Thugs will face jail for lighting flares and not removing menacing face masks at protests

FLARES and fireworks will be banned at protests, the Home Secretary has said.

Thugs will also face jail for refusing to remove menacing face masks in a crackdown on disorderly marches.

Times Media Ltd

Thugs will face jail for refusing to remove menacing face masks at protests, the Home Secretary announced[/caption]

James Cleverly has drawn up tougher penalties following ugly scenes at pro-Palestinian demos.

He said last night: “Recent protests have seen a small minority dedicated to causing damage and intimidating the law-abiding majority.”

There have been 600 arrests at protests that have taken place since Hamas’s barbaric invasion of Israel on October 7.

Cops are being handed more powers to remove masks after police chiefs warned yobs are wearing them to conceal their identities and avoid convictions.

Protesters who refuse to take face coverings off when asked will face a month behind bars or a £1,000 fine.

A similar penalty will also apply to yobs who take pyrotechnics to protests.

Mr Cleverly added: “Taking flares to marches to cause damage and disruption is not protest — it is dangerous.

“That is why we are giving police the powers to prevent this criminality on our streets.”

Clambering on war memorials will also carry a three-month prison sentence.

And a loophole allowing zealots to claim “the right to protest” to block roads is also being closed. The tough measures are being introduced in the Criminal Justice Bill, now going through Parliament.

Chief Constable BJ Harrington, of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said: “We are committed to responding quickly and effectively to activists who deliberately disrupt people’s lives with reckless and criminal acts.”


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