Thursday, December 08, 2005

In the UK, protest is now a crime

A peace activist has become the first person in Britain to be convicted under a law designed to save the UK Parliament from having to listen to the people. In October, Maya Evans staged a protest beside London's cenotaph, in which she read out the names of 97 British soldiers killed in Iraq. She was arrested and charged under a newly-passed law which makes it illegal to stage any unauthorised protest within half a mile of Parliament buildings. The law was explictly designed to remove an anti-war protestor who had been maintaining a vigil in Parliament Square for the last four years.

So, in the UK, the government can now stifle protest at will, and arrest people who are doing nothing more than expressing their opinions peacefully and quietly. Such is the cost of the "war on terror".


And then people wonder why others turn to different forms of protest and resistance...

Posted by Anonymous : 12/08/2005 03:52:00 PM

Very "1984". It's creepy to see this kind of erosion of free speech, especially as her protest was so undisruptive - two people reading names and ringing a bell.

The idea that reading out names near Parliament could be stopped under the ironically named "Serious Organised Crime and Police Act" really bothers me in a kind of - I can't believe this is reality - way.

Posted by Muerk : 12/08/2005 05:26:00 PM

This is in addition to the detention without charge under the UK terrorism laws of an OAP who was heckling a minister at the Labour Conference.

Plus Hillary Clinton is supporting a anti-flag burning amendment in the US (now that is really creepy - WTF is she thinking?).

Posted by Anonymous : 12/08/2005 07:15:00 PM

Guardian version of this story:,12956,1661946,00.html.

A good reason why I won't be hurrying back to the UK anytime soon.

Posted by Andrew : 12/08/2005 07:34:00 PM

Blair is the consummate technocrat - if there's one thing that rubs him up the wrong way, it's amateurs getting involved in politics.

Hilary Clinton is a cold-blooded & calculating opportunist.

Posted by Anonymous : 12/08/2005 11:45:00 PM