WESTMINSTER'S DEMOCRACY VILLAGE PROTEST'S

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  • NEW LAWS WON'T MOVE DEMOCRACY VILLAGE PROTESTERS
    New laws won’t move us out of Parliament Square, say protesters

    Peace protesters camping outside the Houses of Parliament today claimed they had a legal right to be there and MPs were “confusing” themselves with promises to remove the camp. The demonstration, which moved to the pavement after protesters were evicted from Parliament Square in July, has seen about 20 tents erected next to veteran activist Brian Haw. Commons Leader Sir George Young yesterday described the camp as “wholly unacceptable”, in response to comments by Tory MP David Tredinnick, who said the situation was worse than it had been in the summer.

    Sir George said: “It's not what one should see in the centre of a historic capital city, and we are going to consider legislation in the forthcoming Home Office Bill to put the situation right.” But protester Maria Gallastegui, 51, today warned that any attempt to pass new laws to make the peace camp illegal would be “unworkable”. Ms Gallastegui said she had successfully applied for the right to protest under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005.

    “They [MPs] brought in SOCPA themselves to try to put legitimate people off protesting by intimidating them by making them give all their details, but I've been prepared to do that and this protest is bona fide — it's authorised,” she said. “It's extraordinary. These MPs have no idea what is going on. There is no loophole — there are procedures to go through which we have done and it's all authorised.” Mark Barrett, 37, who was one of the founders of the “Democracy Village” which occupied Parliament Square for two months, said any moves to make protesting in the area illegal would meet fierce opposition.

    “The right to freedom and assembly is too important to worry about the aesthetics of what it looks like. They have this idea of it being unsightly, but we can't make everything look like a shopping mall.” He said people would be prepared to go to prison to defend the right to free expression.

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  • WESTMINSTER'S DEMOCRACY VILLAGE PROTEST'S
  • WESTMINSTER DEMO VILLAGE MOVED ONTO THE STREET VIDEO
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  • DEMOCRACY VILLAGE PROTESTERS CANNOT BE MOVED WITHOUT NEW LAW
    Protesters in an “ugly” makeshift campsite outside the House of Commons could remain there indefinitely.

    More than 50 demonstrators were moved off Parliament Square when their “Democracy Village” was dismantled three weeks ago following a High Court battle with the Mayor. But many simply shifted a few yards to the nearby pavement, and it could take a change in the law before they are moved off. Westminster council, which looks after the pavement, said the group in 15 tents had “exposed a gap in the law” and it did not have the power to remove them. Colin Barrow, leader of the Tory borough, said if Westminster sought an injunction to move them it could fail, as did the attempt to remove anti-war protester Brian Haw from the site, which he has occupied since 1991.

    “Brian Haw has obstructed the public highway for a long time but the courts supported him and we lost,” said Mr Barrow. “The legal situation isn't strong enough. The powers we have are simply not adequate. To take the new protesters to the High Court is an immense use of public money and we may lose. We just don't think we can justify it.” The council is pushing ministers for new legislation making it easier to remove the protesters. Mr Barrow said: “We will have a proposal ready for the Government by September. A new law could be legislated within a year.” He added that in the absence of a new law, only the police could take action: “These people are clearly obstructing a public highway so the police could use their powers to move them on, but they are choosing not to.”

    The Met said it had chosen not to do so as “nothing illegal is being done” and “the protesters have a right to protest there”. Activists are also said to have given police advance warning about the Parliament Square protest — meaning they cannot be removed under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, which requires written notice to be given of any demonstrations within one kilometre of the square. Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Tory MP for Kensington and Chelsea, said the issue had to be tackled “once and for all”. He added: “This requires some kind of legislation. I think they are a nuisance. They are inhibiting the public from using the pavement and the square.”

    The Democracy Village hosted causes including anti-war groups and environmentalists. The protests, which began on May 1, are estimated to have cost £300,000 in legal and clean-up costs. Parliament Square is likely to stay shut for six weeks while it is restored.

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  • MP'S FURY AT NEW PROTEST CAMP ON PARLIAMENT SQUARE PAVEMENT
    MPs today voiced their anger over a new protest camp set up only yards from where Democracy Village was dismantled.

