It wasn’t a big demo. In fact it was a very small demo – there were about 15 protesters in all. It didn’t attract much media attention – none in fact, until now on this blog. But the Police were there, in numbers, clocking the demonstrators with their body cameras and taking notes on how to infiltrate the group. It was all very subtle. The pretext of the Police presence was a local Nando’s who do a very good line in Donuts, and we all know how our Bobbies can’t resist a Donut. It was all well natured and pleasant but somehow sinister and disturbing at the same time …
And the subject of said demo was … the proposed “Garden Bridge” across old father Thames.
This supposedly charitable venture is set to receive funding of £30million from the London Mayor’s office and another £30million from the Treasury for what is essentially a corporate profit making venture. And they will be chopping down a large number of trees on both sides of the river to make way for it.
Further reading on the Bridge:
Visitors to the garden bridge in London will be tracked by their mobile phone signals and supervised by staff with powers to take people’s names and addresses and confiscate and destroy banned items, including kites and musical instruments, according to a planning document. The Guardian
Transport for London officials met the designer of the planned Garden Bridge four times before the procurement process began in February 2013, documents seen by the BBC reveal. These meetings happened before other firms were invited to tender. BBC
A London council is investigating allegations it unfairly favoured a controversial plan for a garden bridge across the Thames, including a claim that the authority was warned of “bad” consequences by transport authorities if it did not back the scheme. The Guardian
Thames garden bridge faces last-ditch challenge from local politicians - MP and councillors urge housing trust to veto scheme, claiming no justification for spending £60m of public money. The Guardian
A run-down on POPS – Privately Owned Public Spaces. Huffington Post
Meanwhile, over the last few years proper charities have had:
- The Lobbying Act or ‘gagging law’ limit their campaigning ahead of elections
- ‘Pay to protest’ – being forced to pay for policing of demonstrations
- Restrictions on ability to hold Government to account in court
- Unprecedented surveillance of campaigners and even police infiltration of groups
- New Charity Commission Guidance making it hard to talk about the EU