Should demos be banned for 2012

Is our right to protest threatened? Pic: EastLondonLines

The government are considering banning demonstrations during the Olympics next year. Proposals include placing ‘exclusion zones’ around key locations and fast-tracking the removal of protests that have not been given prior permission by the police.

Speaking to The Independent, a senior Home Office source said: “The threat from protests was always a danger during planning for the Olympics, but the St Paul’s protest has shoved it up the agenda,” the source said. “It is not just embarrassing, it can be a threat to security.”

Are protests and demonstrations a danger and an embarrassment to London’s image, or an important democratic right? EastLondonLines took to the streets this week to ask the people of London whether they would support a government ban on public protest and demonstrations during London 2012.


Bate Nate Hussein

Bate Nate Hussein, 23, recording artist from Dalston:
“They’re saying it’s going to look bad on the UK, but look what’s going on worldwide! England will say protest isn’t good, but they give money to Iraq and Libya to do that. Everyone should be entitled to freedom of speech. No one is treated like an individual in this country, so how can anyone respect the government? People get no say, so they protest. Nobody has a voice, so everyone is rebelling.”

Araf Sheikh

Araf Sheikh, 35, shop assistant from Upton Park:
“If the government wasn’t doing badly in the first place, these people wouldn’t be there. If they’re fighting for justice, it’s good. They are doing this for young people and teenagers, and it is making a difference. They should be able to protest during the Olympics, even if tourists will see them.”



Dana Acharya

Dana Acharya, 28, charity fundraiser from Richmond:
“I think people should still be allowed to protest. I work for a homeless charity, and I see a similar thing with the government clearing homeless people off the streets. It’s just putting a bandage on the situation, not fixing it. The police just want to tidy them up rather than solve the issues. But repression may cause longer term repercussions.”



Ken Southern

Ken Southern, 38, office worker at Canary Wharf:
“I could never support a ban on protesting as freedom of expression is a fundamental right. I also support the competitors and spectators right to be able to participate in and enjoy the sporting carnival that will take place over the numerous sites in the capital during the Olympic Games. There are a number of key sites in the capital that are the traditional venting points in the expression of objection, Parliament or Trafalgar Square and recently St Paul’s. Therefore, protest should not be allowed to impact on the majority’s enjoyment of the events.”

Marion Beecheno

Marion Beecheno, 52, office worker at Canary Wharf:
“If it is peaceful, anyone has the right to protest.”





Andrew Connery

Andrew Connery, 33, office worker at Canary Wharf:
“I think that it is pretty wrong. To a certain extent, we live in a democracy where you have a right to protest.”







Caroline, 20, student from Bethnal Green:
“It’s fair for them [the government] to do that. I don’t think that protest is wrong, but a lot of people’s money has gone into the Olympics. But I don’t agree with breaking protests in the long-term.”





Will, 24, student from Beckenham:
“It’s obviously not a good thing. They’ve got the right to protest. But it depends on their cause. It could be better for their cause to protest during the Olympics as it could cause disruption and get attention.”




Diane Kemp

Diane Kemp, 51, senior lecturer:
“I don’t agree with moving them if they are peaceful. It depends on your perspective. The Olympic organising committee would be hacked off, but this is not great democratically.”

by Helen Crane, Jane McCallion, Rachael Healy and Tillie Cox


  1. Mrs Dormouse November 27, 2011
  2. Kayleigh December 22, 2011

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