Comedian to join Menwith Hill protest

COMEDIAN and political activist Mark Thomas has launched a scathing attack on America's intelligence gathering operation on British soil which he claimed is an "insult to democracy".

Mr Thomas will be joined by the human rights activist Peter Tatchell for a demonstration at the US signals intelligence station at Menwith Hill, near Harrogate, tomorrow, Independence Day.

The annual July 4 protest was first staged 30 years ago by the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases, which includes the veteran peace campaigner Lindis Percy, from Harrogate, among its ranks.

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Thomas said: "The US base in Yorkshire is part of the US military network providing information and co-ordinating military action.

"While Menwith is on British soil we have no democratic oversight of the place. It is an insult to our democracy, an intrusion into privacy and, whilst it is on British soil, we are complicit in its activities until it is removed. That is why I will be protesting at the base."

Demonstrators will march around the base's perimeter fence after calling on the Liberty human rights campaign group to help re-instate the protest walk.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "People are allowed to protest and demonstrate in a way they see fit, providing it is done in a lawful way."