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Christine Drake's protest

From David Kennedy

Monday, 7 September 2015

I think the problem with Christine Drakes protest is that there were times when I felt that her protest and presence seemed to overpower the whole square. Putting a poster on every lampost in the small area that is the square and spreading herself out so visibly outside the butchers and walking shop was I thought overpowering and not what people wanted to be greeted with constantly.

I also think there came a point when I thought it had become an ownership issue. I did worry about what she may of thought had someone else take her pitch!.

She talks about freedom of speech being taken away, of other protests in the square, but I can't recall any others, other than hers!

As I am in total support of freedom of speech, why don't we have a speakers corner in the park, a certain place where people can speak freely without intruding on other people's lives, which lets be honest, Christine's means of protest did.

From Mo Norwood

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Oh dear. What a shame that the problems of the Palestinian people should intrude on the peaceful shopping in the centre of Hebden Bridg… Actually I know that very many people have stopped and supported Christine's protest. When Cameron tried to recall parliament to vote on bombing Syria 2 years ago people were very supportive of her opposition. I think that there is a spirit of humanitarianism rising in Europe now and the people of Calderdale are part of it.

From David Kennedy

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Dear Mo, could you please tell me where exactly I say that the problems of the Palestine people intrude on the peaceful shopping in Hebden Bridge! I think you'll find that I don't.

Indeed you have twisted my words into something of an entirely different nature.

My point wasn't the politics. It didn't matter what the protest was about. My point was of how the nature of the protest was applied and of how some people did indeed find it intrusive.

Did you read of my idea for having a speakers' corner in the park and of how I believe in freedom of speech?

From Michael Prior

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

I think that people should be aware that Calderdale Council is claiming the right to police what goes on in St. Georges Square on the grounds that it is covered by Sec 132 of the 1980 Highways Act which covers not only all "street furniture" but the highway itself, that is the very surface of the square.

I fail to see why the various stalls that are erected are legal (I am reliably informed that few if any seek permission from the Council) whilst Christine's modest placards are to be banned. Surely not because they are political while the Rotary Club just collects for charity.

The police have powers under public order legislation to stop anything which is likely to offend and she has been told that they do not consider what she does falls into any such category.

Perhaps Calderdale Council or our local councillors, who presumably know of the matter, could respond as they have been asked.

From Graham Barker

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

It would be useful to see the full text of the Calderdale letter, as it might just be asking Christine to rein in her campaign rather than end it. I've often thought she was pushing her luck by commandeering every lamp-post in the square in addition to her pitch. If her cause was less 'right on' - anti-abortion, for example - I suspect that many people would long ago have been demanding exactly this kind of intervention from Calderdale.

From Phil M

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

I agree with David and a speakers corner or a defined campaign or awareness area would be great, there are alot of very worthwhile campaigns which should be given a chance to be heard, and recently if felt like Christine had taken over.

A single person protest should not take over an entire square and not just the lamp posts but the floor as well. Often I have found myself stepping on these images while skirting round crowds in what is a vibrant and well-used space.

Another good reason maybe for the end of Holme Street to be pedestianised, very easy to do, excellent footfall, minimal impact and a very usable space for such things..

From Paul Clarke

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

I think the problem here is that Drake's 'protest' just goes on and on,

It is true that other groups use the square but usually they are there for short periods or if like the Rotary are there for longer then they do not try to take over the whole square.

I really feel for council officers as trying to work with true believers is never easy as they tend to think that rules the rest of us have to abide by simply don't apply to them.

But they do and in this case the sensible solution would be to scale this endless protest back so whatever point is being made can still be expressed and the nation's right to freedom of speech is preserved for all of us.

I'm not holding my breath a compromise will be reached.

I do like David's idea of a Speaker's Corner.

I also agree with Graham that if pro lifers were displaying graphic posters square on every lamp post round our square then I think something would have been said long ago.

Can you imagine the reaction if supporters of Israel's democratically elected government were protesting in the square?

BTW… not suggesting I want to see either of those protests.

From Mo Norwood

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Ok - but surely the whole point of protest is to intrude a bit on people's lives, to be a bit "edgey", to stimulate, to be noticed, and to persevere ?
If we have a "speaker's corner" would that limit people to a small audience and also prohibit other forms and locations for political street activity?