    A group of demonstrators who were evicted from Parliament Square on Tuesday are now living in tents on the pavement bordering the site. Politicians called the affair a “total farce”, saying the cluster of about 15 tents is just as big an eyesore as before. Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Conservative MP for Kensington and Chelsea, said: “It is a completely unacceptable situation. There are the same problems as before, with waste and litter and general unsightliness.

    "I am in support of amending any legislation that allows for these people to stay on the pavement on a technicality. “I just hope they will be removed quickly and successfully. If nothing is done, they will just stay there and hang on for as long as they can.” A former Labour minister said: “It is a total farce — they have just moved from the grass to the pavement. It is as big an eyesore as ever it was. They should have been hosed off the square months ago and not allowed to come back. Why can't the Mayor and the other authorities get their act together?”

    Fifty bailiffs went to the site at 1am on Tuesday after the Court of Appeal ruled that the camp, set up by protesters against the war in Afghanistan, be dismantled. Mayor Boris Johnson had taken legal action to have the campaigners evicted. But one group simply pitched their tents alongside long-time anti-war protester Brian Haw, who was not affected by the court decision. Westminster City Council, which is responsible for the pavement, said the estimated cost to the taxpayer since May 1, when the “village” was set up, has been £300,000 to cover legal fees and cleaning. A spokesman said the authority did not want any more public money wasted on attempts to move the protesters. But Mark Field, Tory MP for the Cities of London & Westminster, said: “It's a mess and I will be getting on to the Metropolitan Police. I know that Brian Haw's position is protected, but the courts did not say others could simply join him.

    “Presumably this is going to make a lot of lawyers even richer as they go through yet more legal procedures to remove these people.” The MPs spoke out as it emerged that work to restore the square could take at least two months and cost £50,000. The demonstrators' 40 tents, huge marquee, vegetable garden, field kitchen and makeshift latrines have had a detrimental impact on the grassy Unesco World Heritage site. Patches of the ornamental garden are yellowed, while other sections of lawn were churned into mudbaths in heavy rain.

    But despite the cost and the damage caused, the remaining protesters said they are determined to hang on. One, who would only give his name as Luke, said: “My brother was killed in Afghanistan when I was just 15 so I have a genuine interest in this protest.” The 22-year-old carpenter and plumber from Edmonton added: “I resisted their attempts to remove me on Tuesday and delayed the operation for hours. I will do the same if they try to move me from here.”

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  • COP THUGS AND BAILIFF'S EVICT PROTESTERS AT WESTMINSTER DEMO VILLAGE
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    A small group of anti-war protesters remained in London's Parliament Square Gardens today after court bailiffs moved in to evict them. Demonstrators in the makeshift camp known as Democracy Village lost a Court of Appeal battle to stay there last week and court officials arrived at 1am to move them on. Maria Gallastegui, from London, said she was one of six protesters still in and around the site. She said: "We are on some scaffolding and we want to stay here as long as possible. We want to be here for the rush hour ideally. "Obviously we will resist but we will be non-violent."

    Ms Gallastegui said at least one protester had chained themselves to the scaffolding and another was on top of a lorry containing fencing which was to be put around the square. She said: "The cleaners from the council are here now and they are just ripping up the village." A Metropolitan Police spokesman said today: "Officers from the Metropolitan Police Service are in attendance within the Parliament Square area. They are there in a supporting role to High Court enforcement officers who are currently carrying out an operation to evict those residing on the grassed area of the square. "The role of the police in such circumstances is to be on standby to prevent a breach of the peace and to deal with any crime." He said that no arrests had been made by 3.30am.

    Last month, High Court judge Mr Justice Griffith Williams granted orders sought by Mayor of London Boris Johnson, but their enforcement was delayed pending an appeal to Master of the Rolls Lord Neuberger, Lady Justice Arden and Lord Justice Stanley Burnton. Counsel Jan Luba QC argued that the mayor had no right to evict the demonstrators because he did not own the land, which belongs to the Queen, and had failed to prove any legal title to it. Even if Mr Johnson could bring the proceedings, a court could not order possession because it would be incompatible with laws relating to rights to free speech and assembly, said counsel. But the mayor's QC, Ashley Underwood, said Parliament Square Gardens was an open space which the public had a right to use and that the judge reached a reasoned decision.

