19 Jun 2011

Anti-war protester Brian Haw dies

Veteran anti-war campaigner Brian Haw has died. The 62-year-old, who camped outside Parliament for 10 years, was awarded Channel 4 News’ Most Inspiring Political Figure in 2007.

Brian Haw set up a peace camp in Parliament Square in 2001 in protest of the UK’s policy in Iraq.

A message on his website, addressed to friends and supporters, said: “It is with deepest regret that I inform you that our father, Brian, passed away this morning.

It said he had been receiving treatment in Germany for lung cancer where in died in his sleep.

Brian Haw had been battling for his right to remain living in a tent in Parliament Square.

In 2007 he was awarded the Channel 4 News award for Most Inspiring Political Figure winning 54 per cent of the votes cast by the public.

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Fellow members of the Parliament Square Peace Campaign said the authorities “should forever be ashamed of their disgraceful behaviour towards Brian”.

‘No ordinary man’

He had been stationed in Parliament Square for ten years, and had fought of a series of legal objections to his presence there.

The latest saw the Greater London Authority get him and his supporters thrown off the grass area at the centre of the square.

Later this year Westminster Council is set for a court bid to get the camp moved off the pavement, which could see it removed permanently.

Mr Haw, 62, began his round-the-clock protest opposite the Houses of Parliament against the UK’s policy in Iraq and elsewhere on June 2, 2001.

Brian Haw's peace camp outside Parliament Square (Getty)

It began as an angry response to economic sanctions and British and American bombing raids on Iraq, but the scope grew wider after the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington DC, and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq that followed.

His tent and ragtag collection of horrific pictures of war victims and hand-written posters with slogans like “baby killers” was a familiar sight in the square.

Civil rights campaigners got behind the protester as he saw off various attempts to force him to move.

A fellow campaigner who wished only to be called Sarah, said: “I hope he is resting in peace. I developed a lot of affection for him from the first days.

“Brian Haw was not an ordinary man. He did not live like most people. He took it on himself to suffer to save children.”

Another supporter Trevor Coker said: “He gave up so much and he was an inspiration to us all. That’s why we will go on, that’s why he was such a hero.”

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