London Freedom of Assembly Protest

On Saturday 2 January 2008 at 1pm protestors gathered in Trafalgar Square for the Freedom of Assembly demonstration.

In July 2005 the UK Labour government implemented the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (SOCPA), designed to initialise the Serious Organised Crime Association (SOCA), or more commonly known as the UK FBI. But tagged on the end of this act were Sections 132 to 138 that banned protest within a kilometre radius of Parliament without prior police permission.

Thursday January 18 is the end of the public consultation process to decide whether the law will be repealed. But in the consultation paper it calls for expansion of those “conditions” on protest around parliament to encompass England and Wales, to “remove any confusion around conditions that can be imposed”.

The 200-strong protest marched, without police authorisation, into the SOCPA zone around parliament, from Trafalgar Square, past the Foreign Office, on to Parliament Square, to the Home Office, Scotland Yard, MI5 and back to Parliament Square, where a sit-down protest on the main junction was initiated.

Then the Tactical Support Group (TSG) were brought in to install order.

The march then moved towards Downing Street for a final showdown.

Police vans raced in and the TSG continued their heavy-handed policing, arresting seven people, including peace protestor Brian Haw, who was injured in the process, along with many others suffering bruises on pressure points.

Two videos of that day are at Indymedia UK (video1, video2).

All footage and stills are (c) Jason N. Parkinson All Rights Reserved

For access to footage and stills contact the author.


4 responses to “London Freedom of Assembly Protest

  1. >from baraka:Saturday 12th saw up to 200 concerned citizens take to the streets ofLondon’s Westminster area alongside numerous gatherings elsewherein theUk, to contend the new SOCPA bill.(Public”consultation” ends thursday 17th Jan, visit HomeOfficewebsite toget your views in, Your opinions are always important to us) (hahaha).In myhastily appointed posistion as U.S Exchange Consultant to GordonBrown & his cabinet, I attended the event as Protest Manager to ensureboth police and protesters adhered strictly to my rules (thanks tosomegreat documentation from my own private ‘M’, cheers Caro).The Gucci glasses helped.On the whole I noted that the citzens behaviour was disciplined,focusedand well within NVDA (non violent direct action) guidelines.On the other hand our boys in blue were demonstrating some highlyinteresting tactics. Without waiting on due provocation theyadhered tostrike and grab routines, whereupon, as a swarm of sharks, theyisolated’ringleaders’ and made around seven indecently forcible arrests.Peaceful protester Brian Haw was very roughly handled, bundledbleedinginto the back of a police van. Shouts of real shock and pain wereaudibleto us outside as two male police officers engaged with Mr Hawbehind theclosed wagon doors. Rough as fuck. As an independant, I saw no reason to discontinue expectations of thedemocratic right to freespeach in this country, despite overbearingthreats of violence to those who refuse to conform & condone insilence.Neither did the war veteran I chatted to on the streets that day.Nor did the numerous passers by (surprisingly enough none of whomhad beenquestioned as part of any public consultation process).The up & coming generations of students against climate change werenotaware that within a few days they would be criminals for holding theirperfectly printed placards.The well dressed business man pushing a pram with his baby son pastDowning Street that evening looked gutted at the thought of his boygrowing up in a world where freedom of speech meant a state ofcondonedviolence.He needed no propaganda, an intelligent mind saw plainly for itselfwhatwas going on. So whilst his stiff upper screamed excellentbreeding, nothing could disguise the hurt fleeting behindhis eyesas he saw all he had worked for being beaten from us, hiscontemparies.Being stolen from his own heir.So,Every one who wants or needs to speak up for those who cannot,All who are proud of the essential human rights ingredients thatmake ourtiny nation so massive in the eyes of the world,All who enjoy the right to decide a peaceful fate, All those who haveworked so f**ken hard to not have the police/them&us bollitiksdistractfrom the real issues,All of you educated enough to be reading this right now – pleasefind outmore for yourself (loads on Exclusion Zone, 1km around westminster.and new SOCPA laws.Find the loopholes, Roll out the glitter, the samba and the voices andcome party in peace.But remember, children, dont you be organising no demos, dont speakoutand dont bring placards. Dont advertise a cause without askingmummy anddaddy first.If you would like to be scheduled in for an allocated3minutesession of free thinking, please register with your local ProtestManagerprior to having these ideas.200 people ay? Any raise on 200? Gimme 2000, 200000.Circulate the info, if you want the right to protest, see you and yourmates next time.No hippie kisses. No police pushiness. No Governmental whitewash.Peace, Be

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