fwd: Stop the War Rally back on for Hyde Park London
paul_illich at hotmail.com
Wed Feb 5 02:16:57 MST 2003
Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell has said the Stop the War rally on 15
February can take place in Hyde Park after all.
Anti-war campaigners have been urging a rethink since it was ruled that the
Royal Park could not be used because the ground would be too soft and wet
to cope with up to 500,000 marchers. The issue has only ever been to find
a venue that is as safe as possible for those taking part
But after a series of meetings between police, local authorities and the
Royal Parks Agency, Ms Jowell announced the rally in the park could go
She said: "I have today agreed that Hyde Park should be the venue for the
Stop the War rally on February 15. This follows several days of intensive
work by my department to find a better venue for the rally.
"Everyone agrees that Hyde Park is far from ideal for an event of this kind
at this time of year."
She stressed: "The right of protesters to organise and take part in
peaceful marches and rallies has never been questioned. The issue has only
ever been to find a venue that is as safe as possible for those taking part.
"When CND first approached the Royal Parks to ask for the use of Hyde Park
as a rally point for its marchers on 15 February, the Royal Parks
Constabulary, the Metropolitan Police and Westminster City Council gave
unanimous advice that permission for the rally should not be given.
"I accepted this advice and asked that alternative venues for the rally be
considered. Those alternative venues have included Trafalgar Square, which
is the normal venue for winter rallies, and The Mall.
"The Mayor has now ruled out Trafalgar Square, and the Metropolitan Police
advise against holding the rally in The Mall.
"We hope that the leaders of the rally will work with the Royal Parks and
the Metropolitan Police to mitigate the risks to the public."
Stop the War Coalition officer John Rees said: "Freedom of speech in this
instance was only defended by the actions of the people. The minister
wanted to abrogate this fundamental liberty and we have prevented her from
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