A Just Stop Oil activist is arrested last year. Many have been jailed under protest laws (Picture: Alisdare Hickson)

Proposed new Tory protest laws hope to allow the police to arrest anyone that they think might block or march on a road.

A new amendment to the Tories’ draconian public order bill will hand the police the power to break up protests before they consider them “too disruptive.” With this amendment, the bill is currently being read in the House of Lords.

The police begged the Tories to hand them these powers as police chiefs said they were confused about what classed as “serious disruption” under current law. Prime minister Rishi Sunak was all too happy to oblige and signed off on the proposal.

It’s a deliberate attack on climate groups such as Extinction Rebellion, Just Stop Oil and Insulate Britain. But the laws could easily be used against anyone else—including trade unions.

On Twitter, Extinction Rebellion Grandparents and Elders wrote, “They reduced the right to protest, and now they want to stop strikes. The environment is being trashed. Public services are broken. What will be left to protect ordinary people unless we unite and make a stand?”

The Labour Party suggested it backed the new laws. Sarah Jones, Labour’s shadow policing minister, said, “The police have powers to deal with dangerous, disruptive protests and Labour backs them to use those powers.

“But the Prime Minister has spent more time talking about protest than he has the epidemic of violence against women and girls or his Government’s shameful record prosecuting criminals. If he’s going to do the Home Secretary’s job for her, the victims being let down by his Government would appreciate the same attention being given to them.”

These new Tory laws will not only hit out at climate activists who block roads. They could be used to criminalise and arrest anyone at any protest.

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