by Lynne Miles // 23 August 2006, 13:44
I've just received an email from a friend (thanks, Louise!) regarding a mass protest organised by Mark Thomas coming up next week.
You'll probably be aware that the recent Serious Organised Crime and Police Act of 2005 made it illegal to organise or take part in a demonstration within a designated area of up to 1km around parliament without getting authorisation from the police.
Mark Thomas is planning an event to highlight the stupidity of having a law against protesting outside parliament in a democracy. According to the law, if you apply six days in advance for authorisation to carry out a \x91lone demonstration\x92 (i.e. there\x92s only one of you and a placard) the police are not allowed to refuse your application.
You might be wondering what this has to do with feminist concerns. Apart from the indirect effect of curtailing our rights to protest about anything (including feminist issues), the plan as put forward by Mark is to hold a \x91mass lone demonstration\x92 where as many people as possible turn up to protest about a single issue, on their own.
The issue can be silly or serious \x96 but wouldn\x92t it be great to fill Parliament Square with women protesting feminist issues as part of a wider protest about democratic rights?
The mass lone protest is scheduled for 6.00pm on Thursday 31st August in Parliament Square \x96 which means forms must be handed in to Charing Cross Police station by tomorrow, Thursday 24th August. The link I received for downloading the form is here, but wasn\x92t working earlier (perhaps due to volume of traffic). You can also pick one up from Charing Cross Police Station. If anyone wants the form and can\x92t get hold of it, email me and I\x92ll pass it on.
See you there!