A number of peaceful protestors were arrested at the Coronation. Why should we be concerned?
A number of peaceful #protestors were arrested at the #Coronation. Why should we be concerned?♬ original sound - Dom Tristram
So the Coronation happened, and one thing you may have seen in the news is that a, small number of pro Republican and I do mean Republican in the very literal sense of not wanting a monarchy. Some pro-republican protestors were arrested and moved on and they’ve all been released without charge.
But I think what this really shines a light on is just how insidious the anti protest legislation is that , this government’s bought in. Now, I’m fundamentally opposed to criminalizing any peaceful protest, but the excuse they gave, which did win some people over, was that there are too many disruptive people sitting in roads and locking themselves onto things and being difficult to remove, and that was a massive inconvenience. And that’s what they pitched as , the reason why they wanted to bring this legislation in. But of course, what’s happened, as always happens when you give the police these powers, is that they’ve used these to, , effectively stop people protesting the coronation.
Now they had placards, there was no evidence they wanted anything more disruptive than holding placards, . They’d actually asked the police for permission to have the protest and were given the permission and yet they were arrested and carted away. And people say, oh yeah, but it’s fine because they were released without charge. And you know what? They were but their right to protest was effectively removed because they were being held during that time and being arrested isn’t fun. But, apart from anything else, t he government don’t even really need to criminalize the actual act of protest by charging people. If they can just arrest them and then release ‘em without charge - gets around some of the awkwardness of having to go to court to prove anything, doesn’t it? But because police can arrest people for these, I’m not going to say crimes, can arrest people for having disruptive protests, they do. Now, this is obviously being used to silence an inconvenient protest that doesn’t actually break any of the laws that the Tories have brought in, but somewhat more worryingly, even if you don’t agree with the republicans, it was used to arrest community volunteers handing out rape alarms.
Now these were community volunteers working with the local borough, handing out rape alarms, which, the police claimed, could have been used to startle the horses. Or something. Now they weren’t, obviously, and there’s no evidence that they were being planned to be used that way. So it doesn’t help those people who got arrested, people who are doing good work.
It’s just the slippery slope into authoritarianism. Everyone always denies it. “These Just Stop oil protests are disruptive. It’s only those we want to stop”. As soon as you give the police the powers to stop a protest, they will. They’ll stop pretty much any protest. And we see this repeatedly whenever more power is granted.
It’s always used to the fullest extent, even if that’s not actually even what the government wanted. But of course, the government did want this. It’s like the laws stopping single person protests in Parliament Square, which were literally brought in just to stop one man having his anti-Brexit protest. And of course, now the police have any power they like to stop any single person protests. If you are standing outside Parliament demanding action for, let’s say somebody who’s wrongfully deported and then was killed abroad or something awful, you wouldn’t be allowed to do that anymore because the government had some vindictive reason to bring that legislation in because it was inconvenient for them to be reminded how inept Brexit was.
Now we should all care because even if you don’t agree with a particular protest against this government, whether it’s because you agree with the government or because you disagree with the protest, if you then agree with legislation to ban protests one day, that power will inevitably be used against you in protest you agree with, because there will be a different government that’s doing things you don’t like.
Or it’ll be a protest against something that you want to protest. This was seen to some extent by the Countryside Alliance march. Now, I don’t agree with the pro-hunting position of the Countryside Alliance at all, but the people who were on that march getting bashed on the head by policemen were exactly the sort of people who would’ve supported those actions against most protestors. Largely. I’m generalizing, but a lot of those people on that march would’ve been exactly the sort of people who would typically approve of such measures, giving the police those powers.
So this is what happens. You support something because you disagree with the protestors. In that case, lo and behold, it’s used against you. So always stand up for the civil liberties we have in this country traditionally, which are being eroded by this government.
Whether it’s the right to asylum, the right to protest, these things are fundamental and you have to stand up for them, even for people you disagree with.