Netpol will meet members of the Welsh Assembly tomorrow (Wednesday) to present the findings of a report documenting the failure of South Wales Police to adhere to human rights legislation in their policing of an Occupy protest in Cardiff last November.
The event has been jointly organised by Netpol and Defend the Right to Protest, and is endorsed by senior public figures and trade union leaders, including Mark Serwotka of the trade union PCS, Bob Crow of the RMT and The Most Reverend Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales. It is sponsored by Labour AM Mick Antoniw.
Netpol will also question the deployment of officers carrying tasers to a peaceful protest, and the level of force used to evict a peaceful protest from local authority owned land. Six people were arrested in the course of this operation, and two subsequently prosecuted, although none were convicted of any offence in court.
Tony Benn has also criticised the policing of Occupy Cardiff, stating,
“In this case, I believe that the police action constituted an attack on the right to peacefully protest. Furthermore, the subsequent decision to prosecute, far from serving any public interest, posed an interference with free expression that risks chilling democracy.”
The freedom of assembly is recognized as one of the foundations of a functioning democracy, and its protection is crucial for creating a tolerant and just society. Netpol will raise with the Welsh Assembly the need to ensure that all future policing of protest in Wales is compliant with the Human Rights Act.