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Activism

Kill the Bill protests taking place across the country ahead of votes on Policing Bill

Activists have created a map of every Kill the Bill demonstration taking place this weekend.

Kill the Bill protests are taking place across the country on Saturday, ahead of votes on anti-protest measures in the House of Lords next week.

Marches will be held in London, Bristol, Coventry, Newcastle, Liverpool, Sheffield, Plymouth – with protesters urging peers to vote against amendments to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill when it returns to the house on Monday.

Some of those measures would allow police to crack down on protests which cause “serious annoyance”, and to give the police even greater powers to stop and search.

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Ahead of the protests, Labour peer Shami Chakrabarti said: “The anti-protest provisions in this Bill represent the greatest attack upon peaceful dissent in my adult life.”

Activist group Collective Action LDN created a map of all the Kill the Bill protests organised for the ‘Day of Action’ on Saturday, showing action planned from Cornwall to Inverness.

Chakrabarti, along with former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and former shadow chancellor John McDonnell, is due to speak at the London march, which will end in Parliament Square.

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The Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts bill has already passed the House of Commons – with Monday’s vote in the Lords one of its final stages before it becomes law.

The protests will also highlight the bill’s potential impact on minority communities. Wider stop and search powers – which allow “individualised, suspicionless” searches – would put people of colour at risk of “harassment and oppressive monitoring.” Black people are nine times more likely to be stopped and searched by police than white people, official figures for England and Wales show.

LGBTQ+ activist Peter Tatchell said the bill would have made the protests which had overturned anti-LGBT+ laws illegal, and could prevent future human rights victories.

“Protests against fossil fuel companies, arms manufacturers, tax-avoiding corporations and stores that sell clothes made by sweatshop labour will be subject to a battery of restrictions to render them weak and ineffective,” he said.

“The bill is a green light for human rights, environmental and animal welfare abusers.”

The government has rejected a call from parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights to remove a part of the bill which would let police ban protests for excessive noise or disruption.

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In its report, which will be debated by the Lords, the committee said: “It is not clear to us what right the public has to be free from ‘serious unease’ that might result from peaceful and otherwise lawful protest.”

The government rejected this recommendation “entirely”.

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