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1. Does anyone have the boundaries of the 'Zone of National Shame' around Parliament? This is the half-mile area which people are no longer allowed 'unauthorised' protests.

One possibility is trying to oraganise en masse to go down there and ask the police present to define it for us and then stand at the edge and carry out a protest. As the protest is mainly about free speech we were also thinking about having people - one at a time - go into the 'Zone of National Shame' and recite Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (see my user bio for the quote). As the government fully supports this declaration it would be a sign of 'support' and not 'protest' which might make a firmer legal case should any of us end up arrested.

2. If you are given a 'conditional discharge' when tried in a UK court of law do you still have a criminal record? I ask this bit because my work involves me travelling to the USA and they have a policy of not letting people with criminal records into the country. This would be tricky for me. Also, if any of my American friends could clarify the laws of entry to the US that would be appreciated.

Comments

( 57 comments — Leave a comment )
tooth_fairy
Dec. 13th, 2005 03:53 pm (UTC)
No idea...

I'm all up for going to protest about freedom of speech though
commlal
Dec. 13th, 2005 04:16 pm (UTC)
Would be good. I usually dont do "protests" but this whole thing is evil and wrong.
davedevil
Dec. 13th, 2005 03:58 pm (UTC)
if you want to do this you should make it big as possible and have a hand holding marker right across the damned thing!
sea_cucumber
Dec. 13th, 2005 03:59 pm (UTC)
if you do, can I join in? :)
sea_cucumber
Dec. 13th, 2005 04:02 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - mrmmarc - Dec. 13th, 2005 04:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sea_cucumber - Dec. 13th, 2005 05:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
heliograph
Dec. 13th, 2005 04:14 pm (UTC)
Re: the exclusion zone... wow. Even we don't have anything like that. I seem to remember that for the Democratic National Convention in Boston they had a designated area for demonstating that was nowhere near the event. It was pretty funny.

Re: entry: Amercans aren't likely to know, Angus: we don't get hassled on the way in. But here's a helpful Canadian site that seems to indicate you'd need to ask way in advance:

http://www.voyage.gc.ca/main/before/travel_us-en.asp#4
heliograph
Dec. 13th, 2005 04:17 pm (UTC)
OK, I read some of it: yikes! Even if your government pardons you, that doesn't count for us. If you have any kind of record, you can ask ahead of time, but you may also have to fill out a form (and pay $265 + $70) and wait months to find out if you can come into the country.

Wow. This has been super-educational.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - heliograph - Dec. 13th, 2005 05:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - heliograph - Dec. 13th, 2005 06:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - exmoor_cat - Dec. 13th, 2005 09:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - exmoor_cat - Dec. 14th, 2005 10:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - exmoor_cat - Dec. 15th, 2005 03:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
If that was the US? - mrmmarc - Dec. 13th, 2005 07:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: If that was the US? - mrmmarc - Dec. 13th, 2005 07:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Re: If that was the US? - mrmmarc - Dec. 14th, 2005 02:46 am (UTC) - Expand
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Re: If that was the US? - mrmmarc - Dec. 14th, 2005 10:52 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: If that was the US? - angusabranson - Dec. 14th, 2005 11:10 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: If that was the US? - mrmmarc - Dec. 14th, 2005 11:26 am (UTC) - Expand
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Re: If that was the US? - mrmmarc - Dec. 14th, 2005 02:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Re: If that was the US? - mrmmarc - Dec. 15th, 2005 04:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pond823 - Dec. 14th, 2005 09:45 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mrmmarc - Dec. 14th, 2005 04:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
hedgetrimmer
Dec. 13th, 2005 04:16 pm (UTC)
Entirely off topic
Hey mate

Is there anywhere close to the shop where myself and Steve can hole up and have some people meet us? Somewhere like a Starbucks where they wont mind us sitting and receiving 2 groups of people?

Ta!
angusabranson
Dec. 13th, 2005 04:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Entirely off topic
There's pubs? Not really a coffee shop area round here. There is a Starbucks in north Finchley but that's quite a waya way. What sort of thing were you thinking of?

Also, do you have any dates yet? Since our phone call I've not heard anymore about the possibility of it happening.

