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Sunday, October 2, 2022

Stop Brexit Man back in Westminster despite facing prosecution | Protest

The anti-Brexit activist Steve Bray, known for his loud musical protests outside the House of Commons, has returned to Westminster despite facing prosecution under anti-protest laws.

Police officers attempted to shut down his regular protest near parliament and seized his equipment as the protest laws came into force on Tuesday.

Bray told reporters he had ordered new amplifiers to make his protests even louder and was considering riding round the Palace of Westminster on a rickshaw.

The former Liberal Democrat candidate said the officers threatened they would seize his amplifier again. But on Wednesday, his protest consisted of playing the 1975 Bay City Rollers song Bye Bye Baby overlaid with the lyrics “bye bye Boris”.

Bray, a former coin dealer who protests full-time with help from crowdfunded donations, posted videos on Twitter showing officers approaching him near Parliament Square on Tuesday. His sound system was seized.

How Steve Bray has interrupted live television broadcasts with placards, flags and shouting – video

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act, which came into force on Tuesday, introduces an offence of intentionally or recklessly causing public nuisance, in an attempt to crack down on disruptive guerrilla protests of the kind used by climate crisis activists.

Bray said he plans to decamp from a traffic island to the pavement across the road, after police officers showed him a map of the designated area where noisy demonstrations are forbidden under the act.

“I’ve got more amps on order and I’m going to link four amps together, not this week, maybe next week, and it’ll be twice as loud as it was here to compensate for the move to the corner,” he told PA Media. “In fact, I’m going to wire eight together.”

He said he was considering riding around Parliament Square on a rickshaw to avoid his amplifier being seized by police again. “Maybe I’ll strap that to my back but it’s heavy, or get on a bike. We’ll get a rickshaw and we’ll have a little whiz around.”

The Metropolitan police said Bray’s equipment had been seized under section 145 of the 2011 Police Reform Social Responsibility Act, which gives the force power to seize items being used for prohibited activities in Parliament Square. That includes operating amplified sound equipment in the controlled area.

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