UPDATE 09 December 2009
It appears that the Metropolitan Police are intimidating the organisers, with the threat of arrest
under unspecified laws, into not holding a peaceful demonstration at Buckingham Palace.
UPDATE 10th December 2009:
We have been passed an email from Inspector Emma Richards from the Metropolitan Police Royal Parks Operational Command Unit (who could have emailed firstname.lastname@example.org directly) which clarifies under which law they are banning the Buckingham Palace demonstration in support of Gary McKinnon:
Statutory Instrument 1997 No. 1639 The Royal Parks and Other Open Spaces Regulations 1997 section 17, which says:
(17) organise or take part in any assembly, display, performance, representation, parade, procession, review or theatrical event;
These words do not actually cover a short term "static political demonstration" or a "plea for mercy".The regulations are to do with commercial exploitation of all of the Royal Parks, and road traffic speed limits etc.
Inspector Richards went on to say:
I am concerned that the wording implies that the Metropolitan Police is against your demonstration/cause. A detrimental comment has been made on the website and I am keen to stop this escalating. The reason for the refusal is due to the legislation.
That is exactly the impression which the Metropolitan Police Service at Charing Cross Police Station, who dealt with the SOCPA 2005 section 132 -138 Designated Area prior written application for the Home office demonstration gave, by failing to clearly communicate about this regulation in the first place, but instead, talking disproportionately and inappropriately about "terrorism".
There will be now be another peaceful demonstration in support of Gary McKinnon, at the Home Office in Marsham Street, London, this coming Tuesday 15th December 2009 from 12 noon until 2pm
and from 2pm onwards at Buckingham Palace.
Media Contact details:
We will pass on your messages to the demonstration organisers and spokespeople, or try to answer your queries ourselves.
Will Home Secretary Alan Johnson and his senior civil servant advisors at the Home Office get the message from the British public, and manage to get themselves out of the political mess which they have created, over the Extradition Act 2003 and the Gary McKinnon extradition case ?
Tuesday 15th December 2009 from 12 noon until 2pm
Home Office main entrance, Peel Building (between the defensive / ornamental moats ponds) , Marsham Street, Westminster, London - see this location map
Nearest Tube stations:
Westminster or St. James Park - see the Transport for London website for journey planning details.
London Bus Route 88 Clapham Common - Vauxhall - Westminster - Oxford Circus - Camden Town, stops directly outside the Home Office main entrance in Marsham Street, supposedly every 7 or 8 minutes.
There is a Westminster Council run public toilet quite close to the Home Office in Regency Place:-- turn right along Horseferry Road at the southern end of Marsham Street.
SOCPA 2005 s 132 Designated Area
The Home Office is, inappropriately, just within the Designated Area around Parliament Square, so the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 sections 132 to 138 apply. The organisers have already applied for the necessary prior written permission.
Loudspeakers and loudhailers are banned, but, given the volume of the chanting at the previous demonstrations, these would probably be superfluous anyway.
The Metropolitan Police can impose arbitrary extra conditions, at the time of the demonstration, but, hopefully, if things go as per the previous demonstrations at the Home Office, there should be no problems.
There will also be a demonstration at Buckingham Palace at the western end of The Mall, London, next Tuesday 15th December 2009 from 2pm onwards
Will Her Majesty the Queen be able to influence her stubborn Labour Government to treat Gary McKinnon with mercy, and not allow him to be extradited to the USA, but to be tried here in the United Kingdom ?
Tuesday 15th December 2009 from 2pm onwards
Buckingham Palace, The Mall, London SW1 1AA
Location Map of Buckingham Palace
Nearest Tube stations:
Victoria (and mainline railway), Green Park, Hyde Park Corner or St. James's Park - see the Transport for London website for journey planning details.
There are lots of buses which stop near Buckingham Palace e.g. Routes 2, 16, 36, 38, 52, 73, 82, 148, 436, 701, C2, 702, 797, X90
See London Bus Routes
There are no Westminster Council run public toilets near Buckingham Palace.
Buckingham Palace is a SOCPA 2005 section 128 Protected SIte
Buckingham Palace is not within the Serious Organised Crime Act 2005 section 132 - 138 Designated Area around Parliament Square.
However, it is a Protected Site under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 section 128 Offence of trespassing on protected site, (previously a Designated Site until the Terrorism Act 2006 amendment which changed the word "designated" to "protected").
(b) Buckingham Palace, the Mall, London, SW1A 1AA and its curtilage, including the buildings within that curtilage;
The curtilage means the outer walls and fences and gates of the site.
You can be arrested, but only by a constable in uniform not by Police Community Support Officers or by other security staff or military personnel on guard at Buckingham Palace,if you cross the gates, fences or walls of this outer boundary of the site. You would then face up to 51 weeks in prison and / or a level 5 fine (up to £5000).
Writing to Her Majesty The Queen
In advance of the demonstration, you could write to Her Majesty the Queen, in support of Gary McKinnon:
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
London SW1A 1AA
Start your letter formally to "Your Majesty".
More hints and tips about going on a demonstration in this part of 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) - millions of tourists take photos of Buckingham Palace every year.
No PCSO or private security guard or military guards or police constables etc. have legal power to seize your camera or mobile camera phone, unless they are actually arresting you..
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 etc. from taking photos or video of you, either.
Terrorism Stop and Search harassment
Although the Home Office is trying to keep the information secret, all of London within the M25 orbital motorway appears to be an area 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.
They 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. Unless it is a proper armed police checkpoint, then what exactly an unarmed PCSO is expected to do if they do find any weapons or explosives, except panic, is unclear.
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 ad 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 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
- Several friends and supporters.
- Press and Broadcast journalists and reporters.
- If you smoke, something to collect and extinguish your cigarette butts - 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.
- Warm clothing and an umbrella - it is winter !
- Cameras and video recorders
- Spare batteries and USB 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. write down or print out these details on to paper, because if you are arrested, you will have your mobile phone and / or other electronic personal organiser etc. confiscated by the Police.
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, or even carrying opened containers of alcoholic drinks, 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 though 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.