Announcement

‘Use it or lose it’: United for Black Lives, XR and others to hold protests against Tories policing bill 3 April

A coalition of United for Black Lives, Extinction Rebellion and other groups have arranged demonstration, but have been forced by police harassment to remain semi-anonymous

A coalition of human rights groups have arranged a series of ‘Kill the Bill’ protests to be held on Saturday 3 April at 1pm in London and other cities across the UK. The groups say they have been forced to withhold full details of the organisers by coordinated police harassment of their leaders, particularly younger activists.

Below is their press release in full:

YOUR RIGHT TO PROTEST IS UNDER ATTACK

On Tuesday the 16th of March the UK Government rushed through the newly introduced Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill to committee stage. The 300-page bill was introduced the week earlier, giving very little time for scrutiny from MPs, before the second reading began on the 15th. The bill, among other things, seeks to overhaul the Public Order Act 1986 and puts the right to peacefully protest and assemble in the UK under serious threat.

Peaceful protest forms an important cornerstone of our democracy. It allows the public to express their dissatisfaction with the government at large and is the only way we can seek to hold our leaders to account when they systematically fail us. In fact, only last year the current Policing Minister, Kit Malthouse, stated that “The right to peaceful protest is a fundamental tool of civic expression, and will never be curtailed by this government.”

However, the newly introduced bill seeks to do just that and effectively neuter the power of peaceful protest in this country. The amendments to the Public Order Act will allow police to set restrictions to peaceful protest at their own discretion. These restrictions include the location and duration of the protest alongside noise levels generated by the protest. Furthermore, the police can choose to criminalise a protest on the basis that it is causing “serious annoyance” or “serious inconvenience”.

These wide reaching and broad-brush definitions are ripe for misinterpretation and misuse by an increasingly authoritarian government. The terms stated above effectively allow the state to criminalise any peaceful protest if they choose to. This coupled with soaring fines and prison terms for those caught in breach of these laws set a worrying precedent for the future of our democracy.

In short protest is hereby banned unless sanctioned by the state.

FURTHER OPPRESSION OF MARGINALISED GROUPS

This isn’t the only human rights abuse committed by the bill which also seeks to criminalise the lifestyle of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities and hand more powers to the police regarding stop and search.

GRT communities are among some of the most marginalised groups within our society. This bill would introduce the offence of “residing on land without consent in or with a vehicle”. If found guilty of this offence a person could be fined up to £2500, have their vehicle confiscated alongside not being allowed to return to the area for 12 months. For GRT communities this creates the threat of receiving a hefty fine alongside having their homes confiscated and being forced to leave an area. Their vehicles would remain confiscated throughout criminal proceedings which would potentially leave people homeless for months on end. This is in direct opposition to the ruling of the Court of Appeals decision that “the Gypsy and Traveller community have an enshrined freedom not to stay in one place but to move from one place to another.”

The introduction of Serious Violence Reduction Orders (SVROs) would allow the police to stop and search someone anytime, anywhere without any reasonable suspicion. Undoubtedly this would further the discrimination experienced by ethnic minority and low-income communities and increase the racial gap in our society by funnelling more young people into the criminal justice system for petty crimes.

The initial consultation document recognised that a disproportionate number of black men may be impacted by SVROs. The fact that black people are nearly 9 times more likely to be subject to a stop and search than white people, and other people of colour are over 4 times more likely to be targeted by the power, shows us the reality of the situation. How can the government entertain giving more powers to a racist police force to racially discriminate?

USE IT OR LOSE IT

Already we have seen massive pushback to this bill up and down the country. Demonstrations have sprung up in London, Manchester, Bristol, Brighton, Cardiff and Newcastle. These demonstration have seen a wide range of activist groups coming together including BLM Groups, feminist organisations like Sisters Uncut and climate groups such as Extinction Rebellion. On March the 15th as the second reading of the bill commenced a joint letter signed by more than 100 activist groups was published in the opposition to this bill. From this initial pushback the government has already decided to alter the progression of the bill with many government ministers suggesting that the Joint Committee on Human Rights may decide to remove many of these more serious threats to protest.

Although this is a promising start the fight isn’t over yet. It is vital that we keep up the pressure on the government to make them understand that we will not allow our democratic rights to be taken from us. Kill the Bill are staging a day of nationwide action up and down the country on Saturday the 3rd of April starting at 1pm. Actions are already in motion in cities such as London and Leeds with more to follow. Kill the Bill are a Black-led coalition of activist groups which expresses the solidarity necessary to challenge this bill and build links for future actions.

Let us know if your organisation or group will be joining us on this day of action. If you are interested in holding your own day or action in your own local area, please drop us a message on our socials!

Twitter: @killthebill_uk
Instagram/Facebook: @killthebill_official
Email: killthebill_official@protonmail.com

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14 comments

  1. I’Id suggest that those of us with Labour MPs write or email them to ask them how happy or otherwise they are with the speed and lack of scrutiny which accompanied thee Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

    Their reply will tell you a lot – all you need to know – about the MP’s self-set role in the authoritarianism of the state that is happening.

    1. starmer whipped the compliant plp to support johnson’s patel’s draconian laws. starmer in step with sick despotic tendencies. in fact it was well known that dominic cummings employed an open eugenicist at no 10, yet mandelson and his blair, starmer & coup plotters worked according to their nature to prefer this johnson government rather than a true labour one for once in half a century.

  2. My MP’s angela illeagle.

    I won’t say anymore. Some might get the wrong idea.

    1. Mine is a 2017 newbie, but he never once said or did anything publicly to defend Corbyn or the Corbyn position (“For the Many, not the Few”) that the party pursued under his leadership.

      Moreover, we have recently changed our CLP leadership and it, with obvious support from the MP, went to extraordinary lengths too make sure the AGM diid not produce a criticism of the ‘new (billionaire-approved) management’, Starmer and Evans and its vicious attack on members’ freedom of speech.

      I suspect I owe him the chance to disprove my suspicions, but I don’t have high expectations.

      1. don’t hold your breath, qwertboi. never assume that his type feels as you do about justice and basic truths. they don’t. the abundant evidence is here there and everywhere to see, to listen, to read, reflect, learn and change. until then with vital “scientific” root and branch change, the country is doomed to a sordid everlasting status-quo.

      2. You don’t owe him anything except opposition. There is enough reason in your brief post to justify that.

  3. Quite clever and very sneaky to include the GRT element in a bill restricting the right to protest as the public will be massively in favour of that part of the bill, especially those who regularly have to clean up their shit (literally).

  4. Well, I suspect many people now protesting voted Tory they were warned and didn’t want to listen until it’s too late and sorry you have NO rights in the UK!!!!

    Just what the Tory scum allows you to do as long as it’s not about their abuses and rubbish laws.

    1. Is that you posting on Sevier’s site? I can’t get anything posted there so I will reply here. You are completely over the top with your remarks about China. I would have thought you would know better than to join in with the cacophony of noisy propaganda coming from the BBC and the (other?) corporate media. Mind you, I would have thought better of Sevier too.

  5. And *I* very much doubt that ANY of them voted for Johnson and the Tories grandad!

    1. *I* think you are a tiresome prat, but there we are, these little things are sent to try us.

    2. John, so what did you think about signpost lying through his teeth about the guy who spotted Cummings in Barnard Castle taking legal action against Cummings – ie inventing it so that he could then go on to discredit Jeremy by comparison?

      As for my response to grandad, yeah, sure he believes -‘suspects’ – that many BLM and XL activists voted Tory!!!

      As if!

      He is of course lying through his teeth so as to try and discredit them in the minds of readers of skwawkbox!

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