UK government mulls broader ban on ‘extreme protest groups’

UK government mulls broader ban on ‘extreme protest groups’ /IANS

London, May 12 (IANS/DPA) A range of organisations including Just Stop Oil and Palestine Action could be banned in the UK as “extreme protest groups” under new proposals tabled by a senior government advisor.

The approach currently applied to terrorist organisations should be used as a model, according to advisor on political violence John Woodcock, also known as Lord Walney, the BBC reported on Sunday, citing extracts from the report.

In recommendations now due to be presented to the Cabinet, Woodcock backs proscribing groups that “routinely use criminal tactics to try to achieve their aims.”

“Militant groups like Palestine Action and Just Stop Oil are using criminal tactics to create mayhem and hold the public and workers to ransom without fear of consequence,” he said.

“Banning terror groups has made it harder for their activists to plan crimes – that approach should be extended to extreme protest groups too.”

If adopted, the measures could restrict a group’s ability to fundraise and its right to assembly on British soil.

Climate activists from Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion have repeatedly paralysed public life with large protests in which people have glued or chained themselves together.

Just Stop Oil rejected the proposed sanctions, arguing instead that the government were the “dangerous radicals that are endangering all of us” through their climate policies.

According to the BBC, the government is considering the report’s recommendations.

A small number of protesters had in recent months displayed “violent and hateful behaviour,” the Home Office told the broadcaster.

“Extremism of any kind has no place in our society and we will not tolerate tactics that set out to intimidate, threaten or cause disruption to the law-abiding majority.”

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