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UK govt gives police more power to stop ‘disruptive’ protests
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UK govt gives police more power to stop ‘disruptive’ protests

Public Order Bill amendment will widen the definition of ‘serious disruption’. Activist groups claim the government is attacking the democratic right to protest.

Where: United Kingdom

The Facts

The UK government is to amend the Public Order Bill (HL Bill 82) to widen the definition of ‘serious disruption.’ The government says police chiefs had sought clarity on what actions constitute ‘serious disruption.’
Under the new bill, police will no longer need to wait for any “disruption” to take place and can shut protests down preemptively. They will consider the total impact of protests by any given group and not see them as standalone incidents. Police will also factor in long-term campaigns “designed to cause repeat disruption.”
PM Sunak and police, public order, and highway officials say they support the right to protest but that the right is “not absolute.”
Advocacy group Liberty says the UK government is attacking citizens’ democratic right to protest and curtailing “people’s ability to stand up to power.”
Environmental activist group Just Stop Oil says the UK government is “shifting into an oppressive regime of human rights abuse” by banning “effective protest” and imprisoning people who speak out.
Meanwhile, the environmental movement, Extinction Rebellion, has admitted its protest tactics may have turned some people off and that it will temporarily move away from disruption as a tactic to highlight its cause.

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