There’s nothing ‘peaceful’ about protests outside hospitals

THE proposal sounds simple enough: create “safe zones” around abortion clinics so that women attending them cannot be harassed or intimidated. A resolution calling for a review of the law to let councils put such zones in place has been submitted for consideration at the SNP’s upcoming autumn conference.

In response, a spokesperson for the Catholic Church has asserted that “the right to peacefully protest is the foundation of any democracy and should not be infringed”.

Most Scots would doubtless agree, but what does “peacefully” mean in this particular context? Can a protest be simultaneously peaceful and profoundly distressing, not just to those who are its targets but also to many others who are not?

Read the rest of this column at

Published in The National on August 17 2018.

Published by Shona Craven

Writer, editor, talking head

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