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Police hold mother-of-three for reading 'Independent' outside Downing Street

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posted on Jul, 1 2006 @ 01:14 PM


An anti-Iraq war protester was questioned by police outside Downing Street because she was reading The Independent.

Charity Sweet, 40, and a mother-of-three, was holding a copy of Thursday's edition which carried the headline: "Warning: if you read this newspaper you may be arrested under the Government's anti-terror laws."

Inside was an article reprinted from Vanity Fair magazine which ran across the first three pages of that day's issue of the newspaper. The article, by the writer Henry Porter, accused the Blair Government of a sustained erosion of civil liberties.

As she sat outside Downing Street, Ms Sweet was approached and questioned by a police officer. When he had finished his inquiries she was astonished to be handed a form detailing the reasons for his interest which included "reading today's Independent".

Ms Sweet, from Chatham in Kent, said: "It was intrusive and ridiculous to think that I could not sit there and read the newspaper when I chose to. I don't have any issues with the officer himself, he was perfectly polite and just doing his job. He asked me who I was and what I was doing there. I told him the publication of the article was history in the making and I could not think of a more appropriate place to sit down and read it. I don't think I was causing a problem for anybody." She was not cautioned or arrested.

As is normal procedure, the officer handed Ms Sweet a form which set out why a particular person is stopped and, as can happen, searched. Under the section requiring a description of what the person stopped had been doing, the officer wrote:

"Sitting outside D Street with Notification Around Neck about Bullying. And Reading Today's Independent."


Have the UK cops lost their Minds?

I mean - has TONY lost His Mind?

Talk about the POLIC STATE UK!

You can NOT read a Newspaper in front of Downing Street?

One Word:



posted on Jul, 1 2006 @ 05:12 PM
At least I dont live in the UK. I mean come on, why would they make a newspaper saying that when its illegal. The people who made thar should be punished instead of the people from that bogus law.

posted on Jul, 1 2006 @ 06:13 PM
It is getting worse. I recently saw a short newscast on the use of CCTV cameras in the U.K. it is out of all proportions. Appearantly there are over four million camera´s in London alone recording 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The U.K. now has the most CCTV security cameras per square mile than any other country in the world. Talk about an invasion of privacy.

[edit on 1-7-2006 by HardToGet]

posted on Jul, 2 2006 @ 12:27 AM
Unless that newspaper contained some kind of 'way above top secret' government info (pardon the pun) I cannot think of any reason to not allow everyone who wants to read it to do so. The paper would have to be publishing something that jeopardizes national security for this to be justified, in my opinion, and I seriously doubt anything like that was published.

That leads naturally into my question; what was the article in the independent that got the UK gov't so worked up? All i can find about it is

Inside was an article reprinted from Vanity Fair magazine which ran across the first three pages of that day's issue of the newspaper. The article, by the writer Henry Porter, accused the Blair Government of a sustained erosion of civil liberties.
It doesn't go into any detail. I'd like to see the article that is getting people who merely read it arrested. (and then avoid any bobbies for the next little while!)

posted on Jul, 2 2006 @ 12:47 AM
Here's a link to the Independant and the article in question.


posted on Jul, 3 2006 @ 02:15 AM
Ok, I just read that article, and I am now extremely outraged, both at the things described by the Independent and by the woman who was held just for reading it. I don't get outraged at much in media anymore, because I have sadly become too desensitized to the crap all around us, but this one got through my thick armor.

Being Canadian, I am more familiar with our politics, and in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, we have that:

2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: ...
c) freedom of peaceful assembly;

Given that we used to be a British colony, and that our governmental system took a lot from theirs, I would imagine that they also have a similar clause in their constitution, unless it has been revoked by the current government. The US also has their Amendment about free speech. The British government needs to step up and let the people have their rights back.

I hate to invoke the Godwin's rule, but this really does remind me of much of German history during the Hitler years. Blair might honestly be trying to help Britain, but all he's doing is making it really easy for Hitler's sequel to come into power in a few years. This is like something straight out of that recent movie V for Vendetta. Or maybe 1984.

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