Veteran protesters face jail under new anti-terror laws
Ian Herbert / London Independent | May 10 2006
It takes a brave - or foolhardy - law enforcer to drag Helen John before the courts. The Metropolitan Police tried it seven years ago after the peace campaigner had daubed the 18in-high message "Ban Trident", referring to the nuclear warhead of that name, on to the Houses of Parliament. The jury, which convicted her of criminal damage, also said it "unanimously agreed that the defendant had a reasonable cause for her action".
Today, Mrs John will discover whether the Government will try its luck again, by making her and fellow veteran peace protester Sylvia Boyes the first individuals to face charges under a little-noticed clause in the Government's Serious Organised Crime and Police Act, which came into force last month.
Mrs John, 68, and Mrs Boyes, 62, who have been told to report to Harrogate police station to hear their fate, were arrested on 2 April after setting out to highlight the law, which civil liberties groups believe will criminalise free speech and undermine the right to peaceful demonstration, under the guise of the war on terror. http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/may2006/100506protesters.htm
Lone war protester told it's time go
Neil Tweedie / London Telegraph | May 10 2006
Brian Haw's one-man protest is almost as much a part of Parliament Square as the great, brooding statue of Sir Winston Churchill standing next to it.
For five years his rag-tag display of anti-war placards has stood there, expanding to occupy an entire side of the square facing Big Ben and the entrance to the House of Commons. "B Liar" declares one of his creations, a rebuke to the man Mr Haw regards as the warmonger-in-chief.
But now, after numerous abortive attempts to remove it, Mr Haw's encampment is facing destruction. A notice issued yesterday by Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, ordered him to dismantle it "as soon as possible". He will be allowed just 10 feet of frontage in the future - enough for a poster and his camp bed.
"They want to destroy it all because it tells the truth," said Mr Haw.
In an article in The Observer last month, the Prime Minister cited Mr Haw's demonstration as evidence that his Government was not authoritarian, despite its desire to fingerprint the entire adult population for ID cards and passing legislation allowing police to retain DNA samples taken from innocent people.