‘Terrorist sympathisers and woke extremists’ are holding nation to ransom, ministers informed | Politics | News | EUROtoday

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Terrorist sympathisers and woke extremists are “holding our country to ransom”, Liz Truss has warned.

Lord Walney, the Government’s unbiased adviser on political violence and disruption, concluded in a landmark report that police needs to be given new powers to deal with excessive protest actions.

Extremists are hijacking causes corresponding to local weather change and peace demonstrations, “targeting core elements of Britain’s democracy”, Lord Walney mentioned.

And he additionally instructed those that have fun terrorist atrocities needs to be charged with a newly created terrorism offence.

Ministers have been on Tuesday night time urged to just accept all of Lord Walney’s suggestions.

Former Prime Minister Liz Truss mentioned: “Terrorist sympathisers, woke extremists and de-growthers are holding our country to ransom. They make our streets and campuses a no-go zone for upstanding citizens. We must end this intimidation and defend our democracy.”

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley mentioned of Lord Walney’s report: “The vast majority of those involved in protest are law abiding, but we have seen in recent months that protest can create an environment where small numbers of extremists who aim to create division and fuel hatred commit offences.

“These have led to swift arrests in many cases.

“We have also seen that the regular frequency of marches in central London has led some, particularly Jewish Londoners, to change their behaviour out of fear”.

Lord Walney warned “extreme political activists are targeting core elements of Britain’s democracy” and are “targeting supply chains, fuel and energy, transport and business and industry”.

And protests are being “routinely driven by extreme activists” who’re “often people who advocate extremist and anti-democratic forms of politics that have little traction with voters and cannot secure real electoral support”.

The police response to violence and mass disruption has “too often been insufficiently robust, particularly when groups are acting on behalf of causes associated with the left”.

Lord Walney added: “Too little attention has been paid to serious forms of violence, intimidation and incitement of hatred on the extreme left.

“Extreme left activists can, in relatively small numbers, cause enormous economic damage and drain police resources.”

He beneficial a collection of extreme modifications to “protect our democratic values from intimidation”, corresponding to a blanket ban on face coverings at protests and making it simpler for companies or members of the general public to assert damages from activist teams that trigger disruption.

He additionally needs the Government to contemplate making protest buffer zones round MPs’ constituency workplaces and native council chambers, in the identical approach that some abortion clinics can be protected.

The peer backed measures to limit the power of some teams to organise and fundraise if they’re thought-about to have a coverage of utilizing prison offences that might result in a jail time period, for instance destroying property or inflicting critical disruption or damage.

Lord Walney additionally beneficial that Justice Secretary Alex Chalk and Lady Chief Justice contemplate tightening the method round how juries contemplate circumstances involving these arrested on protests.

The Government’s unbiased adviser on political violence warned the UK was at a “crossroads in our democracy”.

Protests are the “bedrock of our nation-state” however “brute force must not be allowed to win the argument”, he mentioned.

The former Labour MP added: “We must do more to protect our politicians and institutions from intimidation.

“That includes the intimidation on display in the extreme, illegal protests which are on the rise here and in many fellow democracies.

“It is a use of unacceptable force when protesters block roads to bring communities and businesses to a standstill or storm a council chamber to cause chaos in a meeting and physically intimidate politicians to change their vote.

“We cannot allow, in its extreme, violent threats and vandalism to circumvent the peaceful calls for change, or a vote through the ballot box.

“The fact that an activist believes their cause to be particularly noble, or argument irrefutable, does not make extreme acts acceptably; the law must be applied uniformly irrespective of the cause.”

Home Secretary James Cleverly mentioned he would rigorously contemplate Lord Walney’s suggestions.

He mentioned: “The right to protest is a vital part of democracy, but there is absolutely no place for criminality or harassment on our streets. Too often, we have seen vile displays of hate crime and aggressive tactics used by so-called protesters.

“Lord Walney’s report raises vital questions on the cumulative influence of disruptive and extremist exercise on our communities. I thank Lord Walney and his crew for this in depth and compelling report.”

Mr Cleverly mentioned an additional £31 million of funding has been supplied for safety for MPs, and the definition of extremism has been up to date.

Communities Secretary Michael Gove backed Lord Walney’s suggestion that protest organisers ought to need to pay for the disruption they trigger.

He mentioned: “Ideally, the organisers of these marches should be clear about what is not acceptable. They should make it clear there are symbols and slogans that undermine a legitimate express of concern.

“But it is also the case that there are tools that Government can use.

“Also, potentially getting the organisers to pay for the consequences of those marches. When Chelsea Football Club host a match at Stamford Bridge, they pay for the cost of policing.

“I wouldn’t want to ensure there was no opportunity for an organisation without means to protest, but if you protest again and again, and again in significant numbers, and that has an impact on policing and security of others, then it is certainly worth considering whether the organisers of the march should be held liable for those costs and that disruption.”