Camden Council has been accused of discrimination on the grounds of political belief after it withdrew permission to close a central London street to traffic for a ‘Not The Royal Wedding’ event organised by anti-royal pressure group Republic.
The party was originally planned for 11.30am on 29 April on Earlham Street, Covent Garden and was given the go-ahead by council officials in March. But a request for a temporary traffic order has now been rejected, meaning the party is effectively banned. Republic’s Executive Officer, Graham Smith, said in a press release:
‘This is a disgraceful attack on the rights of republicans to make their voice heard and to hold a fun and peaceful event. Camden Council is allowing a few vocal residents and businesses to veto any event in central London they do not support. Our street party is designed to be a peaceful, fun, family event with food, music and stalls. The police, local businesses and the council's own staff have been fully supportive of our plans. We can only assume this is a politically motivated ban and we will challenge it all the way.’
The ban follows hot on the heels of Prime Minister David Cameron’s warning to local authorities not to interfere or indulge in petty bureaucracy over events planned during the impending royal wedding. Even the Elf n’ Safety bunch have instructed us not to be fobbed off by council jobsworths attempting to put the kybosh on local celebrations by over-interpreting health and safety guidelines, though, the wedding planners are probably wishing that the HSE had come in a bit more useful when trying to find reasons to get rid of the Parliament Square peace camp in time for the nuptials.
Republic, who have developed a nice line in anti-royal wedding merchandise, say that the party was planned to demonstrate dissent against the hype around the royal wedding – a view shared by others who have planned similar events around the capital. It’s not just events either; the Met have warned that anarchists may plan disruption during the weekend, presumably armed with royal wedding sick bags and mugs. The pressure group says it is seeking legal advice and may challenge Camden’s decision in the courts.