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Ahead of pro-Khalistan rally, U.K. bats for right to protest

Citizens in the United Kingdom have the right to peaceful protest, said the spokesperson of the U.K. High Commission to India. The response from the U.K. authorities came a day after India said the pro-Khalistan rally planned in London on August 12 aims to undermine the country’s territorial integrity.

The spokesperson said the British police had all necessary powers to deal with any concerns regarding the rally. “People in the U.K. have a right to protest and to demonstrate their views, provided they act within the law. Should a protest contravene the law, the police have comprehensive powers to deal with activities that spread hate or deliberately raise tensions through violence or public disorder. This does not negate the right to peaceful protest,” said a U.K. diplomatic source.

On Thursday, the Ministry of External Affairs said the proposed rally, which will be held three days before Independence Day celebrations in India, is being organised by separatists.

The London rally is expected to push the idea of an online referendum in 2020 largely among the diaspora Sikhs seeking the creation of the free state of Khalistan. On Friday, a large protest was organised by the Anti-Terrorist Front outside the U.K. High Commission here against the rally.

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