Thousands of “kill the bill” protestors will flock to UK cities this weekend to demand ministers drop the controversial Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
A coalition of organisations including Sisters Uncut and Black Lives Matter UK will hold more than 40 events across the UK on Saturday, May 1 in opposition to the “authoritarian” Bill which could smother freedom of speech and the right to protest.
“It will take a mass movement to force it to be thrown out of parliament, and that movement is growing,” said an anonymous member of Sisters Uncut in a press release.
“If this police powers bill becomes law, we will see even more police violence – against people who speak up against injustice, and specifically against Black, Muslim and Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.”
The proposed legislation, which includes new police powers to break up protests causing “serious annoyance”, was the subject of protests in March, most notably in Bristol where several people were arrested following violent scenes.
Protests against the legislation’s passage also took place in central London on April 17.
The organiser has taken all reasonable steps to limit the risk of transmission of coronavirus, in line with the risk assessment
If protestors attend a protest with more than six people where the organiser has not carried out the required risk assessment, Liberty adds they may be at risk of arrest.
Dani Cane, a youth worker who plans to attend the protest on Saturday said: “The police have repeatedly proven that they are drunk on power, and will always use violence against us, not just against the most vulnerable people they routinely target, but anyone who they deem to be not behaving in a way they approve of.
“It is vital that we prevent this bill from being passed in order to keep ourselves safe and resist the authoritarian abuse of state power. We must be able to hold the police accountable for the violence they relentlessly cause.”
Jess Sharp, a domestic violence worker who plans to attend the protest on Saturday added: “It has felt like every single day since Sarah Everard was murdered, more stories of horrific police violence have come out.
“The police are bullies and perpetuate endless violence, giving them more power puts us at more risk and so we cannot allow this bill to pass.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The right to protest is a cornerstone of our democracy and the Government is absolutely committed to maintaining freedom of expression.
“But protesters who use disruptive and dangerous tactics – whether glueing themselves to train carriages or blocking traffic, including emergency vehicles – cannot be permitted to trample on the rights of local businesses and communities.
“These new measures will not stop people from carrying out their civic right to protest and be heard, but prevent misery to the public and the loss of millions of pounds to the taxpayer and businesses at the same time.”
When most people think about the Big Issue, they think of vendors selling the Big Issue magazines on the streets – and we are immensely proud of this. In 2022 alone, we worked with 10% more vendors and these vendors earned £3.76 million in collective income. There is much more to the work we do at the Big Issue Group, our mission is to create innovative solutions through enterprise to unlock opportunity for the 14million people in the UK living in poverty.