Is police action against protesters disproportionate?

March 23, 2009

A committee of MPs has warned police they must not impose restrictions on demonstrations “unless it is necessary and proportionate to do so.”

“The right to protest is a fundamental democratic right and one that the state and police have a duty to protect and facilitate,” said Andrew Dismore, chairman of the human rights committee.

The warning follows widespread protest at the way police handled a climate camp last year in Kent when demonstrators accused them of going in far too hard. 

They said police had used sleep deprivation and psychological tactics against environmentalists, including playing loud recordings of Richard Wagner’s “Flight of the Valkyries” and the Clash hit “I Fought the Law and the Law Won”.

With huge demonstrations expected in London next month for the G20 summit — probably the biggest since the anarchic Mayday protests of the 1990s — the issue is a topical one. 

Do you think the police here overstep the mark in their handling of public demos?


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The policing of demonstrations is much the same as the Establishment attitude towards all “democratic rights”. When it’s a “right-on” issue that fits with government ideology, such as hurling abuse at British troops, that’s fine. When it’s not, such as protesting against the ban on fox hunting, expect to get your head cracked.

Posted by Jason | Report as abusive

The picture says it all and we’ve seen it all before. The rent-a-mob rabble are Labour’s natural allies and the police will be given orders to go easy on them. It’s only decent people protesting about real issues who get their heads cracked.

Posted by Andy | Report as abusive