Bond condemns new report calling for the surveillance of protesters

On Tuesday 21 May, the long awaited report from Lord Walney (John Woodcock), titled, “Protecting Democracy from Coercion” was published. This report, commissioned by the UK government, contains 41 recommendations including criminalising peaceful protesters and using undercover surveillance to monitor campaigners which could further threaten civic space and weaken democracy in the UK.

In reaction to the report, Rowan Popplewell, Policy Manager at Bond said:

Protest is an essential part of a healthy democracy. This report unfairly labels many ordinary people who use peaceful means of protest to speak up about the issues they care about as “extreme” – a tactic wrongly used by authoritarian regimes around the world to stigmatise those who disagree with them.

Calls on the state to consider using undercover surveillance to monitor anti-racism and environmental campaigners, and to restrict the ability of these groups to organise or fundraise are very concerning and should have no place in our society.


Notes for editors

  • The UK was recently downgraded in the CIVICUS global ranking on the state of civil society and civic freedoms. Read Bond’s reaction here.
  • Bond is the UK network for organisations working in international development. Bond unites and supports a diverse network of over 350 civil society organisations from across the UK, and allies to help eradicate global poverty, inequality and injustice.   
  • For further information or interviews please contact Jess Salter at [email protected].