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Banned from Demonstrating on Trafalgar Square.


Trafalgar Square is known as a place where a long tradition of Free Speech have permitted a wide array of viewpoints from being expressed. On August 31, 2001, however, the new Lord Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, banned Scientologists from holding a rally in favor of Narconon, The CoS' drug rehabilitation program. He was supported in that by Scientology critics who showed, once more, that "Free Speech" is something they use to blame the CoS, not something they are able to live up to for themselves.


On August 31, 2001, the The Evening Standard reported that Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, banned a rally in favor of Narconon to take place on that day. "it would not be responsible for me to allow it to be used to advertise a spurious medical programme which many drugs professionals are concerned about", he said. "Nothing about the activities of this group leads me to believe that this is anything other than a cynical method of promoting the Scientology creed", the Evening Standard reported him saying.

In an email answer to those who were concerned over this abridgement of basic rights, the Mayor used typical anti-cult arguments: "Scientology is a commercial enterprise that harasses its critics, and preys on vulnerable people", he wrote, "Its anti-drugs activity is a means to promote and recruit people in to its organisation, often with devastating consequences."

This is yet another example of the same kind of tactics that has already been used in religious ostracism against the group in Germany and France, and which Catherine Wessinger has well described in her paper about persecution:

In countries in which freedom of religion purportedly is guaranteed, groups have to be labeled as not really being religions and as being dangerous in order to legitimate aggressive persecution by law enforcement agents.

 The Mayor was of course immediately supported in his decision by Scientology critics, who praised his decision and wrote him in support. Critics also invaded the BBC forum with negative information about Narconon and Scientology, avoiding to address the Free Speech aspect which was the real core of the issue. When forced to address the issue, their answer was to compare Narconon, a legal program for drug rehabilitation, to illegal activities of the Columbian mafia,  pedophiles, Nazis, and then claim that Scientologists have no more rights than these to demonstrate on Trafalgar Square.

A couple of Free Speech activists in the forum stood aghast by the display of intolerance and hatred showed by Scientology critics. An outside observer, Tom Anderson, summed the situation most eloquently:

This is the same old pointless argument. I used to follow in ARS newsgroup postings. Which was litered with nutso rantings from scientology bashers. I see the same crap here. Can't you people get a life? On both sides of the argument. In this corner (weighing in at 120 pounds of pure neurotic hatred) is your anti cult, anti Scientology, anti religion, anti Catholic, anti jew, anti whatever nutcase. And in this corner looking almost as silly is the few Scientologists in here who feel they have to defend themselves from such lunatics. And in the middle in the striped shirt is the Lord Mayor of london who secretly is with the skinhead spitting hate, but doing it using the power his constituents invested in him.



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Disclaimer :

This web site is NOT created by a Scientologist. It is created by a Scientology EX-MEMBER who is critical of Scientology. However, this ex-member is ALSO critical of the anti-Scientology movement. This does not make him a Scientologist, nor a defender of Scientology.

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