Since 9/11, a lot of “democratic” countries are changing into repressive regime, without most of its citizen even realizing it. UK seems to be one of it. Here’s an excellent article on the topic :
From the Our World Our Say Team :
On New Year’s Day we were fortunate to be offered a double paged advert in The Independent which we used to highlight the erosion of basic freedoms in this country.
Maya Anne Evans of Justice Not Vengeance, who was arrested for reading out the names of the British soldiers killed in Iraq, was featured in the advert. She writes below to help us with our New Year Appeal, which must secure £50,000 to pay for adverts like the one in the Independent and other campaigns over the next three months.
Dear Friend of Our World Our Say
My name is Maya Anne Evans. On 25th October last year I was arrested and charged. Simply for standing outside Downing Street and reading out the names of the British soldiers who have died in Iraq. It doesn’t seem possible that something like this could happen in our country but it happened to me. I thought we had freedom of speech.
If you believe that it’s time we stood up and challenged this Government then please help Our World Our Say do that in 2006 by making a donation at http://www.securegiving.co.uk/donate_to/owos_donate.html
I was arrested under the Designated Area Order clause of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act. On 1st January that act came into force in full – giving the police the power to arrest people for any act of petty law breaking – conceivably even dropping a piece of litter.
And under the act for all but a truly minor crime, the Police can take a sample of your DNA, photograph and fingerprint you and take impressions of your footwear. They can keep this even if you are not charged.
If you, like me, are alarmed at the serious erosion of our basic freedoms then please take a moment now to send a donation at http://www.securegiving.co.uk/donate_to/owos_donate.html to help Our World Our Say in 2006. They have big plans if they can raise enough funds including:
A series of high profile adverts and posters outlining how the Government is destroying precious liberties.
Public opinion polls and research to highlight ways of ending the war and killings in Iraq. According to The Lancet over 100,000 people have died.
A relaunch of their web site, which will enable them to run larger and more interactive campaigns – so that supporters and concerned members of the public can take action.
They need to secure at least £50,000 for work that is already in the pipeline. It’s vital that Our World Our Say has the funds to act as it’s not just the new laws that threaten us, it’s also the extremely sophisticated technology that the Government is investing in that enables them to watch and track our every move. You can see details at the foot of this email.
The authoritarian tendencies of this Government and their willingness to give the police almost unlimited powers are deeply disturbing. They seem to have a disdain for individual rights that goes against the fundamental principles of our society.
The Government gives various justifications for their measures: to prevent terrorism; to stop anti-social behaviour; to prevent crime. But the end result is the same. They’re destroying the liberties that are the basis of our democracy. To me that’s not the way to beat terrorism. The underlying message is that no one can be trusted and that wanting to voice your own opinion will not be tolerated.
If you are alarmed about what is happening to our liberties then please take a few minutes now to make a donation.
The Government needs to know that the British people will not let freedom of expression and association be crushed in this way. We must not forget that not dissimilar methods were used by the apartheid regime in South Africa, and the totalitarian government in East Germany before the Berlin Wall came down.
The Designated Area Order clause of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act, that I was arrested under, makes it illegal to hold any sort of protest around Parliament without police permission and with stringent conditions attached, like no megaphones.
Why are Police resources being wasted on repressing protest when the Police are so stretched anyway? Believe it or not two police sergeants, twelve constables, and two police minibuses were deployed to stop my protest. I was then taken to Charing Cross police station, locked up for five hours, and later given a criminal record.
My story is but one example. Here’s a few more.
# You will remember Walter Wolfgang, who was thrown out of the Labour Party conference for heckling. What wasn’t clearly publicised was that he was held under the Terrorism Act when he tried to re-enter the hall.
# Five protestors travelling to an EU summit on Tyneside wanted to make a point to Home Secretary Charles Clarke about ID Cards. They were carrying a giant ID card and red boiler suits as part of their planned protest. But they were arrested and detained even before they arrived at the summit and held under suspicion of causing criminal damage. What is this country coming to when protest can be stifled on so many fronts?
# In Brighton recently a police helicopter and at least 100 police were deployed for a demonstration of not more than 150 people. They were hemmed in and leafleters were videoed by the police, just like they would be in some countries with repressive regimes.
There are many, many other examples that don’t make the news, but around this country protest is being stifled and individual rights are being eroded and the power of the state to monitor and apprehend individuals has grown beyond reason. Please help Our World Our Say challenge this by making a donation at http://www.securegiving.co.uk/donate_to/owos_donate.html
If, like me, you feel you can’t sit back and let our basic freedoms be curtailed then take action. You could support me in my next protest. If you send an email to email@example.com your details will be forwarded on to me.
You can also help Our World Our Say build their presence by making a donation online.
By getting people to work together we can stop – and turn back – the erosion of our liberties. The internet offers a new way for millions of people to work together.
Whilst the cost of the ID Cards Scheme could be up to £30 billion those of us protesting do so on tiny resources. You could send £20 or whatever you can afford to pay for adverts, posters, opinion polls and a major upgrade of the Our World Our Say web site.
Thank you and Happy New Year
Maya Anne Evans