    He said there was a pressing social need not to permit an indefinite camped protest on the site for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others to access. A spokeswoman for the Mayor of London said the protest had caused "considerable damage to the site and had prevented its use by others, including lawful protesters". She added: "The square will now be closed temporarily, during which time the site will be restored for the use of Londoners, visitors to the capital and responsible protesters."

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  • Bailiff filmed 'kicking' parliament protester
  • WESTMINSTER DEMOCRACY VILLAGE PRIOR TO EVICTION BY BAILIFF'S 16 JULY 2010 VIDEO
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  • WESTMINSTER'S DEMOCRACY VILLAGE REFUSE TO PAY £88,000 EVICTION LEGAL COSTS
    The protesters who will be evicted from Parliament Square after a High Court battle with Boris Johnson today refused to pay their legal costs.

    The peace activists, who set up camp opposite the House of Commons on May 1, said the Mayor of London “could dream on” if he expected them to stump up the estimated £88,000 fees. The Appeal Court ruled on Friday that Democracy Village must be dismantled and that the demonstrators must pay 80 per cent of the costs of bringing the case, but they insist they will not pay. Unless Mr Johnson spends more money chasing the debt, the taxpayer could be forced to foot the bill.

    One of the protesters, Mike Raddie, 39, from Archway, north London, said: “We are not going to pay any legal fees at all.” He added: “If the Mayor had gone through the right channels this would not have cost a penny. The police could have arrested us. The council probably could have dealt with it too, but he insisted on going through the courts. We will never pay this sum. For a start, most of us are homeless and have no means by which to pay it.” So far the occupation is estimated to have cost the taxpayer £250,000 in legal fees and clean-up work. Experts warn that thousands more will need to be spent to restore the grass at the site.

    A spokeswoman for the Mayor said: “The court will determine what the costs are and the Mayor will then be entitled to recover those costs through the court. The Mayor is obliged to do everything he can to get back what taxpayers' money has been spent.” The protesters expressed surprise that they had not yet been evicted, but said they were expecting the bailiffs soon. One, Dot, said: “We were expecting them [the bailiffs] overnight but they didn't come. They'll be here in the next few days most likely.” A GLA official inspecting the site today told some of the residents: “You've had your day in court and lost twice. When you walk on here there is a stench of urine and faeces. The GLA needs to maintain the land.”

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  • WESTMINSTER'S DEMOCRACY VILLAGE LOSE APPEAL (JUDGES NO JURY)
    peace protest Britain and its tyrannical judges have taken away jury rights and an utter menace to getting any form of justice in UK courts. Two judgements today , one against the motorbike parking protest and one against the peace protesters.

    Parliament Square peace protesters told to pack their tents and go

    Peace protesters in Parliament Square will be thrown out after losing an eviction battle with Boris Johnson today. The Democracy Village set up near the House of Commons in May must be dismantled, the Appeal Court ruled. But the judge was forced to leave amid chaotic scenes as activists shouted “hypocrite” and accused him of running a pirate court. The Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger, rejected an appeal against eviction and refused the group leave to take their case to the Supreme Court. The so-called peace campaigners must now pay 80 per cent of the estimated £110,000 legal costs of bringing the case. If they fail to pay, the Mayor must decide whether to spend more money chasing the debt or write it off and let the taxpayer foot the bill.

    Mr Johnson welcomed the ruling, saying: “I am very, very pleased. The ethos of these kind of protesters is something I have great sympathy for, but this thing was doing too much damage to a World Heritage site. It was an unsustainable expense to the public purse and was becoming an eyesore.” Colin Barrow, leader of Westminster City Council, said: “We are delighted by this decision as we feel the hijacking of one of London's historic public spaces needs to be brought to an end. “We all support peaceful protest, but it is completely unacceptable for parts of our city to be occupied and turned into no-go areas by vociferous minorities, however laudable their cause. “This decision will mean ordinary Londoners and visitors can once again use the square.” High Court officers were unable to give a timetable for eviction but police will be sent in to ensure protesters comply with the order.

