Whitehall seeks ban on noisy political demos
The Department of the Environment and the Foreign Office are proposing that only participants in military parades and religious marches will be allowed to chant and sing in the embassy- land of Kensington and Belgravia. Anyone trying to shout protests against foreign governments will face prosecution.
Details of the proposed clampdown are set out in a DoE consultation document on noise abatement procedures which has astonished civil liberties groups. John Wadham, legal officer for the Liberty group, said that no one interested in the right to protest in Britain had been consulted about the change in the law.
Liberty only learned of the proposal when it was contacted by the Noise Abatement Society - a pressure group devoted to making Britain quieter. The society had been surprised to discover that demonstrators outside embassies were to be treated like owners of ghetto-blasters and howling dogs. At present, a council can only serve a noise abatement notice on people making a din in their homes. Failure to comply is a criminal offence punishable by magistrates.
The proposed law will allow councils to take the same action against 'noisy activities and equipment' in the streets. Besides 'noisy demonstrations staged outside premises such as diplomatic missions', the targets include the owners of diesel generators, parked refrigerator vans and malfunctioning car alarms.
The DoE has excluded non- political marches from the ban. 'There would be an exemption for lawful processions and assemblies such as military or religious processions,' the document says.
This year there have been large protests outside the Iranian embassy, against the execution of opponents of the regime; outside the Turkish embassy, over the oppression of the Kurds; and outside the Chinese embassy, over the Tiananmen Square massacre.
A DoE spokeswoman said: 'There are many demonstrations which the police may regard as legal which make a lot of noise. Under the Vienna Convention we are obliged to ensure that embassies do not suffer from disturbances which would impair their dignity.' The plan to prevent noisy demonstrations had come from the Foreign Office's protocol section.
Mr Wadham said: 'People should be able to shout slogans or sing songs on demonstrations. To ban them on the spurious grounds of noise abatement shows the almost casual contempt for human rights in this country.'
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 1 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 2 Japanese plant experts produce 10,000 lettuce heads a day in LED-lit indoor farm
- 3 War is war: Why I stand with Israel
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Israel-Gaza conflict: Death toll tops 125 after overnight raids as Operation Protective Edge continues
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Ian Thorpe gay: Olympic swimmer comes out in Parkinson interview
Supermoon 2014: When and why will the moon look bigger and brighter this summer?
Gaza-Israel conflict: Pro-Palestinian demonstrators take to streets of London, Paris and New York in wave of protests
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...
£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...
£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...