Skip to content or view screen version

UK SOCPA Newswire Archive

Full article

PCC Sue Mountstevens' husband is Stephen Robertson, Director of Business West

12-09-2015 19:57

How 'Independent' is Avon & Somerset PCC Sue Mountstevens?
With a protracted waste of public money Avon & Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens is facing questions about why she is blocking the reinstatement of Chief Constable Nick Gargan

Full article | 1 comment

Unfair Mario

24-03-2014 14:13

Unfair Mario

Full article | 2 comments

Cleveland police Falsified Forensics evidence

19-01-2014 22:40

The fa0cts ogf this case can be listed founmd on the full transparent website for

Full article | 3 comments

Hunger Strike in Parliament Square - day 25

20-01-2013 00:32

Long term Parliament Square peace campaigner Barbara Tucker has lived round the clock opposite the Houses of Parliament for over 7 years. She has slept in the open for over a year now without a tent and has been treated for exposure. She is on a hunger strike in the hope of getting her confiscated tent back.

Full article | 2 comments

Barbara Tucker now on hunger strike: started Thursday 27th

31-12-2012 16:36

Long term Parliament Square peace campaigner Barbara Tucker is now on a hunger strike which started on Thursday 27th December 2012.

Full article

Yuletide in Parliament Square – War and Peace

29-12-2012 06:29

As we approach the New Year whither the prospects for peace? The honourable members of Parliament are on their Christmas break while long term peace campaigner Mrs Barbara Tucker will spend both Xmas and New Year opposite the great facade of democracy at constant peril of arrest and assault.

Full article

Winter in Parliament Square

12-12-2012 12:45

The ongoing 24/7 peace campaign in London's Parliament Square continues despite the sub zero temperatures and unremitting aggravation from the authorities.

Full article

"Worldwide Echo in support of the Zapatistas" On The Day Of Indigenous Resistance

16-10-2012 05:39


Full article | 3 comments

parl sq peace plinth in art exhibition

13-10-2012 14:16

different gallery
in a joint project between contemporary artists and peace activists, thursday saw the parliament square 'westminster cabinet' once more on public display, at the 'different' gallery in percy street, alongside works on a theme of peace by various contemporary artists.

Full article

Autumn in Parliament Square – Barbara Tucker arrest number 46

02-10-2012 13:15

Autumn in Parliament Square – Barbara Tucker arrest number 46.

The peace campaign opposite the British Houses of Parliament continues with Barbara and a number of supporters. Now in its 12th year it is a permanent thorn in the side of the establishment.

Full article | 1 comment

child protection conference skegness

06-09-2012 17:58

skegness hosts the child stealing by the state conference 12th 13th september

2012 suncastle skegness england

Full article | 1 comment

The umbrellas of Parliament Square - musical chairs and malicious prosecution

04-08-2012 16:39

The authorities are trying to make life as difficult as possible for Parliament Square peace campaigner Barbara Tucker. What are they so afraid of that they have to take such actions as confiscating her tent, sleeping bag, umbrella and even blankets?

Full article | 3 comments

I wrote to my MP regarding the harrrassment of Barbara Tucker

13-07-2012 20:02

I went to see my MP Mark Lazarowicz (Labour, Edinburgh North and Leith) and asked him if he could stop the harassment of Barbara – she’s not even allowed blankets now. He’s going to write to Home Secretary Theresa May - if that will do any good. MPs are off on their summer break now. I would love to see them trying to sleep in a chair with no blankets and no umbrella for just one night never mind the 175 days Barbara has had no shelter. She has been arrested 45 times in her six and a half years in the Square – for advocating peace!

Full article | 9 comments

roger hayes jailed unlawfully manchester courts

06-07-2012 13:23

Roger hayes british constitutional group jailed for 21 days after legal system never followed the correct process and rogers on hunger strike please share throughout media and press association

Full article

Faslane Peace Camp and Trident Ploughshares Tresspass at Faslane Naval Base

02-07-2012 15:00

Seven activists from Faslane Peace Camp and Trident Ploughshares entered Faslane naval base this morning with four members of the group slipping past guards and reaching points up to 100 yards inside the base.

