Skip to content or view screen version

SOCPA Victory? Campaign For Free Assembly Demo 1pm April 5th Trafalgar Square

Campaign for Free Assembly | 04.04.2008 09:54 | SOCPA | Repression

Jack Straw announced plans to replace SOCPA sections 132-138, which ban spontaneous demonstrations around Parliament, and make it a criminal offence to demonstrate with police permission - to get maximum positive PR from the ever compliant press, Straw only announced the repeal now, while the need for new laws was hidden in the small print. One battle may soon be over, the struggle continues on the streets.

We are meeting at 1pm at the roundabout on the South side of Trafalgar Square on Saturday 5th April. Come with your mates and discuss with them what you want to do with the day. Bring placards, banners, whistles or anything else you can think of. Let them know you won’t be easily silenced.

They say:

"In moving to repeal sections 132-138 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act, the Government nonetheless takes seriously the need to ensure that the operation of Parliament is safeguarded. For many years this principle has been given expression in sessional orders which provided the Metropolitan Police with clarity on the House’s expectations on the Commissioner. [...] The Government believes that Parliament itself is well placed to contribute to proper consideration of what needs to be secured in order to ensure that Members are able freely and without hindrance to discharge their roles and responsibilities. [...] The Government therefore invites the views of Parliament on whether additional provision is needed for the purpose of keeping passages leading to the House free and open while the House is sitting, or to ensure that, for example, excessive noise is not used to disrupt the workings of Parliament."

We say:

It's time we had freedom to publicly assemble in the UK. The Campaign for Free Assembly is calling for a for action against the existing legislation restricting our freedom to protest and proposed new restrictions around Parliament.

We need to respond to continued police repression and the Government's white paper on 'The Governance of Britain'. They propose the repeal of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (SOCPA) 2005, sections 132-138, which restrict demonstrations in a 1km zone around Parliament, but at the same time ask MPs to come up with new ways to thwart demonstrations.

The proposed powers and those already given to the police create a climate of criminalisation: a vast confusion of laws are applied arbitrarily so people are arrested simply for standing in the wrong place at the wrong time or having the wrong face.

This combines with a police culture that evades accountability even when people are killed, as shown by the Menezes case and others. There should be no complacency that the court system can be relied on to prevent injustice. The ability to exercise effective protest is crucial in order to defend ourselves and others from the abuses of those in power.

Whatever the issues that matter most to you, whether you are concerned about a safer school crossing, a new runway or ending a war, these law affect you.

The government proposals need a response not on paper but on our streets. The message is simple: we claim the freedom to assemble without prior notification or permission and this freedom is not open to negotiation.

Campaign for Free Assembly
- e-mail:
- Homepage:


Hide the following comment

don't forget the SOCPA areas outside the M25, London folk

04.04.2008 11:50

don't forget the SOCPA areas outside the M25, London folk

provincial mouse