Brian Haw, peace campaigner, born 1949 - died 18 June 2011
Brian Haw, world renowned peace campaigner, has died of cancer after a long illness. He camped outside the British parliament for ten years, in protest at the wars waged -- under the guise of the "war on terror" -- in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.
Brian became such a thorn in the side of the establishment that MPs introduced a law excluding protests within one mile of parliament without permission, failing to anticipate that their restriction could not be applied retrospectively to Brian, who carried on his highly visible protest in Parliament Square regardless.
Brian's courage and persistence was an inspiration to peace campaigners across the world, and his highly visible encampment became a focus for vistors to London, wishing to register in person their admiration and support.
In January 2007, artist Mark Wallinger recreated Brian's Parliament Square protest in its entirety as an exhibition at Tate Britain. Titled State Britain, it was a painstaking reconstruction of the display confiscated by the Metropolitan Police in 2006, and included 500 weather-worn banners, photos, peace flags, and messages from well-wishers collected by Brian over the duration of his peace protest.
In December 2007, Mark Wallinger was awarded the prestigious Turner Art Prize for his State Britain commemoration of Brian's iconic presence confronting parliament day and night.
Also in 2007, Brian was awarded the Channel 4 News award for Most Inspiring Political Figure of the Year. Among the other nominees was Tony Blair, whose war crimes were a specific target for Brian's protest over the years.
Brian spoke many times on Stop the War Coalition platforms, always with his consistent compassion and anger at the crimes committed in our name by our political leaders. He will be remembered long after the MPs, who walked past his peace camp outside parliament, and disgracefully voted to take Britain into all the US initiated wars.