Cameron’s Fight Against Militancy Leads to Battle over Freedoms

British Prime Minister Cameron arrives at EU Council headquarters for EU leaders summit in Brussels
REUTERS/Darren Staples

A decade after four Britons in London carried out the first suicide bombings by Islamist militants in Western Europe, Britain is planning new anti-terror laws that critics say are an assault on freedoms and will not work.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s government wants to ramp up powers this year to ban “extremist” groups, close mosques where radicals thrive, stop extremist broadcasts, and give police and intelligence services broader powers to monitor communications.

Ministers say those powers are urgently needed to address threats posed by organisations such as Islamic State and to prevent another attack on the scale of the July 7, 2005 bombings when four Muslims killed 52 people on three trains and a bus.

Last month’s attack in Tunisia in which 30 Britons were killed emphasised the need for measures Cameron promised to bring forward after winning an election in May, ministers say.

But the proposals face widespread opposition.

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