Help defend free speech!
A recent damn-fool law has made it illegal to protest anywhere near Parliament without official police permission, and comedian Mark Thomas is organising a stunt to highlight the danger and stupidity of having this law in a democracy.
Please note that taking part in this is 100% LEGAL, and the whole purpose of the stunt is to overload the system by dozens of people all asking for permission to protest all at the same time.
The law: Under section 132 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 [PDF] it is an offence to organise or take part in a demonstration in a public place within the “designated area” (up to 1 km around parliament) if authorisation has not been given by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner.Participants may be subject to a fine of up to £1000 and “organizers” face up to a year in jail. Tsk! Our How stupid is that? As if our jails aren't bursting at the seams as it is without locking up perfectly reasonable people trying to make a democratic point to a la-la-la-can't hear-you Government.
DESIGNATED AREA: Dozens of people have been arrested for not complying with the law even when they are taking part in “Lone Demonstrations” - i.e. if they are one person with a placard.
Many people see this legislation as an assault on our civil liberties and human rights. It’s not always practical to plan a week in advance what government activities you may or may not disagree with. Sometimes a spontaneous response is called for. And surely the most appropriate place to demonstrate against the government’s actions is within the newly “Designated Area”, at the very core of this country’s democratic foundation.
And why is New Labour so concerned about peaceful protestors anyway?If you apply for permission 6 days in advance for a lone protest (ie 1 person) they cannot refuse permission, so in order to highlight the ridiculousness of having to ask for police permission to hold a peaceful demonstration, Mark Thomas is organising a mass lone demonstration evening.
Anyone who wants to demonstrate about any issue can come along, or even if you just want to demonstrate your disgust at having to ask for permission to protest in a supposedly free country. Remember. This will NOT be breaking the law in any way!
In fact the purpose of this is to get as many people as possible complying with a ridiculous law. All at the very same time! Huzzah!
Stage 1 - Decide on your protest! This can be something you feel strongly about or something very silly – it’s up to you. Then you need to fill in the official form (which is very simple) and there is a copy of the form attached. Here you go.
Stage 2 - Meet on Thursday 24th August outside Charing Cross police station any time between: 5.30pm-6pm to hand in your SOCPA forms. The address is Agar Street, London, WC2N 4JP and a map is attached. You have to fill in form and hand it in to the police 1 week before you protest, so everyone has to turn up at the same time to give their forms to>the Police. This will mean if 100 people turn up and apply for permission, then the unfortunate police have to license and approve 100 lone demonstrations. (Yes, I know they have more important things to do. That's the whole point. It's for the long term good that we do this, so they can get on with catching baddies instead of wasting their time with this nonsense.) If you can’t make it to hand the forms in, but want to demonstrate on the 31st, post them to: Ben Stern S2S Suite Z009 Old Truman Brewery 1 Brick Lane London E1 6QL.
(Yay Ben! Then I suggest we all go for a pint afterwards.)
Stage 3 - The mass lone demonstrations will be 1 week later on Thursday 31st Augustand will again be at 6:00pm for 1 hour, so this event is open to those with day jobs. Come along! Join in! Exercise your democratic rights! The more people who>come the bigger an impression this will make!
EASY-PEASY STEP BY STEP
STEP 1 Forward this on to any friends who have a burning issue that they might need to protest about and persuade them to come as well. This is also for anyone who finds it terrible that we have to ask for permission from the Police to peacefully protest outside Parliament.
STEP 2 Print out form
STEP 3 Fill in form with the issue that you wish to protest about.
STEP 4 5.30 - 6pm Thursday 24th August, show up at the same time as other>lone protesters at Charing Cross Police Station.
STEP 5 6pm Thursday 31st August, show up and protest about your personal issue in Parliament Square.
STEP 6 Consider continuing your protest again at a later date.
Again a group session for shy lone protesters will almost certainly be scheduled. Once again this is COMPLETELY LEGAL – in fact we are encouraging as many people as we can to apply the letter of the law simultaneously. Dozens of people have already agreed to do this so don’t worry that you’ll be doing this on your own. See the links below to learn more about SOCPA, the groups it has angered and the people it has affected. This is also likely to be covered by the press. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about this event.
Big shout out from me to Ben, and to Chris Atkins S2S Post The Old Truman Brewery 91 Brick LaneLondon E1 6QLT: +44 20 7053 2190
F: +44 20 7053 2188
Link to this blog - http://rachelnorthlondon.blogspot.com/2006/08/simultaneous-lone-demonstration.html
See you there. And if you link this, I will link you back in a linky love fest of peace and democracy. I may even *buy you a pint.
UPDATE: 12.37PM - OK IT'S LATE, I'M TOTALLY KNACKERED FROM 2 HOURS POLE DANCING BUT I PROMISED...KEEP 'EM COMING...IT'S TIME FOR LINKY LOVE - big thanks to Justin of Chicken Yoghurt fame, Davide from The Netherworld, Rachel-Catherine, Gamba, Devils Kitchen, Nosemonkey, Matt GB, Peaceful Demonstrator ( let me know yr address p.d and I can link...) , A Very Long Way from Anywhere Else, D-Notice, Bloggerheads, The Chaps at The Chap, Tim Worstall , Infinitives Unsplit, urban 75 massive ( some of them) , Pippa of Philippa's Daily News Planet, Bishop Hill, David Goodman , Clairwil
* Yowsers. I shall be buying many pints, then...cool ...see you there...
What are we all protesting about, by the way, democracy-fans? Let us know in the comments...