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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Parliament Square peace campaigner Brian Haw dies

Parliament Square peace campaigner Brian Haw dies

Peace campaigner Brian Haw has died after "a long hard fight" against lung cancer, his family has announced.

Mr Haw, 62, set up a camp in London's Parliament Square in 2001 in protest against UK and US foreign policy.

In March 2011, a High Court ruling obtained by London's mayor forced him to move his camp on to the pavement.

In a statement posted on Mr Haw's website, his family said he had died on 18 June in Germany, where he had been receiving medical treatment.

They said Mr Haw, previously from Redditch, Worcestershire, passed away in his sleep in no pain.

'Courage and determination'

An additional statement on his website from his campaign representatives said: "Brian showed great determination and courage during the many long hard years he led his Peace Campaign in Parliament Square, during which it is well documented that he was relentlessly persecuted by the authorities which eventually took its toll on his health.

"Brian showed the same courage and determination in his battle with cancer. He was keenly aware of and deeply concerned that so many civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine did not have access to the same treatments that were made available to him.

"Parliament, the police, and courts etc, should forever be ashamed of their disgraceful behaviour towards Brian."

Camp battle

Mr Haw set up camp in Parliament Square Gardens on 2 June 2001, in response to sanctions against Iraq. His protest grew broader after the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. His camp displayed photos of war victims and hand-written posters with slogans such as "baby killers".

Mr Haw fought a lengthy battle with the authorities to keep his camp in place.

Legislation passed in 2005 banned unauthorised protests within a square mile of Parliament, but a drafting error saw Mr Haw win a legal battle to remain.

In May 2010, Mr Haw was charged with obstructing police during searches of tents on the green. Speaking after a court appearance, he set out his intention to remain in the square for the rest of his life.

"We're there because our country is committing infanticide, genocide, the looting of nations. I'm determined to be there until they kill me. How much longer will that be?"

In March this year, Mayor of London Boris Johnson won a possession order to evict Mr Haw and other campaigners from Parliament Square Gardens, which is owned by the Greater London Authority (GLA).

Mr Haw and many of the protesters subsequently moved on to the pavement - owned by Westminster Council. Westminster Council has been seeking a removal order, on the grounds the camp is obstructing the public highway.

If the council wins its court bid, the camp could be permanently removed.


James Higham said...

It's a lot of fun. then they'll move to being strapped to lightpoles and it will go to court again.

And so on. I like it.

Sophie J said...

RIP Brian.

Sophie J said...

He was a brave, determined and dedicated fighter for peace and justice. He was an inspiration to many, and will be remembered for his brave stance that drew attention to the blood thirsty actions and intentions of politicians and big corporations - for the world to see.

We worked well at times together, Brian and I on the green outside parliament, despite the debilitating illness he suffered he was ever ready and up for a fight with those he rightly held responsible for innocent people's deaths.

He really felt it, it was quite personal to him, when people tried to talk to him to show support and concern, he would just say to them: save your sympathy for my children and brothers and sisters being slaughtered in our name.

Good man was Brian, glad I met him in person and witnessed his skill and dedication to the struggle for peace.