Tuesday, 17 November 2020

PROTEST is NOT 'Anti Social Behaviour' and is NOT illegal nor unlawful.

In Liverpool City Centre recently, Merseyside Police put in place a 'dispersal order' under Section 35 of the Anti Social Behaviour and Policing Act 2014 which gives police officers and police community support traffic officers powers to direct people they suspect are causing or likely to cause crime, nuisance or anti-social behaviour to members of the public to leave a designated area.

The Police state that, "the order has been brought in following a gathering last weekend which was in contravention of the Coronavirus legislation. This order has been authorised in order to protect lives, prevent the spread of Coronavirus and keep people safe."

This is both illegal and unlawful. Contravening Coronavirus legislation is not Anti-Social behaviour.

"Anti-Social behaviour" is defined in the Anti Social Behaviour and Policing Act 2014 as "conduct that has caused, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to any person"

Protesting peacefully, or using a megaphone, chanting or playing music and singing is also NOT Anti-Social behaviour.

Justice Holland, a judge in the High Court in 2007 stated that: “Protest is lawful; the use of a megaphone as an adjunct of lawful protest is itself lawful. The starting point is unfettered freedom to engage in so much amplified protest as is neither intimidating or harassing.” HLS Group Plc v SHAC 2007 WL 919475 [2007] EWHC 522 (QB) QBD.

Section 34 (3) of the Anti-Social Behaviour and Policing Act 2014 clearly states, "In deciding whether to give such an authorisation an officer must have particular regard to the rights of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly set out in articles 10 and 11 of the Convention."

A number of people were fined, warned and arrested on Sat 14th November for simply being in the area and filming what was happening. This is not Anti-Social behaviour.

If anything, the behaviour of Police Officers, was clearly Anti-Social behaviour and the gatherings of hundreds of Police Officers was certainly hypocritical considering their comments about members of the public gathering to engage in lawful protest.

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