Protest rights

Proposed new police powers to arrest protesters before disruption begins must be resisted

Posted on 16 Jan 2023

Responding to news that the Government have introduced an amendment to the Public Order Bill that will give police new powers to arrest protesters on the chance that they intend to cause serious disruption, Director of Liberty Martha Spurrier said:

“Protest is a fundamental right, not a gift from the State. But our right to protest continues to be attacked by a Government determined to silence people and hide from accountability.

“These new proposals should be seen for what they are: a desperate attempt to shut down any route for ordinary people to make their voices heard. Allowing the police to shut down protests before any disruption has taken place simply on the off-chance that it might sets a dangerous precedent, not to mention making the job of officers policing protests much more complex.

“From championing refugee rights to raising the alarm on the cost-of-living crisis, striking for workers’ rights, and fighting for racial and climate justice, protest today remains a crucial way for people to hold the Government to account. This latest attack on our rights must be resisted.”

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