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In the wake of the arrest of a man in Edinburgh for apparently heckling Prince Andrew, a woman called Mariángela also being arrested in Edinburgh for holding a sign that said “**** imperialism, abolish monarchy”, and a woman in London that was moved from the gates of Parliament for carrying a “not my king” sign, an advocacy group called Liberty has claimed that new powers recently given to the police to curtail protest were a cause for deep concern.

The Guardian

The advocacy group Liberty said that new powers recently given to the police to curtail protest, and how they were being enforced by officers, were a cause for deep concern.

Question

What are the main concerns regarding the new powers recently given to the police to curtail protests?

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    I don't think there are any new powers. "Disturbing the peace" has always been a vague concept in the UK, from what I've read on this, but I'll let those better informed write answers. Sep 14, 2022 at 14:06

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The Guardian article references the Public Order Act 1986 a number of times (as does the Liberty group).

That act has recently been ammended by the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022. That act 'gives more power to police [and] encompasses restrictions on "unacceptable" protests'.

The act is concerning to some because it curtails the right to protest, making it much easier for police to shut down protests. For example, it could result in a person being arrested for carrying a "not my king" sign. Such an action would be concerning for a democracy.

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  • For what it's worth, it's mentioned at the end of this article that the police have now been issued with new guidance as result of the controversy over the treatment of anti-monarchy protesters, which may reduce incidents like the one mentioned here. Sep 15, 2022 at 8:27
  • @SteveMelnikoff imho it's not worth much. On one hand we have a non-public "guidance" by the police itself to "balance" the right to protest with "the right to grieve and reflect" (only one of those is an actual right), on the other hand we have a law giving the police additional powers. In my experience, if the police can do something, they will (maybe not right now, but certainly once there is less media scrutiny). Trusting the police to restrict itself, while giving them extra power, just doesn't work.
    – tim
    Sep 15, 2022 at 8:43

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