Parliament Square protestor to stand for seat

Brian Haw, the permanent peace protestor camped outside the UK's Houses of Parliament, is to stand in the country's general election…

The announcement appeared on the website www.parliament-square.org.uk that is dedicated to Haw’s protest.
In his statement Haw says that as an independent parliamentary candidate he will give his all as an advocate of people’s needs and rights.

“In me, you have a person who has proven he cannot be bought off and who has demonstrated actively that he gives, cares and shares with every ounce of his being,” says Haw.

Haw’s interest in becoming an MP was stoked by the recent passing of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill, which severely restricts all demonstrations within a mile radius of Parliament and bans all permanent demonstrations.

Father of seven and devout Christian, Haw, 55, from Redditch in Worcestershire, has lived on the street in Parliament Square since 2 June, 2001.

Originally he planned to bed down in a tent, but was threatened with arrest.

Haw has since been forced to sleep under a plastic sheet to protect himself from the British weather.

The pavement around him has become a shrine to those killed by economic sanctions and the war in Iraq.

Placards with messages of peace have been donated from all across the world, intermingled with horrific photographs of Iraqi children suffering the effects of radiation poisoning from depleted uranium shells.

One sign stands alone: “Stop killing our kids.”

The Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill was designed to fight terrorism and organised crime, including human traffickers, Internet paedophiles and establishes the Serious Organised Crime Association (SOCA), also labelled the British FBI.

This, the latest legal barrier to remove him, is seen by his supporters as just another attempt to silence the truth and curb more civil liberties in the UK.

In October 2002 Haw won a legal case instigated by Westminster Council.

They claimed the protest constituted “advertising” and was an obstruction of the pavement.

High court judge, Mr Justice Gray ruled that Haw was exercising his right to free speech and ruled out the other indictment.

On 10 May, 2004, just after midnight, Haw was removed from Parliament Square by police officers after an abandoned car sparked a security alert.

According to the police statement, Haw refused to leave the cordoned area imposed under the terrorism act and then attempted to assault a police officer, although Haw claimed it was himself that was assaulted.

The police began removing the placards and banners from Parliament Square for what Charing Cross police called “safekeeping”.

Maria Gallastegui, a friend of Haw and eyewitness to the removal of the banners, was left in charge of the demonstration until Haw returned.

Gallastegui told the police there was no need to take the banners.

“We sought legal advice and was told the demonstration was legal. We told the police this, but they still went ahead.

“This was a travesty. I was really sad to see the police acting illegally.”

Twenty days later the extent to which Haw had annoyed Prime Minister Blair became apparent.

On 30 May leaked minutes of a secret meeting between the Prime Minster and other Labour MPs said they intended to arrest Haw under anti-litter laws because of the way the banners were blocking the pavement.

Haw was shocked by this decision and claimed he was up at six every morning sweeping this pavement.

The assault charge was lowered to attempted assault and Haw stood before the judge at Bow Street magistrate’s court, also charged with failing to leave a secure area.

The attempted assault allegation was dropped, but the other charge remained.

Haw’s solicitors, Bindmans, appealed this at Southwark Crown Court on 30 May, 2005 and, due to the prosecution witnesses failing to turn up for trial, all charges were dropped.

Haw’s election campaign was pulled together in a matter of days by volunteers and supporters, who donated money to pay the electoral fees.

The policies were written in the middle of the night from his demonstration opposite Parliament.

“Of the people, for the people, by the people,” said Mr Haw: “I’m everybody’s people. I’m going in there as one of the people, who loves all people.”

When asked what he thought the reaction would be in Parliament to his election campaign, Haw said: “They must be going bananas.”