What next?

So, with the removal of Peacestrike peace boxes from Parliament Square, the new restrictions on protest under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act have been enforced. These ban any kind of sleeping equipment that can sustain long-term protest, as well as any kind of amplification equipment that demonstrations use and need.

What next for Peacestrike?

Maria has been protesting 24/7 since 2006 in Parliament Square. It has been the base for so many Peacestrike activities including daily petitions to 10 Downing Street, speaking out about the causes and consequences and the horror of war, and supporting the protest of others.

The peace boxes more lately became a focal point in Parliament Square with their powerful statements, art work and all-round creative approach to use of the space. The protests in Parliament Square have for 10 years been a visible expression that war is wrong and have become a place where those who wish to express their concern and sorrow in relation to war can gravitate towards, a space of common concern within the anonymous city.

No sleeping in Parliament Square

With nothing but a single placard, sleeping bag and plastic sheeting, Maria spent last night on the pavement, determined to maintain her protest. At 3am the police arrived and gave her a warning to hand over the sleeping bag which she did. They informed her that she would be issued with a summons to appear at court. Maria argues that it is vital to be able to sleep in order to sustain a long-term protest. Without sleeping equipment, that becomes very difficult and the protest is undermined.

The legal case

Maria and the lawyers who have challenged the new restrictions on protest will go to the Court of Appeal and, if necessary, the European Court of Human Rights, to contest the case against the law.

Auctioning the peace box

Maria is keen to see the peace boxes auctioned to raise money for children in Iraq. One of the boxes in currently an exhibit in an art show in Los Angeles. See here

How can you help

If you would like to be kept in touch about the peace box auction, get in contact. Please consider donating to Peacestrike to get the auction going. See contact us for details

Posted by a supporter

The removal of Peacestrike from Parliament Sqare

Below are press articles, video and pictures of the removal by police of the remaining peace box, tent and other items.




Daily Mail

Evening Standard

A timeline of recent events

December 2011 – the new restrictions on protest come into force under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act (PRASRA). Maria applies for an injunction to stop Westminster Council removing her peace boxes and other items. This is granted. see http://repeal-socpa.info/

January 2012 – at a high court hearing Maria is granted a judicial review of the legislation in March. see http://repeal-socpa.info/press_release_15Jan12.htm

March 2012 – Maria’s case against the enforcement of PRASRA is heard in the high court with Westminster Council as defendent and the Home Office and the Metropolitan Police as ‘interested parties’. The outcome of the case is of national significance: not only will the restrictions apply to a large area around the centre of decision-making at Parliament, but local authorities have been given powers to adopt similar legislation. see http://repeal-socpa.info/press_release_5Mar12.htm

April 2012 – one of the peace boxes is shipped to the US to be part of an art exhbition in Los Angeles. see http://www.artbelow.org.uk/ab/Artist.action?artistId=730

April 2012 – The judgement is given from the high court. It denies that there is any incompatibility with human rights and that Peacestrike has no right to stay in Parliament Square. see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17867852

3 May 2012 – after a further court hearing the injunction protecting Maria’s protest from the new law is lifted. Maria will apply to the Court of Appeal and, if necessary, to Strasburg to contest the new restrictions on protest. At around 6pm the police turn up and start to remove the Peacestrike protest.

See this article from Peace News about the new law and the recent legal proceedings.





Peace Strike at the Royal Courts of Justice 6th and 7th March 2012

Court No 3, sitting at 10.30


Peace Strike Statement From Parliament Square 17th December 2011

The Peace Strike Campaign at Parliament Square announces to all concerned citizens that there is a real possibility of the ‘Peace Camp’ being disassembled and removed this Monday 19th December 2011.


A ‘Commencement Order’ has been issued to activate part of the new ‘Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011’



SOCPA 2005 parts 132 to 136 and 138 still stand, and will be repealed on the 30th March 2012.


However, parts of the PRSR Act 2011 are being activated this Monday, which will make it an offence to sleep overnight at Parliament Square, and any items deemed associated with ‘sleeping’ will be confiscated by an official in authority or a police officer. SOCPA 2005 Part 137 (use of loudspeakers) is repealed on this date.


This is a strange situation as anyone with authorisation would still have ‘permission to demonstrate over a 24hr period’ however, they would now be denied shelter. This would directly contravene the ‘Human Rights Act’, Articles 10 and 11 which allow for the right to freedom of expression and freedom of Assembly. How can you carry on over a 24hr period, which is allowed, but not have the means to do so, which was legal before? There are many questions to raise.

The big issue is that the people will loose possession of parliament Square, and it will then become a controlled area.


Now more than ever, people need to be seen out on the streets. They need to be seen by the Government of the day. There is so much social injustice that is effecting so many people in so many parts of the world. All these issues are all connected.

