The organisers of protest marches planned in London over the spring and summer have taken the significant step of coming together to jointly reject attempts by the Metropolitan Police to impose additional costs on their demonstrations to cover commercial security and traffic management.
In a press statement issued by the Campaign Against Climate Change today, they say:
“We believe any demand to pay to be able to demonstrate constitutes an unacceptable restriction on the right to protest. We reject proposals that protest organisers should have to pay private companies to plan or implement traffic management. We will therefore continue to organise and support public protests in the same manner that we have in the past, without paying for traffic management.”
Organisations backing this declaration include the Campaign Against Climate Change and Million Women Rise, whose protests both take place on 7 March. They are joined by, among others, experienced march organisers from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War, the People’s Assembly Against Austerity (who have a march planned for 20 June), CND, Friends of the Earth, Stand Up To Racism (demonstrating on 21 March) and Unite Against Fascism.
Joining other campaigners, including Netpol, who have in recent days spoken out against the Metropolitan Police’s change of policy since it became public, Frances O’Grady at the TUC commented:
“We have always enjoyed an excellent relationship with the Metropolitan Police in organising some of the biggest marches of recent years. We recognise the pressure put on them by the deep cuts in the policing budget in recent years, but think it wrong to put the costs of traffic management onto march organisers as this is a necessary requirement for a safe well-organised protest.
Our analysis of the Met’s new policy and how to resist it is available here. Netpol member organisation Green & Black Cross are providing legal observers for the demonstrations taking place on 7 March.