The return of the dangerous Public Order Bill in the House of Lords was met by calls to drop Protest Banning Orders by civil liberties organisations.
Only last December, the Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts Bill was debated in parliament, and its draconian powers that clamp down on protest rights were contested. The Public Order Bill takes these powers one step further by allowing police to stop and search innocent protestors on grounds of suspicion. The Bill places emphasis on protestors “locking on” and causing “severe disruption”. Normal everyday activities like taking your bike lock to work or walking arm in arm can also be seen as deviant and dangerous.
Big Brother Watch, the civil rights group, said: “It is vital that peers act to protect civil liberties and force the home secretary to ditch the worst of her anti-protest plans.” The organisation’s legal and policy officer, Mark Johnson, stated that these powers “could come straight from the pages of a dystopian novel”.