UK Mulls Banning Activist Groups Just Stop Oil and Palestine Action

The UK government is considering banning "extreme protest groups" like Just Stop Oil and Palestine Action, citing their use of criminal tactics. The proposed measures would restrict their ability to fundraise and assemble in the UK, with a decision pending cabinet review.

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Bijay Laxmi
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UK Mulls Banning Activist Groups Just Stop Oil and Palestine Action

UK Mulls Banning Activist Groups Just Stop Oil and Palestine Action

The UK government is considering proposals to ban "extreme protest groups" like Just Stop Oil and Palestine Action, citing their use of criminal tactics to achieve their aims. The approach, modeled after the one used to tackle terrorist organizations, would restrict the groups' ability to fundraise and assemble in the UK.

Why this matters: This proposed ban has significant implications for the balance between free speech and public safety, and could set a precedent for how governments respond to activist groups that use disruptive tactics. If implemented, it could also lead to a broader crackdown on protest movements, potentially stifling legitimate forms of dissent and political expression.

Lord John Woodcock, a senior government adviser on political violence, argues that "Banning terror groups has made it harder for their activists to plan crimes; that approach should be extended to extreme protest groups too." He cites the example of militant groups like Palestine Action and Just Stop Oil, which have "used criminal tactics to create mayhem and hold the public and workers to ransom without fear of consequence."

The proposed measures would create a new category for proscribing "extreme protest groups" that engage in actions such as destruction of property, causing serious disruption or injury to persons, or promoting a political or ideological cause through persistent criminal actions. If a group's actions were persistent and used to promote a political or ideological cause, that would count against them, according to the recommendation.

Just Stop Oil has rejected the proposed sanctions, arguing that the government is the "dangerous radical that is endangering all of us" through their climate policies. The Home Office has stated that a small number of protesters have displayed "violent and hateful behavior" in recent months and emphasized that "extremism of any kind has no place in our society, and we will not tolerate tactics that set out to intimidate, threaten or cause disruption to the law-abiding majority."

The proposals are currently being considered by the Cabinet, with no specific timeline announced for their implementation. They are part of a review into tackling political violence commissioned three years ago that has yet to be published. A government source said ministers shared Lord Walney's objectives and would consider implementing his recommendations once the review was published.

Just Stop Oil and Palestine Action have been involved in various protests and demonstrations in recent years, including blocking roads and vandalizing property. The proposal to potentially ban these groups as "extreme protest organizations" comes amid growing concerns about political violence and extremism in the UK. The government will now weigh whether to move forward with the recommended measures to restrict the activities of groups deemed to routinely employ criminal tactics.

Key Takeaways

  • UK government considers banning "extreme protest groups" like Just Stop Oil and Palestine Action.
  • Proposed ban aims to restrict fundraising and assembly in the UK, citing criminal tactics.
  • Move could set precedent for responding to activist groups using disruptive tactics.
  • Just Stop Oil rejects proposed sanctions, calling government "dangerous radical" on climate policies.
  • Proposals under consideration by Cabinet, with no timeline announced for implementation.