    Today activists claimed they would continue to fight but experts said they had run out of legal options and must now leave. The camp was set up on May 1, sparking a protracted legal battle. High Court judge Mr Justice Griffith Williams last month granted orders sought by Mr Johnson but their enforcement was delayed pending an appeal. Counsel for the protesters argued that the Mayor had no right to evict them as he did not own the land, which belongs to the Queen. But Mr Johnson's lawyer successfully argued that Parliament Square Gardens is an open space which the public has a right to use. He said there was a pressing social need to prevent camps on the site for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others to access. The court also heard it was vital to protect health, as the camp had no running water or lavatories and attracted homeless people, alcoholics and drug users. Today, as Lord Neuberger made his ruling together with Lady Justice Arden and Lord Justice Stanley Burnton, a threadbare protester calling himself Friend — real name Ian Hobbs — told the court: “Put the costs down to me.”

    Lecturer Camilla Power, 51, of Battersea, said: “We won't leave until we're made to. We're non-violent but will stand our ground. That's what protesters have done historically at Parliament Square, including the Suffragettes.” Anthony Bexley, 52, who has been at the camp since the start, said: “They'll need to move us physically. We'll take this to the Court of Human Rights.” Mr Johnson said the police would not be “brutal” in removing the protesters but insisted the law had to be upheld. The camp has been called a sewer by MPs, who feared activists' use of straw bales as latrines put hygiene at risk.

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  • WESTMINSTER'S DEMOCRACY VILLAGE PROTESTERS WIN LAST MINUTE COURT APPEAL
    Westminster's Democracy village protesters win reprieve in last-minute court appeal

    Peace protesters camping in Parliament Square were granted a reprieve today from court orders that could lead to their eviction. Lady Justice Smith granted a temporary “stay” on orders won by Mayor Boris Johnson from a High Court judge on Tuesday giving him the right to evict campaigners. Mr Justice Griffith Williams had delayed their enforcement until 4pm today pending any applications to the Court of Appeal for permission to challenge his ruling. Three applications were lodged at the Court of Appeal before the deadline.

    One was from Rebecca Hall, a student at the South Bank University. Veteran anti-war campaigner Brian Haw is also seeking an appeal. Lady Justice Smith ruled that all the applications for permission to appeal by the campaigners were to go before a full court as soon as possible. The stay will remain in place until that hearing. In making her decision she said: “It is plainly in the public interest that this matter is dealt with expeditiously. I think also that this is a matter of some real public importance.” After a nine-day hearing in London, the Mr Justice Williams concluded that there was “overwhelming evidence” that the Democracy Village defendants had breached bylaws.

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  • WESTMINSTER'S DEMOCRACY VILLAGE PROTESTERS WILL FIGHT EVICTION COURT ORDER
    ONCE AGAIN JUDGES, NOT JURIES, DECIDING ON POINTS OF LAW WHO SUPPORT THE BRITISH ESTABLISHMENT'S CONTROL OVER ALL OUR LIVES AND THE LACK OF FREEDOM'S THAT COME FROM A TYRANNICAL DICTATORSHIP OF UNELECTED (HAND PICKED BY THE QUEEN) MASONIC ZIONIST JUDGES.

    Parliament Square protesters vow to fight on

    The Parliament Square squatters vowed to step up the scale of their protest today despite losing a High Court eviction battle with Mayor Boris Johnson. The “Democracy Village” peace activists, who have been camping on the square for nearly two months, said if they are thrown off by bailiffs they will breach court orders and return with more supporters. “This is just the beginning,” said one leading campaigner, a 38-year-old known as Phoenix. “Boris has bitten off more than he can chew. This is only going to get bigger. There will be loads more people coming to protest on the government's doorstep until they listen to us.”

    The activists claim a number of allied protest groups will take it in turns to launch direct action against the Government in a new phase of their campaign, dubbed “Operation Rolling Thunder”. Mr Johnson yesterday won his legal fight to reclaim Parliament Square from the ragtag collective of 30 or so campaigners who have pitched tents on the lawn. The Mayor claimed they had turned the public garden into a no-go area for tourists and other groups wanting to protest there.

