We refuse to be silenced!
Defend the right to protest in Parliament Square
Monday 7 February, 2 - 8pm, Parliament Square
The government wants to END THE RIGHT TO PROTEST in Parliament Square by rushing
through the Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill which will be debated in the
House of Commons on 7 February.
Anti-war protest is their first target: Brian Haw's extraordinary and visually
impressive three-and-a-half-year, 24-hour-a-day peace campaign. Also under
threat is the two-year old Community Speakout of the Global Women's Strike.
"Some Members do not like to be reminded of what they have done, voting for war
and death." John McDonnell MP.
They want to deny Mr Haw's High court victory under the Human Rights Act, a
precedent establishing all of our right to protest. Under the Bill:
- Even a police constable would have the power to say, how many, how loud, if
and when we can protest. If the demonstration is judged "illegal" we can be
jailed for a year.
We may all face arrest for "spoiling the view" if we protest within a kilometre
of Parliament Square - that's as far as Trafalgar Square, Waterloo Station or
The government's dismantling of fundamental rights - detaining people
indefinitely without charge, the power to hold suspects incommunicado and
proposing house arrest for any one of us - makes it urgent to act now, before we
wake up in a police State, compliments of Parliament.
"The majority of people in Wales oppose both the war in Iraq and the continued
occupation. Plaid Cymru MPs.give praise to Brian Haw and the weekly Community
Speakout for giving a voice to this opposition. For those of us inside the House
who voted against the war, their visible presence is vital, making clear to
those in power that it is only inside Westminster that they are the majority."
Elfyn Llwyd MP (Plaid Cymru).
"There should be additional rights to demonstrate around Parliament, not less.
We should want people to demonstrate around here; the time to worry is when no
body can be bothered to do so." Alex Salmond MP (SNP).
"Introducing legislation to outlaw [protest] is in itself a crime". Lembit Opik
MP (Lib Dem).
"This legislation - criminalizing protesters against everything from animal
cruelty to genocide - is designed to stifle the real change we so desperately
need under New Labour's increasingly authoritarian regime." Caroline Lucas MEP
They "want to create an antiseptic tourist attraction that has nothing to do
with democracy or participation." Jeremy Corbyn MP (Labour).
For over 350 years, people have exercised their right to speak out in Parliament
Square: Chartists, Suffragettes, trade unionists, pensioners, lesbian and gay
rights activists, asylum seekers & refugees, anti-racist campaigners, nurses,
anti-poll tax campaigners, people with disabilities, single mothers, as well as
the long-running picket for the extradition of Chilean dictator Pinochet
(shamefully freed by then Home Secretary Jack Straw).
For more information:
www.globalwomenstrike.net 020 7482 2496
Jointly called by: Action Against War, African Liberation Support
Campaign, Barnet Green Party, Camden Green Party, Fight Racism! Fight
Imperialism!, the Global Women's Strike, Greater London Pensioners Association,
the Green Party, Legal Action for Women, Military Families Against War, Muslim
Parliament of Great Britain, Network for Economic and Political Democracy,
Orpington CND, Parliament Square Church, Payday, Peace and Human Rights Trust,
Peace & Progress, South Somerset Peace Group, SOS - Save Our Speech: Parliament
Square supporters of Brain Haw, Voices in the Wilderness, Wimbledon Disarmament
Coalition/CND, Michael Culver, John McDonnell MP, Tricia Goddard, Brian Haw,
Corin Redgrave, Vanessa Redgrave, Tahrir Swift, Amanda Ward.