Letter: Counter-Terrorism Policy Is a Threat to Democracy
We are deeply concerned at the inclusion of peaceful campaigning organisations in a counter-terrorism police document
We are deeply concerned at the inclusion of peaceful campaigning organisations in a counter-terrorism police document distributed to NHS trusts, schools and safeguarding boards (Report, 18 January). The suggestion that campaigning for peace, environmental justice, human rights and animal rights, and against racism, should be regarded by those safeguarding the public as extremist activities is grotesque.
This provides yet more evidence of the threat posed to core democratic values, including free speech, by the government’s counter-terrorism agenda. This document must be immediately rescinded. But there is also an urgent need for a full, and proper independent review of the Prevent strategy.
More widely, we collectively support the demands of the Network for Police Monitoring’s Protest Is Not Extremism campaign, which calls on the police to stop categorising campaigning and protest activities as “domestic extremism”, for a clear separation of protest policing from counter-terrorism, and for better protection for campaigners against surveillance. This must include independent oversight of how the police use surveillance in relation to political protest. These proposed measures are essential to defend our right to political engagement and peaceful protest – and indeed to defend democracy.
Kate Hudson General secretary, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Ben Jamal Director, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Lindsey German Convener, Stop the War Coalition, John Sauven Executive director, Greenpeace UK, Isobel Hutchinson Director, Animal Aid, Weyman Bennett Co-convener, Unite Against Fascism, Sabby Dhalu Joint secretary, Stand Up to Racism, Jane Tallents Trident Ploughshares, Angie Zelter XR Peace
Source: The Guardian