Tag Archive for 'Parliament-square'

Lebanon – Emergency Demo today

Most of you who know me will know that demonstrations are not really my cup of tea. I don’t generally find them a productive use of time. On top of that they normally attract the sort of ‘hard’ socialists with whom I can often find very little in common.

Nevertheless I have been appalled not only by the scale of Israeli state terrorism perpetrated against the people of Lebanon but much more so by our government’s complicity in these war crimes. Specifically, diplomatic support, supply of arms, and passage provided to US air transport of munitions. I am not prepared for these to go on in my name and it is very difficult to see what writing to MP is going to do.

So, God-willing, I shall be taking part in today’s emergency Stop the War demonstration. (Meeting at 12 noon, Hyde Park Speakers Corner, to march to Parliament Square.) If, like me, you feel that you cannot allow our government to continue acting, as it has, in our names, then I urge you to come too. If you can’t make it then at least sign the letter to Tony Blair or do something else constructive to show your opposition.Incidentally I am curious that permission has been granted for a demonstration in Parliament Square, given the problems protestors have faced recently with the Serious, Organised Crime & Police Act (SOCPA), most notably Brian Haw. Events could be “interesting” and so I’m tempted to dust off the covers to my hitherto-underutilised camcorder. Perhaps the day may also my first ever YouTube contribution!

Of course Parliament Square has, in recent years, become more difficult to protest in even before SOCPA. I remember when I was President of Imperial College Union, we received legal counsel advising against holding a demonstration in Parliament Square. Since the establishment of the Greater London Authority, the Square has been the responsibility of the Mayor, whose policy has been to promote Trafalgar Square for all public events. I guess the move to Parliment Square may reflect the success of the Mayor’s strategy in that there is so much cultural activity now going on in Trafalgar Square that there is now no space for political protests there. In any case I am glad we are going to Parliament Square. Trafalgar Square is nice (especially now that the Northern part has been pedestrianised) but it is a cultural centre, not a political one. Political protest in London rightly belongs in the vicinity of Parliament.