Demonstrations in support of Gary McKinnon - US Embassy and Office of Tony Blair, Grosvenor Square, London, Friday 5th December 2008, 5pm - 7pm

There will be further demonstrations in support of Gary McKinnon, who is facing imminent extradition to the United States of America, rather than facing a UK court, for his alleged computer hacking activities over 6 years ago.

It is intended that a letter to President-Elect Barack Obama will be handed in to the Embassy of the United States of America in London.

Date: Friday 5th December

Time: 5 pm -7pm


Embassy of the United States of America,
24 Grosvenor Square

Media Contacts: - being arranged - email

Location Maps:

Map on the US Embassy website map


At some convenient time during this demonstration, a letter will also be handed in to the Office of Tony Blair. The former British Prime Minister, who is now a Middle East Peace envoy, and involved with charities and lucrative public speaking, is likely to be involved, behind the scenes, in UK and US foreign policy and security discussions.

The Office of Tony Blair, which costs over half a million pounds a year in rent alone, is situated nearby at the north east corner of Grosvenor Square, in the historic John Adams house, at number 9 Grosvenor Square, on the corner with Brook Street and Duke Street. John Adams was the first United States Minister to the Court of St. James's i.e. Ambassador, and the second President of the United States. He lived there from 1785 to 1788.


Some advice about demonstrations in central London:


Amateur and even professional press photographers are all too frequently illegally harassed by jobsworth public officials and security guards, partly as a result of the Home Office's "climate of fear" anti-terrorism propaganda.

There are no laws which prevent you taking photos at the demonstration (ideally, if it is to have any effect, the mainstream media should be present), and the US Embassy is not anything special as a building, except that it is the sovereign territory of our major ally.

There is nothing special about 9 Grosvenor Square, the Office of Tony Blair, either.

No Police Community Support Officer or private security guard or any US Embassy staff (outside of the Embassy grounds) has any power to seize your camera or mobile camera phone.

Even if you are arrested, the Police Constables (not PCSOs or private security guards who have no powers of arrest) have no power to delete digital photos etc. even if they have seized your camera or mobile phone, since that would be tampering with evidence.

Conversely, there are no laws to prevent the Police or security guards from taking photos or video of you, either.

Terrorism Stop and Search harassment

All of London within the M25 orbital motorway appears to be an area, designated in secret, where Police constables in uniform (and Police Community Support Officers in uniform, but only under the direct supervision of a Police Constable, not on their own), can conduct Terrorism Act 2000 section 44 stops and searches, without reasonable suspicion.

The US Embassy is one of the top terrorist targets in Europe, let alone the UK, and so it does have armed Police guards.

The Metropolitan Police Constables in Uniform (not any plain clothes police) can stop you and search you, supposedly for weapons or explosives or anything that might be used for terrorism (i.e. just about anything). Despite tens of thousands of such stops and searches, they have never caught a real terrorist as a result.

If you are stopped and searched under normal Police powers, where there is some "reasonable suspicion", then you do have to give your name and address. If you refuse to do so on the street, then you will be dragged back to a Police station for fingerprint etc. checks on your identity

If you are stopped and searched under Terrorism Act section 44, without reasonable suspicion, then you do not have to give your name and address.

You have to be given a Stop and Search form, stating where, when, and by whom you have been stopped, and under what law. However, if you do not demand one, then you will not necessarily be given such a form.

What the Police and PCSOs often try to do, during such searches, is to copy, or at least rifle through, any wallet or notebook or mobile phone address books, credit cards etc. which you might have on your person, so do not bring private stuff with you on such a demonstration.

What to bring on a demonstration

  • A sense of humour.

  • Several friends and supporters.

  • Press and Broadcast journalists and reporters.

  • Posters, banners, leaflets, petitions etc.

  • If you smoke, something to collect and extinguish your cigarette butts in - Westminster Council bylaws and Government Anti-social behaviour laws and policies, could allow various public officials to slap you with a £60 Fixed Penalty Notice for littering if you throw you cigarette butt onto the ground.

  • Something (non-alcoholic) to drink and eat etc.

  • An umbrella (summer is over).

  • Cameras and video recorders

  • Spare batteries and USB or other memory devices for digital cameras and mobile phone cameras.

  • Contact details of firms of legal solicitors who deal with human rights issues and arrests at demonstrations e.g. Bindmans - telephone: 020 7833 4433 or Kaim Todner - telephone: 020 7353 6660 (Gary McKinnon's solicitors)

  • N.B. Unlike the demonstration at the Home Office, loudspeakers / loud hailers etc. are not banned in Grosvenor Square. (non-amplified megaphones are not banned in either place) - some of Gary's supporters have loud enough voices not to actually require megaphones !

What NOT to bring to a demonstration

  • Alcohol - even Police Community Support Officers now have powers to confiscate alcohol within a Dispersal Zone. All of the London boroughs of Westminster and Camden are now such Dispersal Zones.

  • Being seen to be drinking alcohol on Transport for London Tubes or Buses is also now banned.

  • Illegal drugs - obviously.

  • Personal address and contact books or Mobile Phones or Personal Digital Assistants containing contact names, addresses, email, phone etc. details - jobsworth PCSOs and Police constables often attempt to rifle through these, during "stops and searches", even when they often have no proper legal power to do so.

  • If you must bring your normal mobile phone with you, then you should set a security PIN code, for both for the power on and keyboard locks, which might prevent arbitrary snooping, but which will not, of course, prevent forensic examination of the phone if you are arrested.