Brian Haw - January 7 1949 - June 18 2011

The veteran peace campaigner Brian Haw has died after “a long hard fight” against lung cancer, his family has announced in a statement on his website today.

The 62-year-old died in his sleep on Saturday in Germany, where he had been receiving treatment.

He began his round-the-clock protest opposite the Houses of Parliament on 2 June 2001. The camp was initially a response to economic sanctions and British and US bombing raids on Iraq, but it grew in scope after the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington DC, and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq that followed.

His tent, his collection of pictures of war victims and his hand-written posters were a familiar sight in the square and successive attempts to remove him failed after the high court said it would be a breach of his human rights.

In a statement posted on Haw’s website, his family said: “It is with deepest regret that I inform you that our father, Brian, passed away this morning. As you know he was battling lung cancer, and was having treatment in Germany. He left us in his sleep and in no pain, after a long, hard fight.”

Earlier this year the Greater London Authority evicted Haw and his supporters from the grass area at the centre of the square, forcing them on to the pavement. Westminster council is set to go to court to try to get the camp moved off the pavement, which could see it disappear permanently.

Fellow members of the Parliament Square Peace Campaign said on Sunday that the authorities “should forever be ashamed of their disgraceful behaviour towards Brian”.

“Brian showed great determination and courage during the many long hard years he led his peace campaign in Parliament Square, during which it is well documented that he was relentlessly persecuted by the authorities which eventually took its toll on his health.

“Brian showed the same courage and determination in his battle with cancer. He was keenly aware of and deeply concerned that so many civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine did not have access to the same treatments that were made available to him. Parliament, the police, and courts etc, should forever be ashamed of their disgraceful behaviour towards Brian.”

There is now a Facebook group campaigning for a statue of Brian Haw to be erected in Parliament Square where he sat all those years.