Demonstrations: Coronavirus

Home Office written question – answered on 18th November 2020.

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Photo of Charles Walker Charles Walker Chair, Administration Committee, Chair, Administration Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the removal of the protest exemption from The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 4) Regulations 2020 makes all protests attended by more than two people illegal during the November 2020 lockdown restrictions; what steps her Department is taking to protect the fundamental right to protest; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department

The right to peaceful protest is one of the cornerstones of our democracy. However, in these unprecedented circumstances, any gathering risks spreading the disease, leading to more deaths, so it is vital we all play our part in controlling the virus.

People must follow the rules on meeting with others, which apply to all gatherings and therefore protests too. Any larger gatherings, save for very limited exemptions such as funerals, are unlawful. The current measures are time limited and are due to come to an end on 2 December.

As they have done throughout the pandemic, the police and local authorities will engage, explain and encourage people to follow the rules before moving on to enforce the law.

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