Right to protest & free expression

Recent changes to the law and changes in police practice are eroding everyone's freedom of association and freedom of speech. As well as creating a climate of fear against speaking out, such laws and developments are often used politically to target particular groups.

CAMPACC has campaigned against the ban on unauthorised protests around Parliament with Mark Thomas who staged a series of protests around Parliament mocking the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005. SOCPA was introduced essentialy to prevent one lone person (Brian Haw) from protesting in Parliament Square. While the law failed to stop Brian Haw protesting, it has significantly restricted protests in the 'designated area' around Parliament and created a 'chilling effect' that undermines the right to protest around Parliament but also elsehwere.

CAMPACC also submitted evidence to the following:

Joint Committee on Human Rights call for evidence on Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill, Oct 2009
Read CAMPACC's submission
welcoming the proposed repeal of the restrictions on protest around Parliament under s132-138 SOCPA but expressing concerns about alternative measures to be put in place. Read the draft legislation here.

Joint Committee on Human Rights Inquiry into Policing and Protest, 2008
Read the JHRC report Demonstrating respect for rights? A human rights approach to policing protest, March 2009 and CAMPACC's submission to the JHRC Inquiry. Some analysis of the report can be found here.

Government consultation on 'Managing Protest around Parliament', 2008
At the same time as the results of this Home Office consultation were published, the Government recommended the repeal of section 132-138 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 which ban unauthorised protest around Parliament and the use of loudspeakers. See here for details and the progress of the repeal. Read CAMPACC's response to the government consultation