Photograph by D. Viesnik
• What limits, if any, should be placed on the right to protest and why?
• Should specific limitations be placed on the ability of certain groups to protest? If so, who and why?
• Should the right to protest be more strictly curtailed in relation to certain geographical areas? If yes, where, why and what limits would be acceptable?
• The Government proposes to repeal sections 132-8 SOCPA dealing with protest around Parliament and invites Parliament to consider whether additional provision is needed to ensure that Parliament's work is not disrupted by protests in Parliament Square. What, if any, additional provision is required?
• In what circumstances would it be permissible for the State to take pre-emptive action, which curtailed protests?
• Are existing police powers necessary? Are more or fewer required?
• Are counter-terrorism powers appropriately used in the policing of protests?
• In what circumstances may actions during protests be justifiably criminalised?
• How should the balance be struck between the rights of protesters and other competing interests (such as the rights of others or the prevention of disorder or crime)? Would legislative changes be desirable to strike a better balance between competing rights, or is the current legislative framework about right?
This seems to be the first step in the introduction of more legislation that will further restrict our freedom to assemble and protest. We need to respond not on paper but on our streets. Our message is simple: we claim the freedom to assemble without prior notification or permission and this freedom is not open to negotiation.