March 25, 2006

What free expression?

London’s “March For Free Expression” encountered the absurdity of British law today:
The stewards were advised that a bylaw prohibits the display in Trafalgar Square of any foreign flags, so they had to cooperate with the wardens and the police in asking people to lower Danish and American flags. That's a shame, but thank you to the people concerned for complying with good grace (and sometimes managing to "wear" the flags in a way that was allowed to pass).
No foreign flags? Odd how the Metropolitan Police and wardens were so good at enforcing the law today. Here are pictures of Trafalgar Square demonstrations involving foreign flags (bonus, Gorgeous one in the foreground), and here, here, here, here and here (amazing!).

If you live in the UK, you'd do better to put this in your lapel than waste your time with these so-called pro-free expression demos.

060311_haig_vmed_7p.hmedium[1].jpg

Andrew Apostolou (dress down saturday blogger).

Posted by Andrew Apostolou at March 25, 2006 10:49 PM
Comments

Hey, no complaints about that last pic!

I love this comment:

"Back patting, if it was a success we would see it on the BBC news website or in the Sunday papers."

{rolling on the floor giggling}

Great job, guys. Looks like you have truly hurt the islamofascists.

Posted by: Asher Abrams - Dreams Into Lightning at March 25, 2006 08:50 PM

Here are the pictures of the London rally;

http://nordish.net/blog/london_25march/

Posted by: Nordish at March 26, 2006 02:26 AM

Great pics, Nordish! Your concentration on friendly smiling ladies is perhaps worrying. On a more serious note, thanks for the pic of the copper taking pics of the demonstrators.

Posted by: Apostolou at March 26, 2006 02:46 AM

Hehe... thanks Apostolou. It was a fun day, and it was interesting to see how the police treated us in the same was as they would have treated Islamic extremists calling for people to be beheaded. I don't think any of our protestors looked like criminals.

Posted by: Nordish at March 26, 2006 03:03 AM

Whenever the police behave like that, politely ask them to show you their warrant card and note down their identification number on their shoulder. You are entitled to do this.

Posted by: Apostolou at March 26, 2006 03:21 AM

Whenever the police behave like that, politely ask them to show you their warrant card and note down their identification number on their shoulder. You are entitled to do this.

Whatever for? Is the intent that you can report that these officers are attending the demonstration and photographing people? To whom? And for what reason?

Or is the intent to intimidate the officers? Or to put on a display that the demonstrators know their rights, or that they themselves are not intimidated? Again, to whom and why?

I suspect that you are new to this whole demonstrating thing, Andrew. If so, I'd be a bit more hesitant about suggesting tactics like the above.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at March 26, 2006 10:39 AM

Started going on and organizing events like this over 20 years ago. Thanks. You have rights, use them.

Posted by: Apostolou at March 26, 2006 01:00 PM

Started going on and organizing events like this over 20 years ago. Thanks. You have rights, use them.

Well, of course we have rights. However, have you not, in your twenty years of going to and organizing demonstrations, ever seen police videotaping events and taking photos before?

If so, did you ask of them the purpose what they were doing? Because it seems that you have assumed in a later post that the purpose was intimidation.

And regardless of whether you have the right to ask for the police identification when they are observing a demonstration, you did not indicate what the intent of this act would be. What would be the purpose of doing so?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at March 26, 2006 03:06 PM

The answer is no. Doubtless there was police surveillance, eg we found out recently that Special Branch were coming to Anti-Apartheid meetings, but it was discreet (self-evidently good surveillance is). This was most indiscreet.

Posted by: Apostolou at March 26, 2006 03:16 PM

This was most indiscreet.

There are two obvious purposes to a very visible police surviellance. One would be to intimidate the people at the demonstration, while the other would be to discourage potential troublemakers from either escalating a demonstration to something unlawful, or others who might attack the demonstrators.

As participants in this demonstration seem to be as safe as houses, I suspect that the actual intention of the police cameras was to deter the potential of others who might be inclined toward disrupting the demonstration.

I'm curious as to why you've assumed that the police were there in order to repress the good citizens demonstrating rather than be a deterrant to others who might be less inclined toward free speech?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at March 26, 2006 04:30 PM

Anyone know where I can buy one of those Danish Flag badges?

Posted by: Don Cox at March 27, 2006 10:06 AM

I got mine from Ebay. You can also get a lapel pin and a friendship pin from http://www.flagline.com/id01A3054 (no endorsement implied etc)

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