(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called on police to crack down on protests outside lawmakers’ homes, as he warned that “mob rule is replacing democratic rule.”

Announcing a new set of rules for police officers to follow when dealing with demonstrations, Sunak said the UK’s democratic processes must be protected from intimidation and disruption.

“We simply cannot allow this pattern of increasingly violent and intimidatory behavior which is, as far as anyone can see, intended to shout down free debate and stop elected representatives doing their job,” he said in an emailed statement after meeting with police chiefs in Downing Street.

The government pledged on Wednesday to spend £31 million ($39 million) boosting security for lawmakers and political candidates, amid reports of Members of Parliament being targeted by protesters as tensions rise in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war. 

The new rules — known as the “Democratic Policing Protocol” — provide “clarity that protests at elected representatives’ homes should be treated as intimidatory,” Sunak said. Police have “adequate powers” to direct protesters away, the protocol states.

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

It comes after House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle changed parliamentary rules last week to allow Labour a vote on a cease-fire in Gaza, which he said was based on concern over MPs’ safety. That sparked chaos in the chamber and led to Sunak warning that Parliament should never be intimidated by “extremists.”

Hamas’s attack on Israel in October triggered community tensions in the UK, where pro-Palestinian protests as well as counter rallies have been held regularly in cities across the country.

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