Public order laws
New powers that restrict the right to protest have led to the UK being downgraded from ‘narrowed’ to ‘obstructed’.
Two pieces of legislation we’ve written about and have been advocating against- the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act and the Public Order Bill – give extensive new powers to police and the Home Secretary and feature heavily in the UK section of the report.
In addition to the legislation, the report emphasises how climate and anti-racism protesters are being targeted by police, with legal observers experiencing high levels of intimidation, harassment and aggression.
The authors warned that authoritarianism was a real danger:
The types of legislation and rhetoric we are seeing in the UK now can lay the foundation for further restrictions in the future; clampdowns on charities and protesters can quickly become clampdowns on anyone who dares to think differently.
Bond CEO Stephanie Draper said that the UK public order laws were becoming “increasingly authoritarian”:
The downgrade reflects the worrying trends we are seeing in restrictions across civil society that are threatening our democracy.
That freedom is under attack in the UK will come as no surprise to those paying attention. This new downgrading should send shockwaves through politics. However, with an opposition obsessed with playing to Tory voters, it remains to be seen if it will.
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