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SOCPA has withered away

Milan Rai | 08.05.2009 18:15 | SOCPA | Anti-militarism | Repression | Terror War

The name-reading ceremony for the Afghan war dead proceeded opposite Parliament without any attention from the police today - despite the use of a loudhailer (banned under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act)

Hi folks

We showed up opposite Downing Street at 10am this morning to read the names of Afghan civilians and British soldiers who've died in the war.

Dozens of police walked by. A host of diplo cops watched us from around the Downing Street gate.

Maya Evans, Gabriel Carlyle and myself had written an open letter to the police in advance, notifying them that we were organising this name-reading remembrance ceremony, but refusing to apply for police permission.

No police officer approached us. No police officer talked to us. No police officer arrested us or tried to stop us using a loudhailer to shout the names of the dead across the road into Downing Street.

Using a megaphone is specifically banned under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act. Section 137 is all about loudspeakers and how they cannot be used in the 'restricted zone' around Parliament:

137 (4) A person who operates or permits the operation of a loudspeaker in contravention of subsection (1) is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to—

(a) a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, together with

(b) a further fine not exceeding £50 for each day on which the offence continues after the conviction.

About 18-20 came to the protest, the largest name-reading we have ever organised. Different people took turns reading the names and holding the megaphone (and the umbrella).

Afterwards we gathered in a circle and shared our thoughts about the event. Maya thanked everyone for coming, and we all re-dedicated ourselves to ending this war.

So, after the case dismissed yesterday (see other post), it's Peace Movement 5 - SOCPA 0.

(Goal 1: not having to give a date of birth at the hearing; Goal 2: having the case dismissed; Goal 3: getting defendant's expenses paid by the court; Goal 4: holding an unauthorised event without any police interference; Goal 5: operating a megaphone to remind our rulers of hundreds of deaths they have caused - without any hindrance from the police.)

SOCPA seems to have withered away. Now it's just a matter of the State....

Milan Rai
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