Parliament Square Restored
Praise be to the skies. Parliament Square has at last been restored to how it should be. The last remnants of the late Brian Haw’s “peace camp” eyesore were cleared away on Wednesday last week and none of the high horses of antiwar sanctimony even noticed.
The last few placards have continued to clutter the pavement opposite the Houses of Parliament since the large squatter camp was evicted from the grass in the middle of the square three years ago.
A Westminster council spokesman told a colleague of mine:
The council cleared the site as no one had been there for 48 hours, so it was cleared under waste removal powers.
Also, some of the materials taken away are regarded as camping equipment which are illegal under Westminster by-laws – a good analogy is if someone emptied a house out in Whitehall and left the waste on the street the council would clear it away.
Our most recent comment is below:
Westminster City Council leader, Cllr Philippa Roe, said: “We have worked hard to find a solution to this problem without prohibiting the rights for free speech and protests.
“However, for some time what is a public open space has been dominated by tents and encampments which have restricted its use. The High Court also took this view after a full and fair hearing. It concluded the protesters did not have the right to inhabit a public square designed for everyone to use.
“Throughout this process we have sought to find a solution by talking to the protesters involved. People will always be allowed to protest in Parliament Square – what is not reasonable is setting up permanent camps there. Westminster is not a campsite.”
What an excellent way to mark the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq (20 March), although Haw’s camp actually started, in June 2001, in protest against sanctions against Iraq. Really, he should have supported the invasion as a way of lifting the burden of sanctions from the Iraqi people.
Photograph: Christopher Hope
Previously about Brian Haw.Tagged in: iraq, iraq war, Parliament Square, protest
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