XX Teens speak about political protest during Underage performance

Band invited activist Brian Haw onstage with them

XX Teens have spoken of their reasons behind championing the anti-war activist Brian Haw.

Haw appeared onstage with the band at last weekend’s (August 8) Underage festival – after they played set closer ‘For Brian Haw’ – and addressed the audience for ten minutes.

Frontman Rich Cash explained to NME.COM that the band were keen to let Haw speak to their fans.

“We didn’t know if anyone would know who he was but they recognised him straight away,” said Cash.

“He told everyone we were the greatest band in the world – we put that in his contract – then he talked about who he is and why he lives in Parliament Square.”

Haw has lived under canvas in London‘s Parliament Square since June 2001, in protest against war and foreign policy.

Despite being voted the most inspiring political figure at the 2007 Channel 4 Political Awards, Haw says that he often suffers verbal and physical abuse for his protest.

However, Cash is steadfast in XX Teens‘ support for Haw.

“We’re proud to count him as a friend,” the singer said. “He’s doing something that most of us could never contemplate nor comprehend, so we like to think he must be wired up differently, we like to think his life must have always been very different to our own. It’s not true.

“He’s an ordinary man with a home and a family who went to a protest seven years ago, realised that a tolerated demonstration was infused with impotence; and refused to go home.”

Cash added: “Since then the government has removed many of our rights and freedoms. We no longer have the automatic right to a peaceful protest. Brian is now the only man in the world with the right to sustained protest in Parliament Square. Despite this he is often beaten and intimidated by the police.

“When we picked him up on Friday he was on crutches as a result of the latest attack. He has taken the police to court many times and won. It rarely gets in the papers. Often they don’t even print his name, he is referred to only as ‘the peace protestor in Parliament Square‘.

“Still he stands there, day and night, year on year, as a symbol not only of the rights we once had, but also as a symbol of hope, of the freedoms we might one day claw back.”

The band’s song ‘For Brian Haw’ is the closer of their debut album ‘Welcome To Goon Island’.

For more on Brian Haw and his permanent protest go to Parliament-square.org.uk.