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Thursday, January 12, 2006 

Judge respects interference with human rights.

Thanks to Bloggerheads:

I really hope that those who protested will appeal so that the process can be started to strike down this repressive and ridiculous law. As you may know, protests within around a mile of the Houses of Parliament are banned without authorisation from the police, who require at least 24 hours notice and can also deny the request for any reason, thanks to "Serious and Organised Crime Act 2004". This was mainly designed to remove Brian Haw, who has been protesting outside the houses since just before the war on Afghanistan, but failed as it was poorly drafted. The government was also embarrassed by the protests by school children at the beginning of the Iraq war, and by the protests by the Countryside Alliance, around the time of the vote banning fox hunting. So using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, they banned all protests without first notifying the completely politically independent Met, using the risk of terrorism as an ajoining factor to get MPs to vote for it. The government succeeded, and here we are today.

It is outrageous that members of the public cannot protest at the heart of our democracy without first asking for permission. It very likely breaches the European Convention on Human Rights, as suggested by Judge Nicholas Evans, but he still felt he had to fine one of the protestors for doing nothing more than simply exercising what anyone should be allowed to do in what is meant to be a democracy. Blair and Bush want to spread "freedom" around the world, but only if you ask them nicely for permission first.

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