Kill The Bill Protest Planned in Worcester This Saturday

We have been informed of the final details for a Kill the Bill protest in Worcester this Saturday. This event will be a chance for the community to come together to oppose the implementation of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

We are advised this will be a socially distant event, with participants asked to bring masks, hand sanitiser and a sign. Those who want to show their opposition to the Bill should meet at the Elgar Statue at 13:00 this Saturday. We understand that the protest has been organised by the community in response to the Government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

Poster for the event

The bill is currently working its way through Parliament and will be debated at committee stage in May. Protests to the bill have been widespread across the UK, with many concerned that if passed, the Act would see a further transfer of power into the hands of the state. At present, the bill covers a wide range of topics, including the right of the Police to shut down protests. The new powers would mean that the Police have the power to intervene and shut down a legitimate protest based on how loud the protest is and whether its cause an ‘annoyance.’

The fact that these wide sweeping powers are being passed over to the Police and the State would concern anyone that wants to live in a free and fair society. The right to protest is enshrined in the UN Human Rights Charter under Article 11: Freedom of Assembly and Association. The UK Government are actively working to take away our basic human rights to protest against unjust laws and for a fairer society. Due to the Bill’s extremely generalised wording, we could see these new Police powers at use in more places than just standard protests. We could see the Police use these powers to break up pickets set up by striking workers if it is deemed they are causing a serious ‘annoyance.’

The bill also has some appalling implications for the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) community. With racism against the GRT community rife in British society, the Government have made the decision to come down hard on members of those communities who try and set up camp in an area deemed unauthorised. Those found guilt of setting up an ‘unauthorised camp‘ will now face up to three months in prison, the removal of their homes and they will not be able to return for a 12-month period. They will also receive a criminal record. Clearly this move will bring the Government into direct conflict with the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Equality Act 2010, and we must show full solidarity with the GRT community.

Some have taken the view that the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is about giving the Police the power to shut down events that may be considered dangerous during an ongoing pandemic. However, this is a completely misleading narrative as the Bill has been in the pipeline for some time. Cressida Dick, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, has been calling for additional Police powers with regards to protests since 2019. She and other Police forces were growing concerned over the actions of Extinction Rebellion and called on the Government to implement stronger protest laws to serve as a “deterrent.” You can read more about the timeline and origin of the Bill on Novara Media.

The Police have done themselves no favours in responding to protests against the bill, choosing to use heavy-handed tactics including kettling protestors and breaking up peaceful protests with police horses. These scenes came off the back of the Met Police’s disgraceful handling of the Sarah Everard vigil. This is why we need as many people as possible to safely gather on Saturday to show that we will not let the State take away our basic human rights. We must defend our right to protest.

We will keep you updated with any developments that we are informed of regarding Saturday’s event.

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Cover Photo by Kyle Bushnell on Unsplash

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