The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #56444 Message #882946
Posted By: The Shambles
05-Feb-03 - 06:34 AM
Thread Name: BS: Freedom to protest in the UK ?
Subject: RE: BS: Freedom to protest in the UK ?
Jowell lifts her ban on Hyde Park peace rally
By Lewis Smith
A BAN on anti-war protesters using Hyde Park for a rally was reversed by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport yesterday.
The move by Tessa Jowell came after efforts failed to find another venue big enough for the event in Central London on February 15.
Organisers of the Stop the War rally, who say that the protest is expected to attract half a million people, said that the decision was the only sensible option.
Lindsey German, a spokeswoman for the rally, said that the move was a political victory for protesters against the Government, which, she said, wanted to conceal the level of public opposition to military action in Iraq.
Concerns remain about the safety of so many protesters congregating in the park during winter, when wet conditions are likely to turn the grass into a quagmire.
Ms Jowell had wanted the rally held in Trafalgar Square, but was told by the Mayor of London that it was too small. Police objected to the use of The Mall because of security concerns about Buckingham Palace and other buildings near by and because of difficulties in dispersing so many people from the area after dark.
Announcing the decision, Ms Jowell urged organisers to work with police and the Royal Parks to ensure that nobody was hurt.
The rally is being organised by the Stop the War Coalition, CND and the Muslim Association of Britain.