Braverman’s latest attack on public freedom runs into TORY resistance

Take a look at this – it’s Tory Charles Walker ripping unrestrainedly into Suella Braverman’s latest Public Order Bill:

The clip is from Open Democracy, which has also run an article which states:

The home secretary has tabled a last-minute amendment to a widely criticised anti-protest bill that would allow her to apply for injunctions against anyone she deems ‘likely’ to carry out protests that could cause ‘serious disruption’ to ‘key national infrastructure’, prevent access to ‘essential’ goods or services, or have a ‘serious adverse effect on public safety’. The proposal would also give police the power to arrest anyone they suspect to be breaching such an injunction.

Leading human rights groups say that the Public Order Bill, which is set to reach its final stages in the Commons today, would align the UK’s anti-protest laws with those in Russia and Belarus.

The bill includes new powers, such as protest banning orders, that the government was forced to exclude from its Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act (PCSC) after they were voted down in the House of Lords earlier this year.

Jun Pang, policy and campaigns officer at rights campaign group Liberty, told openDemocracy that the amendment “will effectively give the home secretary the power to clamp down on protests as and when the government chooses. This will have devastating consequences for dissent.”

Other measures proposed in the bill include giving courts the power to issue Serious Disruption Prevention Orders (SDPOs), which can ban individuals from attending protests.

Amnesty International said the proposed law on SDPOs would “go further” than similar legislation in Russia, by giving courts the power to issue them without a conviction. The range of conditions that can be imposed on individuals under the orders include 24/7 GPS monitoring and restricted internet usage.

Labour MPs have raised concerns that the orders, which were previously rejected by the House of Lords for being “draconian”, could be used to prevent workers from joining picket lines. The government is currently embroiled in a months-long industrial dispute with transport workers over pay cuts and could soon face strikes by nurses and teachers.

The bill has also come under fire from anti-racist campaingers for expanding stop and search powers, despite evidence that it is ineffective and disproportionately targets ethnic minorities, particularly young Black men.

Other measures in the bill include a new offence that criminalises the protest tactic of “locking on” where people attach themselves to one another or an immovable object.

Those stopped and found to have items on them – such as bike lock or superglue – which are intended to be used for a “locking on” protest could also be fined an unlimited amount.

The bill also proposes a new offence of interfering with “the use or operation of any key national infrastructure in England and Wales”, or intending to, which includes natural gas sites as well as roads, rail networks and airports. Just Stop Oil activists on Monday shut down the Dartford Crossing that takes southbound M25 traffic over the Thames, in protest against the government giving out new oil and gas licences.

Sadly, the enormous majority given to the Conservatives by former Labour voters who had been tricked into believing they would get better treatment that way meant the Bill has been passed in the Commons, and now goes to the House of Lords, where many of its new powers have already been rejected during a previous attempt.

Source: Public Order Bill: Suella Braverman quietly tries to give herself fresh anti-protest powers | openDemocracy

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