The proposed law, which passed its second reading in Parliament last week, also gives judges the power to imprison people for up to 10 years for damaging a memorial. Naturalist Chris, 59, is deeply concerned it could threaten freedom of speech. The Kill the Bill march last Sunday saw a peaceful protest in Bristol turn violent when 21 police officers were injured, with 14 demonstrators being arrested days later in the city after another protest descended into rioting.
Chris, who spoke at the huge Extinction Rebellion protests in London two years ago, said: “I really do think this law is draconian and it is something that we must peacefully resist.
“I’m not for setting fire to a police station or police vans, and the sort of vandalism we saw in Bristol is unacceptable. It was a peaceful protest that was turned into a violent disorder by a small minority.
“But what we have in this country is the capacity to peacefully and democratically resist these sorts of laws and I think we must retain the right to protest. It’s absolutely essential.
“It is very worrying that these sorts of measures are being introduced.
“Why wouldn’t the Government want people to be able to express their views? We vote for these people so they can represent our views. It is not in anyone’s interest to have this law.”
Last week, Anna Birley, of Reclaim These Streets, accused the Metropolitan Police of having an illegal “blanket ban” on protests as she gave evidence to MPs about obstructive behaviour at the vigil held on Clapham Common, in south London, for murder victim Sarah Everard.
Asked whether he felt we were becoming like a totalitarian state, Chris said: “We’re not there yet, are we? But things like this Clapham event
and Bristol are desperately worrying.
“It would have to get a lot worse before I left this country but I am worried about the direction it’s going in.
“But let’s see what happens. It may not carry on in this direction for much longer and I do love the UK. It’s a fantastic place and I really don’t want to have to leave.”
Another cause close to his heart is badger baiting. He is a patron of the charity Naturewatch Foundation, which commissioned a documentary, Raising Awareness of Badger Crime, that shows how prevalent it is. Chris said: “There’s no tolerable space for badger baiting in the 21st century.”
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