A number of large protests went ahead in Oxford in 2020 despite the coronavirus, including a Rhodes Must Fall demonstration in High Street in the summer and a Black Lives Matter rally in South Park.

There is a right to protest in the UK but officers have the power to break up and fine people for being part of a protest, on coronavirus health grounds.

In June, police didn't break up peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstrations even though they would breach coronavirus laws.

Oxford Mail:

There were hundreds of people in Oxford High Street in June but police did not prevent the demonstration from going ahead.

Read again: Oxford University college to keep slave trader statue

According to Government advice, by law you must tell the police in writing six days before a public march if you’re the organiser.If you arrange a march at short notice, you must still tell the police as soon as you can.

The police can change the location, limit how long a rally lasts, limit the amount of people who attend and stop a sit-down protest if it blocks traffic or pavements.

Oxford Mail:

At the Rhodes Must Fall demonstration protesters called for a 'racist statue' of Cecil Rhodes, which stands above Oriel College, to be taken down.

A decision over the future of the statue of the British imperialist has been delayed until the spring.

A commission was set up to examine the statue's future and said a report would be released this month but the date has been delayed due to a large number of submissions.

All Souls College has dropped the name Christopher Codrington from its library, but has refused to remove its controversial statue to the slave trader.

Oxford Mail:

A Black Lives Matter protester

Codrington, a former fellow of All Souls, died in 1710, leaving a bequest of £10,000 to the college, which unofficially gave his name to its library where the statue stands.

Read more: Cecil Rhodes statue inquiry findings delayed

The marble statue by Henry Cheere was created in 1734 and shows Codrington in Roman costume.

Oxford Mail:

A colourful protest by Extinction Rebellion

In a bid to address the issue, All Souls has erected a memorial plaque at the entrance to the library in memory of all those enslaved on the Codrington plantations.

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