The ongoing Congo demonstration is an example of a great social injustice that has been allowed to happen, and has been funded and supported by the West. There has been an orchestrated international silence. The Genocide in the Congo is off the scale in modern history.


War is looming with Iran, we need to organise NOW for ‘PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKES FOR PEACE’.

Our message is as important as ever. Provided that, within reason, people are demonstrating in a peaceful manner, then there should not be any objection as to how long they need to demonstrate. What harm there is, has not been identified.

The real question the Government needs to ask is:





Government should be prepared to meet with grass root campaigners.

People do not stand in the wind, sleet and rain for endless hours without there being a very REAL concern.


The ‘Times’ magazine has just voted ‘The Protester’ as person of the year 2011. International protest has brought to the front the ignored concerns of the multitudes.


David Cameron advocates that the UK take up Christian values. ‘Love Thy Neighbour’ is the main responsibility of Christians with a ‘duty of care’ for one another. Quite right David, what greater way to express this than to stand up for injustice against our fellow human being.


Support would be appreciated on Monday 19th so that our concerns can be put forward in a peaceful manner.


Many thanks as always,

Peace Strike Campaign ‘ On Strike for Peace’

Parliament Square


Message From Winston Churchill Speaking live from Parliament Square on behalf of Peace Strike and all demonstrators ūüôā


I address the Nation on very grave matter that threaten the very core of what Britain stands for nationally and internationally. A threat that will try to engulf and wash away our freedoms. It is a time when we must unite and resist this tyranny together.

“I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home Parliament Square, to ride out the storm of oppression, and to outlive the menace of tyranny,

The British Nation, linked together in their common cause and in their need, will defend to the end their protest rights, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength.

Even though many countries in Europe act very harshly towards political dissidents, we shall not flag or fail in our endeavours to speak out for the common good.

We shall go on to the end, we shall peacefully resist,
we shall resist in Whitehall,
we shall resist with growing confidence and growing strength in Westminster, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be,
we shall resist in Parliament Square,
we shall resist on the land,
we shall resist in the fields and in the streets,
we shall resist in the hills;
Peacestrikeshall never surrender.

The gratitude of every home in our Island, in our Nation, and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British Political Resistors who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant legal challenge, are turning the tide of the Political oppression by their continuous ongoing protest.

Never in the history of protest in our country, was so much planned, by so many, to so few.

All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: Freedom, Justice, Honour, Duty, Mercy, Hope.

I say to you now, people of Great Britain,

We must end the corporate war in Afghanistan,

We must honour our troops,

We must bring them home!

In achieving this mighty task, after nearly a decade of war

We will be able to proclaim THIS IS OUR FINEST HOUR.



15th September 2011. After consideration in the House, the ‘Police and Social Responsibility Bill’ has been granted Royal Assent.

Be alert to the possible threat, to on-going protest at Parliament Square.

Parliament is now again in recess, and will resume again from Monday 10th October.




Keep up with this Bill as it travels through Parliament.

The Bill is now at Committee Stage in the House of Lords.

This Bill could be passed into law by the beginning of the Summer recess.

This is of more concern at the moment, than the High Court Injunction, which will not be heard until October. Please be alert to this very real impending threat.


Also, as a point of interest, there are a further two Bills in the system. They have started in the House of Lords.






Peacestrike plan to put both ‘Peace Plinths’ up for auction.

The idea is to add as much value to both plinths as possible. We have invited eminent artists to contribute art work. The theme is related to powerful images that inspire thought and reflection. The art work is predominantly to promote peace and for people to  know that there is a way forward that is realistic,if people work together towards this common goal.

All the proceeds will go to bona fide projects in Iraq.



Legal note because of the location of the ‘Peace Plinths’ in historical place and time, any removal without the specific permission of¬† Peacestrike, will be subject to a demand of ¬£250,000.

We have a duty to protect the value for the children and people on who’s behalf we are campaigning.



On the afternoon of the 17th January, we received a letter from Westminster City Council stating that we are an unlawful obstruction on the pavement opposite the Houses of Parliament. Also to make certain they achieve their objective, they have applied to the High Court for an injunction. They wanted a written reply by 12pm Friday 21st. The letter was confusing as it stated that all articles will be removed by 5pm, if we did not comply. We have replied to the legal department of Westminster City Council and have made it clear we intend to defend our ongoing stand at Parliament Square.

We are now subject to legal proceedings, to be heard in the High Courts of Justice, sometime in March….

Peacestrike has occupied this area for the past 2 years with tents and display structures. To date, we have received  no official complaints regarding obstruction, hygiene issues, or complaints regarding abusive or disruptive  behavior. We take pride in the management of  our on-going 24hr demonstration and accept we have a social responsibility in keeping our area in good order.