I am sure Chris Drake would be happy to stop - but it is the Palestine situation that just goes on and on.

From Veronica Roberts

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Mo, At first when this protest began, I very much took notice, but actually the very protest has many times made me avoid the square, as I don't always want it in my face, plastered all over, edgy or not.

Yes the Palestine situation is dire and will go on, along side many more horrific conflicts. I for one will be glad for it to be scaled down. It doesn't mean to say I'm not sympathetic to that course or many others.

From David Kennedy

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

But who Mo has the right to intrude on anyone's life?

Perhaps some people don't want their life's to be intruded upon.

If you were to have a speakers corner, it could become a place and a location where people could gather to listen to someone who has a statement to make.

A specific place, shared by all where debate could take place and various topics, points of view, politics, world events could be discussed where it dosen't intrude on the lives of people who just want to go about their business and yes, maybe just enjoy the square and shopping in a vibrant and exciting place like Hebden, simply for that reason alone.
It is their right and choice.

You have to respect that maybe people just want to do that without the the constant presence of placards on every lampost and posters spread out on the ground etc.

Just because you may disagree with the way that a protest is done, does not mean you disagree with freedom of speech.

The location, in the appropriate place, once established could become a platform that becomes known for people to who want make their views known and for that reason, people may want to come along and listen.
It could I suspect, give more power to people's views than in the way that the campaign was run in the square.

From Paul Clarke

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Mo, I quite agree but sadly this endless 'protest' is none of those things.

From Michael Prior

Thursday, 10 September 2015

In discussing whether or not Chris' vigil is intrusive, people miss the point. Public nuisance, and this is what most of the contributions are about, is a police matter and it is up to them to decide whether or not any offence has been or is likely to be committed.

It is not any responsibility of the Council to take over a police matter which is why I used the word 'policing' in my first contribution. They are stepping beyond their remit. They provide the highways. The police decide whether what happens on them is lawful.

From Lel Jones

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Looking at the news story it seems to me that Ms Drake is not having her protest stopped - just the placing of her many posters on street furniture prevented. There is no reason why she can't continue to protest and hold her banners or even wear them like a sandwich board. Some readers with London roots or connections may recall the fellow who paraded round Oxford Street for many, many years protesting about eating protein or some such. I think Christine is becoming the Hebden Bridge equivalent.

From Allen Keep

Thursday, 10 September 2015

I think everyone knows what point Chris is making and, as Mo suggests, it continues to need to be made while the barbarous treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli state continues. From those who agree with Chris's point she deserves, in my view, nothing less than a large dollop of a very simple notion - solidarity and perhaps some respect for her dignity and tenacity wouldn't go amiss either. Chris is indeed a true believer and all the better for it in my opinion - she certainly has more courage and conviction than most.

It is a very strange argument indeed to suggest that a protest against something which hasn't changed has gone on too long. Perhaps those who protested against apartheid for decades should have given up a bit earlier?

From Jeremy Godden

Friday, 11 September 2015

Well I tried to discuss with Christine once whether the Israelis were actually committing a 'genocide' as her placards say. An accusation of genocide being an extreme indictment and one that needed clarifying. I hesitate to say this but the truth is she became very aggressive and started shouting at me. Despite my unease at now being in her presence I would still support her right to protest and indeed of other groups to do likewise.

From Veronica Roberts

Friday, 11 September 2015

Jeremy, I agree everyone has the right to protest, but I think in this instance, it was like she was taking ownership of the square, and in doing so it gets people's back up. It is admirable to go full out constantly to support a cause you truly believe in, some of us do it in a quieter way, same but different...

From Graham Barker

Friday, 11 September 2015

Christine complains about the threat to her right of free speech. This is the same Christine who last year wanted the Trades Club to cancel a Martha Wainwright gig because she'd performed in Israel. That's when Christine lost my sympathy and it's never come back. I firmly believe the Palestinian people deserve justice but that's very much despite Christine's self-righteous vigil rather than because of it.

