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Serious Organised Crime Bill (clauses 123 and 124)


"Can I draw your attention to this part of the bill because I think it is relevant to your democracy watch section.
These clauses deal with protests around the Palace of Westminster area. Marches have always been banned in this area when Parliament is sitting but these clauses could be invoked to stop groups of people lobbying their MPs.Of more immediate concern is the proposal to create an offence of 'spoiling the visual aspect, or otherwise spoiling the enjoyment by members of the public, of any part of the designated area.'

This is specifically aimed at removing Brian Haw who has been protesting in Parliament Square against US and UK policy in Iraq since 2 June, 2001.

He is an embarrassment to the government and several attempts to remove him have failed so David Blunkett in desperation proposed a new offence of spoiling the view.

For further details go to parliament-square.org.uk and click on 'defend protest in the square'.