The Stop The War Coalition said yesterday that it had been told by the police that it would not be allowed to demonstrate in Parliament Square and Whitehall next Thursday - a ban it said it was determined to resist. The coalition says that it has also been told by British officials that American officials want a distance kept between Mr Bush and protesters, for security reasons and to prevent their appearance in the same television shots.Oh, and could you move them over to the left so they don't block the shot of the "Mission Impossible" banner? To prevent their appearance in the same TV shots??!! Jeez, was Nixon this paranoid and frightened of being unpopular? So much for democracy in Great Britain as their right to protest goes the way our right to protest has gone. The mayor of London, Ken Livingstone seems to be the only Brit holding office willing to complain about the pressure Scotland Yard is under from, where else?--the Whitehouse.
"...I have to see demonstrators all the time. It is part of the great joy of politics. Those police were actually breaking the law as they took those banners away.[referring to a visit of President Jiang Zemin of China in 1999] We are not having any of that...It's interesting how far this country has fallen in President Raised-by-Poodles quest for the perfect TV spot. We apparently will be forcing Great Britain to compromise their own laws and citizens freedom of speech to accomodate one man's inability to accept criticism.
To create a situation in which perhaps 60,000 people remain unseen would require a shutdown of central London which is just not acceptable."