"We need to tackle extremism in our government”
Suella Braverman has been blasted after calling for an even greater crackdown on protest in the UK arguing ministers should get the ultimate power to ban protests outright.
Backlash to her latest onslaught on public activism has accused her of pushing “authoritarianism” and “fascism” as she laid out a plan of how she would want to tackle “mass extremism on our streets”.
In a column for The Telegraph titled ‘Take on hate-filled mobs, before it’s too late’, Braverman has called for the government to “go much further” to “stop the glorification of Islamist terror on British streets”.
The Home Secretary should be granted powers to stop a protest from happening, Braverman insisted as she claimed the streets of England had become “unrecognisable” with “festivals of extremism”.
Braverman was sacked as Home Secretary in November by the Prime Minister after being accused of stoking tensions before protests in London and accusing the Metropolitan Police of bias in their policing of protests.
Braverman has continued to describe pro-Palestinian protesters as ‘hate marchers’ and ‘hate filled-mobs’, which in turn has seen her accused of emboldening far right groups including Tommy Robinson.
Hundreds of thousands of protesters have joined peaceful protests across the UK for months calling for a ceasefire in Gaza as the humanitarian catastrophe in the region intensifies.
Braverman said new laws should be introduced and a change to the Terrorism Act 2000 to capture the “cheerleaders of terrorism”, and for legislation to introduce an amendable list of conduct that constitutes “threatening, abusive or insulting” behaviour.
Protest in England and Wales has been hit over the past years with new legislation, causing concern from advocacy groups.
Amnesty International UK said the passing of the Public Order Bill last year marked “a dark new era for peaceful protest” in the UK and the UN recently condemned the UK’s “severe crackdowns” on peaceful protest.
Reporter Josiah Mortimer wrote on X: “Former Home Sec Suella Braverman writes for the Telegraph today calling for ministers to get the ultimate power to ban protests. The Tory right is literally pushing for authoritarianism.”
Others have asked instead for extremism in the government to be tackled, with one X user writing, “removing the Tories from power would be the first step” and another “we need to tackle extremism in our government.”
One X user also called out Braverman’s misleading claims: “Suella Braverman opening her Telegraph call to fascism with a crop of lies. UK police dismiss ‘misleading’ media reports of attacks on poppy sellers Royal British Legion said UK public supported appeal as usual with no evidence volunteers were targeted.”
A petition by Amnesty UK calling for the government to scrap anti-protest laws has gained nearly 12,000 signatures.
Amnesty UK wrote yesterday: “The UK government is cracking down on our right to peaceful protest, with new anti-protest laws that give police more powers than ever before to restrict all kinds of protests.
“Throughout history, people coming together for a better world has created human rights progress. Protests show the enduring impact of people power, contributing to our present freedoms.”
(Image credit: Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street)
Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward, focusing on trade unions and environmental issues