Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lions and tigers and dubya

When the Protection from Harassment Act was being debated, campaigners warned that a bill whose ostensible purpose was to protect women from stalkers was so loosely drafted that it could be used by the police however they wished. The warnings were ignored, and the first three people arrested under the act were not stalkers but peaceful protesters. The police used the law, among many such instances, against protesters outside the US intelligence base at Menwith Hill, who were deemed to have harassed American servicemen by holding up a placard reading "George W Bush? Oh dear!"; and against a protester in Hull, on the grounds that he had been "staring at a building". Notoriously, the act was used to obtain an injunction against villagers in Oxfordshire, protesting against a plan by RWE npower to turn their beautiful lake into a fly ash dump. If they went anywhere near the lake, they would be prosecuted for harassing the burly men guarding the site.

George Monbiot at the Guardian

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