Sunday, 19 June 2011

So, farewell then...

Brian Haw has died. He set up his tent in Parliament Square ten years ago to protest at Britain's treatment of Iraq and his camp became a focal point for wider protest at the invasion and, more generally, at the erosion of civil liberties in this country. His occupation of Parliament Square survived quite a few legal challenges, though eventually Mayor Boris managed to get him off the grass, so he camped on the pavement instead.

His form of protest rather polarised opinion, and many thought that the peace camp outside Parliament was just an eyesore created by noisy nutters with not enough to do. His supporters point to the fact that his presence in that place meant that the protest stayed alive and in the media far longer than any one march or petition could have done.

I admired his persistence, and take some comfort from the fact that despite enormous effort by The Powers That Be, the justice system in this country allowed him to stay there and continue his protest. Illness, not the law, brought it to an end. My sympathy goes to his family and friends.

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