Brian Haw the peace campaigner who help set up the peace camp in Parliament Square has died of cancer age 62. in 2007 Haw won a Channel 4 News award for “The Most Inspiring Political Figure” of the year.
His protest became a part of the fabric of British cultural life and a pet peeve of David Cameron and Boris Johnson, who stated that the peace camp, although lawful was an eyesore and blight on the aesthetic presence of an important cultural part of London. Haw arrived 2 June 2001. He staged a continuous round-the-clock demonstration against the US/UK’s policy in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East.
Mark Wallinger immortalised Haw In His Turner Prize winning Exhibition In 2007
The Artist Mark Wallinger won the 2007 Turner Prize, one of Britain’s most coveted art awards, for a reconstruction of Haw’s anti-war protest. “State Britain”. He recreated the banners, flags and plastic shelters inside London’s landmark gallery,Tate Britain. The Turner Prize, established in 1984, is awarded to a British artist under 50 for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of work from the previous 12 months. It is an annual event. The Turner prize moves to Gateshead this year and then to Londonderry Northern Ireland for their year of culture in 2013.
Wallinger’s installation, was shown at Tate Britain for several months. It consisted of a 40-metre long installation, complete with banners and tarpaulin shelter, of the mini-peace camp, created by Haw opposite the Houses of Parliament. It was active from June, 2001, until it was demolished by the police, under new powers banning protests within one kilometre of the Palace of Westminster,in May, 2006,
The Stop the War Coalition, an anti-war group, said Haw was a “thorn in the side of the establishment”. “Brian Haw is a remarkable man who has waged a tireless campaign against the folly and hubris of our government’s foreign policy,” Wallinger said.”For six-and-a-half years he has remained steadfast in Parliament Square, the last dissenting voice in Britain. Bring home the troops, give us back our rights, trust the people,” he added. Brian Haw will be sadly missed by many!
Photo: Creative Commons Brian protesting outside Parliament in London. Photo by Pablo Jato Pablojato Licence