Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Defiance of Parliament Protesters

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Defiance of Parliament Protesters

Article excerpt

Byline: Benedict Moore-Bridger and Nicholas Cecil

POLICE swept dozens of tents from the Parliament Square peace camp in a dramatic raid to clear the 10-year-old protest site but a lone demonstrator vowed to fight on.

Officers acted under new powers last night to end the occupation which critics claim has "desecrated" the World Heritage Site.

MP Stephen Hammond said: "This is a historic moment. We are finally getting the view back of Parliament in this crucial year with the Olympics and Diamond Jubilee. This is good news for London and Londoners."

Boris Johnson said: "We're going ahead with clearing up the square and I think that's the right thing to do."

But the total clearance will be delayed until the outcome of a new High Court battle.

The case is being brought by protester Maria Gallastegui who won an injunction to remain with three tents and her "Tardis-style peace box". She said other protesters would try to get round the new law. A police source said: "We Continued on Page 5

Continued from Page 1 have given an undertaking not to touch the property of the person who launched legal action in the High Court." Ms Gallastegui, 53, accused authorities of trying to clear legitimate and "life-saving" protest.

She told the Standard: "We're heading towards war with Iran. They don't want people protesting. They want everything nice for the Olympics." Ms Gallastegui said it was important to challenge the legislation as there were "a lot of grey areas".

Two arrests were made as a handful of protesters refused to leave their pitches on the pavement in front of Big Ben during the operation which was assisted by City of Westminster council teams who loaded tents into lorries.

As police continued clearing the tents, Barbara Tucker, who has been camped on the square since 2005, shouted: "Six years here and a 10-year campaign -- we didn't suddenly become unlawful."

Another protester shouted "shame on you" and "thieves" as the equipment was carried away. …

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