Socialist Worker

Thousands take to streets as MPs clear way for protest-smashing Police Bill

Issue No. 2746

A defiant crowd gathered outside Parliament Square

A defiant crowd gathered outside Parliament Square


Chants of “Kill the Bill” rang out in Parliament Square on Tuesday night. Thousands of people took to the streets against a new assault on the right to protest—as well as sexism and the police.

People chanted, “Sack Priti Patel,” and, “Police are the problem”. There was a minute’s silence to remember all victims of state violence.

Inside the House of Commons MPs backed the protest-smashing Police Bill by 359 to 263 votes. The result was met with boos of anger—and protesters made clear that implementing new curbs on people’s rights will be met by defiance.

The angry scenes outside marked the fourth night of mass protest in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder and the police violence at a vigil on Clapham Common.

Tories’ draconian police bill will ensure many more repeats of Clapham Common
Tories’ draconian police bill will ensure many more repeats of Clapham Common
  Read More

Maddy, a student on the protest, told Socialist Worker, “They police our protests without respect already, I can’t imagine what it will be like after this bill. It will make being loud or annoying to powerful people into offences.

“Priti Patel will have the right to define who can be cracked down on. They know there’s a feeling against them in society and they want to stifle it.”

“We are more than them," said a speaker from the Crossroads Women's Centre. "We are a real movement for change.” 

Extinction Rebellion supporters denounced the way the government has specifically mentioned the group as a threat that has to be suppressed. “We have effectively raised the scale of the climate crisis, so we are now targeted,” said one.

“It’s important to keep protesting and not be intimidated or put down.

“There are so many issues we have to take on—racism, sexism, the climate crisis, the way migrants and refugees are treated and more.”

Night 

On the same night in Manchester, hundreds of mainly young people marched through the city centre chanting, “Kill the Bill.”

Protester Molly told the crowd, “We’ve seen the way the police behave without this law.” She pointed to the violent “response to the protest in Clapham Common this weekend, where women came together to mourn the death of Sarah Everard”.

“They disproportionately stop and search black people, who are nine times more likely to be stopped,” Molly added.

“The way the police viciously treat HS2 protesters. The countless victims of police brutality who see no justice, the women who were coerced into relationships with undercover police officers.

“And the way they protect fascists, time and time again.”

It’s vital to keep protesting and not allow our rights to be stolen.

Join the emergency meeting, Resist the police crime bill: defend the right to protest, 6pm on Thursday. Speakers include Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP, Manchester vigil organiser Iris, human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce, Karen Reissmann, a nurse fined for protesting.

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