From Dave Gee

Saturday, 12 September 2015

There were many other long time members of the Trades Club including many who had given many hours of voluntary time helping to build the club, which is after all a Socialist club, who were disgusted at the stance the club took in relation to Martha Wainwright. So please don't just blame Christine for this.

She has a perfect right to protest and should not be treated any differently to any other person in respect of advertising by attaching her material to bins and lamp posts. Confronting people with the reality of our foreign policy , note Camoron meeting Netanyaboo, is all good in my book

From Allen Keep

Saturday, 12 September 2015

At the risk of dragging up an old argument (although Graham mentioned it) Chris was perfectly correct to protest against Martha Wainwright.
I suppose a one-person protest would inevitably draw attention to the person involved and lead some to feel it appropriate to make personal judgements about that individual.

I just find it depressing however that those who claim to support/ be sympathetic to the Palestinian cause find it necessary to use phrases like "true believer" and "self- righteous" to describe someone who is steadfastly fighting the same injustice they claim to oppose.

Maybe it would be more productive, and supportive of the cause, to keep those personal opinions about Chris private and perhaps reflect on whether there is no-one more worthy of such public attacks? - I would happily provide a list.

From Martin C

Saturday, 12 September 2015

With reference to Michael Prior's post, it is true that it is up to the police as to whether the law is being broken on an adopted highway. However Calderdale Council are deemed owners of the land and are as such owners of the highway surface, trees and street furniture. They have the same rights as any other land owner and it seems to me they are acting well within their powers to ask for the removal of posters from the highway and street furniture.

From Paul Clarke

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Dave Gee is quite correct to say many Trades members opposed the Wainwright concert and others took a different view… that's how democracy and free speech works. Although being called a child killer was a new and unpleasant experience for me.

Of course Dave behaved impeccably at the small protest outside the gig, but sadly one person's antics really let both themselves and the cause down.

It seems to be an odd position that a former Labour backbencher can talk to Hamas even though he disagrees with them yet our PM can't talk to the Israeli PM.

I did use the phrase 'true believer' rather than zealot as I felt to be bit less loaded. I am always suspicious of people who take a reductionist view of any complex, age old conflict, or those who offer up self-selecting lists of people it is ok for us to challenge.

From Jenny B

Saturday, 12 September 2015

I personally find it appropriate that Christine has been asked to limit the space she monopolises through her protest. Regardless of the cause, we as members of the public have as much right to use that space as she.

Having been in a situation whereby I was legally canvassing people in the square, and been told none too politely to 'get out of her space' by Christine, with the added inference that her cause is the cause and none other merits space. I find the cause has long been more about herself than her campaign.

Just who is she trying to convince/convert? By remaining in the same spot she is in danger of becoming a parody of a protester, with no-one actually listening to her views.

And another thing. How long is the Big Issue seller going to be allowed to position a chair right outside Waites?

There would seem little point in pedestrianising an area if she and Christine are allowed to continue to obstruct pedestrians

From Allen Keep

Sunday, 13 September 2015

I have no problem with people challenging whoever they like. The offer of a list was a joke to illustrate that some on the left seem to need reminding that their energies may be best spent, on issues such as this, directing fire at the true zealots - those perpetuating the barbaric treatment of the Palestinian people - rather than those opposing it.

Simple really - it's called solidarity. Only sectarians or those who don't understand the nature of the Israeli state and why it should be opposed could fail to understand that.

Unlike some, I won't be airing dirty linen in public but the account I heard of the events at the trades suggested more than one person may have acted in a way they may later have regretted.

From Will Kaufman

Sunday, 13 September 2015

I can tell you that a number of small Jewish children who live in Hebden Bridge are quite intimidated by the protest and are afraid to walk through the square that they are fully entitled to walk through. It it due to a combination of the images that the protester chooses to post (mangled Palestinian children), the belligerence of the protester when she is challenged on her use of the term "genocide", the failure of the protester to attempt to make any distinction between Judaism and Israel, and the strikingly close correlation between the terms and imagery of this protest and the old blood libel of Jews using the blood of non-Jewish children to make matzoh or whatever - a centuries-old blood libel to which all Jews (Zionist or otherwise) are highly sensitive.

