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

One Comments

  1. Hope you have a wonderful and joyful time and that you manage to get some rest too. You’re and inspiration and even more so for your dedication to your family at this time. God Bless!

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