1st Edition

Democracy, Protest and the Law Defending a Democratic Right

By Michael Head Copyright 2024

    In a new era of rising protests, social unrest and political discontent globally, especially over climate change, war dangers, austerity measures and social inequality, the right to protest is a critical democratic right. Yet it is increasingly controversial and subject to government reaction. This book poses a crucial question: how to defend and extend democracy? It examines the critical historical, social, political, ethical and legal issues raised by the basic democratic right to protest and the legislative and executive measures being taken by governments to restrict it. These measures are examined with a focus on three countries with an English legal heritage: the United States, Britain and Australia. These states are frequently held up as models of liberal democracies, respecting core legal and democratic rights. However, an examination shows that they have adopted far-reaching anti-protest laws and other provisions that threaten protest rights and genuine democracy itself. This book will be of interest to all members of society, as well as students, academics and policy-makers in the fields of civil liberties and human rights, constitutional law, criminal justice, national security and environmental studies.

    Preface;  Introduction: How to defend the right to protest and genuine democracy?;  1. The growth of mass protests globally;  2. Origins and significance of the right to protest;  3. Is there a legal right to protest?;  4. Constitutional protection of the right to protest?;  5. Expanding anti-protest laws;  6. Crimes against the state;  7. Use of police powers to combat protests;  8. What is at Stake?;  9. How to defend and extend democracy?;  10. Conclusions;  Index


    Michael Head is a professor of law at Western Sydney University, Australia. He is a well-known writer on democratic rights, emergency powers and war powers.