Taking liberties

IssueNovember 2005
News by Mell Harrison, Angie Zelter

From late October to late November a bunch of activists from Norfolk, Suffolk and London are organising a month of actions and events in and around Charles Clarke's home town - Norwich.

Charles Clarke, Home Secretary, is the MP for Norwich South. He is responsible for both law and order, and for protecting our civil liberties, as enshrined in the Human Rights Act 1998. So what is the cheery man up to then?

Well he is taking liberties - detention without trial, the removal of privacy, curfews, restrictions on movement, limitations on protest, newly endorsed use of torture, psychological profiling of children, a national database and ID cards, are all striking reversals of the advance of human rights in a wealthy society.

Making demands

There will be four themed weeks: Right to Protest, Innocent until Proven Guilty, State Terrorism, and No-One is Illegal.

Demands of the campaign include (amongst many others!): respecting our right to protest nonviolently where we can be seen and heard, to give out leaflets, and engage in public debate on the streets; bringing an immediate end to the “shoot to kill” policy; ending the practice of holding asylum seekers in prison and detention centres where they are treated as criminals, and ensuring adequate legal representation for asylum-seekers; repealing the Terrorism Act 2000, the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 and the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005; and upholding the international laws that the UK has signed up to.

The month will include all sorts of events: a march, without asking permission - oh dear! - demonstrations, leafleting, information stalls, street theatre, political song and exhibitions on the streets, a public meeting, and more... all the traditional protest events that Charles Clarke is trying so hard to outlaw.