Full article | 4 comments

Gone but not forgotten - one year since Brian Haw's death

18-06-2012 14:14

A brief tribute to a great man of peace whose legacy continues today.

Full article | 5 comments

Faslane Peace Campers Trespass at Coulport Nuclear Weapons Depot

15-06-2012 19:53

explosives handling jetty coulport
Two Peace Campers entered the the Explosives Handling Jetty area at RNAD Coulport in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Full article | 3 comments

SOCPA zone repealed?

05-04-2012 12:06

The Met just told me that the SOCPA zone has been repealed

Full article | 8 comments

Barbara Tucker Arrest 45: The Paranoid State.

04-04-2012 17:47

Long term peace campaigner Barbara Tucker has been arrested yet again.

Full article

Spring in Parliament Square

21-03-2012 16:41

A 600 word article about the ongoing peace campaign in London's Parliament Square with 20 relevant photos.

Full article | 2 comments

High Court case on new restrictions on protest around Parliament

05-03-2012 23:34

On Tuesday 6th and Wednesday 7th March, the High Court will hear the case for holding a judical review on new legislation restricting protest around Parliament. The restrictions could be rolled out nationally as the law gives local authorities powers to adopt similar legislation.

Full article | 4 comments

Squatting Demo Shut Down by Police

01-11-2011 06:10

Police have arrested at least a dozen people who were sleeping on the streets outside parliament in protest against the potential criminalisation of squatting. In a last minute amendment to their Legal Aid and Sentence Bill, the government will today be voting on Clause 26, which will make squatting in residential properties illegal. Hundreds of people met at different locations in London last night to express opposition to the Clause, and finally congregated at Parliament Square, where they were “kettled” and arrested en mass for trying to sleep on the streets.

Full article | 4 comments

Remember remember the 5th of November-huge protest outside parliament

21-09-2011 17:05

Lets's make this big! Mask up V for Vendetta style and inspire the world that enough is enough!

Full article

Evictions from Parliament Square?

05-09-2011 16:46

Why no reports?

Full article

parliament banner - SOCPA section 128 convictions

01-08-2011 23:55

last thursday, two people were found guilty at westminster magistrates court under section 128 of the serious organised crime and police act (socpa), which creates a criminal offence of trespass on certain 'designated' sites. the convictions were related to a banner drop from scaffolding at the front of parliament during the only debate there has ever been about the war in afghanistan.

click on image for larger version. 'some rights reserved' - free for credited non-commercial use, otherwise contact author for permission


last november, maria and seamus managed to confound security, and despite injuring themselves on the very sharp spikes at the top of the fences, they entered the grounds of parliament, ran across to the scaffolding at the front of the house, climbed up and unfurled various banners. after negotiation with the police and security, they managed to remain there for a full 26 hours.

the event was covered at the time on london indymedia, in a series of posts which included first-hand photos and reports from the protestors themselves sent while they were still occupying the front of parliament.

the court case took place in the tiny court 8 at the top of the building, with only one witness from the police as well as the two accused. it was heard by district judge elizabeth roscoe.

during the morning, we heard from detective constable matthews (from counter terrorism command at scotland yard) about the interviews he had with the two protestors after their arrest.

the interviews took place at charing cross police station, and perhaps unwisely given her tired and injured state, maria had elected to talk freely without a lawyer. dc matthews was asked about this, but he assured the court that in all his years in counter-terrorism, interviewing suspected terrorists perhaps thousands of times, he of course would never have any hesitation in stopping an interview if he thought for one minute that the suspect might be over-tired. so maria, with wounded feet, no medical assistance, and no sleep for more than 26 hours, was questioned, without a lawyer present, about her family, her background, her previous employment and means, as well as about the protest itself.

when maria took the stand, she described how with recent opinion polls showing 83% public support for the withdrawal of troops, she had hoped to influence politicians and policy-makers attending first a committee meeting, and then the first ever debate in the house on the war in afghanistan.

