Monday, 1 August 2005

I've Lost the Right to Protest Peacefully

I was nearly arrested today.

That was because I was demonstrating outside the Houses of Parliament, in Parliament Square to be exact and under a new law that came into force today I was doing so illegally. I was there along with around 200 others to make a stand against the new law, one that I believe marks a terrible infringement upon my civil liberties. I escaped arrest but others were not so lucky.

Surely it is the right of anyone to protest peacefully outside the home of their government? And to have this right taken away (under the auspices of our good friend...*cough* enemy: terror) is another marker towards the end of democracy.

Mainstream news is covering it as we speak but why not join me for a blow by blow account of today's events from an eyewitness?

It started off all quiet as you can see but the police soon showed up in preparation for the demonstration with cameras and videos to record these new criminals...

And then the demonstration started to build up in terms of people, volume and action...
All we wanted was a chance to peacefully demonstrate outside of our parliament...

And then the police distributed a flyer amongst us, it was a dispersal order under the new legislation and one that Tim pointed out was contravening British copyright law, as the map shown below came without the required copyright. Tim kindly pointed this out to the police officers present but they seemed unconcerned by matters of the law. Obviously we ignored the bit of paper and carried on demonstrating and listened to a Palestinian man talk powerfully about repression of freedom of speech and an old lady speak of the days when you could walk down 10 Downing Street. And then the police swooped on us and before I knew it we were in the thick of it...
Arrests were made, an old lady was dragged off, a middle aged female, the Palestinian man shown on the microphone, a black protester and the man below who resisted arrest quite loudly!

The police did a further charge after this one to disperse the remaining protesters but the battery on my camera was low so I chose this as a wise moment to leave before I ended up in a cell.

I must say, seeing the 5 people arrested was a upsetting experience, it made me so angry to see them manhandling an old lady into the back of a police van. I do remember the look of brave defiance in the eyes of the Palestinian gentlemen, we exchanged peace signs as the police trooped him past me.

And so there it is, 200 people turned out to try and defend the right to peaceful protest and we did a reasonable job of testing the limits of the law. I urge anyone able to attend any further demonstrations to do so, to involve yourself because the more of us there are the better.

They can't arrest us all.


  1. I've moved. Did you not get the email I sent you?

  2. This is a sad day for Britain.

    Common Sense 0 Terrorism 1

    That aside, I've just thought (although I'm sure someone else has already thought it.). As the palace of Westminster and it's grounds are held in trust by the Queen for the Citizens of the UK (correct me if I'm wrong) then surely as part owners of that land we, the citizens of the UK, have some sort of legal right to challenge this law.

    I'm just thinking out loud, and probably naively too - wishful thinking I suppose.

    To be honest I'm fucked off with this constant shit from the Government. This shit will lead to civil disobedience, no doubt.


  3. I've got the complete narrative of how the law came into being, which should still be on one of Brian's posters. We don't know who the people in the Government who wrote it, but we have the names of the "representatives" who rubber stamped it.

  4. you'll be praying to Mecca soon enough, enjoy not being dragged out into the street and shot, for now. Your PC society is collapasing around you and you have no one to blame but yourself. The government didn't set those bombs off sweetie.

  5. Ben, you are taking the piss right? I mean, when the PC society fails to deal with the terrorists how are you going to make your dissatisfaction known - I know! Maybe you could peacefully demonstrate outside Parliament to complain...

    Or maybe you'll just settle for chucking bricks through the window of a curryhouse, a quick chorus of Rule Brittania and a haircut so short we can see the scars from your lobotomy.

  6. Come on, Anonymous. At least give Ben credit for performing the lobomoty himself.

  7. This is super fucked up.. Respect to you for protesting man.

  8. Goatchurch: thanks for the full facts, I'll link to these in another post.

    Ben: you are a young conservative who proudly boasts you hate liberals. You are a child with little understanding of world matters and a hysterical fear of Muslims, China, PC and being decent. How can you make the Mecca comment when we both live in Nations that demonise Muslims and breeds racial hatred? How can you call my society PC when it refuses people the right to protest? How can make a glib comment about bombs being set off when the actions of my government (and yours) caused those bombs? I know why, you're an idiot and a disgusting wing-nut with no common sense, decency and recourse to advanced means of expressing your puesdo facist ranting.

