Row over anti-war protest

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The Independent Online

Organisers of a protest aimed at calling for British troops to be withdrawn from Iraq claimed yesterday that the authorities are trying to ban the event.

The Stop the War Coalition is planning to stage a march from Trafalgar Square in central London to nearby Parliament on October 8, the day MPs return from their summer break.

But following a series of meetings with police, the group said it had now been told that all demonstrations within a mile of Parliament have been banned.

Organisers of protests have to get police permission to hold events outside Parliament, but several demonstrations have been held in recent years, including many against the Iraq war.

Lindsey German, convenor of STWC, said she was told by police that they had been given a "steer" from Parliament that demonstrations could not be held while the Commons was in session.

"This is a new, worrying development from what has been custom and practice for years. We intend to go ahead with our march and we hope they will back down," she said.

The group is expecting thousands of people to join the march.