the court heard how her dealings with the authorities had been polite, and that despite an obvious opportunity to disrupt the course of parliament, that had not been her aim. asked why she felt the need to protest within the grounds of the palace of westminster, she explained that although it was clearly not an easy place to get to, it was effectively just another building, but that as it was the only debate on the war it was clearly the most important place to reflect public opinion, as it seemed that the majority of the 650 MPs were unlikely to do so.

maria pointed out that the democratic process she was accused of disrupting, was far from democratic, with only a handful of politicians even turning up to sit through the debate, and hundreds voting at the end according to party whips' commands, rather than conscience or public opinion.

the prosecution made much of the fact that maria was a 'full-time' protestor, and that her peace strike 'boxes' and banners opposite the gates of parliament might have already influenced any politicians they were going to. the suggestion was an attempt to undermine the notion that she 'needed' to do this further protest.

the content of one of the banners was also brought up, a large 'squatter's rights' banner, suggesting that the protest had 'occupied' the scaffolding and could not be removed without civil proceedings. the prosecuter tried to suggest that the protestors weren't serious about the war motive , and were taking the opportunity to campaign for squatting rights too!

seamus then took the stand. his original interview (with a lawyer) was a 'no comment' interview, because he'd realised he was so tired. in court, he spoke of his childhood in belfast, and his knowledge of what a military occupation was like. he felt for the afghan people who face raided homes, and murdered innocents every day of their lives. he spoke of how the british presence in afghanistan had led to more civilian deaths. when maria told him about the debate he saw it as a real and exceptional opportunity to influence the politicians, policy makers, and lobbyists, and how even if he could shorten the war by just one day it would save real people's lives.

seamus' defence advocate explored whether he had made any attempt to hold a more 'legitimate' protest, and we heard how seamus had contacted the socpa events team at charing cross, asking for permission to hold his protest within the grounds of westminster palace, but had been told he'd have to go into tower gardens, a small park out of sight from and to the west of parliament, where very few people pass through. he was also denied access to parliament square, "not possible" because it was fenced off by the GLA.

asked about the squatter's rights banners, he explained it wasn't a publicity stunt or a protest about squatting, but that because the scaffolding was a free-standing structure, the section 6 declaration might just buy some extra time for the protest. otherwise there was the distinct possibility that the protest would be removed by a police rope team in a couple of hours.

he spoke about how it was not impossible that the protest might have an effect, and that because a million people marching had not prevented the iraq war from beginning, that this more direct form of protest was necessary and potentially more effective.

the prosecution made much of his previous 'direct actions', including a much shorter banner drop back in may, but seamus pointed out this was different because it was a proper 'occupation', and had been much more dangerous to accomplish as they had rucksacks etc.

the defence simply asked whether there had been a debate on afghanistan going on back in may. of course there hadn't.

in summing up, the prosecution referred to their skeleton argument, already before the magistrate. she also made an extremely distasteful comment that if a strongly-held political belief was the basis of the defence, then that could apply to the 7/7 bombers too. apart from this jibe, she mainly appeared to argue that although the law allows a defence of 'necessity', it couldn't apply in this case, because both maria and seamus were 'full-time protestors' with a 'cause for the day', proven by the fact that the squat banner had nothing to do with afghanistan, and that it couldn't have been a last resort action as seamus had done something similar before. she also argued that the action might not have been 'necessary', because neither protestor could be sure that their previous protests hadn't already influenced the politicians. i found that an odd argument.

maria's defence (barrister ben silverstone from doughty chambers, appointed by bindmans) argued that the test of necessity was that the action was taken in circumstances that a sober person of reasonable purpose would take in the belief that it was necessary.

given that the debate was the first on afghanistan, and that it was taking place within parliament, it was reasonable and necessary to try to take a high profile action at this exceptional event and in this particular place at this exact time. with that purpose in mind, the action was conducted in a manner that was wholly proportionate and reasonable. the squat banner was only taken in the (perhaps misguided) belief that it might be an aid to the aims of the protest to occupy the space for an extended period.

