Protest against anti-protest law, London, 21st April 2007

On the 21st April 2007, me and 2000 other people will be in London, doing 20 separate ten-minute demonstrations around Whitehall to protest about the SOCPA law, which says that to demonstrate in this area you need to beg permission from the police. I personally think that having to ask permission to exercise your democratic right to protest is bloody appalling, so let’s try and do something about it! This is being organised by Mark Thomas. You can read more about the SOCPA protest at markthomasinfo.com. Basically, you have to write to Charing Cross police station to ask for permission to demonstrate in the “SOCPA area”, so Mark’s aiming for two thousand people (he’s up to 1200 already!) to each do twenty separate 10 minute one-person protests over the course of Saturday 21st April. There are lots of buildings in the SOCPA area; choose the ones you want to demonstrate about! Most government ministries are there, McDonalds are there, there are supermarkets and the Adam Smith Institute and the BBC’s Millbank studios. Show people that SOCPA is ridiculous. Thomas has produced an info pack to help you put together what you need. In particular, you have to send a real paper letter for each protest that you’re doing to Charing Cross police station, and they have to be in at the latest by the end of the week, so if you want to be part of it you’ll need to join in quickly. There’s a little “wizard” on Thomas’s site to help you easily produce the twenty letters you’ll need! SOCPA is a stupid law. You should not have to beg permission to protest! One woman was arrested for ringing a bell and reading out the names of war dead, which is apparently a serious threat to the republic in this day and age. The law was basically brought in specifically to stop the protest by Brian Haw, who has been demonstrating in Parliament Square since 2001. The government have tried repeatedly to have him removed or deny him the right to demonstrate, and have failed; they passed SOCPA to try and ban him and everyone else from protesting anywhere near the government buildings, and then a court declared that the law didn’t apply to Brian because he was there before the law came into effect! One point to Brian Haw and the courts; minus nine million points to the government and trying to legislate away even more of our rights. The police have said that they get about 1300 SOCPA requests a year; we’re giving them twice that in one day. Get your placard and come with us! Here’s the route that I’ll be taking. If you want to meet up while we’re there, drop me a line! Among the mini-protests that I’m doing are ones for enforcing anti-disability-discrimination laws against websites, as is supposed to happen, and use of open formats and open source software within the government, which two things probably cover a good proportion of the people reading this! 10:30 - 10:40 Parliament Square 10:50 - 11:00 DfES 11:10 - 11:20 Centre For European Reform 11:30 - 11:40 Channel 4 11:50 - 12:00 Home Office 12:10 - 12:20 DoT 12:30 - 12:40 MI5 12:50 - 13:00 DEFRA 13:10 - 13:20 Parliament Square 14:00 - 14:10 QE2 Conference Centre 14:20 - 14:30 Tescos 14:40 - 14:50 Boudica 15:00 - 15:10 MoD 15:20 - 15:30 McDonalds 15:40 - 15:50 Hungerford Bridge 16:00 - 16:10 Treasury 16:20 - 16:30 Cabinet Office 16:40 - 16:50 DWP 17:00 - 17:10 Downing Street 17:20 - 17:30 Parliament Sq

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