I have an idea.
I have organised demonstrations in the past couple of years – outside Parliament for better sex education, and in Brighton in solidarity with Russian LGBTQ people. Both of these went ahead without any trouble, but I was always unsure where I stood in terms of the law.
So I’ve decided to make a video of FAQs for activists who want to organise demonstrations/protests.
I’d like to interview the Police Protest Liaison Officers so that they can give the official word on the laws around organising protests. I’d also like to interview green & black cross, the lawyers for activists, and some activists themselves.
I have some initial questions for the PLO but thought if I blogged this, others in the community could submit their questions. I’ll collate a list (of sensible questions only) and propose this to the PLO.
My questions so far:
- Do people need to inform the police or council if they are organising a static demo or walking march?
- Are organisers responsible for things other protest participants do on the protest?
- Is it legal for a march to walk down a road, temporarily stopping traffic?
- Is it legal for anyone to hand out leaflets in any public place? What about in a shop?
- If a police officer asks my name do I have to tell them?
- Can you explain what kettling is and when and why it’s used?
- If I am kettled, what rights do I have in terms of being allowed out? What advice would you give to someone who is being kettled? What if I need the toilet when I’m being kettled? If I end up having to wee on the floor because I’ve been kettled for five hours can I get arrested for that?!
- Am I allowed to wear a mask or scarf covering my face in a demonstration? Do I legally have to remove my face covering when asked to by the police? What if it’s part of my religion to cover my face e.g. a niqab or burka?
- Am I allowed to film and photograph the police?
- Do I have to get permission from anyone to use a loudspeaker or megaphone on a static or moving march?
- What are the most common reasons people are arrested on demos?
- If the police ask me questions about a demo I’m organising, do I have to answer them? What will happen if I decline to answer?
- If I organise a demo will I get put on a list of domestic extremists, or any other kind of list of people you will monitor?
- How can I find out if I’m already on any list of people that you’re monitoring?
- What other advice can you give to people who want to exercise their right to protest?