seamus was represented by hodge, jones and allen partner, raj chada. he argued that 'necessity' meant the defendant's reasonable perception and good cause to fear that death or serious injury would result if he didn't take this action. as this was the first vote on the war, seamus reasonably believed it was crucial, and he felt 'impelled' to do this as the vote could have been pivotal to saving lives. his attempts at organising an 'authorised' protest had been denied, refusing him permission to get his views across effectively, with the offer of an out of site venue around the corner.

at this point judge roscoe seemed confused, and then after appearing to clear up the matter, a few minutes later asked some more questions. she'd been under the illusion that seamus had approached the police events dept before his previous banner drop in may, rather than the one in november, the subject of this case. although after some painful reptition, she eventually got this point, it was rather disconcerting that she hadn't grasped these simple facts about the case as they unfolded earlier in the day. it certainly made me wonder if she'd been listening at all, and undermined any confidence i might have had in her ability to reach a fair verdict.

when eventually she'd grasped the timeline, raj continued with his summing up. with the test of necessity met, the issue of the squat banner was a sideshow drummed up by the prosecution as it was clearly there simply to aid the main protest, and the timings and position of the protest was clear, proportionate and reasonable.

after nearly an hour of deliberation judge roscoe told the court that in her mind the protestors were not 'impelled' to take this action and, while they may have reasonably believed their actions were necessary to influence the course of a war in which people are killed, that all sorts of other protests were available to them which were not illegal.

she said that maria was a full-time protestor who believes only in peaceful protest, but that 'impelled' means no other course of action was available, and she didn't believe that was the case. she asked whether a reasonable person of similar 'characteristic' would have done the same thing, but then said that 'characteristic' was not the same thing as beliefs, and so the answer was no. i'm not sure i understood the distinction in this argument.

she accepted that although seamus' previous escapade didn't necessarily mean he couldn't have been 'impelled' to do it this time, she didn't accept that was the case.

both defendants were found guilty, but as both were very peaceful, co-operative, and proportionate, she saw the misdemeanour as an 'overstepping of the mark' rather than a serious offence, (which socpa section 128 can be), and so she would give the minimum sentence she could. she also said she certainly didn't want to discourage lawful protest. she then proceeded to pass a nine month conditional discharge to both defendants. no costs were awarded.

i'd have thought an absolute discharge would actually have been the minimum sentence but what do i know!

suddenly, the prosecution lawyer asked to address the court one more time, on behalf of detective constable matthews. quite how this fits into court protocol no-one knew, and given that a little earlier the judge had refused to hear a comment from one of the spectators in the court who had raised their hand to speak, it was a little surprising we had to hear this post-trial comment. but the lawyer then read out what amounted to a thinly-veiled death threat from the officer, who asked anyone considering similar action to bear in mind that parliamentary security were armed officers, and that someone might get shot next time.

both defence lawyers commented outside that this was an unusual and surprising addition to the legal process.

so there we have british justice. a prosecution lawyer making out that the protestors weren't serious and just went up parliament with a medley of banners including squatter's rights, also trying to compare them to extreme terrorist bombers. a judge who had difficulty grasping the factual timeline of the evidence. and a police witness who hung around after giving evidence and got the prosecution to utter threats at the end of the trial.

still, seamus enjoyed a walk round to parliament square, having been banned from there for the last nine months by draconian bail conditions for what the judge concluded was 'an overstepping of the mark'.

the defendants are considering whether to appeal.

Full article | 1 comment

Bristol builder Simon Lewis savaged by police dogs at Easter riots

25-06-2011 11:55

Friday Drivetime: BCfm’s weekly politics show presented by Tony Gosling
At five: discussing the big stories in Bristol, Britain and around the world
After six: straight talking and investigative reports with Martin Summers and Marina Morris
For all the shows back to Easter 2009 visit the Friday Drivetime archive page

Full article

Democracy Live? It looks pretty dead to me...

14-11-2010 17:10

Public Notice
Article about a recent House of Lords debate of 8th Nov 2010. Following a question by Baroness Trumpington of the Conservative party asking: "Is any agency responsible the removal of those occupying the pavement in Parliament Square?" , Home Office Minister Baroness Neville-Jones declares the UK government's intention to bring in new legislation to remove the Parliament Square protesters.