Barbara Tucker is wrapped up in multiple layers with a thick scarf struggling to keep out the brisk London cold. Becoming sick would be bad news for this veteran campaigner who has marked her seventh year of the pavement under the watchful gaze of Big Ben and the UK Parliament. Used to being harassed by the authorities, Barbara is making a defiant stand in order to be listened to.
And this might be why. The presence of the peace campaigners is a constant reminder of the UK’s role in wars that have seen millions displaced and hundreds of thousands killed. A March 2011 high court ruling, one of many legal actions taken by the Mayor of London, the Metropolitan Police and Parliament forced the camp to only a small section on the pavement.
Barbara Tucker campaigned alongside Brian Haw who first set up the camp in response to the UK’s foreign policy 12 years ago.
Having started her hunger strike on December 27th, Barbara says the decision was not taken lightly. She has suffered two spells in prison, numerous arrests and constant harassment but still wants to serve as an example for others, to shame the UK government into acting. Having suffered dehydration, frostbites and other battles with the elements, she is certain the government would listen if others made their stand.
Barbara watched her fellow campaigner Brian Haw, literally die in the very spot she stands, there is no doubt in this woman’s resolve.
For Barbara Tucker this is truly open-ended protest. Her activism has seen her spend many years here. As for her hunger strike, she is clear, she will continue for as long as it takes. If it means slowly dying in front of the British Parliament, then so be it.