May 28, 2010

Christian peace activist arrested in Parliament Square

by David Masters

Christian peace activist Brian Haw, who has camped outside Parliament since 2001, was arrested this week during a police search.

He has appeared in court charged with obstructing police during a search of tents on Parliament Square.

Police shut down the peace camp ahead of the state opening of Parliament.

The eviction of the peace camp came during the same week that the government announced plans to repeal laws restricting civil liberties.

The new legislation, ironically announced in the Queen’s speech at the state opening of Parliament, declares that members of the public will be allowed “to protest peacefully without fear of being criminalised”.

Sharmi Chakrabarti, director of civil rights group Liberty, said she was “very sad” to see the peace camp shut down.

“On a day that is supposed to celebrate British democracy, peaceful dissent is shut down,” she said.

“The new coalition government has promised to restore the right to non-violent protest.

“Attempts to clear Parliament Square are not the most promising start.”

After being charged in court, Haw said he intends to remain camped outside Parliament.

“We’re there because our country is committing infanticide, genocide, the looting of nations.

“I’m determined to be there until they kill me. How much longer will that be?”

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