"Terrorism could mean a lot of things"

Guy Aitchison
14 October 2009

...protesting peacefully about climate change for example. Yep - more anti-terror idiocy, this time courtesy of the UK border police, who stopped climate campaigner Chris Kitchen from travelling to Copenhagen and interviewed him along with afellow climate activist under Section 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. Paul Lewis has the full story in the Guardian.

This, then, is how the police are using their databases of activists - to cut back their freedom of movement and pre-emptively stop them from taking part in protests. How much longer are we going to stand for this rubbish? The Tories are talking the talk when it comes to certain parts of the "database state" and the "surveillance state". But what have they got to say about the freedom to protest and the ways in which protesters are being surveilled and tracked by sinsister Forward Intelligence Teams who collect profiles to be stored (probably illegally) on police databases along with criminals? Nothing, so far as I can tell.

Perhaps they think the freedom to protest is only of concern to left-wing trouble-makers. They couldn't be more wrong. Think, for example, of the rough treatment dished out to Countryside Alliance protesters at a rally in 2004. The right to protest is a fundamental democratic right common to us all and it must be protected.

I haven't heard anything on this coming from the Tories, despite the high profile of the issue since the G20. Until they start talking about reversing some of the draconian incursions on the right to protest their latest pose as the party of civil liberties looks very superficial indeed.



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