Peaceful anti-fox hunting protester arrested for ‘breaching the peace’ at Welsh Tory manifesto launch

With thanks to B Heard Media

A protester was arrested for “breaching the peace” and dragged away by the police from a peaceful protest, as the prime minister’s car arrived in Wrexham before the launch of the Welsh Conservative manifesto

Connor was dragged to the ground by police as May’s motorcade swept past. Blowing a horn, he attempted to move towards the car with a banner before he was pounced on, tackled and dragged away, surrounded by hordes of photographers and journalists. A journalist and fellow campaigners asked if he was under arrest, an officer said: “Yes, he’s under arrest.” Pressed on what charge, he replied: “Breach of the peace.”

Connor was dragged along the floor, whilst shouting “This is the fascist state that we are living in under Theresa May’s regime.” 

He told reporters who were present that he was protesting about the “repeal of the foxhunting Act, fracking, austerity, “state therapy”,  – the lot”.

“I’ve not done nothing wrong,” he added.

Another demonstrator told police that Connor, who appeared to have a Merseyside accent, had “done nothing wrong” and described their response as a farce.

Theresa May has said she would give Conservative MPs a free vote on the ban, most likely meaning that in a planned and highly regressive move, the ban will be lifted if the party wins the number of seats it seems to expect to. 

 25-year-old Connor was later released without charge.

Superintendent Nick Evans claims: “Our policing operation today was proportionate and necessary.” 

Article 11 Right to protest and freedom of association

Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly. This is a right closely linked to the right to freedom of expression. The right to peaceful protest in the UK is expressly guaranteed under the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR).

It provides a means for public expression and is one of the key foundations of a democratic society.

The right applies to protest marches and demonstrations, press conferences, public and private meetings, counter-demonstrations, “sit-ins”, motionless protests etc.

The right only applies to peaceful gatherings and does not protect intentionally violent protest.

This was not a violent protest.

There may be interference with the right to protest if the authorities prevent a demonstration from going ahead; halt a demonstration; take steps in advance of a demonstration in order to disrupt it; and store personal information on people because of their involvement in a demonstration.

The right to peaceful assembly cannot be interfered with merely because there is disagreement with the views of the protesters or because it is likely to be inconvenient and cause a nuisance or there might be tension and heated exchange between opposing groups.

There is a positive obligation on the State to take reasonable steps to facilitate the right to freedom of assembly, and to protect participants in peaceful demonstrations from disruption by others.

The rights to free speech and protest, along with the right to form and join associations or groups, are found in Articles 10 and 11 of the UK Human Rights Act 1998.

These rights can be limited by law to protect the interests of others, but only when the limitation is proportionate and necessary in a democratic society.

So, for example:

  • the right to free speech will not protect a person who tries to spread hateful lies against another but it will protect fair comment;
  • the right to protest won’t protect violent gatherings but it will protect peaceful protest.

In recent years we have seen a variety of measures introduced that undermine the right to protest and freedom of speech:

  • Laws that were explicitly intended to combat anti-social behaviour, terrorism and serious crime are routinely used against legitimate protesters;
  • Broadly drafted anti-terrorism offences of ‘encouragement’ and ‘glorification’ of terrorism threaten to make careless talk a crime;
  • Membership of certain organisations can be banned under anti-terror laws even if the organisation is non-violent and political;
  • Hate speech laws have been extended in a piecemeal way to ban ever-expanding categories of speech;
  • Broad anti-terrorism powers of stop and search have been used to harass and stifle peaceful protesters;
  • Protest around Parliament has been severely restricted by laws limiting and overly regulating the right to assemble and protest around Parliament.

Another Conservative government will undermine both the right to protest and disassemble our human rights more generally.



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13 thoughts on “Peaceful anti-fox hunting protester arrested for ‘breaching the peace’ at Welsh Tory manifesto launch

  1. Thanks for posting this, not just because Conner is a hunt sab legend, but because I was beginning to think WordPress was being nobbled, as none of my favourites have posted anything in the last 13 hours.


      1. Oh, I was knackered until we saw the poll results where I live. That’s made us all determined to keep going and get that 10% lead into 15% at the ballot box.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Seems there’s some difference in the attitudes being shown by western nations towards demonstrations at home as opposed demonstrations in Syria, Venezuela and Ukraine, to name but three.

    In Venezuela the West supports the actions of violent demonstrators who loot stores, throw molotov cocktails, attack government buildings and even murder people. In Ukraine fascist the West openly financed, encouraged and supported demostrators to commit widespread violent actions that led to the overthrow of a democratically government and civil war. In Syria the West has also actively supported, financed armed demonstrators – manyof them foreign terrorists – in actions that have led to a civil war that has led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, most innocent civilians.

    In the UK waving a banner and blowing a horn, while wearing dreadlocks, is enough for the police to assault and falsely arrest a demonstrator. In it’s not just the UK, things are even worse in the US and pretty bad all over Europe.

    Makes you think what might happen if real unrest arose under a new Tory government.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. And do we not still have “section 5”? The act that outlaws virtually anything – language, behaviour etc – that can be construed as alarming or distressing BY THE RECIPIENT. For instance, my 12yr old son was arrested for doing a V-sign to an EMPTY police CCTV van – from a distance of 50yards! (naughty, schoolboy behaviour but ffs) Police reasoning was that there COULD have been a rookie policeman/woman inside who COULD have felt threatened……

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a joke! I’m sorry that your son went through such a potentially traumatising experience because of very stupid adults.

      My own son was recent;y fined £50 because he moved someone else’s discarded coke can to sit down. Apparently that counts as “littering”. The local jobsworth community kid spy was unrepentant when I had a word with him. He psends most of his working day spying on young people, waiting for an excuse to fine them. This is a society that has systematically marginalised young people from their own communities. I hope those who can vote.


      1. Indeed Kitty. Alas things became a lot worse. This was 12 years ago and ASBOs were the new thing. Like you, we had local plod determined to seek out what, when I was young, used to be considered normal adolescent behaviour/high jinks but which to them provided the perfect excuse for dishing out these punishments, getting a pat on the back and boosting their conviction rate. I won’t go in to detail here but they used to hound the boys – and they were very rough with them. They used to regularly turn up at my door and tell me they were watching him and on a mission to get him on an ASBO. By the time he was fifteen they had succeeded. I’m not saying the boys were holier than thou but no different to generations of young lads before or since and he was certainly not criminal or violent – none of this knife business or mass brawls – in fact I don’t believe he’s had a fight in his life, well apart from fending off muggers once or twice. Actually he was quite resilient and accepting of the whole thing (which in itself tells a story doesn’t it?) and has turned into a lovely young man – it was me who suffered years of stress and trauma! And yes, he and his mates will be voting – they know they all deserve a fairer chance in life.

        Liked by 1 person

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