The government has published a new Policing Bill that threatens the fundamental rights of citizens and communities to have their voices heard by the powerful.
It introduces draconian new police powers to decide where, when and how citizens are allowed to protest and have their voices heard by those in power.
It increases sentences and fines for protestors and makes it easier for the State to prosecute. The government is trying to rush this 307-page bill through without any time for MPs, their staff, or the communities that will be most impacted to understand its consequences..
The creation of a new trespass offence targeted at Gypsies and Travellers will also restrict protest camps and deter access to the countryside. This bill would significantly restrict the kind of peaceful protest that was essential in communities resisting – and defeating – fracking.
- Note that deterring access to the countryside could also be used by the police to stop monitors and sabs protesting illegal fox hunting or the badger cull.
More than 150 organisations, including human rights charities, unions and faith communities, said at the weekend that the wide-ranging legislation would have a hugely detrimental effect on civil liberties, and called for the government to “fundamentally rethink its approach”.
Peaceful protest has led to historic victories for the climate, nature, and wider society. Peaceful protest is our right.
Please consider adding your name to a joint open letter organised by Friends of the Earth, and demand the government fundamentally rethinks its approach. Click the image below