LAWFUEL – Deputy Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison, said:
“From the start of discussions with the Stop the War Coalition, we made it clear that we wanted to facilitate lawful demonstration; upholding their rights to protest whilst balancing the requirement upon police to maintain access and egress to Parliament under the Sessional Order.
After more negotiation this afternoon, we agreed a route with the organisers which upheld their right to protest whilst ensuring the democratic process could continue.
It was disappointing that, after assurances from organisers that they had no intention of disrupting Parliament or preventing MPs from attending, a group of demonstrators held a ‘sit-down protest’ in the road in Parliament Square.
To my mind this was not about lawful protest but about those who wished to deliberately flout the law and inconvenience others.
Unfortunately we also saw a small group of demonstrators deliberately tear down the fences that had been put in place by the GLA a number of weeks ago to allow maintenance in the Square.
As is our duty, we worked very hard to try to strike the balance between upholding the right to protest and the Sessional Order. However, the response of some of the demonstrators meant that the general public were disrupted and inconvenienced.
This is not what lawful protest should be about.”
Four arrests have so far been made for offences including assault on police and obstruction.