Legal guidelines for protestors

  • The Countryside Action Network has issued its members with legal guidelines on the most effective way to protest

    As supporters of the rural way of life continue to hold regular demonstrations against the government’s plans to outlaw hunting with dogs, The Countryside Action Network (CAN) has issued its members with guidelines on how to protest – without breaking the law.

    Written by solicitor and Crown Court advocate Clive Rees, “Breaking the Law – A Guide to Lawful Civil Disobedience for the Respectable” explains how protestors can achieve maximum disruption without facing criminal charges.

    The six-page document advises demonstrators on their conduct while protesting, saying: “The aim of peaceful, legitimate protest must be to cause maximum disruption to that state which is trying to oppress you.”

    Get your message across

    On protesting on foot the guidelines state: “You are perfectly entitled to wander aimlessly about [the highway] if you so choose”. It explains that although standing, sitting or lying in the road could make you guilty of obstruction,which can carry a fine of up to £1,000, “lawful protest can be a reasonable explanation for your actions.”

    The guidelines, which advocating polite behaviour at all times, continue : “There is little point in causing an obstruction if you ‘move along’ as soon as a policeman asks you to.”

    If you’re arrested . . .

    As well as advice on protesting, the guidelines explain what will happen if you’re arrested. Top tips include how to take up as much police time and manpower as possible once at the police station, leaving fewer officers available to arrest the remaining demonstrators.

    It also explains the court process and what may happen if you are convicted,including how to avoid getting a criminal record. The guidelines conclude by advising protestors to obtain the name and 24-hour telephone number of a good criminal lawyer before beginning any demonstrations.

    CAN is planning a series of “civil disobedience” protests leading up to the end of the government’s consultation on hunting. For more information visit www.countrysideaction.net or call (tel: 01291 650962).

    Extra advice for protestors

    The Campaign for Hunting’s action office has produced an action pack to bring country sports supporters up to date with the Summer of Discontent and to give ideas for and detailed advice on planning regional events.

    As well as identifying opportunities to take the hunting message into towns and villages, the pack proposes two larger scale demonstrations, highlighting the importance of hunting to the canine and equine worlds.

    For more details about planned event see the latest issue of Horse & Hound magazine. Action pack are available from CA stands at county shows, via your regional director or by visiting www.countryside-alliance.org

    Read more about pro-hunting demonstrations:

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