A COUNCIL has apologised to bank protestors who were threatened with a £60 fine.
They were handing out leaflets outside Royal Bank of Scotland in Bournemouth town centre.
Council staff and a Dorset Police CSO said they could only give out leaflets if their demonstration was political or religious. The officials said giving out leaflets for any other reason would be breaching the Clean Neighb-ourhoods and Environment Act.
Now town centre manager Roger Parker has written to the organisers, Bournemouth Uncut, to admit the demonstrators were correct.
He wrote: “I want to reassure you that handing out your leaflets is considered a ‘political’ event in accordance with the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act.
“Subsequent to your complaint, our officers have researched the situation and now have guidance on the definition of a ‘politically’ related event from our legal term.
"In the circumstances I can only apologise for the feelings expressed in your email and reassure you that as a direct result of your experience the council has increased awareness when approaching the issue of enforcement for such activity.”
Bournemouth Uncut held its four man strong demonstration at around 11.15am on Saturday, February 26, to contrast library closures with bankers bonuses.
Campaigner Paul Williams, 41, from Redhill in Bournemouth, a music teacher, had argued: “Our small demonstration was clearly political.
“We are campaigning against Government cuts and against bank bonuses.”
A Bournemouth Uncut spokesperson said the group is ‘happy’ that the council has apologised.