Under the regulations for the second lockdown in England, published on 3 November, protests outdoors of more than two people are in effect banned.
This is a change from the regulations previously in operation. These specifically allowed public gatherings of up to 30 people for political purposes provided a thorough risk assessment had been carried out and reasonable steps had been taken to limit the risk of transmission.
No such exception appears in the new regulations, which make it illegal to meet more than one person from another household outdoors. A ‘No 10 spokesman’ was reported by the Guardian as confirming: ‘Protests are not exempt from the rules’.
So why the change? One can only assume that the government is wanting to put an end to the rash of protests that have been taking place on behalf of the Black Lives Matter movement, racist counter-demonstrations, and marches against lockdown measures.
Tyrek Morris, co-founder of All Black Lives, a youth-led group, told the Guardian: ‘the government has been completely against our protest, against protest full-stop, and at every chance… has tried to stop us.’
He also said that protests organised by his group had faced heavy-handed policing.