Kill the Bill. Under this bill, a person could get a longer sentence for damaging a statue than raping someone.
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is the beginning of the Conservative-led government becoming even more authoritarian. The Bill has already passed with 359 votes on March 16. The 300-page proposal has massive coverage. Including criminalising aspects of the way of living for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.
One of the (many) things about this bill that I found so troubling is that it was suggested in response to the abuse of power displayed by the police when they treated protesters with violence during a vigil for Sarah Everard — who was murdered by one of their own. Instead of the government taking this as an opportunity to provide new legislation to protect women — they took the opportunity to give the police more power.
This Bill will bring in a bunch of new measures. The one that many people are rightfully getting stirred up about is how it will affect protests. Under the Bill, the police will be able to control the start and finish times, set noise limitations, and prosecute protestors with more ease.
Public protests have been at the heart of progressive change in the UK, and limiting protests will without a doubt slow down progress. The Conservative Party first established its attack on protests during the Extinction Rebellion protests back in 2019. This Bill will be felt the hardest by environmentalists, anti-capitalist campaigners, anti-racism activists, and anyone fighting for progress.
Furthermore, the police have been handed over extraordinary powers with the Coronavirus Bill, and it is unbelievable that they are being handed even more after years of continuous abuse of power, especially in 2020 with the Black Lives Matter protests where the police reacted violently and used horses to injure and ‘control’ the crowds.
The police and the government will now have a say on what people can and can not protest for. Naturally, many people want to get involved with protests that amplify women’s voices against violence and anti-authority figures — yet the government will now be able to silence this movement.
The Tories have launched an attack on democracy. Everyone must resist this and there are a few things you can do to help appeal the decision. This is a slippery slope towards complete authoritarianism. Here are a few things everyone can do:
- Write to or email your local MP
- Use social media to voice your opinion using #ProtestBan
- Sign this petition: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/579012
- Support the right to protest