Regular readers will know that I attend the Mass Lone Demonstrations in Parliament Square as often as I can. Not only are they a terrific way to highlight how stupid and pointless the SOCPA laws (.pdf) are, they’re also a lot of fun. The next one is on December 20th and will be followed by a carol-singing session (how subversive can we get eh?).
Anyway, in order to be able to protest legally these days, it’s necessary to get police permission which for me usually means trotting down to Charing Cross police station and handing in forms a week before the protest. At Charing Cross the police are used to us now and are good-natured and fairly efficient despite large numbers of people turning up and various pranks being played. It is also possible to go to your local police station to get permission but this seems to invite a somewhat different experience as this post clearly shows (via Rachel who was also there).
I’m not going to include any of the post here as I think it’s so good you should go and read the whole thing (it’s basically a time-line of an interminable wait in a London police station). For me it seemed like a snapshot of life in 21st Century Britain as inefficient bureaucracy meets a determination to stop people exercising their right to protest, but the other details paint a vivid tragicomic picture.