Edinburgh Iraq war protester jailed for ‘war crimes’ poster


Ex-serviceman held overnight and charged with vandalism and breach of the peace

AN EX-SERVICEMAN arrested for staging a one-man peaceful protest over the findings of the Chilcot Iraq War report yesterday (7 July) has been released from an Edinburgh jail charged with vandalism and breach of the peace.

Retired Harry McEachan was registering his anger at revelations in the Chilcot report by sticking up a homemade poster with duct tape accusing former Prime Minister Tony Blair and former US President George Bush of ‘war crimes’ outside the National Museum of Scotland when he was arrested by several Police Scotland officers.

McEachan was held in a cell in St Leonards Police Office in Edinburgh overnight before being released this morning (8 July). Police Scotland told CommonSpace that McEachan had been charged with vandalism and breach of the peace, something McEachen himself was unaware of.

Harry McEachan shortly before arrest

Speaking to CommonSpace, McEachan claimed that an officer had treated him roughly before lifting him into a waiting police van.

“He pushed into me with his shoulder and then grabbed my shirt,” he said.

McEachen claims that officers told him he was damaging a stone plinth by attaching his homemade poster to it with sticky tape.

Mceachen, who served in the RAF, said he was outraged by revelations in the Chilcot report including that Blair had said he would back US policy over Iraq in July 2002, several months before a parliamentary vote on war.

McEachen, who would only confirm that he was in his 70s and said he was “in my prime”, has staged protests against Boris Johnson, former leader of the campaign for the UK to leave the EU, and against the attempt by dissident MPs to remove Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour party. He has also campaigned to protect independent businesses in his local town of Largs.

Harry McEachan being arrested by Police Scotland officers

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Police in Edinburgh received a report of damage to National Museum of Scotland property on Thursday 7 July and on attending found that a male demonstrator had taped signs to a valuable statue outside.

“Officers spoke with the male and asked him to remove the signs and continue with his demonstration. However, he refused and was subsequently arrested for vandalism and breach of the peace.”

McEachan claims he did not know what specific charges he was arrested under.

Pictures courtesy of fotdmike, Stuart Eydmann

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