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Last month, the Government imposed the strict ‘rule of six’ restriction banning groups of more than six people meeting indoors or outdoors. But now ministers are looking to restrict the number of protesters at marches.
These restrictions could restrict the number of people attending marches such as Extinction Rebellion and Black Lives Matter protests.
A Government source said: “There is a move to limit political protests in areas which are in the top tier to six people.
“While this country cherishes the right to demonstrate peacefully, some feel it action is needed if the event risks spreading the virus even further.
“It is not just the demonstrators who are at risk but innocent police officers who are called upon to patrol it.”
Another Government source said there are number of options on the table but “no final decision” has been made yet.
An insider said: “These are all tough decisions and will be made with a reasonable balance which takes the interests of health, safety and freedom of speech into account.”
Since lockdown began thousands of people have taken to the streets in demonstrations for movements such as Black Lives Matter, Extinction Rebellion, and even for anti-mask groups.
Harsher restrictions have been imposed on areas in the north east, north west and the Midlands as cases continue to rise.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his ministers were humiliated over their own confusion at the rules.
Mr Johnson was forced to apologised and said he “misspoke” when asked to clarify details of new tighter restrictions for the north east of England.
“In the North East and other areas where extra tight measures have been brought in, you should follow the guidance of local authorities – but it’s six in a home, six in hospitality but, as I understand it, not six outside,” he said.
Mr Johnson later apologised on Twitter and said: “Apologies, I misspoke today.
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“In the North East, new rules mean you cannot meet people from different households in social settings indoors, including in pubs, restaurants and your home.
“You should also avoid socialising with other households outside.
“This is vital to control the spread of coronavirus and keep everyone safe.
“If you are in a high risk area, please continue to follow the guidelines from local authorities.”
This came after education minister Gillian Keegan admitted she could not clarify the rules.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme sh said: “I’m sorry I can’t clarify that.
“I don’t know the answer to that question but I’m sure they can find out the answer to that question.”
When pressed, she said: “I’m sorry I can’t answer that question. I’m sure there are many people who could. I don’t represent the North East.”
Around two million people in Newcastle, Northumberland, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Sunderland and the County Durham council area have already been advised to avoid mixing.
But the advice is being made subject to a law with those over 18 facing a £200 fine for a first offence -halved if paid within 14 days.
A second offence will incur a £400 fine, which then doubles for each subsequent offence – up to a maximum of £6,400.
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