Freedom of speech and the right to protest are cornerstones of our democracy – part of the cherished rights of British citizens. However, the right to protest can itself be exploited. It should not entail the right to occupy important public spaces week after week or to mob transport termini and prevent fellow citizens from going about their business – especially for causes which are highly contested. It also does not include a right to chant racist slogans or to incite hatred or violence. Indeed, these are criminal offences which should be tackled without delay by the police without fear or favour.
SDP Leader William Clouston commented:
“On Armistice Day and over the weekend throughout our nation and the Commonwealth we will remember and honour those who served and died for our country in the line of duty. I believe it is inappropriate for the state to permit any competing marches or protests at this sacred time. On Remembrance Day we will – without disturbance or diminution – pay tribute to our fallen.”