23 March 2021
Last Friday hundreds of people joined an online day of action organised by the Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol), calling on the National Police Chiefs Council to commit to protecting freedom of assembly by adopting an eleven-point charter.
The Charter comes in the wake of ongoing crackdowns by both governments and police forces against protests and protesters - with the former seeking to introduce new legislation restricting peoples' rights and demonising protest, and the latter interpreting the law in a way that means "even minor breaches of the law are treated as invalidating the collective legitimacy of protesters’ demands, justifying even more aggressive tactics and more surveillance," in the words of Netpol.
The National Police Chiefs Council was bombarded with tweets and emails that called on them "to adopt new guidelines to protect the right to protest – or explain why they refuse to do so."
The Charter for Freedom of Assembly Rights (link to pdf) says:
The need for improved protections for protests has become increasingly urgent as the government seeks to pass new legislation restricting the right to protest even further.
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