The activists group Acorn, which has staged several anti-landlord demonstrations including some outside homes, is opposing a new Bill going through Parliament because it proposes to crackdown on some forms of protest.
The controversial Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill - which also includes other government proposals on crime and justice - gives the police additional powers over some forms of protest.
Currently if the police want to place restrictions they generally have to show a protest may result in "serious public disorder, serious damage to property or serious disruption to the life of the community".
However if the Bill becomes law, police chiefs will be able to impose start and finish times, set maximum noise limits, and apply those controls not just to mass protests but to a demonstration even by a single individual.
Acorn has waged numerous anti-landlord and anti-letting agent campaigns in recent months in different parts of the country, including protests outside landlords’ homes and an incident at a Home Counties agency in which two activists were arrested.
Now it is attempting to get social media to adopt the nickname ‘PoliceCrackdownBill’ for the new Parliamentary measure, and it has tweeted: “The #PoliceCrackdownBill will give police more power to stop protests, criminalise [traveller] communities, and prioritise the rights of rich landowners at the expense of our right to roam.”
In other tweets it says the Bill “simply cannot be tolerated” and urges its followers to contact MPs and “demand they protect rights and civil liberties.”
Also yesterday, Acorn tweeted an allegation of sexual harassment by a landlord and a photograph of six people visiting what was said to be the home of the same landlord “to demand a written apology and a £750 donation to Survive.”
Earlier this month local media in the Homes Counties report that two arrests were made after police were called by a lettings agency where a large number of protestors appeared to attack the building.
The arrests were made when members of Acorn attempted to gain entry to a branch of Review Homes lettings agency in High Wycombe town centre.
The Bucks Free Press quoted a local police spokesperson saying: “Officers attended and arrested a man, aged 21, on suspicion of criminal damage. He has since been released under investigation. A woman, aged 27, was also arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and bailed.”
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