    Smudge: nice to see you man.

  9. Be proud of yourself that you were there in the first place, and that many like you chose power over cowardess.

    When the Democratic National Convention was in Boston last year, there was a fenced off area where protesters were allowed. How silly and naive for police and goverment officials who had thought that the fence would be a scare tactic to deter protesters from going overboard. Fences were torn down and protesters were free to protest on the street, of course until the next day when it was put back up again.

    It is a shame. It sucks that with protest comes restriction.

  10. It was a good thing that you did Dan... terrible that those people were arrested... awful.Shameful. Whats happening to this country?

  11. GOOD FOR YOU! Doesn't it someimes feel like i's only a few of us against the world.

  12. This kind of initiative is called bear-baiting where I come from. They want a mass uprising, the more violent the better. Unrest justifies their illegal actions.

    Make up 8 million t-shirts that say "I am NOT protesting the war at this moment" and get everyone in London to wear one, all at the same time. The largest mass protest (ahem, sorry, "non-protest") in history.

  13. And, Ben, communism is the only effective form of government, so when we take over I'm coming to your house to nationalise your lucky charms. :)

  14. They can't arrest us all.

    That's the damn truth.

  15. Utter congratulatios.

    Wish I had been organised enough to join you.


    Please add me to your mailing list

  16. I did a Google News Search on this event.
    I got 13 results.
    Actually 12, because one was of something else.

    That missing chick in Aruba? More than 700.

    Sad Day.


  17. Well your day was much more exciting than mine. Fight the good fight, Daniel!

  18. you really believe the war in Iraq is to blame for those bombs? Newsflash dude, they would have used any excuse in the book, and I am angry at muslims, chinese and PC people, not fearful. The only thing I'm fearful about is that them (and you) will do everything they can to bring down this great nation. Also 2 of my friends have banned you from commenting on their sites because you call them racist and other shit because you disagree with them. Tell me, why do you call decent people racist?

  19. "if you don't stand up for something, you'll fall for anything".

    Tony Blair=BASTARD

  20. Ben: Iraq is directly connected to bombings; an unlawful war leading to further unlawful acts. Your anger is scapegoating and negative and not needed.

    The 2 people who 'banned' me are racists, live with it.

  21. yea right, their racist because they don't agree with your fucking ideas, is that very tolerant? So what everyone who disagrees with you is a racist, man you fucking liberals have sunk so fucking low. It was also unlawful for Saddam to gas his own people, but of course we all know the UN is a good non-corrupt organization...

  22. also your comments will result in England and all of Europe becoming Islam. Enjoy praying to Mecca in 10-15 years. You think conservatives are bad? Wait till you see radical islamofacists.

  23. They are racist because they discriminate against people based on their race. I have never said that people I disagree with are racists, but these two are. Relax, you're racist so you'll love them as friends.

    Saddam gassed his own people with gas provided by your government, how cool is that? And I'd rather be in a world under the UN rather than the US.

    Your obsession and bigotry about Islam is disgusting, radical islamofacists are a minority but radical neo-confacists are a majority. These people scare me, not Muslims.

    Take care Ben the bigot.

  24. That is such bullshit.
    Good for you for standing up for yourself. In my craphole town there is no law against protesting but they will arrest you for loitering, pricks.
    The cops are pretty corrupt in my town. I'm 34 now and much wiser then I used to be. However when I was 21 my boyfriend beat the crap out of me. Pre Russell Crow I grabbed a phone and nailed him. I managed to get to a phone and called the cops, they said if I pressed charges they would arrest me for hitting him with a phone, even though he was trying to strangle me at the time. Maybe this was TMI :)


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