    At the end of a nine-day hearing, Mr Justice Griffith Williams granted the Greater London Authority possession orders and injunctions banning certain named protesters from the square. He delayed enforcement of the orders until 4pm on Friday while several defendants seek leave to challenge his ruling in the Court of Appeal. If permission is refused, bailiffs could remove all the campers as early as Friday evening — although the protesters said they will fight to delay it as long as possible and some will physically resist being evicted.

    Phoenix said he is confident the eviction order will be stayed for several weeks pending the appeal. Last night, two protesters were arrested after running into the grounds of the Palace of Westminster. They were held on suspicion of trespassing on a protected site, Scotland Yard said.Another four people were arrested for obstructing the highway.

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  • WESTMINSTER'S DEMOCRACY VILLAGE TO BE EVICTED BY SINGLE JUDGE DECISION(NO JURY)
    AS LONG AS THE JUDICIARY RULE OVER THE UK WE WILL GET NO JUSTICE ONLY TYRANNY.

    A High Court judge has ruled that peace protesters who have been camping in Parliament Square must be evicted. Since May tents and flags have transformed the green into what demonstrators call Democracy Village.

    The hearing in London heard the Mayor of London Boris Johnson wanted to "safeguard the rights of the majority" to enjoy the space. Protesters had claimed only the Queen had the right to bring such proceedings in relation to the London square.

    Free speech

    Mr Johnson had argued he had the right as the Greater London Authority owns the green space. The mayor's counsel, Ashley Underwood QC, told Mr Justice Griffith Williams the case dealt with "a collision of the rights of the minority to exercise free speech and assembly and protest in a public place and of the rights of others to use that same public place for that and other uses".

    He added: "In bringing this claim, the mayor does not seek to minimise the vital importance of the right to free speech and assembly and protest, especially in such a significant location and in such a vibrant city as this. "Rather, what he seeks to achieve is to safeguard the rights of the majority to use and enjoy Parliament Square Gardens and bid to prevent the abrogation to themselves of such a place by a small minority, however well-intentioned."

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  • FARCE IN COURT AS PEACE CAMP PROTESTERS DELAY EVICTION FROM WESTMINSTER
    court banner Notice Brian Haw, who we do not believe to be a typical activist, is unhappy that his thunder has been STOLEN by the many now camped on Parliament Square. We have been interviewing and keeping up to date with the Democracy village protesters which makes a change from the stiff collars dining out for FREE within the Houses of Commons and Lords at our enormous expense.

    The Mayor's attempt to clear Parliament Square of peace protesters has been held up by farcical scenes at the High Court.

    Boris Johnson's plans for the speedy removal of the "Democracy Camp" are set to take far longer than planned. The Greater London Authority's lawyers went to court hoping to prove their case of trespass in two hours. But they were confronted by about 50 protesters, including 15 who wanted their names to be added to the list of defendants in the action - giving them the right to speak in court.

    Waiting for proceedings to start they joined hands in court to sing a rousing chorus of Give Peace a Chance. Among the 15 was a man who told the judge he wanted to be known as Friend because "I don't accept the name my parents gave me" - Ian Robert Hobbs. Mr Justice Maddison then recognised a familiar face: Big Issue seller Dirk Duputall, whom the judge said he passed every day in the Strand and greeted with "an amicable good morning".

    He was added to the list, along with Rodge Kinney, who said he was in the Square to protest against Westminster City Council which had made him homeless. Another woman said she wanted to be added but then said she did not want her name disclosed to her parents, even though she appeared to be in her fifties.

    There were further complications when it was pointed out there were two peace camps in the Square and it might require separate court hearings to evict them. Veteran campaigner Brian Haw has been there since 2001 and has not taken kindly to the Democracy Camp, complete with its 40 tents, field kitchen, vegetable garden and makeshift lavatories which only arrived on May 1. "No you can't - get lost," he shouted across court to one of the rival protesters who had asked the judge if she could join his side. As the hearing dragged towards 5pm last night the judge struggled to keep control and appealed for the case to return to a court and not be "a forum to start making political speeches".

    The case was adjourned until Monday. "It's going to take far longer than I thought it would, " said David Forsdick, representing the GLA.