From Paul Clarke

Monday, 14 September 2015

I quite agree solidarity is important bit it actually involves showing it rather than just talking about it.

So it seems odd that rather than showing that solidarity at a demo where you live people instead rely on second accounts of a protest they didn't bother to attend.

On another note solidarity is not a given just because someone decides to stage a endless protest as that might be misconstrued as mindless sectarianism.

From Michael Prior

Monday, 14 September 2015

Hey, Jenny has certainly hit on something. The Big Issue seller outside Waites can start selling coffee then she can obstruct the square just like the cafes do and make a bit more money. Oh, and so can Chris. Let's us all put out chairs, sell coffee and park advertising hoardings around us. Then we can really obstruct people Just so long as the hoardings are not political of course.

And Will, if children are frightened by Chris' images then report her to the police. A display of offensive pictures is a police matter. I risk becoming boring about this but Calderdale Council are being very picky about who they choose to threaten.

From Allen Keep

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

The question really, in terms of Chris's protest and the notion of solidarity, is whether you support her cause or not. Of course, even if you do there is no problem challenging or questioning her, or anyone else's tactics or the way they go about things. After all, no-one owns a struggle.

I have said before that while I support what Chris is doing I would no doubt disagree with her about how the aims we both share may come about - just as I frequently do with other socialists who may, for instance, be in the Labour Party (it's called fraternal political debate).

What I don't do is personally attack and belittle those comrades on public forums because I don't agree with their politics or I don't like them much.

What depresses me is not tired arguments about freedom of speech, the defences of the Israeli state, suggestions that being anti-Israeli state is somehow anti-semitic (or ahistorical points about disputes being apparently too complex to fathom or take a clear position on as both sides are as bad as each other etc.) - all of which we have had on this and previous threads - it's the public and personal sideswipes and name-calling directed at Chris from people who really should know better.

Of course, I wasn't there at the trades demo (I forgot to hand in my note but I was working that evening) to witness how Chris was treated nor on every occasion Chris has received abuse on the square or elsewhere - but I have spoken to her frequently (and others who support her).

While even I would agree that Chris is forthright and combative there is no doubt in my mind that she has received more than a bucketful of grief for taking the stand she has and all too frequently from some who claim to support her cause.

If people want to disagree with Chris's methods/ tactics from a position of common cause or have constructive alternative/different ideas - fine, let's hear it. Complaints that she has gone on too long and is getting in the way a bit doing her self-righteous, zealous "protest" thing is not really cutting it.

From Andy C

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Allen. Paul's tried to subtly put you right on this - but you really do need to speak to people at the Trades about the Martha Wainwright gig and this individual's behaviour on the night and afterwards. Keep the words solidarity and dignity for situations that deserve them.

From Martin C

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Jenny B is absolutely correct. While Christine has a right to protest, the public have the right to unobstructed access to a publicly owned space. As with many rights the two may not be totally compatible and a comprise has to be found, but the space is definitely not hers.

As for Allen Keeps' last comment, why are complaints that she has gone on too long etc, not cutting it? Do you dispute the right of the public to enjoy publicly owned land without obstruction? I've spent many years campaigning against right wing landowners for the right to access their land, now granted under the Countyside Act 2000. Now I'm being told that as long as the "cause" is the correct one, protesters may cause long term obstructions on publicly owned land.

And what about people who do not hold a common cause with Christine? Are we not allowed to disagree with her method/tactics?

From Anne H

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Sorry, Allen, but the question really isn't about whether you support Chris's cause or not. It's about whether she should be allowed to extend her protest in the Square beyond the rules that apply to everyone else. i.e. with regard to how much space she takes up, how many posters she puts on street furniture and material she displays on the ground that everyone has a right to walk on - regardless of whether they agree with her or not.

From Allen Keep

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

I don't want to hog this discussion but just a response to the posters who have named me.

Andy, I'm afraid I didn't detect any subtlety in Paul's comments. He seemed to be overly focused on making a point along the lines of some people being all talk and no action - so I must have missed the underlying message he wanted to convey. The only point I was making is that there appear to be two sides to the story about what occurred at the Trades - which I thought Paul would approve of as he makes this point often in relation to Israel/Palestine.

