Maajid Nawaz's powerful opposition to civil liberties crackdown in Covid legislation

20 March 2021, 15:19 | Updated: 20 March 2021, 15:27

By Seán Hickey

As legislation which hampers the right to protest comes up for renewal, Maajid Nawaz begs the public to stand up for our civil liberties.

The UK's controversial emergency coronavirus legislation is set to be renewed next week, and Maajid Nawaz shared the view that encroachments on civil liberties which the act imposed must be scrapped.

"This coronavirus act is what gives the police the power to do what they did last Saturday at Clapham Common and simply ban protests altogether," he pointed out.

Maajid branded the coronavirus act "the biggest expansion of state power in a generation," and stressed that "it's important that it's repealed."

He went on to recite aspects of the bill which already restrict the public's right to protest and even allows police to transfer "potentially infectious" people into isolation for an unrestricted period of time.

Read More: Maajid Nawaz scrutinises 'dangerous' proposed policing bill

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"The policing bill was a problem and yes, it was a problem that it passed its first reading, but in law already exists these powers that were passed without the scrutiny they deserved."

"We must not allow for ourselves to sleepwalk into tyranny and dictatorship and totalitarianism," Maajid stressed. He went on to call on the public to remain vocal on the clampdown on civil liberties and lobby government to abolish draconian rules.

He added that activists must not be biased along political lines when campaigning for their right to free speech and protest. "Civil liberties by definition are not civil liberties if you only apply them on people you agree with," he said.

Read More: Tory Minister grilled over Policing Bill 'diminishing' right to protest

"Civil liberties need to be universal for every single human being otherwise they are not human rights, they are not civil liberties.

"Otherwise, they are selectively conferred privileges granted to certain sectors of society upon whom you wish to grant those privileges because they suit your agenda."

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