Home Secretary hands extremists victory with protest ban

Today the Home Secretary has issued a blanket ban on protest marches in response to a planned English Defence League demonstration on September 3rd, Theresa May stated that the restrictions would cover all marches, not just those by the EDL:

"I have given my consent to a ban on all marches in Tower Hamlets and four neighbouring boroughs for a 30-day period" [this ban] "will cover all protest marches by any group".

These undemocratic measures threaten the East London LGBT pride on 24th September as well as planned marches to defend library services and oppose coalition policy and cuts. The Home Secretary has effectively silenced legitimate protests against unpopular coalition policy. Only last December the then Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, said that outlawing anti Government demonstrations "was an option for the authorities". This move would seem to confirm this dangerous position.

The Pirate Party stands in opposition to the EDL's aims, but to silence protest in 5 East London boroughs is an attack on our civil liberties and simply hands extremists a propaganda victory.

Theresa May must acknowledge that the decision to issue a 30 day exclusion is wrong, ineffective in dealing with the issues it is designed to tackle and a danger to British traditions of freedom. The ban appears to contravene Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, it denies everyone the right to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and free association. The ban makes Nick Clegg's recent appeal for respect for human rights meaningless. If the coalition will not stand up for civil liberties in this instance, how can we believe that reform of legislation relating to civil liberties, human rights and individual responsibility is in safe hands.

Loz Kaye
Justice Spokesperson
Party Leader
Pirate Party UK

Friday, 26 August, 2011 - 11:45
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