Demonstrations: Palestinians

Home Office written question – answered on 12th June 2018.

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Photo of Fabian Hamilton Fabian Hamilton Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs), Shadow Minister (Defence)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will ban the Al Quds march planned for Sunday 10 June as a result of the potential threat to public order.

Photo of Nick Hurd Nick Hurd The Minister of State, Home Department

The Home Secretary has no power to initiate a ban on marches. As set out in the Public Order Act 1986, section 13 prohibiting public processions, a march can only be banned where the police consider that it would result in serious public disorder and that placing restrictions or conditions on such a march – for example its duration, location and size – would not be enough to prevent this. In the London area, should this threshold be met, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner would then need to apply to the Home Secretary for consent to ban the march. No such application has been made.

We have a long-standing tradition of freedom of expression and association in this country and the Government is clear that people are free to gather to protest and express their views in public. However, the right to protest does not extend to threats and other criminal behaviour. Like all members of the public, protesters are subject to the law and should individuals cross the boundary into criminal acts including public order offences, hate crime offences including anti-Semitic or violent behaviour, the police have powers to act and I would expect them to use these robustly.

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