Take care,
Re: Entirely off topic - painted_bird - Dec. 13th, 2005 04:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Entirely off topic - hedgetrimmer - Dec. 13th, 2005 06:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
oldson
Dec. 13th, 2005 04:33 pm (UTC)
Just a Suggestion, but why not play their game better than them and see what it takes to set up an "authorised" protest, after all, no better test of rules than when you try and play by them, besides, standing on the edge of the barrier is all well and good, but if they refuse you the right to protest when you've asked them, then you have a serious ground for complaining...........

In my experience, nothing harrasses security more than people who are supposed to be there, because they can't touch you and as long as you keep within the boundaries, they can't do a thing about it.

If you wander down en masse, you constitute a gathering, and the police have rights to disperse any gathering that seems to be causing an undesirable response in the surrounding area, what constitutes an undesirable presence is defined by those who spend most time in it, which by default is the MP's

Before anyone gets on their high horse about me defending the government, I'm not, I've just got experience of how they work and how they deal with things, meaningful protest is all well and good, but inevitably looks like a disorganised rabble unless you've got thousands turning up (and cameras can be used to remarkably good advantage in such arenas), and if you have thousands turning up, you're clearly in breach of a number of other regulations regarding how many people are allowed in one place without constituting a blockage.

So the suggestion still stands, find out what you need to make an authorised protest, if you like, I'll do it for you, put the word out, which is not that hard to do, and when ten thousand people turn up to support the authorised protest (with no fear of arrest), you'll get the attention you're after. If they only allow (for example) ten people at a time, great, call to every newspaper in the london area on their ruling, copies of the letters indicating how many protesters you're allowed, you'll get on the front page of most tabloids with the headline of "So this is how the government lets you protest?"

Either way, you'll get the attention you seek.

Got to play the game though.

You've got the phone number if you need it organising

All the best
mrmmarc
Dec. 13th, 2005 04:53 pm (UTC)
You can also have some SERIOUS fun using old laws.
There is a law in britain which says that IF a Prish Council demands it, the govt. has to pay for a referendum on a LOCAL issue which concerns LOCAL people. They have to fund the parish council.
Mark Thomas has used this law several times.

Get yourself onto some Westminster Chruch Parish Council... sit there for a couple of meetings.
Put the issue to a vote.
Get it passed.
Then you are NOT protesting.
You are following the law of the land... can you imagine the fun- people in the area (which WOULD include Tony and Downing Street) being asked...
"Do you support the ban on public demonstrations?"

Then, as part of the NO campaign you are legally allowed to canvus votes in the area. This INCLUDES holding a rally. In St. Jame's Park WOULD be funny!

think about it.
I have details of the law somewhere- will find it.

Gotta find the parish council which covers the zone- there will probably be three/four in such a large area.
(no subject) - sea_cucumber - Dec. 13th, 2005 05:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mrmmarc - Dec. 13th, 2005 05:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sea_cucumber - Dec. 13th, 2005 05:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mrmmarc - Dec. 14th, 2005 03:17 am (UTC) - Expand
ian_wyrdness
Dec. 13th, 2005 04:45 pm (UTC)
You'll need to apply for a US visa. These aren't usually required for UK citizens unless you've been arrested (you don't even have to be charged or found guilty, merely arrested). There's info on the US embassy web site:

http://www.usembassy.org.uk/cons_new/visa/niv/add_crime.html
danny_e11
Dec. 13th, 2005 11:21 pm (UTC)
except realistically if you've not been charged, let alone found guilty, the customs officers will never know you've been arrested (especially if the arrest happened a long time ago). I was arrested and charged for occupation of a public space (the university) in my younger years (charges then dropped before the matter reached court) and did I mention that when I went over to the US? Did I f... ;-)

And I got in without too much hassle :-)
mrmmarc
Dec. 13th, 2005 04:47 pm (UTC)
Hmmmmn.
I agree.
Our problem with a protest is the lack of humour towards us from the courts.
This being said- if you demand a tral by jury you can openly BREAK the law- plead 'not guilty' on grounds of it being a silly law and STILL get off.
Lest we forget the mass protest by Greenpeace protestors a few years ago- they openly tore up a field of GM modified crops; got arrested, turned up- argued YES, they broke the law but YES, the law was meant to be broken, and in a stunning move the jury decided to find them "not guilty".
So what if the police had video pictures of them doing it; so what if their faces were seen (they didn't even bother to cover up). the jury agreed and as their peers had them released- it was a GREAT day for the British Legal system.

