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18 May 2005

ASBOs and the Curbing of Political Dissent

The living legend that is 63-year old peace activist Lindis Percy escaped an Anti-Social Behaviour Order barring her from the vicinity of the Menwith Hill spy base near Harrogate in North Yorkshire. Unfortunately, she didn't manage to escape the imposition of a fine, a night time curfew for eight weeks, and the fitting of an electronic tag to monitor her whereabouts.

The BBC ran a nice article highlighting the implications of ASBOs being used to curb peaceful and legitimate protest, and even though it didn't go that way this time round, a watchful eye needs to be kept lest a dangerous precedent be set in future.

To his credit, judge Roy Anderson said:
"I am firmly of the view courts ought not to allow anti-social behaviour orders to be used as a club to beat down the expression of legitimate comment and the dissemination of views of matters of public concern."
The Antagonist can't help wondering if that means it is now possible to have open discussions with the authorities about the American spy base that inhabits the Yorkshire countryside, or whether Menwith Hill will continue to make the headlines occasionally, only to be dropped just as quickly as it appeared, unmonitored, unlike everyone and everything else.

The Antagonist also hopes the hideous irony of electronically tagging someone who has so vocally, passionately, and peacefully protested against the global monitoring and surveillance network that operates in part from Menwith Hill, is not lost.

To quote Lindis Percy on the matter:
"You can't suppress the human spirit."
If ever there was repeated testament to that statement, Lindis Percy is it.

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