UK government to make it easier for police to stop protests

The United Kingdom government plans to revise the law to give police more powers to crack down on protests, after demonstrations that have seen some people blocking roads or

marching slowly. The amendments to the Public Order Bill, to be tabled on Monday, will broaden the legal definition of “serious disruption”, giving police greater

flexibility and “absolute clarity” over when they can intervene in a protest. Police have already been given additional powers to prevent protesters from using “guerrilla”

tactics. “The right to protest is a fundamental principle of our democracy, but this is not absolute,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement on Sunday night.

“We cannot have protests conducted by a small minority disrupting the lives of the ordinary public. It’s not acceptable and we’re going to bring it to an end.” The moves

against the right to protest follow a series of demonstrations — mostly by activists who have adopted more aggressive tactics to push the government into doing more about climate

change — that have blocked the M25, the London orbital motorway that is the busiest road in the country, and closed down parts of the capital. Under the proposed changes,

police in the UK will be able to close down protests before they even happen, and be allowed to consider the “total impact” of a series of protests rather than handling them

individually. The Public Order Bill is currently in the final stages of debate in parliament and has faced strong criticism from rights groups who say it gives the police

too much power.