The UK’s civil liberties rating has been downgraded from “narrowed” to “obstructed” thanks to the government’s new crackdowns on protests, voting, and strikes.
Along with Russia, Cyprus, Greece and Tajikistan, the UK was one of five European countries to be ranked as less open than before in a report by international organisation Civicus.
Citing the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Act and the Public Order bill as two pieces of law which “seriously undermine the right to protest” the report marked the UK as a “country of concern”.
It was published the day after chancellor Jeremy Hunt boasted that the UK is “Europe’s biggest defender of democracy” in his budget speech.
“For the last three years, civic space in the UK has been in decline. In September 2021, the country was placed on the CIVICUS Monitor Watchlist to signal a rapid decline in civic freedoms,” the report’s authors said.
“Since then, the situation has continued to deteriorate, with the government introducing a range of restrictive laws, particularly on protest.”