Dunraven street protests Mayfair

For residents on a street in Mayfair peace and respite have become almost impossible to come by, with continuous protests outside their front door for weeks.

Dunraven Street, a usually quiet alley just off Park Lane has become a demonstration hotspot as a result of political events 5000 miles away – the arrest of Pakistan’s popular former prime minister Imran Khan.

Khan and PTI (Pakistan Movement for Justice) supporters have gathered in numbers outside Avenfield House, the London home of another former prime minister Nawaz Sharif with flags, placards and banners.

Sharif’s connection with the building was brought to light in the Panama Papers, a major disclosure of documents relating to clients of panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca in 2016.

Despite a police dispersal order for 48 hours issued by Inspector Andy Lewis at 10.40pm on Tuesday, protesters have continued to occupy the street, chanting and stamping their feet while up to a dozen officers hold them back from the block of apartments.

On Thursday afternoon, Pakistan’s Supreme Court ruled that Khan’s arrest on corruption charges illegal and ordered his immediate release.

Protesters continued to stand outside Avenfield House on Wednesday despite police dispersal orders.

Residents living in Avenfield House have had enough and want the protesters moved on to a more suitable location, such as the Pakistani Embassy or nearby Speakers’ Corner.

“Every single day.” one of them shouts as they are getting into their car.

As one of the Met’s many protest liaison officers tried to reason with the activists on Wednesday afternoon, people entering and leaving their homes were met with jeers and shouting.

Councillor Paul Fisher, whose West End ward includes Mayfair has also sided with the residents, citing the demonstrators refusal to leave as undermining police authority.

He said:”I understand there is a constitutional political crisis in Pakistan, but people will not find the answers to that crisis on this street and it’s really important to understand that.

“Let’s preserve the right to protest but let’s move the protest because this is not an appropriate place.”

He added that the right to protest was a qualified right that had to be balanced against the rights of local residents.

Mr Fisher had previously written to MP Nickie Aiken calling on her support back in March, saying that he would ask for similar scrutiny of protesters from all Westminster parliamentary candidates .

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