.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Monday, October 08, 2007

A march too far?

It is difficult to see whether the Police ban on anti-war protestors entering Parliament Square, under the provisions of 19th century sessional orders passed to protect the passage of MPs and peers against radical mobs, is an attempt at censorship as alleged or bureaucracy gone mad.

The Police say that Parliament Square is a relatively constricted space and that three other protests there have been approved to coincide with MPs' return to work. Accordingly a spokeswoman claims that the sessional order has been invoked "to uphold access and egress for MPs and peers in order to protect the democratic process."

Liberty say that "This proposed restriction on peaceful protest is a disproportionate interference with the vital democratic rights of free expression and free assembly," whilst John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington, calls it "an unacceptable assault on our civil liberties."

It is in everybody's best interests to sort this out soon by Police agreeing a route with organisers that they are happy with. Whatever one thinks of any cause itself, the right to protest should be inalienable. That is why I deplore so strongly Labour's decision to ban peaceful protest within a one mile zone around Parliament.

Democracy has already been damaged by that decision. We should not allow it to be damaged further as a result of the so-called concerns of the Metropolitan Police. They have the resources and the expertise to properly police this march, they should not seek to prevent it taking place so as to spare the Prime Minister's blushes or otherwise.
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?