Where is the Parliament Square Designated Area Order ?

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The Evening Standard (West End Final edition) has a small paragraph on page 18:

"Anti-war man told to leave

Britain's most persistent anti-war demonstrator was today ordered to quit his pitch.

Protestor Brian Haw has been served with a legal notice to dismantle his peace camp opposite the House of Commons. Ministers expect him to be gone by August.

Mr Haw who has kept his 24-hour vigil since 2001, said he take his fight to the European Court of Human Rights."

Thanks to Bloggerheads for drawing this to our attention. (N.B. the different version of the article they have online).

Whilst we do not necessarily support Brian Haw in all his protests, the right to peacefully demonstrate or protest in Parliament Square and the surrounding area, is one which must never be lost.

We currently have a Freedom of Information Act request being delayed by the Home Office about exactly what the new rules and regulations are, and the exact extent of the Designated Area, under the new Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, part of which, astonishingly, seems to be aimed diretly at this one lone protestor.

The Metropolitan Police did not know what the extent of the Designated Area or when the Home Office would make the Order which creates it.

The Home Office "aim to respond by 22 July" to our FOIA Request, citing the exemption of an intent of Future Publication of the information.. It would be extraordinary if they published and enacted the Order before then.

How can it be that Brian Haw has been "served with a legal notice", unless and until, the Home Secretary issues this Designated Area Order under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 ?

138 The designated area

(1) The Secretary of State may by order specify an area as the designated area for the purposes of sections 132 to 137.

(2) The area may be specified by description, by reference to a map or in any other way.

(3) No point in the area so specified may be more than one kilometre in a straight line from the point nearest to it in Parliament Square"

When exactly did he do this ? Was it done in secret ?

What is the point of doing it in secret ?

Surely the extent of the Designated Area and the the new Rules and Procedures should be widely publicised ?

Or is the Evening Standard mistaken in its reports ?

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"A map of the zone, drawn up by ministers and slipped out in the Commons, shows that it takes in the whole of Whitehall and the London Eye.

Inside the zone, spontaneous demonstrations, even by a lone protester, will be banned."

"But the Act gave ministers the power to draw up an exclusion zone anywhere up to one kilometre from the Palace of Westminster. The map of the zone reveals Home Secretary Charles Clarke has used his new power to the full extent. The only significant site left out of the zone is Trafalgar Square after ministers accepted that it is a traditional venue for demonstrations."

So if you wear a political tshirt or even a rubber wristband or a badge, without having applied for permission from the Metropolitan Police beforehand, on the London Eye wheel, you are somehow posing a "security risk" or "obstructing the free movement of MPs to and from Parliament, across the river Thames ???

If "security" is the justification, then why is St. James Park, which is only a few metres from Downing Street, not included within the Designated Area ?

This is intolerable - It is Parliament Square not Tiananmen Square !!


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