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UK police have new expanded powers to crack down on protests

LONDON (AP) – New and expanded powers for British police took effect yesterday, including measures targeting activists who stop traffic and major building works with protests.

Authorities have repeatedly condemned environmental protest groups, including Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion, which have sought to raise awareness about the urgency of climate change by staging multiple high-profile protests at the busiest highways and roads.

Their protests in recent years often caused serious disruption for motorists.

From yesterday, police will have powers to move static protests. Critics have argued the toughened laws are a threat to the right to protest, but United Kingdom officials say the measures were to stop “disruption from a selfish minority”.