I attended the freedom rally in Stratford Park in Stroud and was shocked and disappointed at the response from local media to the event.

Media reports and commentary suggest the rally was ‘illegal.’ We still have the HRA (Human Rights Act) in the UK. Under article 10 people have the right to freedom of assembly. Some arguments have been put forward to suggest that article 2 of the HRA overrules article ten, but as barrister Francis Hoar has pointed out ‘ article 2 is only to be used when there’s a proportionate reason to overrule other freedoms in the HRA such as the right to protest. The covid 19 pandemic has so far had a mortality rate of just 0.003% and the chief medical officer, Chris Whitty has declared that the virus gives mild cold and flu like symptoms for the vast majority of the population.

It seems that there is no proportionate reason to remove democratic rights and basic freedoms.

I find it shameful that other rallies and demonstrations have been allowed to take part here in Stroud during the first lockdown and over the last week, without the saturated and dismissive reporting, heavy policing, arrests and charges.

One can only conclude that freedom of speech is only for those who don’t pose a risk to the powerful.

Sonia Davies