A Deeper Inquiry #6 – Defending Dissent A Deeper Inquiry

Speaker: Kevin Blowe

Grassroots police monitoring in an age of internationally growing anti-protest laws & a rapidly shrinking space for civilian dissent.

“What happens if a government pushes through draconian anti-protest laws that every expert says will restrict rights to freedom of assembly? What if those new laws were vigorously lobbied for by senior police officers who seem eager to use them as soon as possible?

Despite a year of mobilising in Britain against laws that will restrict protests deemed excessively noisy, parliament has refused to listen to reason and is about to pass legislation that will give the police significant new powers to criminalise protest. While others have prioritised lobbying parliamentarians to amend this law, the focus of work by the Article 11 Trust and Netpol, a grassroots police monitoring organisation, has been on what happens next – how new police powers are implemented on the streets.

How will police decide a protest is too noisy when they also have human rights obligations they are supposed to adhere to? Is it possible to make the new legislation – as some campaigners have suggested – unenforceable through practical, legal and political challenges? Will the main justification given by the government for expanded police powers – rising environmental direct action demanding action on the climate crisis – lead to great surveillance on social and political movements? How – at the most basic level – do we defend the right to publicly dissent?

Speaker: Kevin Blowe, Campaigns Coordinator at the Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol – https://netpol.org) & trustee of the Article 11 Trust (https://article11trust.org.uk)

Netpol seeks to monitor public order, protest and street policing which is excessive, discriminatory or threatens civil rights. They recently launched a new Charter For Freedom of Assembly Rights in response to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

The Article 11 Trust is a UK-based charitable organisation, established in 2020, working to defend and advance the rights to freedom of assembly and association under Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Check out this interview with Kevin regarding: 28 Kill The Bill “Fighting the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill” .

Resources: http://www.historyacts.org/28-kill-the-bill/

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