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Embrace our Parliament

02/10/2021 @ 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

holyrood map

Surround the Scottish Parliament with a ring of people holding hands, to protest against the designation of Holyrood as a “Protected Site” under SOCPA, making protest a criminal offence. 

The messaging for this action is simple: The Scottish Parliament belongs to us, the Scottish people, not to the politicians. We should have the right to protest there without fearing criminal prosecution.

If you feel strongly about this, get along to our Parliament on Saturday 2nd October at 11 am and show your dissent. Meet up at at the grassy amphitheatre in front of parliament (see map link).

 

Background

The designation of the Scottish Parliament as a “Protected Site” under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 was requested from the UK Home Office by the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body (SPCB), a committee of 5 MSPs (the Presiding Officer, Alison Johnstone, and one MSP each from the Green, SNP, Labour, and Tory parties) in a meeting on 24th June 2021 though it was kept very quiet, even MSPs weren’t told about it; the news broke on 9th September.

Text of the new designation under SOCPA

The only other site in Scotland with the same Protected Status under SOCPA is that other major tourist destination, Faslane nuclear base. Two activists who climbed the fence were convicted under the Act in March 2008, but were let off with an admonishment by the judge.

This is a designation created by Westminster, NOT by the Scottish Parliament, though Parliament would have the power to revoke it. Legal experts have given their opinion that the law violates the European Convention of Human Rights (EHCR) and that protestors would have a good chance of defeating any conviction in court. But how many activists will be in a position to assume the cost and risk of such a legal action?

The effect of this law is to give police a big stick with which to threaten protestors. The SCPB is also responsible for issuing guidelines on how the police implement the law, but in a protest situation, it’s entirely likely that the police will interpret it however it pleases them to. It won’t be a question of mass arrests, but of “managed protest” where protestors are told what they can do, where they can stand, what messaging is allowed, etc., under threat of arrest.

 

(This is not a Common Weal event but we have been asked to provide information so that people are aware what is happening.)

Details

Date:
02/10/2021
Time:
11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Event Category:

Organiser

Extinction Rebellion and others

Venue

Scottish Parliment
View Venue Website

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