Peacestrike also has two large box / plinth structures. One has been there since November 2009. We standby their legality, in keeping with the police dimensions stipulated in SOCPA ACT 2005.

Peacestrike has four SOCPA ACT 2005 authorisations at Parliament Square and one in Whitehall. The threat to these rights should be through new legislation. The repeal of SOCPA ACT 2005 is in proposed legislation contained in the ‘Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill’. This¬† is now reached¬† committee stage in the House of Commons. They ask people to submit objections, recommendations and concerns, to the committee by Feb……. If passed by both Houses, it will not come into law until after the Royal wedding. This is due process and proper procedure, and allows time for people to organise a counter argument and open the discussion to all parties who may be affected by such legislation. We feel that the SOCPA ACT 2005 and the European Convention of Human Rights, Articles 10 and 11 surly cannot be overturned by Highway legislation. besides,very few people venture onto Parliament Square since it has been fenced off since July 2010.

It seems that Westminster City Council and the Government wish to Pre-empt this law in order to rid themselves of demonstrations in Parliament Square right now. The problem is that in their haste, yet again, they are in great danger of ‘Throwing the baby out with the bath water!’

We feel it necessary, due to the change in circumstances, to make this statement on behalf of the good people of this country who are unaware of the serious threat to our great history of protest. If we do not act now, 24hr overnight protest will be outlawed. The reasons the demonstrations at Parliament Square have gone on for so long is directly connected to our on-going wars and illegal occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. Remember, people, children, and soldiers are killed and seriously wounded every day!

We have a heavy burden of responsibility to get this right, as time is short. As yet, there has been no real opportunity for public opposition or debate. All the media has centred on the concerns of the Home Office, politicians, council, GLA, and the police. Do we really want our Government to send a message out to the world that protest is stifled and now timetabled and controlled. In emergencies people will naturally not want to go home, such as the Tamils in 2009. Emotions cannot, and never will be controlled by legislation, especially if the Government of the day is responsible for the atrocities. The people of the country always have a duty to express their concerns. We should always have the right to be angry and outraged. The Public Order Act 1980 has always been available to the police, if things get out of hand. Other countries do not share this great privilege,therefore because we can we must be the voice for the voiceless.

The Royal Family should be proud and protective of our heritage. We need to have a very frank and open discussion concerning this very important and historic right.

There are many examples of on-going demonstrations of similar standing throughout the world.

The Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra, Australia, which has been there for over 39 years, since 1972 . It will continue, until the full rights of the Aboriginal People are restored.


White House Peace Camp. A lady called Concepcion Picciotto has been outside the White House for 30 years, since 1981


Faslane Peace Camp, Argyll and Bute, Scotland. Established in 1984…… some 28 years ago!

Located by Faslane Nuclear Submarine Base.


Vancouver, Canada on-going protest, 4 years plus.

Recently won British Columbia Court of Appeal regarding Falun Gong on-going protest outside Chinese Consulate. Court over ruled Vancouver City Bylaws as unconstitutional, Oct 21st 2010.


Chinese Embassy……over 8 years….Portland Place London, 24hr, on-going….Falun Gong Practitioners. Started 5th June 2002.


Winnie the pig resided in a pen in Parliament Square, by the Churchill Statue, for 3 months between Feb ‚Äď May 2000. There did not seem to be any objection at the time, indeed it would have been considered very British. Also, spent a day opposite Downing Street March 2008, and was visited by celebrities and MP’s and Lord Tebbit. Maybe she was tolerated, as the pig could not talk back!


Democracy Village. Established in run up to election May1st, 2010 in Parliament Square, London. lasted 3 months. SOCPA ACT 2005 was never used.

Royalty and Politicians have to live in the real world where protest is essential to the Democratic process. We do not live in a sanitised country or world,nor would we want to. As long as protest is reasonable and peaceful, we feel we have every right to keep going….

We therefore invite Royalty, Politicians,Police, Council Officials, GLA, Journalists, Lawyers and Campaigners to a meeting in the House of Commons. We are trying to get a committee room made available as soon as possible. We are confident we can come to an amicable agreement to suit all parties concerned.

Without discussion there is no way forward.

If dialogue fails ,or is just ignored, then Peacestrike intends to stand firm at Parliament Square,  regardless of the consequences.

Maria Gallastegui

Peacestrike Campaign                       www.peacestrike.org

Parliament Square 07907 233 861    maria@peacestrike.org

Emails will be sent to parties concerned.

Peacestrike acknowledges that the Parliament Square Peace Campaign is a separate campaign, and may not share the same views as expressed by Peacestrike.