Friday Sep 30, 201111:11 AM GMT
Britain enacts blanket ban on protests
Sat Aug 27, 2011 7:36PM
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The British government has applied a blanket ban on all kind of marches and protest gatherings in London amid fears of violence and disorder.


The Home Office announced the blanket ban on all marches in five London boroughs for 30 days starting from September 2, the Independent reported.

Home Secretary Theresa May banned all marches in Tower Hamlets, east London, and four neighbouring boroughs in the capital for a 30-day period following a request from Scotland Yard Acting Commissioner Tim Godwin.

The move comes amid fears of violence and disorder if the marches were allowed to go ahead.

"Having carefully considered the legal tests in the Public Order Act and balanced rights to protest against the need to ensure local communities and property are protected, I have given my consent to a ban on all marches in Tower Hamlets and four neighbouring boroughs for a 30-day period”, said the Home Secretary.

"I know that the Metropolitan Police are committed to using their powers to ensure communities and properties are protected”, added Theresa May.

"We encourage all local people and community leaders to work with the police to ensure community relations are not undermined by public disorder", she said.

Therefore, the English Defence League's plan to march through the capital next month was blocked by the Home Secretary.

But, the British Unite against Fascism (UAF) and United East End (UEE) movement threatened that they will press ahead with the plan for anti Fascist march on September 3, issuing the following statement:

“We the undersigned welcome the banning of the racist English Defence League's (EDL) march through Tower Hamlets.

However, we believe the headlines claiming the EDL have been "banned" from Tower Hamlets are misleading. The EDL will still be holding a static protest in the borough.

“We are also appalled to discover that the Metropolitan Police are applying for a blanket ban on ALL marches across five London boroughs: Tower Hamlets, Newham, Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest; and the City of London for 30 days”, said the statement.

“This is a huge attack on everyone's civil liberties and prevents people's right to oppose racism.

“We have the democratic right to peacefully march through Tower Hamlets on 3 September to show unity of Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, Black, Asian, LGBT communities, trade unions and all those against fascism and for freedom, and to voice opposition to the EDL's attempts to divide us.

“Our legal advice says there is no law that says if one march has been banned all marches in that area must be banned.

“It is our human right to peacefully march in Tower Hamlets.

“We therefore support the joint UAF/UEE protest on 3 September”, added the statement.

The government's blanket ban is part of an on-going attempt to undermine the right to protest in the UK.

The coalition is designating harsh measures to silence all anti-government protests in the country.

The ban will also affect London's most important protest against the arms trade called “Disarm DSEi,” which has been organized by anti-war activists to urge the government to shut down the world's largest arms fair on September 13.

London is to host the world's biggest arms fair, Defense & Security Equipment International (DSEi), on 13-16 September at the ExCeL centre in East London's Docklands.

The fair holds every two years in London, this year more than 1200 arms companies will exhibit their deadly products to 25,000 buyers from across the world, including repressive and human rights abusing regimes.

“Europe Against Austerity” protest on October 1 would also be involved in the Home Office's blanket ban plan.

Leading British trade unions, social movements and progressive organisations have decided to stage a protest at European Conference against Austerity and Privatisation.

SAB/MOL/HE
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