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Northern Ireland: Critical report into policing protests must spur action

Responding to a critical report published today (7 February) by the Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland into PSNI policing of a “Protect our Monuments” protest in Belfast in June 2020, Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Programme Director, said:

“It is clear from today’s Police Ombudsman’s investigation and their previous investigation into the PSNI response to Black Lives Matter protests, that they unfairly discriminated against anti-racism protesters, many of whom were from Black and minoritised communities.

“The police must uphold people’s rights to freedom of expression, protest and peaceful assembly without favour or discrimination based on skin colour, political or religious views.

“In its previous investigation into PSNI’s policing of Black Lives Matter protests, the ombudsman found that the police acted in an unfair and discriminatory manner, paid ‘lip service’ to human rights, and found its use of the Serious Crime Act against peaceful protestors to be ‘entirely disproportionate’.

“These critical investigations must lead to a fundamental reassessment of how the PSNI approaches the right to protest and to the necessary work of rebuilding their badly damaged relationship with Northern Ireland’s Black and Minority Ethnic communities.”

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