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Council chamber security upgraded in wake of ‘Grannies for the Future’ protest

Councillors at Dorset County Council have proposed a motion to condemn the behaviour of two climate protestors and have called for greater security in the council chamber after the activists glued themselves to chamber desks last month.

Councillors said security needed to be stepped up after the two women "encroached on the safety of members and officers" during their protest last month.

Security locks have now been fitted to the council chamber doors, and the two protestors, who called themselves 'Grannies for the Future', have been banned from attending, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).

In addition, councillors have been issued guidelines to follow should there be any disturbances, the LDRS reported.

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The protestors derailed the previous Full Council meeting held last month (14 April) by glueing themselves to tables.

The motion, which was put forward by Cllr Nocturin Lacey-Clarke and supported by the leader of the council, Cllr Spencer Flower, reads: "We must always support our democracy by ensuring the rights to peaceful protest are respected. However, the behaviour of two climate protesters at Full Council on the 14 April 2022 ruined the potential for an active debate by elected members, prevented any further amendments to the motion being put forward and encroached on the safety of members and officers of this council."

It added: "The security of those in public office has very largely been self-policed through common decency and respect for the rule of law. Recent events across the country and in this Council chamber have caused concern and anxiety for the safety of those in public life who, abide by the principles of democracy and are elected to represent the interests of the people of Dorset.

"Security measures will now need to be stepped up to protect elected members and officers of this council from a repeat of any unauthorised public access to the council chamber, which will sadly be at a cost to the local taxpayer."

Climate protestors are expected to gather outside the council building from 6 pm today (12 May 2022), half an hour before the Full Council meeting is scheduled to begin.

Adam Carey

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