Skip to content or view screen version

reclaim st george - report, photos and campacc speech vid

rikki | 24.04.2006 22:27 | SOCPA | Repression | Social Struggles

pics and report from the anti-socpa 'reclaim st george' event this weekend along with a vid of the full speech by deepak gupta from campacc (campaign against criminalising communities)

Every Sunday afternoon, campaigners stage an open picnic on Parliament Square (, to plan ideas to subvert or test the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (section132). SOCPA requires advance written police permission for demonstrations around parliament thus criminalising spontaneous protest . Dozens of people have been arrested since this law's inception last August, but its operational enforcement appears related to the size of the demonstration and media presence, with small demonstrations providing the easiest target for arrest.

During St. George's weekend, in an action packed with historical symbolism, a group of around a dozen activists camped at Runnymede and then cycled to London on Sunday morning with a copy of the Magna Carta , pausing for breakfast at the site of the Diggers commune at Weybridge St. George's Hill. They were met at the Tibetan Peace Gardens in Lambeth by another twenty campaigners, and ate plenty of wonderful food provided by Hare Krishnas. Deepak Gupta, from Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC), spoke to the crowd about how a swathe of recent laws work together to repress the Human Rights of many of the most vulnerable in our global community, and to intimidate legitimate protest in our streets.

Watched by Forward Intelligence Police, the motley troupe (many dressed in subverted medieval, cross-dressed, St.George-themed clothing and body paint), then walked through the rain carrying blank white banners and placards to Parliament Square. They were kept under surveillance and occasionally pushed around by the Police, but still managed to join the route of the London Marathon for their final symbolic entry to Parliament Square carrying a large white banner between two poles. Another dozen or more campaigners had already set up a refreshments stall at Parliament Square and were playing cricket under the watchful eye of several van loads of police. By now, more than fifty people were involved in the activities in the Square, and bemused Marathon onlookers were asking questions and learning about the SOCPA legislation as well as signing a petition against the prison sentence recently received by conscientious objector Dr. Malcolm Kendall-Smith. The cricketers were playing for the ashes of the Magna Carta, which 'Tony Blair' set on fire under the gaze of media and celebrities such as The Observer's Henry Porter and comedian Alan Davies.

Despite the erection of a huge 'Freedom To Protest' banner, and the clear flaunting of the law, Police withdrew and there were no arrests. The picnics will continue from 1.30pm throughout the Summer, and all are very welcome - bring something to share.

(tech help - if you have difficulty viewing this movie, save the file to your desktop, download the free vlc player from, and open it from that player)



Display the following 2 comments

  1. In praise of St.George — athiestScotsman
  2. ur gr8 — phoebe coombs