Have you ever organised or joined a demonstration over something you felt strongly about? If the new Policing Bill being rushed through Parliament this week comes into law, in the future you could find yourself facing a jail term of 10 years if you do.
Why? The reasons are set out by Chris Daw QC in the video below.
How does it affect you? It seems as follows:
If you learn that a wind or solar farm, a road, railway or airport runway extension, a new power station or animal rendering plant or something similar is proposed near your home, and you and your neighbours object and demonstrate against it in a way that cause a nuisance to just one person, it seems you can be prosecuted. Even something as trivial as chalking a slogan or applying a sticker could count, as Ian Dunt suggests, “Someone writing a slogan in chalk on a private wall during a protest is technically damaging property, even though it can be wiped off. Under this bill, they could be sentenced to ten years in prison.”
Freedom to assemble and protest has been a right in Britain for a very long time. To quote Lord Hoffmann, “It is the mark of a civilised community that it can accommodate protests and demonstrations.” The government wants to curb that right of protest.
Please watch the video. Then contact your MP.