Archive for June, 2010

Statement from The Peace Strike Campaign in support of the Democracy Village

The Peace Strike Campaign operates an authorised 24 hour ongoing ‘Strike For Peace’ at Parliament Square, Westminster.

Since May 1st this year, the Democracy Village, with the invitation of The Peace Strike, established an ongoing fully operational village on the grassed area on Parliament Square.

During the week before the election, no major party offered the opportunity to bring an end to the war in Afghanistan. Predominantly, the collective aim of the village is to make a stand against the war in Afghanistan, and to ensure the peaceful return of our soldiers back
to the UK.

The Democracy Village is an ’emergency camp’ reflecting the real concerns of the majority of people in this country. At this moment in time, Parliament Square is being occupied in order to put pressure on the Government to listen to the people, and to bring about peace for
all our sakes. Afghanistan is being illegally occupied by NATO forces
causing death and destruction every day, without any real justification that anyone can understand.

When the objectives of the village are met, then the occupation of Parliament Square will cease, and the village will move on to wherever else it might be required.

Boris Johnson and the GLA are concerned about any damage caused to the square regarding the grass, and the presumed restricted use to the
general public, implying that they are not welcome onto the square
now. Before Boris Johnson became the new mayor of London, there was a
major redevelopment plan for Parliament Square. It was planned to be
remodelled as a continental style piazza, and to join onto the
Westminster Abbey area. Also pedestrian crossings were to be
installed. All these plans were scrapped by Boris Johnson as there was
no money in the kitty. To date, there is damaged pavement area at the
back of the square and also loose pavement slabs that are potentially
dangerous. All in all, if there were a health and safety check to the
square then there are serious issues. Also the crossings to the square
are not safe for public use. Indeed it is the GLA that seem to be the main
obstacle to people’s enjoyment of the Square – it has failed to address
the dangers in accessing the Square and it has neglected the
infrastructure of the Square.

The Democracy Village does not deny use of the Square by people who
want to enjoy it, or to meet or to protest. All are invited and very welcome to
visit and use the space. Historically Parliament Square belongs to the people.

Peace Strike fully supports the Democracy Village in its historical
stand to bring about peace through its direct actions and ongoing
campaign work. The grass area will be maintained to avoid as much
damage as possible. Peace Strike is willing to take responsibility in
‘making good’ Parliament Square when the village moves on once its
objectives have beeen met. When the area is cleared of tents and
equipment, the grass area will be transformed to a ‘better standard’
than when it was found.

Let’s all get behind Democracy Village now……if our troops don’t
return to this country soon…… then they are lining up for another


3 June 2010

To everyone who supports my protest in Parliament Square

I became involved in peace work at Parliament Square (PSq) from March 2002 and have been resident there since May 2006. In recent years I have established the “Peace Strike” which is an authorised 24-hour ongoing campaign operating from the Square. It gives me the right to live and campaign from there. The Square is my official residence, where I am registered on the Westminster City Council electoral roll.

Authorisation gives me the right to have four permanent static displays on the pavement and the right to sleep there in my tent. I have authorisation for: a 24-hour ongoing vigil for Gaza, a 24 hour ongoing vigil for Iran and a 24 hour ongoing vigil for Tamils. I have other authorisations for similar campaigning. Parliament Square is my home and continues to be my home.

My daughter Kerry is due to give birth in London at the beginning of June. I write to inform everyone that I will be taking a short leave to help and support her and my new grandchild, and that I plan to return to the Square once they are happy and settled. I see this absence as my right to family leave as a grandmother, without having to lose my authorisation to campaign from the Square.

I raised my daughter as a single parent from when she was two years old. She has no other siblings and I am the only family member who is available to her now. I must support her in her time of need. She has been an amazing support to me and others on Parliament Square for the past eight years. From a teenager she has contributed to the care and welfare of people living on the Square: from standing guard, deflecting abuse, making placards and being a witness in court to the more invisible work of preparing and bringing food as well as running our family home while I was away doing political peace work. She never once complained or asked me for anything, even when she went without money for clothes and pocket money as my income was being used to support the peace protests on the Square. Recently she told me that even if she had wanted me to leave she would never have asked because she knew that if she did I would have left.

Now is my time to take some leave to support her. It would be an injustice if she were denied the love and care of her mother at such a crucial time in her life because I am unable to leave my demonstration.

This is only a temporary leave and I will continue to co-ordinate the campaign while I am away from the Square. I have appointed a deputy to cover for me during my absence.

Thanking you for your consideration and ongoing support.

Maria Gallastegui


Wednesday 2nd June between 5-7pm at Parliament Square Westminster SW1A OAA

Show your support for the Palestinian people during this very difficult time.

bring placard and banners

Peaceful vigils are very powerful if we have enough people united together for peace.