Police red-tape threat to Hatfield incinerator protest
PUBLISHED: 17:50 23 September 2011 | UPDATED: 17:51 23 September 2011
ANTI-INCINERATOR march organiser Paul Zukowskyj has accused police of taking “extreme” measures prior to allowing tomorrow’s (Saturday) protest to take place.
Police bureaucracy threatens to derail the campaign against Veolia’s hated waste burner, as a frantic Mr Zukowskyj was seeking legal advice to see how exposed he will be if the march gets out of hand.
Mr Zukowskyj claims he has been ordered to put his personal finances and even his freedom on the line, in order to get clearance for the protest opposing the development at Hatfield’s New Barnfield.
He told the WHT: “It’s a bit of a scary form really, because it seems to imply that anything that goes wrong is my fault.
“Should this go horribly wrong I don’t want to end up destitute and in prison.
“All we’re trying to do is protest and give people a voice.”
He added: “It seems a bit extreme for the police to want me to sign this and put my personal finances and freedom on the line.”
Mr Zukowskyj said the document he has been told to sign officially names him as the organiser of the march which, he said, makes him liable if anything gets out of hand.
He said he has to “take primary responsibility for the safety and management of the march”.
A police spokeswoman said: “Hertfordshire Constabulary will always recognise, facilitate and uphold lawful, safe protests, but we have to balance the rights of all involved, including those who live and work in the area where the protest is taking place.
“It is the responsibility of the protestors to make sure they do not abuse their right to protest, either by endangering the safety of those in the protest area or disturbing the area itself.
“This is why we would always ask organisers of a protest like this to complete a statement of intent, which clearly sets out their roles and responsibilities prior to an event so that everyone is clear what will happen on the day.”
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