The terrorists win. Again.

Posted by Tim Ireland at 15 June 2005

Category: The War on Stupid, Tony 'King Blair

This entry was posted on
Wednesday, June 15th, 2005
at
11:24 am and is filed
under The War on Stupid, Tony ‘King Blair.

Evening Standard – Exclusion zone to Parliament protests: Political protests are to be curbed in a half-mile “exclusion zone” around Parliament, it emerged today. A map of the zone, drawn up by ministers and slipped out in the Commons, shows that it takes in the whole of Whitehall and the London Eye. Inside the zone, spontaneous demonstrations, even by a lone protester, will be banned. Police will be able to set stringent conditions on those who apply in advance, such as a half-hour time limit and a ban on placards and loudhailers. Anyone who fails to comply will face arrest. Critics denounced the measure as a heavy-handed attack on free speech.

Further: Ministers claimed a ban on demonstrations outside Parliament was needed to allow MPs and peers free access in and out of the building.

Yes. There are no secure underpasses to surrounding buildings, car parks and the Underground. All MPs walk the streets like common men these days

But the Act gave ministers the power to draw up an exclusion zone anywhere up to one kilometre from the Palace of Westminster. The map of the zone reveals Home Secretary Charles Clarke has used his new power to the full extent. The only significant site left out of the zone is Trafalgar Square after ministers accepted that it is a traditional venue for demonstrations.

Well, isn’t that big of them?

Here you go, folks, I drew you a map of a 1km exclusion zone around the Houses of Parliament. This is what democracy looks like:

westminster map

Take a look at the teeny-tiny wedge they’ve so graciously allowed us for protest somewhere near the heart of this country’s ever-dwindling democracy.

Think about what your options are if you wish to stage a major protest over any action by the Home Office, the Foreign Office, the Treasury, the Ministry of Defence, etc. etc. etc.

This exclusion zone covers every major government office. If the 1km limit extends from the outer boundary of the Houses of Parliament (as I expect it does), then the area directly outside the gates of Buckingham Palace is also a no-go area.

Let me repeat the most important bit for you:

But the Act gave ministers the power to draw up an exclusion zone anywhere up to one kilometre from the Palace of Westminster. The map of the zone reveals Home Secretary Charles Clarke has used his new power to the full extent.

To. The. Full. Extent.

Remember that the next time someone speaks reassuringly about ID cards.

UPDATE:

BBC – Protest ban zone ‘goes too far’

Mayor of London Blog – Is St. James Park in the Designated Area for restricting protests around Parliament Square or not?

Telegraph – Commons exclusion zone to ban protesters

UPDATE:

Here’s a revised map following the specifications outlined in The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (Designated Area) Order 2005. (Cheers to Anthony for the heads-up.)

westminster map revised

Of course, this would be a lot easier if the Home Office released a sodding copy of the map to the public.

But no. They would prefer we didn’t know too much about it until it’s too late.








25 Comments

  1. balders says

    And people say there’s nothing to worry about. Nice to see that a government with the support of barely 36% of the electorate not only retains, but actually uses, its powers to the full to effectively stifle protest. This government is determined to impose its will upon us, regardless of our democratic rights, and fear of terrorism is the justification. Well, I for one am far more frightened by what this government will do than I am of Al Qaeda and other terror groups.

  2. Scaryduck says

    I suppose this comes from our masters saying they’ve “listened and learned” after the election. Listened to the protests, and learned not to have such things anywhere near them.I’m sure I speak for a large majority of people when I say: “The. Bunch. Of. Cunts.”

  3. irritant says

    I dread to think what they will come up with next.

  4. melissa_cw says

    Amazing how you get this info Tim!Are we, in Westminster, meant to feel safer with the prospect of this invisible ‘secure’ ring around us?Melissa @ Boris Johnson Office

  5. Rik says

    What do you think would happen if 10,000 concerned souls converged in this exclusion zone with the soul purpose of a peaceful sit-down protest? Or are the people of the UK too full of apathy to worry about the right to free speech these days?Keep up the good reporting, Tim.

  6. Manic says

    What would happen?The police would be under orders that would more or less ensure a fight. The protestors would get the blame for what followed. Then some lickspittle dipstick would point and scream; “Y’see?! This is why we need this!”

  7. SuperDave says

    As sad as it is to see the general deterioration of free speech rights here in the states, I take a very small consolation in seeing that we’re not alone. We’re well on our way toward becoming a Facist state, and I shudder to think of the consequences for the planet if these sort of policies continue.

  8. Mayor of London Blog says

    Is St. James park in the Designated Area for restricting protests around Parliament Square or not ?

