4000 Days Today

© 2004 Peter Marshall

I’m not sure when I first became aware of Brian Haw‘s protest in Parliament Square, though certainly he had been there some time before I first got to know him, longer still when I took the first pictures of him that I posted on My London Diary in 2004, when he had been protesting for almost three years. (I may have photographed him earlier on film – but very few of my film images have made the web.)

© 2004 Peter Marshall

At first I’d thought of him more as some kind of eccentric rather than a serious protester, and couldn’t really see a way to make a story about him, except when he took part in other protests that were happening in Parliament Square.

© 2005 Peter Marshall

What changed all that was the attempt by the Blair government to pass an Act of Parliament which was in part obviously solely aimed at his protest. SOCPA was a very large hammer to crack a rather small embarrasment to the government, and turned out to have been poorly drafted and to miss the intended target altogether.

© 2005 Peter Marshall

Over the years I talked to Brian many times, often calling in as I was passing, occasionally taking photographs of him or his display. My favourite image was during another protest, with him wearing a t-shirt designed by disablement activist Dan Wilkins, a picture that both men appreciated.

© 2007, Peter Marshall

I was in the square for the parties celebrating his five years there, then his six… On one occasion when police dragged him away and pushed him into the back of a van, one of quite a few times he was arrested and kept in a cell overnight.

© 2009, Peter Marshall

I watched as Brian’s health deteriorated, and was saddened by his death, but of course his protest has continued, with Barbara Tucker leading a small team of supporters. The harassment which has always been present from police (no doubt pressured by their political masters) has stepped up recently. Under the repressive Police Reform And Social Responsibility Act 2011 (PASRA) the tents belonging to the Parliament Square Peace Campaign were removed in January, and Barbara Tucker was arrested at 3 am on 17 Jan. She was released around 5.30pm that day and returned to Parliament Square to join those who had continued the protest in her absence.

© 2010, Peter Marshall

Pressure is increasing on the campaign. On the morning of 10 May police came first thing and spent 90 minutes “searching” the few square meters of their display in the early morning. Three days later, at 2.30am on Sunday 13 May, police and Westminster Council came and took away Barbara Tucker’s two blankets, despite there being no legal basis for their action. The law forbids any “structure designed solely or mainly to sleep in” but blankets are not a structure.

© 2012, Peter Marshall

You can see the few pictures that I took on my visit last Thursday in the post 4000 Days in Parliament Square on My London Diary.  You can also use the ‘Search’ facility on the site to find more of my pictures of Brian Haw, Barbara Tucker and the Parliament Square police campaign.


My London Diary : Buildings of London : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated are by Peter Marshall and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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