Monday, March 27, 2006

Brian Haw - Blair's Favourite Protester.

On the 2nd June 2001, Brian Haw took up residence on Parliament Square outside the Houses of Parliament, to protest about UK and US policy towards Iraq.

During this period of occupation, Brian has seen off many attempts to have him leave and give up. The most embarrassing attempt being when Government ministers tagged onto the Organised Crime and Police Bill, a clause that would make it unlawful to protest within a 1 kilometer radius of the Houses of Parliament (this means that Whitehall and Downing Street would be protected from hearing those who disagree). This clause was specifically drawn up with the intention of removing Brian from his, as far as the Government were concerned, embarrassing and very public pitch.

Unfortunately, the Government proved incompetent in drafting this clause, and Brian won on appeal last June. So there he can stay, but no-one else is allowed to protest with him.

Yesterday, a supporter, Barbara Tucker, joined him and raised a banner and she was arrested to illegal protest within the 1 Km perimeter. Of course Brian was also arrested, even though he is there totally legally. They were both held for a couple of hours and then released pending a decision by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Iraq Protest
Last October, when I was in London, I saw Brian at his protest. Above is the picture I took at the time. As can be seen, his protest is quite visible, but doesn't stop people walking the pavement, or their enjoyment of the area. No, the only people it upsets are those who know they lied to get us into a war with the US on the off-chance a few crumbs from Haliburton's table would fall in our direction. In the meantime, British and American children are killed, along with tens of thousands of local Iraqis in the bloody civil war that is now in progress.

Other visitors have included Cindy Sheehan who came across last December and joined him on his vigil.

I am proud that this country can still produce world class protesters such as Brian. He doesn't make a great deal of noise, but his presence has become the conscience of all politicians entering the Houses of Parliament. The fact that the Government of the day was so scared of this one man that they had to draft a law to get rid of him (and couldn't even succeed at that) is demonstration enough of his power.

The fact that we no longer have the freedom to protest our freedoms outside the place that should be defending our freedoms is an absolute and disgusting disgrace.

You can read more of Brian's protest on his website.


sandegaye said...

Good for Brian!! Great post..

jane said...

Thank God there are people like him.