Wembley: Parking row victory
A pair of self-styled parking crusaders had a �3,565 fine revoked after they barricaded themselves in a car for 28 hours, writes Kate Ferguson. Haroon Zafaryab, from Salmon Street, Wembley, and Fazan Munir, from Hampton Close, South Kilburn, holed thems
A pair of self-styled parking crusaders had a �3,565 fine revoked after they barricaded themselves in a car for 28 hours, writes Kate Ferguson.
Haroon Zafaryab, from Salmon Street, Wembley, and Fazan Munir, from Hampton Close, South Kilburn, holed themselves up in their black Toyota after a parking attendant threatened to charge them �365 to remove a clamp.
Mr Zafaryab, who works as a wholesaler of surgical equipment, said he was on his way back from praying at Wembley mosque on Wednesday last week when he spotted that his car, in Copland mews, had been clamped.
Parking in the mews is restricted to residents, but Mr Zafaryab claims there was no obvious sign telling him of the parking restrictions. Speaking from inside his car Mr Zafaryab, 27, told the Times: "The clamper told me it would cost �365, but I don't have that kind of money.
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"Morally, it is just too much to pay for a simple mistake.
"I will stay in this car for as long as I need to for them to wipe the fines."
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Since the pair began the protest, parking attendants have besieged them with fines, sticking around 40 parking tickets on the window screen.
At �80 a ticket, this would take Mr Zafaryab's bill up to �3,565, including the clamping charge.
Mr Zafaryab called his friend Mr Munir after spotting the clamp, and decided to stay in the car 'for as long as it takes' to stop the clampers from towing his car.
Mr Munir, 23, said: "This is wrong. The price is extortionate - normal working people just cannot afford this much.We are protesting for the sake of the community. It is a matter of principle. We are not going to back down - not until somebody drags us out."
Large crowds gathered to watch the clamping firm, Citywatch, try to persuade the men to leave the car.
Clearly the scene aroused the ire of one of the employees from Paddington Churches Housing Association, which employs the clampers.
Spotting the Times' photographer at the scene, the lady demanded that he delete his photos. When he refused, the lady threatened to 'smash his camera in.'
Photographer Jan Nevill said: "I was really shocked at her behaviour. We have freedom of the press in this country."
Both men, who are fasting during daylight hours because of Ramadan, took it in turns to leave the car for prayers and to go to the toilet.
They say they were overwhelmed with support from the community, who took them food during their day and a half sit in.
The stand off finally ended when Citywatch agreed to unclamp Mr Zafaryab's car for �100. The other fines totalling around �3,500 were scrapped.
Mr Zafaryab said the protest represented a victory for parkers. He said: "I am really happy I stuck it out because it was oppression and injustice. Through our protest we stood up against what is wrong."
The clamping firm Citywatch refused to comment.