HC Deb 25 November 1999 vol 339 cc181-2W
Mr. Dismore

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he proposes to take any action over the parading this year by extreme right-wing groups at the Cenotaph, and over the possibility of such parades in the future. [99276]

Mr. Charles Clarke

It is the role of the Metropolitan police to control demonstrations and marches to preserve the peace, uphold the law and to prevent the commission of offences. Police tactics and decisions on how to achieve these objectives are a matter for the independent operational judgment of the Commissioner. There is, of course, a balance to be struck between protecting the rights of those undertaking lawful activities and the rights of demonstrators and marchers. Violent activity or inciting racial hatred are not legitimate forms of protest and the police and the courts have the power to deal with these offences under the provisions of the Public Order Act 1986. The investigation of complaints about incitement of racial hatred or other public order offences rests with the police as part of their general duties in the enforcement of criminal law

Any planned march for next year will be considered by the police, who have the power to impose conditions or, if they believe that conditions would be insufficient to prevent public disorder, to seek the Secretary of State's permission to ban the march.

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