Street protest over new laws 'violating public freedoms'

Campaigners say it violates public freedoms. Credit: ITV Anglia.

Street protests will take place across Cambridge this weekend over powers to punish non-criminal behaviour carried out in public.

It includes things like falling asleep on benches.

Campaigners such as The Manifesto Club say it violates public freedom, and released a report concerning the number of councils who have passed such laws - 79 out of 130.

"It is absurd that it is now a crime in some areas to stand in a group, fall asleep on a bench, or to sit for an 'unreasonable time'.

"Introduced in 2014, they let local authorities ban anti-social behaviour they deem has a "detrimental effect" on "quality of life".

– Josie Appleton, Director of The Manifesto Club

However council groups have said the laws can make the areas safer.

"This report completely trivialises anti-social behaviour, such as aggressive begging, public drinking or racing in cars.

"These are serious offences that make the lives of victims a misery - in some cases with tragic consequences.

"Councils are determined to protect their communities from behaviour that ruins their quality of life or means people are scared to visit public places."

– Councillor Simon Blackburn, Local Government Association