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Public put off protesting by 'heavy handed' policing

A new poll released today by Christian Aid reveals that 50% of UK adults believe the police are too heavy handed or deploy too many officers when dealing with peaceful protests.

Girls on trade marchThe YouGov survey, released to launch the new campaigning action, the Mass Visual Trespass, shows 93% of respondents think everyone in the UK should have the right to peaceful protest.

Almost one fifth (18%) said they would think twice about taking part in a future protest as recent incidents involving the police at the G20 summit in London have made people worried about their safety.

A third (33%) of respondents are unhappy about the police filming individuals taking part in protests as they say it makes them feel like criminals, is an invasion of privacy and is another example of a ‘Big Brother’ society.

Mass Visual Trespass

Christian Aid’s Mass Visual Trespass is calling on people of all ages to upload a photograph, or short video, of themselves holding a climate justice message directed at Prime Minister Gordon Brown at www.christianaid.org.uk/trespass

Join the trespass 

The images will be projected on to landmarks across Britain in the lead up to the UN climate change summit in Copenhagen in December, allowing thousands of Britons to protest virtually from the comfort of their own homes.

Paul Brannen, head of campaigns at Christian Aid, said:  ‘Campaigning on issues such as climate change and how it affects the poor is a vital part of Christian Aid’s work. 

‘It is very important we give people the opportunity to protest peacefully about issues that matter to them and help the public to hold the government to account. 

‘It’s worrying that recent incidents involving the police at peaceful protests have made members of the public think twice about taking part in future peaceful demonstrations.’ 

For press information call Andrew Hogg on +44 (0) 20 7523 2058 / 07872 350 534 email AHogg@christian-aid.org

Notes to editors: 

  • Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in nearly 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the life they deserve.  

  •  Christian Aid is calling on Gordon Brown to attend the UN summit in person in December and to press rich countries to commit to at least 40 per cent carbon emission reductions by 2020.  It also wants the UK government, along with other developed nations, to commit the necessary support and resources, including technology transfers, to enable developing countries to reduce emissions, develop in a low carbon way and adapt to climate change. In addition, Christian Aid says no new coal fired power stations should be built in the UK without carbon capture and storage facilities, which should also be retro-fitted to all older power stations when the technology is proven.  

  • Climate change is already depriving the poor in many developing countries of their livelihoods.  Christian Aid believes the battle against climate change is a key component in alleviating poverty.  We have a vision – an end to poverty.  Our new drive, Poverty Over, explains what we believe needs to be done – and can be done – to make that vision a reality.  A strong climate deal at Copenhagen is one essential.  Details at www.christianaid.org.uk 

  • Christian Aid is a member of the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition. 11 million strong, we are the committed supporters, campaigners, hearts, minds and voices of over 100 organisations. 

  • All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2188 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 7th - 10th August 2009.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).  

  • Christian Aid press office is now on Twitter – follow us at http://twitter.com/caid_newswire