Draconian curbs to the right to peaceful protest in the UK around the corner?

The past few days, I noticed a few tweets that made me wonder what they were about.

This morning, I spotted a retweet of this article:

https://www.politics.co.uk/comment/2021/03/11/silencing-black-lives-matter-priti-patels-anti-protest-law/

Silencing Black Lives Matter: Priti Patel’s anti-protest law

Why hadn’t I seen anything about this on the sites of the BBC and The Guardian or in e-mails from The Independent? Is that because of the dreadful news about what happened to Sarah Everard?

(By the way, do you also feel that the police may have know he had a problem? Why was he transferred to patrolling embassies and so on, which probably meant that he was much more visible, after the Met hired him in 2018 and why were they on to him so quickly after Ms Everard disappeared? Even if they spotted that his path crossed hers, there normally would have been a big threshold toward suspecting him, unless a camera caught him and Ms Everard so clearly that the police had no choice but to zoom in on him? I wondered what his job was before the Met hired him. He may have been a security guard at a port before.)

So I did a search and found this:

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2021/mar/11/civil-liberties-groups-call-police-plans-for-demos-an-assault-on-right-to-protest

Civil liberties groups call police plans for demos an ‘assault’ on right to protest

An article that I had missed in The Guardian, dated 11 March 2021

“Civil liberties campaigners have warned of a “staggering assault” on the right to protest, as police detailed how they would enforce controversial government proposals to restrict demonstrations.”

“On Thursday, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) published its plans for the future of policing protests, two days after the government announced proposed new laws granting more powers to officers and the home secretary.”

“Among other things, the police, crime, sentencing and courts bill will give Priti Patel powers to create laws to define “serious disruption” to communities and organisations, which police can then rely on to impose conditions on protests.”

From the article by Ian Dunt:

“On Tuesday, the Home Office published the police, crime, sentencing and courts bill. It covers a wide range of areas, from sentencing to digital information. But it has a specific section on the policing of protests. And the function of this section is simple: It aims to silence them.”

This bill has 307 pages.

The Guardian:

Matt Parr, from HMICFRS, said: “The right to gather and express our views is fundamental to our democracy. But this is not an absolute right. The police need to strike the correct balance between the rights of protesters and the rights of others, such as local residents and businesses.

“We found that the police too often do not find the balance between protecting the rights of the protesters and preventing excessive disruption to daily life, which even peaceful protest can sometimes cause.”

As Ian Dunt pointed out… this is the essence of protesting. To get heard and to be seen and to be noticed. There is no point in going to the middle of a forest and protest there. And the right to protest is a basic human right.

The Guardian also published this, a day later. Yesterday.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/mar/12/is-the-sarah-everard-vigil-ban-part-of-creeping-curbs-on-the-right-to-protest

Is the Sarah Everard vigil ban part of creeping curbs on the right to protest?

Mounting concern that ministers are using pandemic to curtail freedoms in the UK

One thought on “Draconian curbs to the right to peaceful protest in the UK around the corner?

  1. “Strong theories of rights say that individuals matter, not just as instruments to be used for a larger social purpose or for the sake of maximizing utility. Individuals are separate beings with separate lives worthy of respect, and it’s a mistake – according to strong theories of rights – to think about justice or law by just adding up preferences and values.”

    Michael Sandel, in the Harvard course ‘Justice’

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