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Parliamentary Protest

Comment 5th July 2010

Dear Sir,

 

I invite you to repeal the law requiring police permission for protests within one kilometre of Parliament.

Why does this matter?

The right to protest, to demonstrate, to voice an opinion is an essential ingredient of individual autonomy and political and democratic participation.  The requirement for the consent of the State to engage in that activicity undermines autonomy and the strength of political and democratic institutions.  Fundamentally Sir, our rights and freedoms do not eminate from the State, therefore, provided the people exercise their freedoms within the proper constraints of law, we should not require State autorisation to exercise those rights.

 

Furthermore, the arguments so far used to justify the measure are inconsistent with the measure being applied to regulate the activity under question.  It is a critical police argument that terrorists may engage in activity surrounding protests.  Firstly, a terrorist is unlikely to register before choosing to engage in their unlawful activity and secondly, even if they were able to infiltrate a lawful protest, that unlawful activity would not have been regulated by the permission process.


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