3 April Update

POLICING
Today, Greater Manchester Police announced it was launching an online webpage for people to report anyone breaking lockdown rules.  In response, Netpol said, “we need to talk (at a safe distance) to people in our communities, not denounce and criminalise them. Our neighbours are not the enemy!”
Police Scotland has confirmed that so far issued, its officers have issued 144 fines during the first week of the lockdown
Police in Eastbourne has authorised the use of dispersal powers in the town centre “following pockets of disorder reported”. It’s unclear whether this is related specifically to alleged lockdown movement violations.

Although most protests can now no longer taking place, the protection camp at Crackley Wood in Warwickshire, on the route of the construction of the HS2 rail link, has remained open and for nine days, protesters have been occupied trees in the ancient woodlands that HS2 contractors plan to cut down.

Campaigners from the environmental direct action group Reclaim The Power today highlighted how a journalist from Channel 4 News had been ordered off-site by police officers using the new coronavirus emergency legislation. This is in spite of the National Police Chiefs Council issuing guidelines making it clear that journalists are key workers and “there is a public interest in keeping the population informed”.

COMMENTARY

Kevin Blowe from Netpol, writing for The Canary, argues that it seems inevitable the government is starting to ask itself the question: what happens when we finally emerge from a crisis that has fundamentally challenged how our society is currently structured?

Netpol warns this is why now, when our civil rights may seem so much less important than protecting public health, campaigners must start to think about the police labelling challenges to the status quo as “domestic extremism”.

Jude Sutherland of Human Rights Watch and András Kádár of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee spoke to Marina Strauß of DW News about the way European governments are taking unprecedented peacetime measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic, but question whether democracies in Europe strong enough to go back to normal once the crisis is over.

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