After struggling for several hours to get through police lines blocking people from joining a festival for democracy at Runnymede on the weekend of the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, the case for constitutional change became only too apparent.
Asked by Occupy Democracy to Runnymede “Festival For Democracy” to speak about a citizens’ convention on the constitution, this cut no ice with police forces assembled from Surrey, Sussex and Somerset. On the spurious grounds that an illegal rave was planned, they invoked their powers under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act and declared a vast exclusion zone around the festival site.
Having been read the official declaration, a group of us from Assemblies for Democracy were warned to leave the area immediately or face arrest. After many hours of negotiation between the festival organisers and senior police officers – and with the situation going live on Twitter – we were eventually allowed in and Paul Feldman from the London Planning Group made his presentation (listen to audio below). Many other speakers were not so fortunate and were unable to present their ideas.