Tuesday, December 13, 2005

another freedom gone

BBC News: England: London: Activist convicted under demo law

This is the death of freedom of speech (or at least a very serious illness), as John Humphries correctly said on the Today Programme this morning. Maya Evans stood near the Houses of Parliament and read out a list of names of soldiers killed in Iraq whilst tolling a bell. She was arrested, convicted, and given a conditional discharge - but this means she now has a criminal record.


The Silver Eel said...

This is sort of unbelievable, not to mention nonsensical. I mean, you either have the right of freedom of speech, or you don't - you can't just cordon off one part of the country and say, over here it's conditional. The police already have plenty of powers to arrest or move on protesters, pretty much at their discretion, and anyone who wanted to commit some kind of terrorist attack on Parliament certainly wouldn't go about it while carrying a placard. This has got nothing to do with security and everything to do with a collective guilty conscience. I recall they covered up "Guernica" in the UN building prior to one of the debates on Iraq.

Yvonne said...

I agree, it's bizarre. They had Charles Clarke on the Today programme, and he said that it was because she hadn't asked the police to authorise it. But surely the police only need to authorise mass protest marches where the route needs to be agreed in advance, not one-person vigils. I recall attending a peace vigil in the park in Bristol - I don't think anyone agreed that with the police in advance, because there was no issue of causing an obstruction.