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Why are we not free to chalk up a protest?

Henry Porter
London Guardian [1]
Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rarely has there been a more pathetic arrest than that of 23-year-old university student Paul Saville, who was confronted by four members of Britain’s new breed of petty minded police officers after writing in chalk on a pavement, “Liberty: the right to question. The right to ask: ‘Are we free?”‘

With a wonderful lack of irony, the officers told him to stop writing. When he added one more letter they arrested him for criminal damage. The second year sociology and criminology student told the Daily Telegraph: “The whole reason I was writing in chalk was because I wanted to get my message across without causing lasting damage.

“I was merely highlighting the point that we are losing civil liberties in the UK,” he added. “This is something we should be thinking about.”



A point, of course, confirmed by the absurd behaviour of the police who, encouraged by this appalling government, now regard disobedience as a criminal matter.

For expressing himself in a manner that caused neither damage nor offence, Saville was detained for two hours, photographed, fingerprinted and had a DNA sample taken. The police also examined photographs on his digital camera. He has pleaded not guilty to a charge of causing criminal damage under £5,000 and now awaits trial.

Full article here [1]