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Peaceful protest groups are not of counter-terrorism interest, Police Scotland says

POLICE SCOTLAND told the Star today that left-wing protest groups are “not of interest as far as counter-terrorism is concerned.”

The Star reported earlier this month that anti-war, socialist, communist and environmental groups were included on the sheet along with far-right and white supremacist organisations, including some that are proscribed such as National Action.

Police Scotland told the Star that “any protest groups won’t be treated as a terrorist organisation” in adherence to section 11 of the Human Rights Act that protects the freedom of assembly.

The force said that the groups were included on the list by Counter Terrorism Policing in the south-east of England so officers can “understand signs and symbols” at protests, and that Police Scotland was not involved in the publication of the document.

They also told Scottish Green justice spokesman John Finnie MSP tpday that Extinction Rebellion and Greenpeace will not automatically be referred to the Prevent scheme that tracks suspected terrorist activities.

Mr Finnie said: “I welcome this clarification from Police Scotland, although the force must be transparent about what it considers to be extremist views.

“It’s clear that peaceful protest is absolutely necessary in the face of the overwhelming science that shows we are in a climate emergency.

“It is completely inappropriate for any peaceful protests to be considered extremist or related to terrorism, which is why CND, Greenpeace and other peaceful organisations must be allowed to voice concerns in the way they do.

“Police will continue to have a duty to prevent and respond to criminal activity, but they must not treat peaceful protest in the same bracket as terrorist threats against our citizens.”

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