Rights charity Liberty says it’s taking authorized motion towards the Metropolitan Police, accusing the drive of arresting observers at Kill the Invoice demonstrations – a transfer it condemned as an “intimidatory tactic to discourage protest”.
Two unbiased observers from Black Protest Authorized Assist, a non-profit organisation, have been detained throughout protests on Saturday, it mentioned.
It follows the arrest of 4 others from the identical organisation on 16 March.
All of the arrests have been made beneath Covid-19 rules, which Liberty mentioned mustn’t apply to protest volunteers.
Sam Grant, head of coverage and campaigns at Liberty, mentioned: “Arresting authorized observers is an intimidatory tactic to discourage protest. Authorized observers assist to ensure protesters’ rights are revered and police act throughout the legislation. If officers consider they’re performing lawfully, they need to welcome this scrutiny.
“Liberty is already taking authorized motion towards the Met for earlier illegal arrests of authorized observers. Persevering with to arrest unbiased displays is a scandalous assault on the proper to protest, and demonstrates precisely why individuals are taking to the streets towards the federal government’s plans to offer the police much more powers.”
A spokesperson from Black Protest Authorized Assist mentioned: “An assault on authorized observers is an assault on the power to independently monitor the police.
“There’s loads of notably egregious behaviour occurring in the direction of protesters, and we’re there to supply authorized help and to watch police conduct, and it seems that they’re actively stopping us from doing that by arresting us.
“There are actual considerations about how that is enjoying out, with the power of our authorized observers to go to protests with out being arrested in danger.”
Movies posted to social media present the police utilizing drive towards protesters throughout Saturday’s demonstration in Parliament Sq., London. In a single, a Met Police officer seems to use their knee to the neck of a protester, however the drive mentioned the officer was on the protester’s again.
No less than 107 folks have been arrested duing Saturday’s protest towards the federal government’s policing and crime invoice, for offences together with breach of the peace, violent dysfunction, assault on police, and breaches of Covid laws.
Protesters in Bristol have been confronted with riot police and canines.
The protests occurred throughout the nation as members of the general public sought to voice their considerations concerning the policing invoice, which, if handed by the Home of Lords, would increase police powers at protests, making it simpler for arrests to be made.
In response to Liberty, the invoice would additionally “make the Traveller lifestyle more durable” by the criminalisation of trespass. Cease and search powers would even be expanded as a part of the laws the invoice would introduce.
The Metropolitan Police didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.