We mentioned the other day about Katy Brown being arrested just for handing out leaflets. It could have been worse:
Article via Presscue.com:
Government and Police under fire for beating up Brian Haw
In an unprovoked attack by a police officer, Brian was assaulted in the face with his own camera and arrested while observing a demonstration against the ban on unauthorised protest under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (SOCPA) which was taking place outside Downing Street.
Mr. Haw, who was bleeding from the assault, was then dragged into the police van where he was further assaulted by policeman, according to witnesses.
“I utterly condemn the aggressive mishandling of Brian Haw during Saturday’s demonstration, and his subsequent treatment while in the custody of police,” Green MEP Caroline Lucas said. “He is a passionate and peaceful campaigner, and a popular hero following his outstanding efforts to publicly oppose the Iraq war.”
According to other protesters arrested along with Mr. Haw, the peace protester was once again badly assaulted before being strip searched and charged under the SOCPA.
“This incident provides yet more proof that police actions taken under the terms of SOCPA are putting a stranglehold on civil liberties and threatening the right to gather in peaceful protest,” Lucas added. “It is a sad day for this country when the face of modern democracy is frightened and bloodied and peering out of a police van on a Saturday afternoon.”
Mr. Haw came into international prominence when he won the Channel 4 Political Personality of the Year Award 2007 by popular vote.
It is estimated that the British authorities have spent almost half a million pounds (million US dollars) trying to evict Mr. Haw from Parliamentary Square, where he has been since 2nd June 2001.
While the government has succeeded in severely restricting his rights to protest by passing laws specifically against thwarting him, courts have ruled that these pieces of legislation cannot be invoked retroactively, and allowed Mr. Haw to continue to protest.
Lucas called on the Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who promised to look into the SOCPA, to stop these forms of police brutality immediately and prevent any further human rights abuses before the deadline for consultation ends on January 17th.