May Day we took a day off and took to the streets to support fair labour laws, human rights, and the right to peaceful protest. Red flags in the street, yellow police jackets on the sidewalks. It seems the British still have the right to protest — sometimes. But certainly not anonymously. With all this camera equipment on the sidelines, the exercise became as well-documented as a trip through the London Underground — never far from the camera’s eyes. But as InnerHippy found out last time he took pictures of the cops, the right to record doesn’t seem to extend to everyone . . .
In front of the Houses of Parliament, protest is another matter. It’s recently been made illegal within 100 m of the buildling. The BBC explains that most protests now try to draw attention to this fact. I decided to find out more. With my best Canadian accent, I asked these police officers whether it was really true that the British no longer had the right to protest. One of them carefully explained that they could protest, but only after filing paperwork with the police detailing the number and identity of protesters. Why? “To prevent just anyone from coming up and protesting”. Of course.