The right to protest is a vital part of our democracy, and Liberty will continue campaigning to protect it.

Why is Protest important?

Protest is a crucial part of political life, with a strong British history, yet a variety of measures have undermined the right to peaceful protest.

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Protest - Your Rights

In collaboration with the National Union of Students, Liberty has produced 'Protest - Your Rights', a detailed guide to your right to peaceful protest, including information on notification requirements, issues to be aware of if you are protesting on privately-owned land or property, an explanation of police powers and tactics, and a summary of relevant offences.  

Protest is a crucial part of political life, with a strong British history, yet it is under constant threat:

  • The courts have approved the police tactic of kettling, where protesters, and sometimes bystanders, are forcibly held in a cordon, sometimes for several hours. The Mayor of London is seeking the Home Secretary’s permission for the police in London to use water cannon against protesters.
  • The police and local authorities are often obstructive when protest organisers give notice of their intention to hold a march.
  • People who protest on private property face prosecution for “aggravated trespass”, even though trespass is not normally a criminal offence.
  • Protest around Parliament has been severely restricted by laws limiting and overly regulating the right to assemble and protest around Parliament.

In 2010 we secured a major victory when the European Court ruling in Liberty’s Gillan and Quinton v UK case confirmed that section 44 stop and search powers breached human rights law.

As our founders did during the hunger marches of the 1930s, Liberty provides independent legal observers to help uphold right to peaceful protest. Read more about Liberty’s history.

Read Liberty’s consultation on the use of Water Cannon (February 2014).