Martin, I don't dispute people's rights not to be obstructed - but I thought Michael made an excellent point about this. Then of course few rights are absolute or to be respected in every circumstance and sometimes they clash with others. When I could be bothered, I have sat down in many roads in protest, been part of demonstrations that have shut down cities and obstructed people going about their business on picket lines. I have no regrets. Also, have you seen the size of Chris?! -you'd have to try quite hard to be obstructed by her.

And Anne, it is essentially about whether you support a cause or not and if you do, how you show solidarity (which was the point I actually made). Strangely, I don't see many outraged of Hebden comments or references to over zealous, self- righteous buskers in the square (who frequently break guidelines).

I wonder how many causes we all care about have been progressed by staying entirely within the rules? The suffragettes were pretty good at attaching things to street furniture as I recall.

From Dave R

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Whilst there is no doubt that Ms Drake cares passionately about her cause, and despite her diminutive size, she does occupy (monopolise) a much larger space than the average busker. it is the spreading of posters across the ground which irks me. Try to manoeuvre a pram/wheelchair around these (as I do out of politeness) rather than walk/wheel over them.

Try to engage Ms Drake in conversation about her cause and see how 'open to opposing views' she is (not very, in fact not at all).

I actually do now find the woman's presence irritating, I have not read or even glanced at any of her literature for months and months.

Do I care about what is happening in Syria? Of course, who couldn't?

But, far from objectors being blinkered and/or unsympathetic to the cause it is, as others have said, reasonable to suggest that Ms Drake could perhaps spread the word by moving her location to another part of Hebden Bridge, or another town now.

Because, as I see it, she has done her job here, if indeed her job was/is to raise awareness.

At best, most people seem to have become so accustomed to her presence that they ignore her and her cause, and at worst, many are mildly irritated by her presence in The Square, which seems rather defeating the object.

From Martin C

Thursday, 17 September 2015

To Alan. Of course no rights are absolute, as I said (although misspelt) in my previous post, there has to be a compromise between the rights to protest and the rights to access land. However as well proven in case law, the law swings towards the right to access as the length of the protest increases. An example of this was the Court Of Appeal ordering the clearance of the "Democracy Village" in 2010 for the primary reason that it was denying long-term public access to Parliament Square (and a secondary reason that they were preventing other legal protests which Christine also appears to do). The order did not prevent future short-term protests by the protestors.

Christine's size is irrelevant, her posters laid out over the square are causing obstruction on a long term basis and the council are correct to ask her to remove them. AFAIK at the moment no attempt has been made to stop her protests.

Also I don't believe Michael's points are correct in any way or form. The council are owners of the land and have a duty under the Highways Act to see that obstructions are removed when public complaints have been made, which I understand they have here. They are carrying out their duties, not "policing" the land. There are various licences available from Calderdale Council, a licence for street collection by a charity is free and I doubt very much the Rotary Club make collections without such a licence. Street cafe licences and street trader licences are not free and if Michael believes that regulations here are being broken then he should pursue the matter with the council. The council should act if his complaints are correct, as they have done with Christine. However two wrongs do not make a right and that is a totally unrelated and (irrelevant) issue to Christine's obstruction of public land.

From Kez Armitage

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Quite rightly, nobody on this thread has suggested that demonstrations in the square shouldn't be allowed. Of course they should, and of course they are. I've lost count of the number of times I've signed petitions for worthy causes.

The underlying question, however, is what is reasonable and what is unreasonable. And that's the problem. Rules and regulations have a problem with the word 'reasonable'. Ultimately it relies on a bit of common sense, but every now and then, certain people push the boundaries of reason, and as a result the authorities have to respond.

I can understand the passion and commitment of the woman in question. But there comes a time when ones devotion to a cause risks becoming obsessional and unhealthy. Sadly, you can actually do your cause a disservice, and become a laughing stock, a 'weirdo',or just someone who should simply be ignored. I hope this isn't the case here.

From Ron Taylor

Thursday, 17 September 2015

As the issue of The Trades Club and last year's Martha Wainwright gig has reappeared I feel I must once again defend the club and those who run it.