    The Evening Standard and the BBC have published two different accounts of the alleged map which outlines the controversial Designated Area around Parliament Square “No point in the area so specified may be more than one kilometre in a straight…

  9. biffa says

    while watching the advent of ‘free speech zones’ and people getting arrested for bumper-stickers and t-shirts in the states I always viewed it as something that couldn’t happen over here. obviously i was wrong. and the worst thing is it seems to have slipped my more-or-less unnoticed and theres nothing i can do about it. as suggested any protests or ‘sit-in’ will just be spun as confirming the need for the legislation

  10. Anthony Wells says

    The legislations says it zone needs to be be within 1,000 metres of any point within Parliament square, so the circle should be a hundred metres or so to the North-West. By my reckoning the gates of Buckingham Palace fall quite comfortably within that.

  11. Anthony Wells says

    OK – here is the actual statutory instrument setting up the area, so it someone wants to draw it on a map…http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2005/20051537.htmRather surprisingly the Home Office is also outside the boundary. For now at least…

  12. perfect.co.uk says

    They’ve taken away another little bit of our freedom

    Tony Blair: “When I pass protestors every day at Downing Street, and believe me, you name it, they protest against it, I may not like what they call me, but I thank God they can. That’s called freedom” On August…

  13. Oscar Wildebeest says

    Norwich Labour Party is at 59 Bethel Street, Norwich, which I think you’ll find is also outside the exclusion zone.Just if you happen to be passing.

  14. Oscar Wildebeest says

    Oh, and Home Office Minister Paul Goggins might once in a blue moon be present at:2/10 Alderman Downward HouseCivic CentreWythenshaweManchester M22 5RFProbably also outside the zone – for now.

  15. Gnus of the World says

    Silent protest

    Tim at Bloggerheads has helpfully drawn a map of the areas of London in which you are no longer allowed to protest. At all. For any reason.

  16. rhetorically speaking says

    nothing to see here

    I’m also ever so slightly reminded about the ring of steel that will surround Holyrood and the Scottish Parliament any day soon. It’s almost as though our elected representatives want to keep us as far away from them as possible for some reason.

  17. Parliament Protest says

    Designated Area

    The current Designated Area is set out in The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (Designated Area) Order 2005 “The provisions relating to the procedure for giving notice of a demonstration and obtaining an authorisation come into force on…

  18. Honourable Fiend: The UK Politics Blog says

    Legislation’s what you need

    Overarmed doesn’t help if your aim is rubbish. First we had the rozzers. They had four coppers standing over an innocent unarmed civilian and unloaded eight…

  19. Make My Vote Count says

    Fear and Loathing in the Lords

    Charlie Falconer, he of ‘no groundswell’ fame, is at the centre of Labour’s latest move to enshrine themselves into parliament legend and rule unopposed until God himself is forced to get off his decadent arse and kick them out. Unhappy…

  20. Make My Vote Count says

    Hey everybody! Jack’s back!

    One slice of specious turd-pie is evidently not enough for some people. Following his almost entirely erroneous and patronising piece in the Guardian a while back, our *beloved* foreign-secretary has popped up in the Independent today to tell the 40,00…

  21. The Inside Of My Head says

    Freedom of speech – just watch what you say

    Remember Brian Haw, the peace protestor camped outside the Houses of Parliament since June 2001?The government tried to pass a law to evict him and, in doing so, created a 1km no-protest zone around Parliament – taking away a right which had existed…

  22. perfect.co.uk says

    Freedom of speech – just watch what you say

    Remember Brian Haw, the peace protestor camped outside the Houses of Parliament since June 2001? The government tried to pass a law to evict him and, in doing so, created a 1km no-protest zone around Parliament – taking away a…

  23. Davide Simonetti says

    It’s worth bearing all this in mind for the big demonstration planned on March 18th which meets at noon in Parliament Square. I wonder if they are going to try and arrest thousands of people. So far they are just making a fuss about signing petitions. This from Lindsey German of Stop the War Coalition:”At the same time, we are having trouble from the police about our plans to sign petitions on Parliament Square on the day ofour demo, March 18th. There is increasing restriction on this square, demonstrating on which can be judged a serious crime under last year’s law. Maybe we should say we will only be judged by god.”http://www.stopwar.org.uk/new/Lindsey.htm

  24. Murky.org says

    The Cabinet Office writes on the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

    Baroness Amos’ office forwarded my letter onto the Cabinet Office. They have written to me with this reply. It really does need a response. I have a few ideas, but any comments would be gratefully received. Better Regulation Executive 6th…

  25. Chicken Yoghurt says

    backing blair back

    Thinking of voting for New Labour on May 4th? Here’s one or two reasons why you maybe shouldn’t.”Putting King Herod in charge of a maternity ward”AstroturfingTax creditsBasra: “a mini-Iran-come-Sicily”“Several h…

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