Protest walk goes ahead with Liberty's support

13 July 2010

A long-standing annual protest against the American military base at Menwith Hill went ahead on 4 July, despite an initial stance by police that they would no longer facilitate the event.

Had this decision stood, organisers may have been forced to abandon the walk because of the prohibitive logistical and financial burden of securing road closure orders and the like.

Liberty’s legal team wrote to North Yorkshire Police to remind them of their responsibility to ensure that lawful peaceful protests can take place. As a result, police revisited their position and on Sunday 4 July the walk took place as planned.

Liberty’s Legal Director, James Welch, said:

"North Yorkshire Police are to be congratulated for seeing sense. Democracy only works when people are free to express dissent, and our police forces have a duty to uphold and support this right. Liberty is pleased to have helped secure this very positive outcome."

Lindis Percy, co-ordinator of the Campaign for Accountability of American Bases (CAAB) which organises the annual protest walk, said:

“It was important that we re-established the walk round the base as it is the duty of the police to enable peaceful protest. With Liberty's help we re-established the protest walk and retrieved an important civil liberty."

Contact the Liberty press office on 020 7378 3656 or 07973 831128

Contact the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases - CAAB at www.caab.org.uk NOTES TO EDITORS

There has been a demonstration at the American military base at Menwith Hill, near Harrogate North Yorkshire since 1982. Held annually on 4 July, it had to be abandoned last year due to North Yorkshire Police’s unwillingness to facilitate the demonstration.