Parliament Square protest

Up to 100 demonstrators gathered in Parliament Square today to protest against a new law banning unauthorised demonstrations there.

It comes after five people were this week detained under the Serious and Organised Crime and Police Act, which outlaws demonstrations within a half-mile radius of parliament unless cleared by police.

Campaigning groups such as Friends of the Earth, the CND and the Stop the War coalition have all vowed to continue demonstrating against the new law.

Many of the demonstrators at today's protest carried peace banners and placards reading: "Protest by right not police permission."

Under the new law, unauthorised demonstrators can be arrested, fined £1,000 or removed from within the designated protest zone, which includes all of Whitehall and large parts of Westminster.

The new law was drafted to remove the four-year peace vigil anti-war activist Brian Haw has staged in Parliament Square. But the campaigner is now the only person in the country allowed to protest outside parliament without permission after he won a High Court battle to remain there.

Commenting on today's protest, Mr Haw said: "I'm the last of the Mohicans, I'm the last of the Great British."

"My fellow compatriots have been denied a voice. I'm outraged by this, I'm outraged that the police are busy chasing old ladies with peace signs down Whitehall when there are bombs going off in London."