There have been many criticisms, over the past few years, of the government’s record on civil liberties and the right to protest. Its attacks on our rights have not been popular – or terribly effective. Last October the governemnt had to back down over its attempts to ban our demonstration with the Stop the War Coalition, protesting at the continued occupation of Iraq. Now the target is anti-nuclear campaigning.
This week the High Court made a ruling on byelaws restricting the right to protest at the Atomic Weapons Establishment, Aldermaston. Ironic, when it is 50 years to the month since the first mass peace march to Aldermaston took place. Notwithstanding efforts to shut down hard-won and longstanding rights to protest, the Aldermaston Women’s Peace Camp is continuing to camp this weekend. And CND’s Easter Monday demonstration will be going ahead, legally, as planned and looks likely to be the biggest in 20 years.
An interesting sideline to the court judgement is that the High Court actually struck down the law preventing banners and signs being attached to the fence. So when you join us at Aldermaston on Easter Monday, bring your banners, messages and symbols of peace to attach to the fence. Let’s affirm our freedom to protest in the manner to which we have become accustomed. (And will not give up!)