[Marxism] Britain enacts blanket ban on protests

Tristan Sloughter tristan.sloughter at gmail.com
Sat Aug 27 16:44:07 MDT 2011

(Or will this backfire and spark more?)


The British government has applied a blanket ban on all kind of
marches and protest gatherings in London amid fears of violence and

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

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

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

“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.

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