The Trades Club behaved perfectly correctly last November in the face of uninformed criticism and unreasonable demands. It has supported the Palestinian cause for many years and, I am assured, will continue to do so. Indeed since the Wainwright gig it has hosted a number of pro-Palestine events. There is no other organisation in town that I know of which offers such support.

Thank you, Trades Club.

Just a couple of comments on other points raised in this thread -

The conflict in Israel/Palestine is not an age-old one. Rather its roots lie in the latter part of the 19th century with the rise of the ideology of Zionism which was adopted by certain parts of European Jewry. Put into practice in the first half of the 20th century Zionism is a nationalist colonial project which required the removal of as much of the indigenous population as possible. This is a process which continues to this day. Nor is the conflict a religious one (although there many who would like it to be seen as such). Before Zionism Jews, Muslims and Christians lived in Palestine in relative harmony.

I also agree that it is essential to make the clear distinction between Judaism and the actions of the Israeli government. Sadly the Zionists who govern Israel insist on calling Israel 'the Jewish State' thereby implicating all Jews in its crimes. Anyone advocating for Palestinian rights should be aware that Israel does not represent all Jews. There any many courageous Jewish people both in Israel and elsewhere who are disgusted by Israel's policies towards the Palestinians and speak out. I am privileged to be an activist with some of them. On that point I am currently re-reading a wonderful book by the Jewish Holocaust survivor Hajo Meyer - The End of Judaism: An Ethical Tradition Betrayed. I recommend it to everyone.

From Allen Keep

Friday, 25 September 2015

As a member, I too appreciate the support The Trades has given the Palestinian cause but on the Martha Wainwright issue it got it wrong in my opinion. That ship has sailed however but I'd be interested to know if there has been a review of policy re: the boycott and booking of acts to avoid an issue like that happening again?

I'm glad Ron has once again given some coherent historical context to the Israel/ Palestine conflict. A lack of this, plays into the hands of the "two sides are as bad as each other", "there can be no solution", "it's too complicated to understand" nonsense that sadly even some of the left perpetuate.

Another dimension to Ron's excellent point about not equating the actions of the Israeli state with the beliefs of all Jewish people is worth stating again. Being anti-Zionist and opposing the brutality of the Israeli state and challenging its legitimacy is not the same as being anti-Semitic

From Amanda B

Sunday, 4 October 2015

I have known Christine Drake (or the nutty protestor, as some of you like to think of her) for a while now. I have never known anyone as committed and prepared to act as Christine. While we all sit drinking lattes and spouting liberalism, Christine actually gets out there and puts herself on the line. She was one of the original Greenham Common women, who risked her liberty to protest for a cause many of us now support. I have walked through the square hundreds of times and never seen her accost or threaten anyone, or indeed take up much space. I am horrified that so-called liberal Hebden people complain about her and the Big Issue seller! Unbelievable. When it comes to boundaries, I am more horrified at the behaviour deemed acceptable by some Hebden parents of their children. I've been crashed into, almost knocked over and deafened by noisy, uncontrollable children in the square. Christine seems much less a threat to civil liberties.

From Dorothy Margot

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

I come late to this debate… another contributor to this topic was moved to tears the first time he saw Christine's protest. I joined with him in standing beside Christine, on two occasions, in the first weeks of her protest.

The weather was good, the cafe pavement tables full, plenty of tourists milling around. In other words, people out enjoying themselves.

I doubt if they enjoyed watching Christine's behaviour as she darted after a middle aged woman who had mindlessly taken the proffered leaflet and crumpled it up, before looking at it. She grabbed the leaflet out of the woman's hand, dramatically started smoothing it out and harangued the woman for wasting the leaflet.

On another occasion she started an uncomfortable loud and combative exchange of 'views' with a man who disagreed with her… he was drinking a coffee, so couldn't make his escape.

At the time, I supported the Halifax Friends of Palestine. I understand Christine declined to join that excellent group, (which covered Hebden Bridge), and has considered setting up her own branch?

You don't win hearts and minds by being Holier-than-Thou, no matter how right the cause and how strong your convictions.

From Rick Holden

Sunday, 25 October 2015

So I just popped by Hebweb to see what the hot topics of the day were and surprise surprise that the issue of the one woman protest in the square was raising it's head again.

