Monday, March 27, 2006
I may be right, I may be wrong, but I'm perfectly willing to swear
Andrew Apostolou at Michael J. Totten's site describes his experiences at the Trafalgar Square rally for free speech recently held in London and notes of the police practice of photographing the demonstrators, though one commenter at the site suggested it was to identify pickpockets working the crowd.
One of the photographs of the rally available at Nordishnet shows Iranian-born Maryam Namazie, Executive Director of the National Secular Society, speaking to the crowd.
The caption at Nordishnet says:
There's no way of confirming who the man was pointing to, but a demonstrator was warned by police for displaying "a banner containing the controversial Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad", according to Yahoo News.
That's an uh-uh, buddy
The other thing that was apparently frowned upon was the display of flags, such as for example, the American flag.
That's another no-no, buddy
Samizdata which was at Trafalgar Square says that "according to a warden, there is allegedly a by-law against flying national flags in Trafalgar Square, which I find hard to believe as I always see Palestinian flags and (burning) US or Israeli flags when ever folks from the Middle East protest in Trafalgar Square... so the Danish Flags here became 'Danish Shawls'" ... and the American flag became another theme scarf in crowd suddenly well-supplied with scarves.
These are shawls!
This is a Dr. Who scarf
I've tried unsuccessfully to determine the date of the by-law against flying national flags in Trafalgar Square. The by-law apparently wasn't there on November 30, 2005, when at a Rally for Palestine several Palestinian Flags were planted on Nelson's column itself as may be seen at the Justify This! blog. Maybe the Palestinian flag isn't considered a national flag and is exempt from the ban. (Nelson's Column is in the middle of Trafalgar Square)
There's more on the ban on displaying of non-UK flags here, though it's not much. There's a what looks like a pro-Palestine website (complete with audio) showing pretty much a sea of Palestinian flags right on the steps of the National Gallery (including a flag of Hizbullah if you scroll down far enough at Nelson's column). And here again on Nelson's Column.
Here's an Al Jazeerah opinion editorial from November 2003 written by G.R.D. King, a Reader in Islamic Art and Archaeology, SOAS, University of London.
"Those flags, so numerous, so liberally scattered among the marchers" were welcome where the United States and Danish flags were not? Maybe the by-law has been newly enacted.
posted by wretchard at 12:56 AM | 47 comments links to this post