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United States
I’ll do it, but only if you’ll help

Pledge “ParliamentSquare”

"I will apply for authorisation to demonstrate in the vicinity of Parliament every day for a month from 1st August 2005 but only if 50 other responsible citizens will do the same."

— Robin Grant, responsible citizen

Deadline to sign up by: 31st July 2005
54 people signed up (4 over target)

Country: United Kingdom

More details
On August the 2nd, the police will start enforcing section 132 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, which will stop anyone 'demonstrating without authorisation' in this designated area:

Which not only includes The Houses of Parliament, Parliament Square and Downing Street, but the Home Office, the Foreign Office, the Treasury and the Ministry of Defence. That's what we call freedom, folks.

Interestingly, it might be interpreted by some as a form of protest itself, if a group of say, 50 responsible citizens, wanting to avoid commiting 'serious organised crime', were to apply for authorisation to demonstrate (for example they might be walking from the tube to St James' park wearing their Make Poverty History band), every day for a month. I imagine it might take up quite a bit of police time, especially if those requests were delivered to a wide variety of police stations throughout the metropolitan area.

To send 31 notices by recorded delivery will cost less than £27 (or you could hand deliver them for nothing).

More details and links here:

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Comments on this pledge

  • I'll ask for permission for my good friend Brian Haw to protest as well. The Act says the Commissioner MUST give authorization. He can set conditions, but they must reasonably relate to the usual: disruption, security risk, and safety. People can already be arrested on those pretexts, even without this law, so the new conditions cannot logically be different.

    If he claims that you can't hold up a sign because there might be a bomb levitating behind it, then he has not fullfilled his statutory requirment of "reasonable opinion".

    Not that arguing with a policeman is ever a successful prospect. Even worse than Home Secretaries, they are. Neither has the mandate to tell us where, when, how, what, wherefore we choose what to say to politicians who have decided that they rule over us. It's not right.
  • Excellent idea. Unfortunately I'll be away till the 11th August, so won't be able to do this pledge. I certainly will do it when I get back, but a few questions:

    I just wanted to check - you can't send the notice by email can you?

    Also, presumably nothing happens if you don't actually protest, having given notice?

    Finally, would it not be a good idea to send all the notices to one person near a metropolitan police station, who could then hand deliver them? That would only cost 21p (second class), or £6.50 a month.
    mark, 16 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • And I thought "Free Speech Zones" were US-only...

    The full text of the Act's at (relevant sections are 132-138) - I don't see anything dealing with demonstration requests that 'regrettably' don't end up happening, and I doubt merely seeking permission for a demonstration would qualify as fraud by anyone's definition, as long as you don't state that the demonstration will take place in your request, just ask for permission to stage it. There are also no restrictions on the number of demonstrations you can apply for. So in other words, no negative consequences whatsoever, as far as I can see.

    It says in section 133 subsection 5 that you have to hand deliver it or post it for the request to be valid, worse luck. I suppose you might be able to make a case for "deliver" allowing the possibility of e-mail, but given that the authors felt it necessary to mention the postal service I'm guessing they mean personal delivery. I'd recommend reading the whole section actually - it would be a shame to disqualify your requests by not putting all the necessary information on.

    Warning - I Am Not A Lawyer. Take all advice at your own risk, yada yada yada. I can't sign the pledge, sadly, as I'm a minor (under 18) - hence any request of mine would almost certainly be invalidated.
    John, 16 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • I suggest a simple pre prepared letter that every one who lives near a London police station can fill in, sign and take to the nearest station may have a first rate effect of rendering this bit of nonsensical law un workable.
    I live in Birmingham, but some body out there could get the ball rolling.
  • Do I have to live in London to sign up for this? There's no way I'd actually be able to get to any of my alleged demonstrations, unfortunately.
    Kendrick Curtis, 16 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • No reply yet from the "Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis" regarding a general, anytime, anyplace, indefinate notice of an application to demonstrate, intended to test the bureaucratic procedures which should have already beeen put in place.

    Still no published clarification, guidance, code of practice etc. of what exactly "in the reasonable belief" of a "constable in uniform" constitutes a "demonstration".

    There is nothing on the face of the Act which would prevent your arrest for simply wearing a "political" slogan T-shirt, badge, rubber wristband or holding campaign literature etc., anywhere in the "public places" of the Deignated Area, including the public areas of the Palace of Westminster itself, where people traditionally lobby their Members of Parliament, face to face.

    There is a public meeting next Wednesday 13th July to help organise peaceful resistance to these restricions on spontaneous demonstrations.

    Further details on the
    Parliament Protest blog:
  • I don't live in London but I think this is a great idea. Do i need to have a particular point or do I just write asking to protest without saying what about?
    Rhys, 16 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
  • Now that the pledge is fulfilled, what next ?

    The Home Office have made a small Freedom of Information Act disclosure regarding the new Designated Area procedures:

    "8) What is the minimum duration of a protest or demonstration before it falls under the new regulations ?

    8. There is no minimum duration to a demonstration before it falls under the new provisions.

    9) Will a short walk in and around the Parliament Square "Designated Area" entail getting prior permission from the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police if you happen to be wearing a "political slogan" T-shirt or badge ?

    9. The definition of a demonstration is ultimately a matter for the courts.

    14) Does a separate notification of a demonstration or protest have to be submitted for each and every day, or part of a day that it lasts ?

    14. A separate notification needs to be submitted for each new demonstration, however long it lasts. However one letter could seek authorisation for more than one demonstration."

    for more details see
  • It looks as if Brian Haw has won his legal loophole case, and the law does not apply to his long running demonstration which *started before* the legisltion is fully in force.

    However, all the rest of us will still having our freedoms and rights curtailed.
  • OK, I signed up, and I want to do this, but please, can someone give me/point me to plain simple step by step instructions on how to do this?

    Who do I write to? what do I need to include in my letter? etc. please?
    Alan Brunsdon, 16 years ago. Abusive? Report it!
This pledge is closed for new comments.

Current signatories (Green text = they've done it)

Robin Grant, the Pledge Creator, joined by:

  • Charlie Whitaker
  • Nosemonkey
  • Nick Rigby
  • Peter Gasston
  • Justin McKeating
  • Tim Ireland
  • Malcolm Murdoch
  • Andrew Taylor
  • Dave Styles
  • John Band
  • Ali P
  • Daniel Hoffmann-Gill
  • Alan Brunsdon
  • Justin Horton
  • Karim Bakhtiar
  • James Cronin
  • Andrew Stevenson
  • James Lattimore
  • Jeffrey Lake
  • Sitara Amin
  • Anthony
  • Dominic Pinto
  • Sir Joseph Foster
  • Pete Marshall
  • Dominic Robinson
  • James Graham
  • Mark Wheatley
  • Adam McGreggor
  • nick pitman
  • Kate Sherratt
  • Holly Sismore
  • Ed Parnell
  • Caroline Sinclair
  • Paul Lamplugh
  • Dean Sas
  • Chris Gilbert
  • John Fenston
  • Gregg Beaman
  • mark barrett
  • Steve Townsend
  • CarolineD
  • Rhys Howell
  • Mark Wood
  • Michael Quinn
  • Giles Pepperell
  • Kevin King
  • Judith Hitchin
  • Jacqueline Evans
  • Tom Allen
  • 4 people who did not want to give their names

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