The Coronavirus Act has introduced new police powers in England and Wales which have implications for protest. There are also changes to the way police interviews and court hearings are being conducted. (Also see guide to rules in Scotland)
As restrictions begin to ease police have been reverting to using the usual public order offences.
We are now in ‘step 2’ where groups of 6 can meet outdoors, ‘step 3’ will probably start on May 17th when groups of 30 will be allowed to meet outdoors, but in both steps there are exceptions for protests. The system of ‘tiers’ has been dropped. See our page Coronavirus police powers and their use on protests.
Previously we have been seeing widespread use of Coronavirus powers to disprupt ptotests and in the community, which are disproportionately being used against people of colour, and may be challengable.
Previous changes to legislation were following lockdown in January 2021, updates at the end of the November 2020 lockdown and the introduction of Tier 4 in December 2020.
For information about the implications of Coronavirus-related legislation for protesters:
For a general guide to the powers created by the Coronavirus Act in England & Wales, please see these guides from Bristol Defendant Solidarity.
For a guide to the powers created in Scotland please see SCALP’s guide
Please note that Coronavirus related law is changing rapidly. This guide was last updated on 3rd May 2021