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World News

Bishop of Leeds shares story of arrest while busking in Paris

by Kelly Valencia

Rt Rev Nick Baines has told the House of Lords he was once arrested for busking in Paris, when he was 20-years-old.

Bishop Nick shared his story, as he was speaking out against Government moves, to clamp down on noisy protests.

Peers were debating the government's Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which contains a wide-range of measures aimed at taking a 'more proactive approach in managing highly disruptive protests.'

The Bill would give police in England and Wales more powers to enforce conditions on non-violent protests judged 'too noisy', and therefore causing 'intimidation or harassment' or 'serious unease, alarm or distress' to the public.

Bishop Nick told peers: "I have never been on a demonstration, at least I haven't been on a demonstration that was protesting against something.

"I have been on two marches that were very noisy, they were accompanied by bands and so on, that were protests for something.

"I would love to know in terms of the definitions of these things, whether we are talking about protests, which is assumed to be against something or a call for something that is entirely positive.

"Because if the phenomenon is the same, what are we faffing around with this for?

"I also got arrested for busking. That could be related to noise, but I was only 20 and it was on the Paris Metro- so it doesn't count.

"Being serious, I just don't understand why the Government is pushing this, when there's no call for it and it is unlikely to achieve anything because the mode of definition is so vague."

In October last year, more than 30 church leaders signed an open letter urging the Government to rethink the Bill, as they argued it could put prayer vigils and other peaceful gatherings at risk.

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