Freedom of Assembly under threat


Last Saturday 29 November peaceful demonstrators against fascism in Bold Street, Liverpool, were given a dispersal order by a police officer which excluded them from the city centre for 48 hours.

This legislation was introduced to empower the police to deal with nuisances like noisy neighbours, people getting drunk in residential areas, etc.

Used in this context it is a violation of the right to freedom of assembly which was given impetus after the Peterloo Massacre when, on 16 August 1819, over 60,000 peaceful pro-democracy and anti-poverty protesters where attacked by armed government forces.

The declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations in 1948. It rose directly from the experience of Nazi suppression when assembly to protest the government was met with the death penalty. It represented the first global expression of human rights and was the culmination of decades of Labour Movement struggle for the right to demonstrate against injustice.

Saturday’s police conduct should be vigorously challenged by all Labour movement organisations as it seriously undermines the fight against cuts, poverty, racism and the extreme right.


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