Britain will not be blackmailed by anti-democracy eco-fanatics – and the police will crack down on lawbreakers

We live in a democracy. The public elects members of parliament to decide our laws and policies – peacefully and freely.

That’s why we can’t be blackmailed by eco-zealots like Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion.

There's no excuse for sticking to roads or trains

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There’s no excuse for sticking to roads or trainsPhoto credit: Getty
You can't break the law just because you protest

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You can’t break the law just because you protestPhoto credit: Reuters
Our new Public Order Act makes it a criminal offense for people to lock themselves in or tape themselves to buildings

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Our new Public Order Act makes it a criminal offense for people to lock themselves in or tape themselves to buildingsCredit: Alamy

There’s no excuse for gluing yourself to roads or trains, vandalizing property, digging illegal tunnels, or making someone miss their father’s funeral.

It is wrong to block ambulances, fire engines or cars that are taking babies to the hospital.

You can’t break the law just because you protest.

The Court of Appeal made that clear in its landmark ruling earlier this year when it found those who toppled the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol were not taking part in lawful protests.

Militant protesters cannot do criminal damage and smash statues just because they want to. That’s not freedom of expression.

Sun on Sunday readers understand all this instinctively.

I know you’re sick and tired of the selfish, law-breaking, disruptive minority trying to impose their views with disruption instead of winning arguments at the ballot box.

So the government changed the law and gave the police more powers to act. In the last year, they made nearly 2,000 arrests in connection with Just Stop Oil.

The Public Order Bill – currently being debated in Parliament – will go further by creating new crimes to get tough on militant protesters.

Our new Public Order Act makes it a criminal offense for people to lock themselves in or tape themselves to buildings to cause serious disturbance.

It will also criminalize interfering with vital national infrastructure — like railroads and printing plants.

While tunneling – as protesters did under HS2 – will also be made illegal.

Police will be given new powers to help them stop disrupters in advance, such as stopping people and searching for equipment used to disrupt protests.

clamp down

We will introduce injunctions to prevent serious disturbances, which means courts can stop repeat offenders from attending protests.

Disruptive protests cost the police a lot of time and money.

Just two operations to fight Extinction Rebellion in London cost £37million. HS2 said removing protesters added £140m to project costs.

This money comes out of the pockets of hard-working taxpayers. Since early October, more than 11,000 shifts of police officers have been expended on Just Stop Oil protests.

Since early October, more than 11,000 shifts of police officers have been expended on Just Stop Oil protests

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Since early October, more than 11,000 shifts of police officers have been expended on Just Stop Oil protestsCredit: PA
The Court of Appeal found that those who toppled the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol were not taking part in lawful protests

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The Court of Appeal found that those who toppled the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol were not taking part in lawful protestsCredit: Alamy

As Ministers, we are giving the police new powers to deal with these protesters.

But the police also have a responsibility to use their powers to crack down on those who cause chaos.

Officials often do an excellent job in difficult circumstances, but it is important that they always act quickly and decisively to eliminate disruptive protests.

The public rightly expects roadblocks to be cleared quickly.

That is why I will be meeting with police leaders at Downing Street this week to discuss how we can deal more quickly with disruptive protests.

Officials must crack down on protesters who are blocking roads, trying to cripple our precious free press and wreaking untold criminal damage.

Hertfordshire Police rightly admitted it was a mistake to accidentally arrest four journalists covering a protest. Other forces must not repeat this mistake.

It’s good to have deep-rooted beliefs. It makes sense to take care of the environment – that’s why tackling climate change is a priority for this government.

But no reason justifies threatening others, preventing them from going about their daily lives, or endangering innocent members of the public.

What we’ve seen lately is completely wrong.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has made it clear that the entire government is on the side of the law-abiding majority, who want to go about their daily business.

Environmentalists should have no doubt that they will be arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned for ignoring the law.

https://www.the-sun.com/news/6775575/chris-philp-britain-ransom-eco-zealots-police/ Britain will not be blackmailed by anti-democracy eco-fanatics – and the police will crack down on lawbreakers

DevanCole

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