Friday 23 December 2011

ASBO Activist Calls Time On War

ASBO Activist Calls Time on War
ASBO to ban anti-war activist from City of Westminster for 10 years

Chris Cole, (Right) at Downing Street in October. 
A Christian peace activist has been served notice by the Metropolitan Police that they are seeking an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) to exclude him from the City of Westminster for ten years.   

Chris Cole (48) from Cowley, Oxford was served with papers as he attended a pre-trial hearing following a demonstration at Downing Street on October 7th to mark the 10th anniversary of the Afghanistan War.  

Cole, along with Catholic Priest Fr Martin Newell face charges of criminal damage following the pouring of paint on the Downing Street pavement.

The ASBO seek  to ban Cole from being in the City of Westminster except while passing through as a passenger on the London Underground;  being in possession of any can of spray paint, tin of paint, marker pen, chalk or charcoal in any place outside the city of Oxford or being in possession of bolt croppers in any place outside the city of Oxford.   

The application for the ASBO sites fourteen occasions over the past twenty-one years that Cole has been arrested at anti-war protests involving spray paint or bolt croppers.

Chris Cole said “Waging war is the great anti-social behaviour of our time.  Thousands of people have been killed and injured in the great follies of the Iraq and Afghanistan war, while billions have been wasted on preparations for nuclear war and arms companies continue to make vast profits from hawking  weaponry around the globe.  Rather than spraying bullets in Iraq or spilling blood in Afghanistan, I have spilled paint on the Downing Street pavement and sprayed paint on the MoD walls.  In all honesty, which is the real anti-social behaviour here?”  

The application for the ASBO on Cole will take place at the end of his trial for the protest at Downing Street, a date for which is yet to be set. In 2005, a District Judge refused to impose an ASBO on anti-war activist Lindis Percy. District Judge Anderson said: "I am firmly of the view courts ought not to allow anti-social behaviour orders to be used as a club to beat down the expression of legitimate comment and the dissemination of views of matters of public concern."