Wednesday, 8 May 2013


There are plenty more rights we've lost, all listed on the site.  I've posted the one related to protests and marches.

 Right to Protest 

Thatcher’s Public Order Act 1986 sought to prevent the effectiveness of public protest (such as the Miners Strike) by making it law that in order to be lawful, protest organisers had to give police six days advance notice of their action.

Since this time, successive governments have used upgrades to the Public Order Act to undermine the right to peaceful protest. The Serious and Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 granted a number of powers to police and restrictions on protesters. In response to the protest of Brian Haw who spoke to parliament from Parliament Square for several years as a protest against the crimes of the Iraq War, the Act applied special restrictions on protest within a designated area of 1km of any point of Parliament Square.

Basically, it is now almost impossible to protest outside our parliament without being arrested.

The Act created a new offence of trespassing on a designated site. The site can be Crown Land, land that belongs to the monarch or heir to the throne or land a secretary of state believes is appropriate for designation in the interests of national security.

The Act also made all offences arrestable. Previously a police officer had to determine whether he suspected a person of committing a non-arrestable, arrestable or serious arrestable offence. 

The powers available flowed from that determination.

There has also been a gradual militarisation of the police force which has been armed with ever escalating toolkit of measures and devices to quell dissent in the streets.

These methods involve: Kettling - you can see an example here. Snatch & Grab Arrests – Groups of police form a moving corridor into the protest, the front officers of which grab protesters at random. These arrests can also be made at police lines outside a kettle, or by plain clothes police in advance of protests (arrest occurs at 25 seconds in).

Agent Provocateurs and Violence – This was witnessed at the 2010 student protests where agent provocateurs were filmed running into the crowds, pushing , pulling and kicking student protesters in order to generate violent conditions. 

One student, Alfie Meadows ended up in hospital requiring brain surgery after a police officer beat him with a baton. . Instead of the police officer facing the courts, Alfie was charged with violent disorder. He was finally acquitted just this month by a jury who agreed he was defending himself and other protesters.

Martial Law & Emergency Powers Since the Bill of Rights Act 1689, it has been illegal for the UK government to dispatch the armed forces to British streets during peace time without the consent of parliament.

For hundreds of years we have lived under an agreement that citizens dissenting the government faced police, not the armed forces. The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 ended this tradition. The Act means that a range of emergency powers can be applied by approval of The Queen (the Government) which would suspend the Bill of Rights 1689, Habeas Corpus, the Parliament Act 1911 (which restricts a parliament to five year terms) and others for a period of up to 21 days at a time.

No comments:

Post a Comment