PRESS RELEASE 29 May 2003
This weekend Brian Haw will be marking
the 730th day of his permanent 24 hour peace vigil opposite
the Houses of Parliament in Parliament Square. This anniversary
makes Mr Haw's protest one of the longest-lasting individual
public protest of modern times.
When he started in June 2001, Mr Haw,
a father of seven from Worchestershire, had only a few signs
bearing the names of young children who had died as a result
of economic sanctions on Iraq. He supplemented these with
carefully painted banners pointing out to both the politicians
and the public the huge suffering that the sanctions policy,
supported by the UK government supported, inflicted on the
people of Iraq.
Over the months, people began to visit
him and bring placards they themselves had made. With the
events of 11 September 2001 and the declaration of the 'war
on terrorism', Brian's protest grew in size and reputation.
He has had numerous visitors from all over the world, many
leaving placards with messages of peace, helping to create
what is now a powerful display which challenges the government's
foreign policy. The international media have broadcast his
message around the world in documentaries, news reports
In October 2002 he won a major legal
victory when the High Court refused to grant an injunction
to Westminster Council to remove him from Parliament Square.
The judge ruled that Mr Haw was exercising his right to
freedom of speech and the pavement obstruction was not unreasonable.
Mr Haw said, "I have had the people
of the world on this pavement. Peace is more popular than
He added "Contrary to the hopes
of the government that protest will end now that the war
on Iraq is said to be over, I will not go away. Its not
over for people in Iraq - thousands more of the people are
now dead and the occupiers are still there. I feel so incensed
- we are talking about dropping bombs on people, on murdering
people. Its not enough to say we don't mean to - it doesn't
make it alright. And the murderers are allowed to profit
their crimes. How can humanity, the world, allow this blatant
smash and grab?
"They went ahead no matter how
much people protested and we are now being asked to just
accept it. I can't accept it. Here is a picture of a little
girl with the back of her head blown off. All you have to
do is put yourself in the place of this girl's parents.
They will never thank us for 'liberating' them. And now
we have 'saved' them, we are selling them water."
For more information contact:
Emma Sangster on firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian Haw can be visited in Parliament Square at any time.
One of Brian's first displays.
It details the
names of children
who died under sanctions in Iraq.
and anti-war vigiler wins right to continue protest
On Friday 4 October a High Court judge refused to grant
an injunction to Westminster City Council which would allow
them to remove Brian Haw who has been protesting against
war and sanctions on Iraq for 16 months opposite the Houses
When he came out of the court Brian's first thoughts were
about the people for whom he is protesting - the children
of Iraq who have died in their hundreds of thousands because
of sanctions and war. He held up a picture of a young Iraqi
boy who died in terrible pain of cancer, on Christmas Eve
1997, because the right medications were not available.
Brian said " I can't live with this. I've got seven children.
This could have been one of mine. War will be a shear catastrophe.
Aid agencies are saying that the country is already devastated.
There was a glorious demonstration on Saturday where everyone
stood up for the kids - we can't sit down again until the
kids are safe."
|A 15 minutes film about Brian
called As Long as it Takes is available for screenings.
following article is from The Guardian.
Judge lets traffic island protest go on
Saturday October 5, 2002 The Guardian
Peace activist Brian Haw, who has lived on a traffic island
for 16 months, yesterday defeated Westminster city council's
legal challenge to remove his solo protest against the government's
policy on Iraq.
A high court judge, Mr Justice Gray, ruled that Mr Haw was
exercising his right to freedom of speech in Parliament
Square, central London, his placards did not constitute
advertising, and the pavement obstruction was not "unreasonable".
Mr Haw, 53, a father of seven, from Redditch, Worcestershire,
is a committed Christian who believes international sanctions
against Saddam Hussein's regime are responsible for the
deaths of thousands of Iraqi children. He says he is horrified
by the prospect of renewed war against the country.
He began his protest on June 2, 2001, and has amassed a
large number of placards denouncing US and British bombing
The council, seeking an injunction to end the vigil, is
Giving his decision, the judge said that Mr Haw's placards
only extended up to 2ft across an 11ft wide pavement. "This
application raises questions as to the interaction between
the right and the duty of a local authority to remove obstructions
from its highways on the one hand, and the right of the
individual citizen to use those highways to exercise his
or her right to freedom of expression on the other hand."
"I am not satisfied in the circumstances of this case that
there is any pressing social need to interfere with the
display of placards so as to protect the right of others
to pass and re-pass [the highway]," Mr Justice Gray said.
Relatively few pedestrians used the pavement around the
centre of Parliament Square.
One significant aspect of the case was an individual's right
under article 10 of the European convention on human rights,
which guarantees freedom of speech. He added that he was
"not persuaded" the defendant's placards could be considered
Objection might be made on the grounds that the protest
was an eyesore, but there was evidence that Mr Haw took
pains to keep the area clean and tidy.
"Looking at the issue of reasonableness in the round and
taking account of the duration, place and purpose and the
effect of the obstruction, as well as the fact that the
defendant is exercising his convention right, I have come
to the conclusion that the obstruction for which the defendant
is responsible is not unreasonable," he concluded. "I decline
to grant the injunction."
Mr Haw, who has received sworn statements of support from
Tony Benn, the former CND leader Bruce Kent, and the Green
Party MEP Caroline Lucas, appeared in court in a black T-shirt
with Don't Attack Iraq emblazoned across his chest.
After the ruling, Mr Haw raced outside the courts to embrace
a Buddhist monk and nun who had held a vigil outside the
Royal Courts of Justice and told them: "God sends us good
He pointed to pictures of sick Iraqi children, declaring:
"This has been hidden from our people for so long. This
is an abomination. If the people knew what is being done
in their name in Iraq, they would be horrified." Asked how
long he would continue his protest he said: "As long as
it takes. When do you give up on the kids?"
· A Bristol magistrate yesterday adjourned until December
2 the case of peace protester, Jo Wilding, who is challenging
customs and excise's decision to confiscate dates which
had been imported from Iraq in contravention of international