Haw’s Law

Haw’s Law, originally uploaded by naughton321.

Peace campaigner Brian Haw, who has been protesting outside the Houses of Parliament since 2001 – pretty much full-time. This shot was taken in April, 2006.

Brian Haw’s Web site says:

He protests on behalf of those innocent people who suffer and die in other countries, as our governments seek to further their own economic, military, politcial and strategic interests around the world.

In 2005, having failed to remove him using existing powers, the UK Government passed a new law – the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act – that prohibited unauthorised demonstrations within a kilometer radius of Parliament. The law was specifically designed to get rid of Haw and to stop any such future demonstrations.

Having graphic pictures of children in bandages with terrible burns outside the home of modern democracy doesn’t sit well with the political elite; it doesn’t look good for tourists or visiting dignitaries, and is a constant reminder to those in power of the horrific consequences of war.

In an amazing turn of events, just days before Haw was due to be shut down, the High Court ruled that the act could not be applied retrospectively and that it therefore could not apply to Haw, since his demonstration had begun before the legislation was introduced.

The legal wrangling goes on and his demonstration has been forcibly scaled down to a fraction of its former size. However, artist Mark Wallinger took detailed pictures of the original demonstration site and recreated it lock, stock and barrel for a controversial exhibition just around the corner in Tate Britain. Because the demonstration had become a work of art and was housed in a gallery, it was exempt!

Despite the draconian measures being introduced in this country under the guise of the so-called ‘war on terror’, democracy is alive and well.

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