UNITED KINGDOM: police powers expanded to crack down on ‘scandalous mayhem’

Extract from article published by Al Jazeera on 02/07/2023 – accessible here.

New and expanded powers for British police have taken effect including measures targeting activists who stop road traffic and major construction works with protests.

Authorities have repeatedly condemned environmental groups – including Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion – that seek to raise awareness about the urgency of climate change by staging multiple high-profile demonstrations at the busiest highways and roads.

Their protests in recent years often caused serious disruptions for motorists. Starting Sunday, police will have powers to forcibly move static demonstrations.

Critics argue the toughened laws are a threat to the right to protest, but officials in the United Kingdom say the measures are needed to stop “disruption from a selfish minority”.