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Labour attacks right to protest. Activist arrested violently on Palestine march.

LB | 24.05.2006 09:27 | Repression | Social Struggles | London

Britain’s Labour government is clamping down on the right to protest. Under the guise of ‘fighting terrorism’ the government it is creating the legal framework to stop demonstrations against war, racism and poverty.

This repressive legislation was introduced in June 2005, by the British Labour government, largely to target Brian Haw, the tireless anti-war campaigner who has staged a non-stop protest against UK and US government policy towards Iraq since 2nd July 2001. Haw began his protest in opposition to the genocidal economic sanctions which killed 180 Iraqi children every day according to the United Nations, and continued after 9/11 when the murderous bombing, invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq took place. For nearly five years he has lived on the pavement outside the main entrance to the Houses of Parliament, with a permanent display of placards showing disturbing images of the civilian victims of imperialism viscous warmongering in the Middle East. Haw embarrasses the British government by exposing the real face of imperialism to tourists and visiting dignitaries. ( On the night of Monday 22nd May, police forcibly removed Haw’s placards.

Among other things, the SOCPA bans the use of a loudspeaker except by people ‘in a position of authority’, and bans demonstrations without previous authorisation within one kilometre of the Houses of Parliament. And this is supposed to be the mother of ‘democracy’! It bans demonstrations without six days previous notice outside the Prime Ministers home, 10 Downing Street and many ministerial and royal seats of power. It aims to stop the kind of spontaneous demonstrations which have taken place immediately when news came out that the bombing of Afghanistan and Iraq had started, or in response to Israeli slaughter of Palestinians. Even ‘authorised’ demonstrations are to be kept quite.

Last Saturday on the annual demonstration organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, a respectable campaign group in Britain, a comrade from FRFI was violently arrested, and others assaulted by police as marchers reached Trafalgar Square where the march ended.

Following his arrest an impromptu demonstration was held outside the police station until our comrade was released on bail and summonsed to appear in court later this week. He was charged with using a loudspeaker ‘for the purpose of encouraging the crowd to chant pro-Palestinian and anti-government remarks’! Anyone could be mistaken in thinking that we living racist Israel. We call for all witnesses to contact FRFI on: 020 7837 1688 or 07815617746 or email

FRFI will join a challenge already launched by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign against the legality of the SOCPA. Whatever the harassment by police, FRFI and other activists against war, racism and imperialism will remain active on streets of London. Please contact us for details and to get involved or come show your support at court.

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!

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  1. Gratuitous? — Mike Novack