Terence Bunch

Photojournalist & Writer

The villagers sit on top of the monolith, a large box erected in Parliament Square to advertise the crimes commissioned and executed by Governments around the world, in many cases against their own citizens. The monolith carries a large demand for the British Government to withdraw military forces from Afghanistan. The demand has been in place for almost a year now and despite the demand, the British Government have failed to take heed of it. Parliament Square, London. 20th July 2010. All pictures © Terence Bunch.

Democracy Village Eviction. Parliament Square, London. 20th July 2010.

By Published Last Edited 2010-07-20 00:00:00

On the morning after the Democracy Village anti-war campaign is evicted by private bailiffs from the grass at Parliament Square, anti-war campaigners gather on the pavement to assess the success of the campaign and to vow to continue to remain in the Square to press upon the British Government the case for withdrawal of British military forces from Afghanistan and the continuing occupation of the country.

The campaigners have been resident in Parliament Square since May 1st 2010 when they took the Square under cover of the annual Mayday demonstration. The campaign comes to a temporary halt on the day the Kabul Conference on Afghanistan takes place attended by senior political leaders from Afghanistan and the coalition nations.

The conference assembles in an attempt to shore up the occupation in the face of collapsing public support and serious violence taking place in the country. Over the past week, serious and chronic violence has been seen all over Afghanistan with the beheading of six Afghani police officers in the previously calm northern province of Baghlan and a coalition death toll among US and British forces now standing at its highest since the occupation began in late 2002.

As the occupation begins the process of strategic collapse, tribal dependencies are becoming evident as senior Karzai figures abandon the puppet Government and begin to seek out post-occupation loyalties with the effective defection of a senior intelligence official from the Karzai Government. As the maneuvering takes place, a new stage in the occupation presents itself, the appearance of the prospect that the people of the US and UK, have inadvertently funded, equipped and armed a new era of regional tribal violence in Afghanistan.

Parliament Square, London. 20th July 2010.

On the morning after the Democracy Villagers are evicted from their anti-war encampment in Parliament Square, police officers from the London Metropolitan Police continue to assert themselves even after the camp is destroyed. Since May 1st 2010, the campers have endured relentless disruption from local London bodies and a media campaign waged by Westminster City Council and the London Mayors Office.

On the morning after the Democracy Villagers are evicted from their anti-war encampment in Parliament Square, police officers from the London Metropolitan Police continue to assert themselves even after the camp is destroyed. Since May 1st 2010, the campers have endured relentless disruption from local London bodies and a media campaign waged by Westminster City Council and the London Mayors Office.

A cardboard cutout, minus the eyes, of London Mayor Boris Johnson lays on the pavement after the eviction. From may 1st 2010, the Mayors office has been used to invoke a court ruling to remove the villagers despite Parliament square being a public space owned by the People of the United Kingdom. The court ruling was informed by substantial unreliable evidence including sanitation problems and alcohol and drug consumption, much of it fabricated by employees of Westminster City Council.

A cardboard cutout, minus the eyes, of London Mayor Boris Johnson lays on the pavement after the eviction. From may 1st 2010, the Mayors office has been used to invoke a court ruling to remove the villagers despite Parliament square being a public space owned by the People of the United Kingdom. The court ruling was informed by substantial unreliable evidence including sanitation problems and alcohol and drug consumption, much of it fabricated by employees of Westminster City Council.

A poster is stuck on the side of the monolith asking for support of anti-war individuals to come and give assistance to the villagers.

A poster is stuck on the side of the monolith asking for support of anti-war individuals to come and give assistance to the villagers.

A tent sits on the Pavement after eviction and indicates the broad range of political support the villagers have enjoyed throughout the past two months.

A tent sits on the Pavement after eviction and indicates the broad range of political support the villagers have enjoyed throughout the past two months.

The villagers examine a Ministers vehicle as it enters Parliament.

The villagers examine a Ministers vehicle as it enters Parliament.

Despite the anti-war village having clear and very obvious stated aims, police officers continue to wear overtly pro-war insignia on their uniforms. In 2008, officers were told to remove these items from their uniforms after complaints were made from the public. The request was later reversed after the public, in the form of comments that began appearing on newspaper websites, inexplicably reversed their views and began posting messages of support of the insignia.

Despite the anti-war village having clear and very obvious stated aims, police officers continue to wear overtly pro-war insignia on their uniforms. In 2008, officers were told to remove these items from their uniforms after complaints were made from the public. The request was later reversed after the public, in the form of comments that began appearing on newspaper websites, inexplicably reversed their views and began posting messages of support of the insignia.

After two months and a decisive campaign of direct action and engagement with the public, the eviction ends in a blaze of publicity having rammed the Afghanistan war and associated public opinion into the headlines from directly outside the Parliament building. Here, a longstanding campaigner who has been present in the Square from day one, takes in the local London media reports of the eviction, and resultant publicity.

After two months and a decisive campaign of direct action and engagement with the public, the eviction ends in a blaze of publicity having rammed the Afghanistan war and associated public opinion into the headlines from directly outside the Parliament building. Here, a longstanding campaigner who has been present in the Square from day one, takes in the local London media reports of the eviction, and resultant publicity.

She ends the day with a salute and confirmation of a job well done.

She ends the day with a salute and confirmation of a job well done.