Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The right to protest

A lot has been said about the removal of the "Peace Village" on parliament square and the view of human rights and the right to protest. Well I don't have any problem with the right to protest, so long as you accept my right to ignore said protest. However, if said protest involves squatting on land that isn't yours for an indefinite period then the rules change. You want to go away and come back every day fine, you want to live there while you protest, then sorry, no you don't especially if you vandalise and wreck the land around your squat.

Parliament Square used to look a bit like this...

Neat and tidy and only the silly old man Brian Haw and his employment avoiding protest at the front to the square (It must be employment avoiding as anyone else would have their benefits cut by now, so he can't be looking for work) Then came the peace village which took over the whole green and proceeded to live there and use it as a public toilet. Eventually the Mayor had them removed much to their disgust, however what they left behind was this...

Notice the difference?
Now as I said, everyone has the right to protest, however this looks suspiciously like criminal damage and vandalism. The grass might grow back, but somehow I doubt it, more likely it will have to be re-turfed and the costs met by the people of London, rather than the squatters.
I know where I'd like the bill to be sent, however the soap dodgers protesting there are unlikely to have the means to pay, they just wanted to live for free whilst protesting about Afghanistan, which is fine, but as far as I'm concerned you can do that by travelling from your digs/home in the morning and going back at night, even arrange shifts for a round the clock vigil. What you don't get to do is live at and wreck the place you're protesting at, that's why you had to go, not because you were embarrassing the government, but because you were vandals.

6 annotations:

Captain Ranty said...


The only bone of contention I have with your post is this:

"However, if said protest involves squatting on land that isn't yours for an indefinite period then the rules change."

If they are Brits then the land IS theirs. The state owns nothing. All public buildings, and all public land belongs to us.


Quiet_Man said...

I suppose it depends on how you define "us" any land I own is mine come on it uninvited and that could be trespass if I so decide. Even so, point taken, though if you do decide to set up on "common" land, you still don't have the right to vandalise or destroy it.

JuliaM said...

If they are Brits and the land is theirs, then they will have paid taxes for it, right?

Not taxpayers? Right then, here's the invoice!

Captain Ranty said...

I had meant to say that the destruction is unforgivable. The bloody phone rang so I just ended my comment. I fully agree that the vandalism should not be tolerated.

(There are no trespass laws here in Scotland so I couldn't stop people coming on to my land even if I wanted to).


Anonymous said...

Ranty: I think that the same law applies in Scotland if you want to hold people to the letter of the law... it's a Shylock situation, you can walk on my land but you mustn't bend a blade of grass.

But I agree QM, the vandalism of your beautiful capital is unnecessary.

People should be made to behave, tidy up after them and go home at night. All the MPS are drunk by that time, and they don't give a hoot anyway. They still get paid and right now they are too busy fighting off the Expenses Watchdog people to bother thier arses with anything else...

That said it's small beer conpared to these poor kids dying now on a daily basis in Afghanistan.

And for what?

The grass will probably grow back. It has a propensity to do just that. These kids will never grow back.

John R said...

Depending on its status the land may well belong, in part, to the soap dodgers. But if that's true, then in greater part it will then also belong to the rest of us as well.

I suspect us silent majority, Parliament Sqaure owners will be quite pleased the idiots were kicked out.