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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 April 2006, 13:16 GMT 14:16 UK
Tea party protester is fined 250
Mark Barrett
Mark Barrett said he would not pay the fine
A man who organised tea parties in Parliament Square in protest at a ban on unauthorised demonstrations has been fined 250.

Mark Barrett was arrested in August 2005 for breaking the new law, which states protests within a half-mile of Parliament need permission.

He was convicted at Bow Street Magistrates Court of unlawful protest, but said he did not intend to pay.

"It's made me more determined to campaign and win," he told the BBC.

Since the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act came into effect in August several protesters have been arrested and charged.

Mark Barrett's tea party
The protest tea parties take place every Sunday

Unwary cabbies who had intended to drive around Parliament Square in protest at proposed law changes called it off after a warning from police.

Mr Barrett has been organising weekly protest tea parties in Parliament Square and said he was arrested "while sitting on the grass drinking tea and eating cake".

The government say the law is aimed at tightening up security around the Houses of Parliament, but its critics say it infringes the right to freedom of speech.

Anyone wanting to demonstrate in a half-mile zone around the square must have prior permission from the police.

Anti-war campaigners have set out to test the law, reading out the names of children orphaned or killed in Iraq, or holding protest carol services.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See why magistrates fined Mark Barrett 250



SEE ALSO:
Peace protester in legal battle
03 Apr 06 |  London
Peace campaigner can stay
01 Oct 02 |  England


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