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  • WAR DECLARED ON WESTMINSTER PEACE CAMPAIGNERS
    War is declared on Parliament’s peace campers

    Protesters camped in Westminster are wrecking Parliament Square, turning the London tourist attraction into a wasteland, it is claimed. Up to 40 activists who set up the ramshackle “Democracy Village” outside the Palace of Westminster on May 1 face the threat of eviction at the High Court, but they have vowed not to budge until British troops are withdrawn from Afghanistan. Their 40 tents, huge marquee, field kitchen, vegetable garden and makeshift latrines are having a detrimental impact on the grassy Unesco World Heritage site, say critics, who call the camp a “permanent Glastonbury”.

    Patches of the ornamental garden are yellowed, while other sections of lawn have been churned into a mudbath by heavy footfall in pouring rain. Christian Moxon, 36, owner of the London Gardening Company, which creates and maintains gardens for private homes and businesses, said the grass “could take a month to get back to looking nice”. He added: “They may need to re-lay it. The longer it goes on, the longer it will take to recover.” It is also claimed the latrines smell.

    Colin Barrow, leader of Westminster council, said: “We of course support peaceful protest but it's unacceptable for this public square to become a campsite when it is meant to be a place for everyone to enjoy.” He said street cleaners were dealing with increased rubbish, while police resources were being diverted away from crime fighting. He called for new laws “to ensure everyone can enjoy the square and give other groups the chance to legally protest there”. The protesters' leader, a squatter called Pete Phoenix, 38, claimed the damage was far less significant than the “genocide” being committed by the British Government in Afghanistan. He said: “That is an illegal war. Our primary aim is to stop the killing.” Boris Johnson is trying to have the activists evicted. His spokesman said that while the Mayor respected the right to demonstrate, the protest was doing “considerable damage to the square and preventing its peaceful use by other Londoners”.

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  • WESTMINSTER'S DEMOCRACY VILLAGE HIRE LAWYERS TO FIGHT EVICTION
    DEMOCRACY VILLAGE WESTMINSTER Parliament’s peace campers hire lawyers to fight eviction

    Peace protesters camping in Parliament Square have hired one of the country's top law firms to stop Boris Johnson evicting them, the Standard has learned. Activists living in the ramshackle “Democracy Village” on Parliament's doorstep say they have been warned plans are being prepared to clear them away after officials ran out of patience with their “eyesore” campsite. The campers claim any move to evict them would infringe their human rights and have instructed solicitors Bindmans, who sent a letter to the Mayor of London last night.

    It is understood the letter sets out the protesters' rights to lawful demonstration under European legislation — which the lawyers claim supersedes local bylaws — and warns Mr Johnson he will face a battle in the courts if he tries to send in the bailiffs. Over the past three weeks the square has become home to about 40 activists in a growing campsite that includes a marquee, a tipi, dozens of small tents, flags, banners and an upright piano. The occupants, who have vowed to stay until British troops are withdrawn from Afghanistan, have dug up the turf to sow crops and built a field kitchen and compost lavatories on the lawn.

    Anti-war campaigner Dirk Duputell, 28, admitted the camp could be there for months or even years. He said: “We will not go until the violence stops. We hope that will be very soon but we will be here as long as it takes.” He added that a Met chief inspector told them they could be moved on at any time, but said they would return and continue their campaign. Police have been visiting the camp regularly and have searched some tents, but have otherwise taken no action as they say the Greater London Authority has responsibility for any possible move to evict the protesters.

    An activist called “Phoenix”, 38, said: “It's our right to stay under European human rights legislation. “A letter has been sent to the Mayor reminding him of these rights. There are people from all walks of life supporting us. We hope Boris embraces this experiment in democracy.”

    Bindmans confirmed a letter had been sent. A spokesman for the Mayor would only say: “We are monitoring the situation closely”. Colin Barrow, leader of Westminster council, today demanded an end to the “permanent Glastonbury”. He said: “We can no longer tolerate the hijacking of Parliament Square. We all support peaceful and lawful protest, but it is unacceptable for parts of our city to be turned into no-go areas by vociferous minorities.”

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  • WESTMINSTER'S DEMOCRACY VILLAGE: END THE WAR

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