Friday, 15 May 2009

More restrictions on protests at parliament

You've got to hand it to politicians -- they've got some cheek. In the middle of the expenses row and they're still trying to destroy our freedoms...

Tamil protesters today vowed to fight proposed new legislation designed to push them out of Parliament Square.

Proposals were drawn up during an emergency meeting to give police the power to move people on from the square and to make it illegal for demonstrators to camp out overnight.

Westminster Council hopes the legislation can be passed before parliamentary recess in June. It would affect all protesters including veteran peace campaigner Brian Haw.

The proposals have been drawn up by parliament speaker, Michael Martin with consultation from Westminster Council, the Home Office, City Hall and the Metropolitan Police.

Westminster Council is also prepared to hand over ownership of the pavements surrounding the green to the Greater London Authority (GLA) - making any protest camp on the sidewalk illegal.

This is a disgrace. You may, like I do, disagree with the Tamil's protest. But everyone should have the right to protest outside of their parliament.

Politicians complain about being described as out of touch. Well if they won't let people voice their opinions outside parliament can they be surprised?

This simply adds to my feeling that politicians simply think they are our lords and masters.


Anonymous said...

They do think they are lord and masters. Their arrogance is only infuriating the public. This will backfire so badly on them, it will be historic.

SciFi25 said...

I agree. They see us as their slaves to do with how they feel. Its a public space, protest should be allowed on all public land.

I do not agree with the tamil tigers (I think, I do not know much about their cause), but I sure as hell would fight for their ability to protest without repression!

RobW said...

@SciFi25 That's the exact point and something our elected politicians don't seem to understand.

Soulkiss said...

While I agree with the spirit of the comments and original post, I have to say that I think that some of the measures that are being proposed are correct.

Parliament Square is NOT a campsite, and frankly no-one should be able to (or have to, but thats a different matter) sleep/camp wherever they want in Central London.

The Tamil protest has caused huge impact on the ability of everyday Londoners to go about their business, as well as tying up large numbers of Police Offciers to contain them.

I am all in favour of protest, and specifically protest in the Westminster area, and have attended most of the demonstrations held on motorbikes as the introduction of bike parking fees, which have been done in co-operation with the Metropolitain Police AND we have received good feedback and thanks for our conduct.

So yes, protest IS a valid form politics for the average guy in the street to take part in, it usually has, at worst, a few hours of disruption due to road closures and the like, but it DOES have to be policed.