Monday, June 05, 2006

Trafalgar Square Flags Revisited

I’m grateful to Grumpy Troll for forwarding this email (complete with original spelling):
Thank you for your correspondence to the Mayor of London regarding Trafalgar Square. I have been asked to reply.

Your enquiry was regarding the March for Free Expression being refused permission to display Danish and American flags on Trafalgar Square. You stated that the Heritage Wardens explained that a byelaw prohibits display of any foreign flags and were asked to lower them during the rally.

After investigating this and looking at the March for Free Expression website link that you provided it appears that the police had concerns over the potential display of the controversial cartoons published in Danish newspapers this year. To assist the police the Wardens sited the byelaw 5.3 (see below) where written permission is required to display notices or other written pictorial matter. It is my understanding that the flags were not the issue but the placard displaying the cartoons.

I can confirm that there is not a specific byelaw regarding flags on the Square and with relation to the display of a Palestinian flag at the recent demonstration this was cleared with the Greater London Authority as part of the organisers event plan.

Acts within the Squares for which written permission is required

5. Unless acting in accordance with permission given in writing by-
(a) the Mayor, or
(b) any person authorised by the Mayor under section 380 of the Act to give such permission.
no person shall within the Squares-

(3) exhibit any notice, advertisement or any other written or pictorial matter;

Yours sincerely

Paul Cavanagh
Squares Management Team
"It is my understanding that the flags were not the issue but the placard displaying the cartoons."

Not so. The wardens specifically targeted flags. I told the police that I intended to display the cartoons and was not prevented from doing so. In fact, I was holding them aloft when others nearby were told not to fly the Danish flag. A placard displaying Mohammed cartoons did become an issue when an anti-free speech agitator (not a warden) complained to the police, but even after that the cartoons continued to be shown without further police intervention.

I reckon that Ken’s jobsworthy minions wanted to score a political point but didn’t have the balls to make an issue out of the cartoons so they went for flags instead. I suggest that anybody who wants to hold a rally in central London with which Mayor Livingstone might not agree should get written permission for every conceivable occurrence. That way Ken’s pissy little thought police won’t be able to screw you over.

And remember:
“there is not a specific byelaw regarding flags on the Square”
But you might need to grovel to Ken before you're allowed to fly one.

4 Comments:

Blogger wonkotsane said...

"exhibit any notice, advertisement or any other written or pictorial matter;"

A national flag is not an advertisement provided it is not modified. This is specified in the Town & Country Planning Act.

Under international law it is a breach of human rights to prevent someone from flying their national flag.

Is the London Assembly above the law?

10:18 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

email address for this cavanagh turd, please?

3:31 am  
Blogger DFH said...

paul.cavanagh@london.gov.uk

10:32 am  
Anonymous alison said...

Nice one Grump/dfh. Thanks for all the contact stuff.

5:48 pm  

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