My honest advice- use satire/humour to protest it. In fact DON'T protest it.
I would go for a mass 'charity pillow race' down Whitehall- of course the charity is someone like Amnesty. Or a mass 'sponsored lurk'.
Something SO silly that to even arrest would make the police look silly.
Do NOT scream and shout- the truth is NO ONE listens if you shout. You come across as one of the 'politically motivated' and in this current climate this is not good.
Shame them with humour.
Satire their asses!

Painting the boundries would be BLOODY funny (but you would get arrested for that unless it was water based on a sunny day- still get arrested).
Something that the press would find funny to see- look at recent protests. The BEST was the antui-nuclear protestors who bum rushed the gates of RAF Fylingdales dressed in giant ICBM suits- it was tearfully funny!

To 'support' the government is great- of course there have been some ace protests we should look towards- like the boys who spentainiously held a carnival on the M25 (Critical mass I think)... they held a Carnival- got moved on by the police who discovered that they had used the noise as a cover to plant four trees in the fast lane... FUNNY!

Use Flashmobs; use humour; use the absured.

"To sin by silence makes cowards of us all"

I am more than up for this.
davywavy
Dec. 13th, 2005 05:01 pm (UTC)
I'd be up for it. I wouldn't be willing to do anything that might get me arrested however, as I could be disqualified as a director if that happened.
Which would be bad.

As Mark says - Satire is good. A lone protestor with a placard being manhandled ot the ground by people wearing TB masks for example.
mrmmarc
Dec. 13th, 2005 05:23 pm (UTC)
Arrested= bad.
I agree.

(no subject) - tooth_fairy - Dec. 13th, 2005 07:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
kostika
Dec. 13th, 2005 05:21 pm (UTC)
Best way to find out about the laws about entering the US, is to talk to the US Embassy in London. Web pages are way outta date sometimes, if they even have the right info on them in the first place.
(Deleted comment)
actualsean
Dec. 13th, 2005 08:59 pm (UTC)
After reading your post I went back to have another look at it.

I guess an idea can only be as absolute as the words that define it, it's always going to be open to some kind interpretation.
I would have thought that your logical conclusion of 'anybody can say what they like, where they like it' is spot on.
We can; and that's good (...or at least it was) even if it does support the rights of people who wish to express unpleasant views at inappropriate moments...they still have the right...(this is reminding me of a scene from 'Life of Brian').
That right is vital.

The declaration of Human rights suggests that we can impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers...as far as I can see that means anywhere you like. We could debate how to interpret this for ever...or just take it for what it says, which does seem to be absolute.

I guess the worst thing about this Law is that does not serve the people very well, instead it stifles them.

The Human Right quote just helps illustrate that.

(Deleted comment)
(Anonymous)
Dec. 13th, 2005 06:36 pm (UTC)
Typing "Westminster exclusions zone map" into google leads you to:
http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2005/06/the_terrorists.asp

People have protested there already more than once. They took along pens and paper to "make banners for other marches" if I recall correctly.

As for the "conditional discharge" - yes, it does go on your permanant record. As this relates to entrance to America the exact law can be found here (http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/ineligibilities/ineligibilities_1364.html).
vilenspotens
Dec. 13th, 2005 10:04 pm (UTC)
As to protesting.
Before you will be allowed to set up anything like a process, you will need to go to the Metroplotian police website and look at the details there. You will also need to apply to the Public order Office. Here's a few handy tips:

http://www.yourrights.org.uk/your-rights/chapters/the-right-of-peaceful-protest/organising-a-protest/making-contact-with-the-police.shtml

Also as a thought, whilst you may not have permission to protest on parliamentary owned grounds, the actual large piece of grassland outside parliament is owned by the Mayor of London, so you can always apply to protest there instead.

http://www.met.police.uk/publicorder/index.htm

Apparently they're pretty good people to deal with
slev
Dec. 14th, 2005 01:13 pm (UTC)
sounds gneraly good. I;d be interested in an appropreate trip to london...
lareinemisere
Dec. 15th, 2005 06:53 pm (UTC)
Count me in,too.
( 57 comments — Leave a comment )

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