There have been several vocal and entirely peaceful public demonstrations in support of Gary McKinnon and others who are victims of the the appalling Extradition Act 2003.
The latest demonstration will be:
Time: this afternoon Saturday 23rd June 2012 between 1pm and 3pm
Location: outside of Downing Street in London,
Nearest Tube: Westminster
Media contacts: Janis Sharp via Twitter@JanisSharp
The sun is shining in London. We need your voices outside number 10 Downing St. 1-3pm today/Sat. to stand up for #civilLiberties #FreeGary
Some tips and advice about demonstrations in central London:
SOCPA ss 132 - 138 have now been repealed
Unlike previous demonstrations at the Home Office etc., the notorious Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 sections 132 to 138, which set up a Designated Area around Parliament Square which encompassed Whitehall and the Downing Street and the Home Office etc. has now been repealed as of the end of March 2012.
Do not let any ill-trained or deliberately malevolent Police Constables or Police Community Support Officers try to fool you that these powers are still in force.
See the Parliament Protest blog for details.
Amateur and even professional press photographers are all too frequently illegally harassed by jobsworth public officials and security guards, partly as a result of the Home Office's "climate of fear" anti-terrorism propaganda.
There are no laws which prevent you taking photos at the demonstration (ideally, if it is to have any effect, the mainstream media should be present), and the US Embassy is not anything special as a building, except that it is the sovereign territory of our major ally.
There is nothing special about Whitehall and Downing Street with regard to photography in public places.
No Police Community Support Officer or private security guard or any Police Constable in Uniform has any power to seize your camera or mobile camera phone without actually arresting you for an offence with reasonable suspicion.
Even if you are arrested, the Police Constables (not PCSOs or private security guards who have no powers of arrest) have no power to delete digital photos etc. even if they have seized your camera or mobile phone, since that would be tampering with evidence in contravention of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.
Conversely, there are no laws to prevent the Police or security guards from taking photos or video of you, either.
Use your common sense if photographing an armed Police officer pointing a gun at you.
Terrorism Stop and Search harassment
The Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition government have slightly watered down the previous labour government's repressive Terrorism Act 2000 Section 44 stop and search without reasonable cause powers. These are still on the statute book awaiting repeal by the Protection of Freedoms Bill, but the Metropolitan Police are supposed to have stopped using Section 44.
You can still be stopped and searched under Section 43, but that should only be used against real terrorism suspects. This legal power can only be exercised by a real Police Constable in Uniform (not in plain clothes, not undercover, not a Police Community Support Officer, not a private security guard, not a Council Warden or Heritage Warden etc.)
You do not have to give your name and address to the Police, unless they do try to actually arrest you on the street, for one or more of a vast range of other potential offences, including "public nuisance" etc.
What to bring on a demonstration
- A sense of humour.
- Several friends and supporters.
- Press and Broadcast journalists and reporters.
- Posters, banners, leaflets, petitions etc.
- If you smoke, something to collect and extinguish your cigarette butts in - Westminster Council bylaws and Government Anti-social behaviour laws and policies, could allow various public officials to slap you with a £60 Fixed Penalty Notice for littering if you throw you cigarette butt onto the ground.
- Something (non-alcoholic) to drink and eat etc.
- An umbrella (it is summer but this is England).
- Cameras and video recorders
- Spare batteries and USB or other memory devices for digital cameras and mobile phone cameras.
- Contact details of firms of legal solicitors who deal with human rights issues and arrests at demonstrations e.g. Bindmans - telephone: 020 7833 4433 or Kaim Todner - telephone: 020 7353 6660 (Gary McKinnon's solicitors)
- N.B. there is no current ban on loudhailers / megaphones outside of Downing Street, but some of Gary's supporters have loud enough voices not to actually require megaphones !
What NOT to bring to a demonstration
- Alcohol - even Police Community Support Officers now have powers to confiscate alcohol within a Dispersal Zone. All of the London boroughs of Westminster and Camden are now such Dispersal Zones.
- Being seen to be drinking alcohol on Transport for London Tubes or Buses is also now banned.
- Illegal drugs - obviously.
- Personal address and contact books or Mobile Phones or Personal Digital Assistants containing contact names, addresses, email, phone etc. details - jobsworth PCSOs and Police constables often attempt to rifle through these, during "stops and searches", even when they often have no proper legal power to do so.
- If you must bring your normal mobile phone with you, then you should set a security PIN code, for both for the power on and keyboard locks, which might prevent arbitrary snooping, but which will not, of course, prevent forensic examination of the phone if you are arrested.