Recently in Parliament Square Category

This report in the Sunday Telegraph almost beggars belief. It claims that Sir Ian Blair misled the Metropolitan Police Authority meeting last Thursday, about the cost of the removal of long term peace protestor Brian Haw's banners and posters etc. from Parliament Square last Tuesday morning. On Thursday the costt was reported to be a staggering £7,200 - £3000 for overtime, £4,200 for transport and catering, for an incredible 78 Police Officers to deal with one protestor at 2:45am in the morning.

However, it now appears that the sum wasted on harassing this lone protestor is an astonsihing £27,754 !

Sir Ian told the Metropolitan Police Authority on Thursday that the cost of removing a peace camp from Parliament Square, which involved 78 officers, was £7,200.

The following day, the issue was discussed by the Met's management board. Within hours, details of the meeting were passed to a journalist, who contacted Scotland Yard for a comment. That afternoon, Sir Ian admitted that he had misled the authority, as the true cost of dismantling the anti-war protester Brian Haw's placards, including officers' pay, was £27,754

£27,754 represents about about £60 an hour for 6 hours for the 78 Police Officers involved - 50 on the raid itself, with 24 on standby elswehere, presumably with some senior officers milling around as well.
Why were they not raiding a drugs den or a human trafficking sex slave brothel instead ?

Even if you accept that the Metropolitan Police are in a cleft stick with regards to the draconian and illogical Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 Section 132 Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond, this excessive, heavyhanded and wasteful Police operation must be strongly condemned. We want our money back !

Londoners should demand an explanation from the Metropolitan Police Service, via a complaint to their local member of the Metropolkitan Police Authority about this misleading report on Thursday, and on the utter waste of public money.

It is all very well for the Metropolitan Police or the Metropolitan Police Authority spokesmen to talk about "assessing the risks to public safety" and "collecting evidence for possible future arrests" with regard to the demonstraions outside of the Danish Embassy, where violent slogans were shouted and murderous threats were displayed on placards.

The existing public order and incitement to violence laws should have been perfectly adequate to deal with the situation, but the argument that not giving the oxygen of publicity to a minority of extremists by arresting them on the spot, is very sensible.

However, what then, is the justification for arresting, prosecuting and convicting people under the Serious Organsied Crime and Police Act 2005 Designated Area powers in Parliament Square or Whitehall, who have not uttered anything violent, and who were no possible threat to public order or national security or any hinderance to the operations of Parliament ?

If the Metroplitan Police are to command the respect of the people of London, they should be seen to be acting fairly, and treating all groups equally.

At the moment they do not appear to be doing so, on either "public order" or on "anti-terrorism" issues.


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It looks as if the Parliament Square peace protestor Brian Haw has won his legal loophole case in the High Court regarding the new restrictions on demonstrations without prior written consent, within the excessive Designated Area around Parliament.

Unfortunately this ruling, based on the fact that his protest has already started does not apply to all the rest of us.

It is ironic that the alleged main target of the controversial sections of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 is actually the one person who is exempt !

There is a call for a Madrid style mass demonstration against terrorism:

Another Pledgebank Pledge:

"I will at the earliest opportunity, assemble in London in a public demonstration of respect to the victims of the July 7 atrocity, defiance of the murderers who carried it out and solidarity with the people of London but only if 100 other people will too."

http://www.pledgebank.com/solidarity

However, even if you are demonstrating against terrorism, and praising the Police and other authorities, you will still fall foul of the Designated Area around Parliament if you do not apply for prior permission , in writing "at least 6 clear days" or "24 hours" before time. The criminal penalties include up to 51 weeks in prison and/or £2500 fine for organising or £1000 for simply demonstrating, even on your own as an individual.

See the Parliament Protest blog for more details.

Another open public meeting to discuss and plan peaceful resistance
to the restriction on demonstrations, lobbying of Members of Parliament (even by a single individual) without prior written permission and with arbitrary conditions imposed etc. "in the vicinity of Parliament", will be held next week:

"The meeting will be split into 2 - one half for those who are interested in the Mass Act of Defiance - and the other half for everyone else to discuss other events and actions, publicity, press etc etc.

The meeting will be held from 7pm to 9.30pm on Wednesday 13th July at
the Diorama Arts Centre (room D4), 3-7 Euston Centre, Regents Place,
London NW1 3ND - just near the Euston Tower.

Directions to Diorama 2, 3, and 4 from Warren Street station - Exit the station and turn left to face 40-story Euston tower. Cross the road heading towards the tower. Turn left in front of the tower, carry on, and turn right after Pret-A-Manger. We are in the ground floor of the building with the 4-story, pop art, electric fan painting. Look for the doors beneath the signs that read D4, D3, D2. See map: http://www.diorama-arts.org.uk/findus.htm"

More information and discussions at the new Parliament Protest blog

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