Why I Had to Win the Turner; Protest Art: Mark Wallinger at Tate Liverpool Where He Received the [Pounds sterling]Turner Prize from Dennis Hopper for State Britain, below, His Reconstruction of Brian Haw's Anti-Iraq Peace Camp at Westminster

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THE winner of the 2007 Turner Prize has launched a searing attack on theinfringement of civil rights that stops protests in Parliament Square.

Mark Wallinger, 48, said the Government legislation that banned demonstrationswas undemocratic and should be repealed.

The artist was speaking in Liverpool as he won the prestigious [pounds sterling]25,000 prizefor his work, State Britain, which was a recreation of the giant anti-Iraq warprotest of banners and posters mounted by Brian Haw opposite the Houses ofParliament.

Although he is showing a two-and-ahalf hour video of himself wandering a Berlingallery dressed in a bear suit for this year's prize exhibition in Liverpool,it was his strongly political installation that secured him the prestigiousaward at the second attempt.

Wallinger, who grew up in Chigwell, Essex, and now lives in Waterloo, admittedhe had been practising losing with good grace for months and could not believehe had won.

But he added: "I won, I think, because State Britain was the best thing shownanywhere this year. I don't have to be Dull, tedious, humble about that." Theartist said it was "absurd" how "quiet and quiescent" British people had beenabout the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act that made protest inWestminster illegal.

"The police have been given the power to make any conditions that they wish andthis is against the Magna Carta. The law was largely forged to get rid ofBrian. It makes me very angry indeed," he said.

But he praised the Tate, which commissioned State Britain and showed it at TateBritain, for having the courage to support him.

The gallery gave the installation the go-ahead hours before 78 police moved into dismantle Brian Haw's peace camp. …


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