Common terms, magnifying glass in a square

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Disclaimer: every effort has been made to describe the following commonly used words, phrases and acronyms in an accessible, inclusive and understandable way. The glossary will be updated with more terms soon.

This is a pilot resource and we welcome your feedback, questions or suggestions via the feedback page

Protests are acts of solidarity and resistance. They can be gatherings in public or private places. They can be still or moving demonstrations. Protests can be in-person or digital. Protests might include gatherings, vigils, celebrations, marches, sit-ins, boycotts and even paddle outs. Acts of protest might also include letter writing or signing a petition. Certain types of protest and counter protest are protected by law in Scotland.  The law about one person protests in Scotland is different in England and Wales.
Public authority
Public authorities are organisations carrying out state activities like providing healthcare, education or other essential government services. In Scotland, public authorities who might be involved in protest include local councils who can restrict assemblies in their authority area, and Police Scotland who are responsible for the safety of participants and the community.  

Public authorities have to respect, protect and uphold our rights and cannot act to oppose our rights, as defined by the Human Rights Act 1998 section 6. 
Scots Law
Scots Law is the legal system of Scotland. It is different to the legal system of England and Wales.  Scots law is law that is made and enforced in Scotland, for example, Acts of the Scottish Parliament or Scottish common law that is created in Scottish Courts. Some law which applies in Scotland is passed by the UK Parliament and is not Scots Law.  For example, the Equality Act 2010 or the Human Rights Act 1998.