WITH still more powers being demanded for police to clamp down on protesters, a key public meeting is being held in Brighton on Friday night, November 10.
The event at the Friends Meeting House in Ship Street from 7.30pm to 9.30pm will be on the theme of Protecting the Right to Demonstrate.
Among the panel of speakers will be a spokesman from the Smash EDO! campaign Smash Edo which has met with a constant barrage of state harassment and intimidation in its peaceful efforts to close down the local weapons parts factory.
More controversy has been caused by Sussex Police handling of a protest against the Israeli attack on Lebanon, held in Brighton, in which claims by pro-Israeli groups that the demonstration was "racist" were taken at face value by police, despite the fact that the protesters were the usual cross-section of the public, including many Jewish people.
A very heavy police presence included some 5 intelligence gathering teams, and anyone who has seen the Schnews flim clips will know that this included head to toe filming of children. For those who have not seen it, then it can be downloaded from SchNEWS (9 minutes long, 91MB).
The latest proposal from the Big Brother state is to criminalise flag burning on demonstrations. The Met Police also want to buy water cannons to turn on protesters. Apparently police believe the UK has come to be seen at home and abroad as "soft" on troublesome demonstrators.
The idea has been submitted by Scotland Yard to Attorney General Lord Goldsmith and despite criticism by Liberty /A> and others, the fact that it is supposedly aimed at muslim protesters may mean that it can be brought in on the wave of officially sanctioned islamophobia. Obviously the effect would be to stifle protests from a much broader spectrum of dissenters, which is no doubt the real agenda.
Other speakers at the Brighton meeting will include Glenn Williams of Sussex Action for Peace, Tony Greenstein of the Palestine Solidarity Alliance, James Elsdon-Baker of No2ID, Paddy O’Keefe of Respect, Cllr Francis Tonks, Cllr Simon Williams (Green Party) and Abu Bakr of the Save Omar Deghayes Campaign.
The primary theme of the meeting will be the defence of democratic rights at a time when terrorism is being used as the excuse to undermine the most basic and taken for granted human rights. Internment, Control Orders, Habeus Corpus – long standing rights of freedom and liberty are being undermined in the ‘war against terror’.
The meeting is being held under Benjamin Franklin’s watchword – ‘Those who trade liberty for security deserve neither’. Two hundred years later it is still appropriate.