Parliamentary committee seeks evidence on human rights impact of bill to curb protest

The human rights committee of the UK parliament has called for evidence on the government’s new bill that would give police greater powers to restrict protest.

Police remove campaigners from a protest outside Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site, 5 April 2018. Photo: Refracktion

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill received its second reading yesterday.

The committee said it was concerned that some parts of the bill may interfere with human rights. These included rights to liberty, punishment without law, a family life and home, free assembly and freedom from discrimination, it said.

It specifically asked for evidence on the effect of the bill’s greater powers to deal with public order and the wider offences and increased sentences for breaching police conditions on assemblies and processions.

The committee said:

“These proposals have significant implications for the right to protest, an aspect of the rights to free speech and free assembly.”

It asked:

“Are the proposed changes to the law governing public assemblies, processions and one-person protests necessary to protect those adversely affected by such activities? Do the proposals … adequately protect the right to peaceful assembly and the right to free expression?”

The committee also said the new offence targeting people living on land without permission had “implications for the right to respect for the home and the right to peaceful enjoyment of possessions, of both the landowner and the resident”.

This “may have a disproportionate impact on particular ethnic groups”, it said.

It asked for evidence on whether these new powers were justified by the need to protect the rights of landowners and other users of land.

Submissions, of no more than 1,500 words, should be submitted by Friday 14 May 2021.

The committee, with representatives from both the House of Commons and Lords, examines human rights issues in the UK. It looks at every government bill for its compatibility with human rights.

18 replies »

  1. Well, I shall keep my submission short:

    If my neighbour decides it is his/her freedom to light bonfires, contaminating my washing drying on the line, quoting that it has been traditional in UK for bonfires to be lit for good reasons, I will have my freedom to say that is anti (whoops) social, and your freedom does not allow you to impede my freedom to dry my washing, and cost my money to have it in the drier. If that neighbour still persists with bigger and bigger bonfires that become a deliberate attempt to impede my freedoms then the law needs to be able to act, to protect my freedoms and to protect my neighbour from myself or others taking the law into their own hands.


    • How about your freedom to drive a car around city streets meaning a child with asthma is unable to go outside? Is her freedom being impeded, and whose freedom wins?

      • Strange comment, Paul. Interesting you did not make it when Refracktion was driving his 3 litre diesel to PNR to take the above ‘photo! It can be seen whose freedom won then. Perhaps the children around PNR with asthma can now go outside without that diesel traffic-and the foul language recorded previously and the huge cost to taxpayers so that their education may not have received as much funding as it might have, and the NHS starved of some money to assist children with asthma?

        Just goes to show that legislation is indeed needed to make sure that unintended (lol) consequences aren’t visited upon others by some. Of course, there wouldn’t be any need for legislation if certain groups did not deliberately aim to impede the freedom of others. But, they do, so there will be. Always has been where deliberate antisocial activity is planned, and conducted.

        But, in respect of driving around city streets I notice BP are looking at a huge hydrogen producing facility in Teeside, so perhaps such matters that some say are not being addressed, are being addressed? But, it will still cause protest as it will not be the ideal hydrogen for some.

        And good luck Cyril, but the votes seem to be very much against you currently. Perhaps put an ad. in a newspaper? If certain groups allow them to be printed!

      • Paul

        Is this what you call peacfull protest?


        Where does it begin & where do it end without boundaries created by regulation?

        Is Drill or drop advocating this as peacefully protest or will it publish articles calling this shameful as the divisions are now being laid?

        Which side of the law are you on?

        • The article you are commenting on refers to concerns raised by the Human Rights Committee of the House of Parliament, so perhaps you should address your questions to them.

          Reporting on concerns over limiting the right to protest doesn’t imply support for any particular protest or for actions which break existing laws.

          • Unfortunately Paul organizations that drill or drop promote like Extinction Rebellion promote cival disobedience which is breaking the law on moral grounds.

            Where does it begin and where does it end?

            It is all very easy to blame everyone else maybe you should consider what part you play and act responsibility!

          • Protesting has always been limited, Paul. The current Bill is about updating in respect of whether it is still fit for purpose. It obviously isn’t, so will be updated. That is the premise of the rest of the Bill, protest is no different.

            It may upset a number, described by the Mayor of Bristol, as “individuals who are politically illiterate spending their lives travelling around the countryside looking for causes to play out their fantasies of being a revolutionary”. The rest of the population would rather they do it in a more socially acceptable manner.

    • What if your neighbour could inform you about when they wanted to have a fire… then you would know and can make it so your washing,…drying, doesn’t coincide with the fire


  2. It will surely impact any protest much more strongly?? 10 year jail sentencing being threatened?? Your group, and others has already had very bad policing reactions to your peaceful protesting, within the law. They were harsh at times, very, very unpleasant! While this increase in policing powers isn’t I don’t think, directly aimed at your Fracking protests, you can be sure that once enacted, it will be much more hazardous for everyone. There is still hope, we can all sign the petitions against, again & again, we can also personally contact your MP, and yes I know some are hand in glove against you, but try to overflow their mailbox, every mailbox, electronic, Parliamentary, local, flood them.

  3. How much evidence do the government want on its new crima and civil restrictions bill Its our Freedom and democracy at stake and their renewal of lockdown to control peoples right to protest It must be opposed on the streets

  4. Oh, I believe they acquired all the evidence required, RhR, at Bristol.

    So, blame someone else for the consequences of “opposed on the streets” as much as you like, but after that riot every MPs mailbox will be overflowing with requests that the legislation is tightened even further. For those who voted in support, they will be fairly smug, those who voted against will just be thankful there are a few years for most of them before they can be voted out.

    That’s democracy for you. Make a public statement that is quickly overtaken by events and the consequences are also rapid. MPs can and do avoid direct questions, but have difficulty avoiding how the records show they voted. DoD have added to that with some fairly extensive lists.

    • The Bristol Post published a photograph of an early moment of the protest, where protestors were peacefully blocking access by sitting and standing in front of the police station; captioned: – “… captioned “Bridewell police station under siege” but the only violence I see is by a policeman attacking a woman with a truncheon and a stick. What do you see?”
      What I see in the photograph is a very angry policeman, you can see the tension in his ‘standing out’ neck. viciously swinging his police baton at a female protestor pinioned by his attack, up against a wall.
      I did not see this photograph published elsewhere, which I consider strange?
      It harks back to extreme police actions during The Miners Strike.

      The proposed Bill is outrageous in its attack upon the democratic right of protest; trying to insinuate that the protestors were the initial instigators of violence is most definitely not evident in the Bristol Post photograph, rather the opposite.

        • Doesn’t she know how to wear a mask? Oh dear…… £200 fine? The photo is meaningless in that we don’t know what was said or done by either before the photo. But personally I believe we need to see tougher Police action aka the Netherlands / France and get this sorted out. The sooner the new bill is past and enforced the better.

          With regards Cyril Wilson’s comments and his apparent expertise in anger recognition perhaps the woman also has a “standing out neck”. But you can’t see it because she is wearing something that resembles a dangerous dog collar….

    • I don’t pretend to know what happened in Bristol, but I need far more compelling evidence from a more reliable source than the Telegraph, which is well known for a heavy Tory agenda bias in its reporting. In the photograph, I can see an XR activist and a police officer with a weapon in both hands, clearly moving them quickly. As far as I’m aware XR are renowned for peaceful, non violent protest. The most obvious conclusion is that the officer is attacking a peaceful protester, but this would need video evidence to prove one way or the other. Perhaps the most obvious way would be to study the officer’s bodycam – surely there would be one in such circumstances? I wonder if it is available?

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