Demonstrations in Britain ‘to be banned during Olympics’

The Independent reports: Ministers are planning legal action to restrict public protests during the Olympics, amid fears that Britain could be disrupted by lengthy and high-profile demonstrations.

The Home Office is so concerned about the impact of the stalemate over the Occupy London (OLSX) encampment outside St Paul’s Cathedral that officials have been ordered to produce plans for avoiding a similar conflict during the Games next summer.

Ministers’ plans, based on the measures put in place to remove long-term protesters from outside Parliament, includes identifying “exclusion zones” around key locations, and fast-tracking the removal of protests that do not have the blessing of the authorities. It would permit police to move in and disperse encampments quickly, in line with last week’s clearance of the Occupy Wall Street camp in New York.

Protesters and legal experts condemned the moves as an assault on the right to peaceful protest. An OLSX spokeswoman, Naomi Colvin, said: “If the Government wants to do something that will restrict the right of peaceful protest, it will be in serious trouble. The coalition appears to be abandoning any attempt to behave like a democratic government.”

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