By David Swanson
Today Cindy Sheehan, Brian Haw, and a crowd of other peace activists paid a visit to #10 Downing Street, the home of British Prime Minister Tony Blair — and birthplace of the Downing Street Minutes. Sheehan is known around the world as the mother whose campaign has demanded an explanation from George Bush for her son’s death in Iraq. Haw is known to all of Britain as the man who has lived in Parliament Square for the past four years, demanding an end to the war, and even running for Parliament from an address of the sidewalk across from Parliament.
Haw had not previously visited Blair’s house and asked to meet with him, although it’s only a three block walk from Parliament.
In fact, there is a large area around Parliament in which the government has banned demonstrations. Brian has prevailed in court and is the one person who has the right to free speech in the area. But marches are strictly verboten, as is stopping with a huge crowd in front of the gates to Downing Street and demanding a meeting. But the police clearly did not want to arrest us. They warned us several times that we would have to leave, but they just kept warning us.
They were also good enough to take a letter from Cindy and Brian into #10, from which they returned saying that Blair was not home at the moment.
Brian is an amazing guy, and his heart is fully involved in stopping the war. He’s had his nose broken twice but made a million friends and allies, brothers and sisters, during his stay in the square. A couple of days ago the police arrested him, but the complaints came in so quickly that they dropped the charges and let him out within the hour. They have, however, forbidden him to use a megaphone any more.
Brian with George Galloway, MP
Brian Haw and Cindy Sheehan meeting for the first time
We gathered in Parliament Square before marching to Downing Street, and when we marched, we took over the street, and we chanted and sang. At Downing Street we sang “We Shall Overcome,” and “We Shall Not Be Moved,” as the police kept asking us very politely to move along.
Marching to Downing Street
At Downing Street
Story about Brian on front page of Dec. 10, 2005, Independent.
Story about Cindy in the Herald (Scotland), Dec. 11, 2005
BBC story about Dec. 10th International Peace Conference.
Photo album from International Peace Conference.
Text of my speech at the conference.
Cindy’s Trip to Scotland, with photos.
Partying with the Mayor of London, with photos.
A Sunday Times story today about a young British man who landed a contract worth millions to put bogus US propoganda in Iraqi newspapers. The story mentions that he got into the Washington, DC, social scene through Jennifer 8 Lee, but fails to note that she’s a New York Times reporter, or that the people at her parties are media and political bigwhigs.
Notes I made a couple of days ago on labor and the peace movement in Britain.
Scotland Today article about Cindy.
Reuters article about new Dario Fo play about Cindy.
Guardian article about the play.
BBC article about Cindy and Brian.
Sunday Mail (Scotland) article about Cindy.
A.P. article about Peace Conference, apparently written without actually attending the conference.
CNN article on hostages, which quotes Cindy at conference. But as far as I know, CNN did not cover the conference.