Almost 12 months ago I was back in HB and was disgusted by the protest in the square and how, it was intimidatory at best, and how she was allowed allowed to almost take over the square and get away with it.

I also approached her like one of the posters on this thread did to engage in dialogue and got the same response, abuse.

At the time I was with my two young kids, but this did not deture her.

The protest has now run its course and my opinion she needs to be moved on and once again free up the square.

To hear people are experiencing the same thing I did, to hear even one person feels intimidated to go there and people are avoiding the square sets alarm bells ringing for the traders there.

From Amy F

Saturday, 12 December 2015

If we're going to get upset about Christine getting in the way of wheelchair users and people with prams/buggies, then surely we should all be even more upset by that great monstrosity taking up most of the space in the square from a couple of weeks ago until the New Year: the Christmas tree!

Come on, folks!

FWIW I'm one of HB's vulnerable adults, with various disabilities etc, and I have never felt the slightest bit intimidated by Christine and her tireless vigil.

I admire her fortitude, is all. True commitment to her cause, in all weathers - and HB certainly has all weathers.

Surely Hebden Bridge, of all places, should have space for Christine and her heartfelt cause.

From Alex Hudson

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Like plenty of others I find it offensive to my senses to be forced, along with my children, to look at pictures of mangled kids when I thought I was just off to feed the ducks, but then I remember why those kids are mangled. Then I ask myself if I feel like I'm doing what I can to address my own complicity in it. During some periods I really feel like I am. Other times, not so much. It's at those times when I'm especially grateful that she's there, because I know how easily I forget, being a generally self serving ape-type-thing configured and conditioned to value my own tribe more than those thousands of miles away. So I stop and have a good look, with my kids, because frankly I don't want them growing up to be the kind of people who think truth is in poorer taste than willful ignorance.

Most people in this thread seem to miss the only point that matters: Christine's right to free speech isn't conditional, though some might think it is in this post-911 mess of country.

If the force of her protest jars a tad, they might consider how jarred they would be to wake up to their children being sprayed across their bedroom wall by munitions supplied by the UK; a relationship that continues for the most part as a result of the blanket public ignorance that Christine's protest is targeted directly at. A protest that might annoy people who think their easy passage through the square has global implications, but also one that gives the younger generation an open door to a subject which is completely avoided in school and heavily biased in mainstream media.

Regardless, for myself (and plenty of other people I know in Hebden Bridge) her protest, while vitally important, isn't as productive an application of time and energy as some other current causes are, given the extreme volatility and potency of present times, but one issue that certainly does make the grade in that regard is freedom of speech. My point being that trying to silence Christine on what is a marginal issue for most people in Hebden Bridge risks the mobilisation of the far greater number who are concerned with free speech. If the objective here is less disturbance in the square that might be the wrong way to go about it.

I came to Hebweb to try and get a perspective on local views on this protest after hearing that this lady has been visited by police and accused of "hate crime". Further, she seems to be under the impression that she is likely to be forced to end the protest due to a potential (and highly questionable definition of) disturbance of the peace.

So at the moment you have someone protesting who for the most part is very unobtrusive, never accosts passers by (like the real irritants in the square do) and who restricts her protest to that part of Hebden. Whereas if Christine is silenced, I will be there the following Saturday, with others, and I for one don't have anything close to her level of restraint in sticking to the square or not engaging with passers by. I love a good chin wag.

You think her images are graphic? Not compared to what is available. Not even remotely.

She likely doesn't know any journalists, she doesn't even have a Facebook page... have you considered how many (mostly annoying, admittedly) people could be mobilised through Facebook to descend on Hebden on a Saturday afternoon to ensure the traditionally held values of the town are safeguarded? The kind of people who see getting arrested for a cause such as free speech as a badge of honour and good publicity? Perhaps in uniform, or shaking tourists hands with symbolic red paint?
Getting daft now, but you get my point: you don't know what kind of lunacy you set loose when you threaten free speech. People get pretty uppity. Far more uppity than they do for a cause thousands of miles away.


See also

HebWeb News: Vigil in the square: posters and banners banned