A LEADING human rights charity has accused Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of “wildly exaggerating” after he told police chiefs that democratic protests were descending into “mob rule”.

The Tory leader and Home Secretary James Cleverly met with police in Downing Street on Wednesday to discuss a new “democratic policing protocol,” which would see more patrols and clampdowns on protests targeting venues, events and MPs’ homes.

Sunak said: “There is a growing consensus that mob rule is replacing democratic rule. We’ve got to collectively, all of us, change that urgently.”

Sunak said the new protocol “makes clear the consistent and robust approach that your forces will take from now on to protect our democratic processes from intimidation, disruption, from subversion,” according to a Downing Street read-out.

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“We simply cannot allow this pattern of increasingly violent and intimidatory behaviour which is, as far as anyone can see, intended to shout down free debate and stop elected representatives doing their job. That is simply undemocratic.”

The Tory leader continued: “But we also need to demonstrate more broadly to the public that you will use the powers you already have, the laws that you have.”

The protocol sets out that protests at democratic venues or political events should not be allowed to “cause alarm, harassment or distress” to attendees or inhibit the use of the venue, the Home Office said.

Forces will also provide additional patrols in communities at risk of “potential flashpoints”.

But Tom Southerden, Amnesty International UK's law and human rights director, warned that fundamental rights were being eroded.

"Talk of 'mob rule' wildly exaggerates the issue and risks delegitimising the rights of peaceful protest," he said.

"Freedom of expression and assembly are absolutely fundamental rights in any free and fair society.

"The UK has undergone a major crackdown on protest rights in recent years, with peaceful protest tactics being criminalised and the police being given sweeping powers to prevent protests taking place."

Responding to the Tories' plans to crack down on protests outside venues such as the Westminster parliament, public law professor Aileen McHarg wrote: "Attempting to stop protests outside 'democratic venues' like Parliament and council offices is completely outrageous.

"The instincts of this government are consistently anti-pluralist."

Channel 4 News correspondent Alex Thomson questioned what Sunak’s “mob rule” comment meant. He said: “Does he mean Welsh farmers using tractors to block roads? Climate protests? Palestinian solidarity marches? We could all use a little clarification.”

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It comes after the announcement of a £31 million security package to protect MPs from threats, including providing elected politicians with a dedicated police contact to liaise with over safety issues.

Tory Justice Minister Mike Freer, who has said he will not stand at the General Election because of threats to his safety, said the extra cash is “not actually going to the root cause” of the problem.

The new security package will enhance police protection and help fund private security guards for those facing a higher risk. It will ensure all elected representatives and candidates have a dedicated named police contact to liaise with on security matters.

Labour’s shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry (below) said protesting outside MPs’ homes and offices “has to stop”.

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“It is very important that people are able to demonstrate on this extraordinarily important issue [Gaza] and they must be allowed to express themselves,” she told BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme.

“But that should not be expressing themselves in such a way that it is intentionally meant to intimidate politicians. That is not right.”

Conservative backbencher Tobias Ellwood’s home was targeted earlier this month by pro-Palestine protesters.

The family homes of Sunak and Labour leader Keir Starmer have also been the focus of demonstrations by environmental activists in past months.