March of the Mummies, a large-scale protest to campaign for strong Government action to overcome the disadvantages mothers experience in the labour market is blocked by police
Date: 30th September 2022: The Metropolitan Police have blocked a planned protest by Pregnant Then Screwed (PTS), who are campaigning for better working conditions for mothers, just weeks before it is due to take place. The group say this is the latest in a line of women’s rights protests being blocked, coming after a recent High Court ruling that the Met Police breached the rights of organisers of a vigil for Sarah Everard and accusations of systemic misogyny within the police force.
March of the Mummies is a peaceful protest by mothers and families to ask that the Government implement an affordable childcare system, properly paid parental leave, and flexible working for all. 6,000 people are expected to attend the London march which will include MPs and high profile speakers.
The Metropolitan Police informed the organisers, Pregnant Then Screwed on Tuesday 27th September that they will not issue road closures and there will be no police presence, despite this risking the safety of the attendees including pregnant women and families and the viability of the event. Pregnant Then Screwed are unable to enact the road closures privately due to legal issues. Westminster City Council will not issue a Temporary Traffic Order (TTO) for the demonstration as it is a public demonstration and therefore responsibility rests with the police.
Joeli Brearley, founder of Pregnant Then Screwed comments: “The Met Police are again trying to prevent women from organising. It makes no sense that they would issue road closures and ensure a police presence for the TUC march in July, to then deny the same to women who want their voices to be heard. The nature of our event means there will be small children and pregnant women in attendance and this decision by the Met Police puts them in danger. We have done everything by the book, we informed the Police of our plans in May and requested a meeting; yet they have waited until four weeks before the event is due to take place to inform us of this decision. We are furious.’’
Both domestic and international law (through, respectively, the Human Rights Act 1998 and international instruments such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) guarantee the participants in PTS’s demonstrations the rights to freedom of assembly and expression. Public authorities (including the Police) are under a positive duty to secure the effective enjoyment of those rights and not disproportionately to interfere with them.
Requiring PTS to in effect ‘pay to protest’ would amount to a disproportionate interference in the rights to freedom of assembly and expression.
The group has issued a letter to Inspector Emma Dickinson setting out their rights and demanding this decision be overturned and will be issuing a pre-action protocol letter next week.
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To read more about March of the Mummies head here.