The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today urged that policing during next week’s G20 summit respects the rights of protesters and takes into account the findings of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights’ report on the restriction of protest activity. In previous evidence to the Committee, CND highlighted how anti-terrorism powers had been abused by police in totally inappropriate situations, including the use of the Terrorism Act 2000 to ‘stop and search’ the then-82 year old CND Vice-President, Walter Wolfgang, after he heckled Jack Straw at the 2005 Labour Conference.
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said, “We hope that all those policing protests around the G20 will bear in mind the Committee’s findings that restrictions have become ‘increasingly heavy-handed’ and that anti-terror legislation has been ‘misused’. After half a century of organising peaceful resistance to government policy, we are concerned that putting ever increasing barriers in the way of campaigners and deepening the intrusiveness of policing at protests will prove corrosive to society, discouraging participation in one of the most basic forms of democracy.”
Police have proposed a large exclusion zone around the ExCeL Centre in Docklands where the G20 will meet next week. CND, Stop the War, Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the British Muslim Initiative are likely be forced to hold a symbolic presence a considerable distance from the venue, out of sight of its main building.
CND’s main demonstration next week will be a march from the US Embassy at Grosvenor Square at 2pm on Wednesday. Linking with the partners mentioned above, CND will echo the US anti-war, anti-nuclear and social justice movements, who came together to say ‘Yes We Can’ during the US Presidential election. Campaigners will welcome Obama with the message ‘Yes We Can’ – End the siege of Gaza and free Palestine – Get the troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan – Make jobs not bombs – Abolish all nukes – Stop arming Israel.