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Ban protests to save money says Tory AM | Adam Bienkov
A Conservative London Assembly Member has called for bans on protests in the capital, in order to save money.
Steve O'Connell, one of the highest paid councillors in the country, said yesterday that we could no longer afford the "luxury" of demonstrations:
"The point I'm making here is in the new era of very difficult financial choices are we able to continue with the luxury of demonstrations going forward in a very liberal manner with a small 'l' and commit the costs that we have in the past? I don't believe we can afford to go forward in that way."

Speaking to the Metropolitan Police Authority, O'Connell said that policing protests would no longer be seen as a "priority" by residents:

Can't confirm multiple members though.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Nov 14th, 2010 at 09:38:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, enforcing the ban on protests will certainly cost much more than policing them. So, either O'Connell is utterly stupid or he just want to make protests illegal and uses the economic criterion because he could find no other avowable reason... or both.  

"People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them." - Jean Monnet
by Melanchthon on Sun Nov 14th, 2010 at 10:32:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Question: Is there actually an explicit right to free assembly in the UK, like there is in the European Convention on Human Rights, or in other national constitutions, such as in the US?  
by santiago on Mon Nov 15th, 2010 at 12:09:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Since the European Convention on Human Rights is supposed to apply to the U.K., the answer is yes....

If you mean without the convention, I'm pretty sure the answer is no.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Nov 15th, 2010 at 12:26:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
supposed to apply to the U.K.

Not only is the UK a signatory to the ECHR and bound by it, but the UK was a prime mover in the postwar creation of the Council of Europe and the framing of the Convention.

But that's just a matter of history that no true Brit knows anything about...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Nov 15th, 2010 at 12:48:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See Your Rights for the transposition into UK law (the Human Rights Act) of the Convention re freedom of assembly.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Nov 15th, 2010 at 12:51:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Nov 15th, 2010 at 12:52:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From one of the links there

1) Where 12 or more persons who are present together use or threaten unlawful violence for a common purpose and the conduct of them (taken together) is such as would cause a person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for his personal safety, each of the persons using unlawful violence for the common purpose is guilty of riot.
(2) It is immaterial whether or not the 12 or more use or threaten unlawful violence simultaneously.
(3) The common purpose may be inferred from conduct.
(4) No person of reasonable firmness need actually be, or be likely to be, present at the scene.
(5) Riot may be committed in private as well as in public places.
(6) A person guilty of riot is liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or a fine or both.

and another


Section 59 Public assemblies

In section 16 of the Public Order Act 1986 (c. 64) (which defines "public assembly" for the purposes of the power in section 14 of that Act to impose conditions on public assemblies), in the definition of "public assembly" for "20" substitute "2".

The 1994 quotes of trespass were entirely designed to prevent free festivals (the scientific and historical monuments bit is specifically aimed at the stonehenge festival) Further rules are in the later ones to avoid raves and other  events, but are written wider and so applicable against political protest too.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Nov 15th, 2010 at 04:00:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The right to assembly in the first amendment of the US Constitution is qualified by the word "peaceably," and my understanding is that local communities may still regulate peaceable assembly somewhat, with parade permits for example, which may require fees to be paid and/or police details (to be paid), time and location limits, etc.  Also, there may be local rules around side walk protests, such as when picketers are told to keep moving, so they walk in a circle.

The point is that the US constitution limits the federal government, but not always and entirely the state/local governments--though historically, federal limits enshrined in the first amendment have been increasingly applied to the states, but not always.  And since any street protest happens on some street somewhere, there is always going to be a local/state concern.

by jjellin on Mon Nov 15th, 2010 at 06:04:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, this is the case.  But it would be a constitutional violation of the first order for a municipality to claim that public demonstrations were prohibited for lack of funds to police them.  They would be simply ordered by courts to let them go on without police or to find the funds to make it work by reducing something else or increasing fees and taxes.  The explicit right in the US constitution provides a means of finding a consensus that public protest has priority over most other things that government might be interested in doing. Maybe that consensus just doesn't exist in the UK.
by santiago on Tue Nov 16th, 2010 at 12:16:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought it was easy to police protests in the US, just place the cops around the free speach zone. (Or has that practise been abolished after Bush?)

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Wed Nov 17th, 2010 at 07:46:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by jjellin on Wed Nov 17th, 2010 at 02:35:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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