August 16) asking them to leave the square.
The Mayor strongly supports the right to peaceful protest and respects the right of Brian Haw to hold his protest but the GLA cannot allow others to use Parliament Square as a free camp site and open air toilet, creating an unsightly public health hazard that is offensive to the thousands of Londoners and visitors who use this iconic public space every day.
That is why we informed those responsible for the tents that they had to leave the square.
The action does not apply to Brian Haw who has permission under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 to hold a 24-hour demonstration site on the pavement of Parliament Square.
Neil Williams (Respect Suporters Blog in reply) said...
"The Mayor strongly supports the right to peaceful protest".
Well if this is true why did you not make facilities available for the small number of peaceful peace protesters who were camping in Parliament Square?
The GLA could have laid on mobile toilets and a rubbish collection system + other help - not too much to ask for so that the feelings of 100,000 of UK citizens (and Londoners) could be heard and seen in London outside the UK Parliament.
Ant-War Camps and protests of all kinds have taken place in Washington, USA on many occasions over the last few years so why not in London outside our Parliament?
The GLA should see it as part of its role to allow the voice of its citizens to be heard, and not just the rich and powerful, but the voice of the ordinary people who are all too often are not heard.
It reminds me of Mrs Thatcher who tried to get rid of the GLC when she closed and sold their office on the embankment (then it was No GLC, so knock down their HQ, now it NO Peace Camps in Parliament Square so evict the protesters!).
Ken Livingstone and the GLA should know better - shame on you!!
Respect Supporters Blog
I am sure there are many on Indymedia who can reply to the GLA better than me so I hope some of you will use the comments section on this post to let the GLA and Ken Livingstone know what you also think.
I think Brian Haw made the best comment when he stated:
"Ken Livingstone is ... very concerned the peace camp may be killing grass in Parliament Square - what about the kids in Baghdad, Ken?"