Success in the Lords on protecting the right to protest
Last night the Government suffered a series of defeats in the House of Lords over its Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. As part of the Police Bill Alliance, Quakers call on MPs to uphold these changes to the draconian bill which risks destroying people's right to protest.
The Police Bill Alliance, made up of organisations including Liberty, Bond, Quakers in Britain, Friends of the Earth, and Friends, Families and Travellers, said:
"Peers have rightly rejected some of the most extreme proposals in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. We are grateful to every Peer who stayed late to push back against this draconian Bill which seeks to destroy the right to protest in the UK.
With the Bill set to return to the Commons, we now urge MPs to uphold the changes Peers have made on 'noise-based' conditions on protests.
This Bill is just part of a suite of legislation going through Parliament which attack our fundamental rights and undermine democracy in the UK.- Police Bill Alliance
Unfortunately many of the measures criminalising protest remain in this Bill, meaning you could get ten years in prison for causing 'serious annoyance'. The Bill also introduces oppressive new measures which criminalise the nomadic way of life for Gypsy and Traveller communities.
This Bill is just part of a suite of legislation going through Parliament which attack our fundamental rights and undermine democracy in the UK. Be it stripping people of their British citizenship without warning, or allowing Ministers to throw out Court decisions they disagree with – placing politics above the law, we are now entering dangerous waters when it comes to Britain's civic freedoms and democracy."
Putting faith into action
Paul Parker, Recording Clerk for Quakers in Britain, said, "Protest is an important way for Quakers to put faith into action – for centuries we've been speaking truth to power wherever we see injustice. We're grateful to all the Peers who have worked with our coalition to improve this Bill.
However, it remains a dangerous piece of legislation. Rather than encouraging legitimate protest, it will suppress dissent and weaken government accountability. We continue to work with others to oppose this Bill and other threats to democracy and human rights in the UK."