Protest rights

Liberty responds to coronation protest arrests

Posted on 09 May 2023

Responding to the arrest of anti-monarchy protesters at the coronation, Martha Spurrier, Director of Liberty said:

“This embarrassing episode for the Met demonstrates the dangers of handing broad and poorly-defined powers to the police – who we know by now are all too happy to use and abuse those powers.

“Ahead of the coronation, the government rushed through the Public Order Act – the second piece of draconian legislation in just over a year brought in to crack down on our right to protest and make it easier for the police to arrest people like they did on Saturday. And as we predicted, the police were overzealous in using those powers – with serious consequences for people’s freedom of expression.

“This is not the first time we have seen inappropriate and heavy-handed policing of protest, but we are likely to see more and more of the police misusing their powers in the months ahead with this legislation in place. We should all be very worried about the impact this will have on our right to make our voices heard on the issues that matter to us.

“Any future government that values freedom of expression should be looking to repeal this repressive legislation as soon as they can.”

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