Five protesters braved the weather forecast and descended on the Birmingham shop of the criminal cult known as the "church" <spit> of $cientology.
We were expecting a nice, normal, demo with the usual lack of confront from the clams; little did we know that within minutes we were being called to order by the police and required not to cause any "distress" to members of the $cientology religion.
Well, now, would we do that??
Why don't you judge for yourself..
In fact, we strove to comply with the requirements of the police as quickly as new demands were made of us - quite a whirlwind tour of policing reacting to new and more offended clams by the minute ;-)
In the end, we were moved away from the $cientology recruiting field, down to saying "Protesting AGAINST scientology" - having had the C word banned - and had stopped distributing the XENU leaflet (http://www.xenu.net/archive/leaflet/Xenu-A4.pdf ) after police demands.
But I'm jumping ahead.
Five of us, Dave Bird, John Ritson, Neal Clark and New Protester converged on Birmingham in order to protest against the offences brought by the criminal organisation known as the "church" <spit;> of $cientology against the human rights of its victims (most of whom are members) and to inform about the true nature and cost of the goods innocently masquerading as psycho-babble self-help with "church" somewhere in the name of the seller.
We met late because of various traffic related problems and other symptoms of the chronic lack of organisation which is the cunning way in which the A.R.S.C.C. (wdne) disguises its tight control over our every move. There had been a fairly heavy shower half an hour before we met (at one point I drove through a puddle and got splash across the entire width of the front of the car - pretty good going since the front wheels are a good way back). The rain stopped completely after that (whew!) and we had a pleasant day out from then on.
We rambled into our usual position on the high street on the corner of their shop, and got going with the leaflets and the sound-system, John rolling into action with his normal "protesting AGAINST the Barmy UFO Cult of $cientology!" and the related shpiel. Leaflets were being handed out and no clams had shown up. We had declined to bring our ever popular range off free XENU LOVES YOU balloons so as to keep everything light and easy to handle. So far, so normal.
Then the police showed up and, indeed, turned out to be in our honour (and not the much bigger and louder something Palestine something demo on the next corner). Before the demo, we had - as usual - agreed with the police to play nice. It turned out that "play nice" included not offending any religious people, the "Religiously Aggravated Harassment" rules being specifically cited.
As we do want to "play nice" (yes, really, we do!!), we agreed to not have the word "Cult" and the word "Barmy" on the loudhailer. We went on "protesting AGAINST the $cientology organisation" and handing out leaflets.
After some time, we were informed that we were not welcome within earshot of the $cientology shop. We hmm'ed and haw'ed and ambled a few hundred yards up to the big square and got ourselves a nice spot (by the Iron Man) where passers-by were stopping to look at the "pictures of the world" display. Nice, but not our first choice of location... We continued, going back to "protesting AGAINST the cult of $cientology" and handing out leaflets.
After some time (not so much), a man in a suit was engaging in conversation with our two kindly police protectors (you do need protection by the police when protesting asgainst the $cientology cult, see http://www.tingleff.org/jensting/duke_tour/muslinger/egrinstead0403_a.html), and we were informned that using the word "cult" was not allowed in public, in case a member of the cult in question walked by and took offence. Or, as in our case, followed us around, taking offence. Guess what? We were required to stop with the C-word on the loudhailer.
By this time, we were not surprised to see, after not so much time, the offended clam eagerly showing our leaflet to the police. Oh Dear, he might have been offended again! OOoops!! It did turn out that we could not hand out those leaflets in the centre of Birmingham in case someone was offended. We got this in writing, as we felt that this was pretty strong stuff and not something we had expected.
So, at the end, we were down to lecturing about the human right abuses by the criminal organisation known as the "church" <spit> of $cientology, e.g. relating the story of Lisa McPherson and how her family had cause to regret that the $cientololy goons were allowed to "care" for her after her nervous breakdown. http://www.lisamcpherson.org/
We knocked off after the two hours we'd agreed with the police, and went for a light refreshment and a confab. While OSA had achieved more of their goals than we had of our goals, the new focus of the law on our activities could well be good in the long term in getting us thinking harder about what we do, when we do it and where we do it.
So, a different day out was had by all and things won't be the same again...
PS On the way back from the demo, we passed the clam body-routers in the spot we had vacated. They were handing out leaflets. Good job we're not easily offended ;-)
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