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Your Right to Peaceful Protest

Peaceful protest it is a vital part of a democratic society and has a very long and respected tradition in the United Kingdom. It can be a very powerful campaign tool and many of the rights and freedoms we enjoy today were gained because people were prepared to go out on the streets and protest. Since the coming to force of the Human Rights Act we can finally say that we have a right to peaceful protest.

However, this right is not absolute and there are a multitude of laws that can be used against protesters. In recent years, new legislation to deal with a range of threats, from terrorism to anti-social behaviour, has given the police very wide powers to control and restrict the actions of protesters.

This chapter will set out the background to the right to peaceful protest, the legal framework governing the organising and participating in protests and the range of offences that can arise in the course of protesting. It will also provide practical tips for organising and participating in protests safely and lawfully, as well as information on where to go for further help and advice.

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