Sunday, 9 October 2022 — NetPol
Suella Braverman continues Priti Patel’s war on protesters
Home Secretary Suella Braverman confirmed that she will be pursuing Priti Patel’s crackdown on dissent at the Conservative Party Conference. Braverman continued the recent rhetoric of calling protesters “a mob” and threatened campaigners that “you cross a line when you break the law. And that’s why we’ll keep putting you behind bars.”
She also confirmed that the government will be pressing ahead with the draconian Public Order Bill. This is the bill that’s all the amendments, including suspicionless stop and search offences for protest offences and Serious Disruption Prevention Orders, that were previously chucked out of the Police, Crime, Courts and Sentencing Act.
Netpol expects this government’s intolerance for protest will be reflected in policing. This means the police are even more likely to crack down on protests and conduct intrusive surveillance against campaigners.
But it’s also important to remember that protest is still legal. We can, and will, continue taking to the streets. And we can, and will, keep fighting for people and planet. The state will not deter us from action as the cost of living crisis and the climate emergency mean we do not have a choice.
If you want to find out more about the Public Order Bill and how we can defend dissent in the face of it, come to the joint online event Netpol is holding with Garden Court Chambers.
Disrupting Rebellion: The Public Order Bill and the government’s latest crackdown on protest takes place on 11th October @ 5:30pm.
Police pay compensation for ‘Priti Fascist’ arrest
Greater Manchester Police have agreed to pay compensation to Liam Geary Baulch, an activist who was arrested outside the Conservative Party Conference last year. On 5 October 2021, Liam attended the Conference to conduct a solitary protest against the policies of then-Home Secretary Priti Patel, which included plans to increase police and sentencing powers around non-violent protest. His intent was to hold up a small sign which read ‘Priti Fascist’.
He instructed ITN Solicitors to write to Greater Manchester Police to challenge the lawfulness of his arrest. Following further correspondence, Greater Manchester Police have now agreed to compensate Liam and pay his legal costs.
“As groups across the UK take part in strikes, occupations, and non-payment campaigns, it’s crucial to continue defending the right to protest.
“I was there in the first place to show opposition to the policing bill. With that bill now in effect, it is even more crucial to challenge the policing of protest and ensure police do not over-step, and where they do, ensure there are consequences”.
All too often, police officers misuse their powers in an arbitrary and unlawful way to crack down on protests they decide are inconvenient. Nothing better illustrates why giving the police even more aggressive anti-protest powers – the issue Liam was highlighting – has always been such a bad idea.
Watch the video of Liam’s arrest and read the full account on Netpol’s website.
Netpol has expanded!
We hope you’ll join us in welcoming Rachel Currie to the Netpol team as our new Organising and Partnership Coordinator. Rachel was previously the research fellow with the Article 11 Trust and brings a wealth of ideas and experience to the role.
Rachel will be out and about meeting groups and attending events.
So let us know if there’s an event you think we should be attending.
Network for Police Monitoring
Durning Hall Centre