The bill would give police additional powers to limit protests, such as imposing time and noise limits.
Hundreds of protesters joined marches and rallies across Britain in a ‘national weekend of action’ against proposed new law that would give police additional powers to curb events.
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill harden measures officers can take to disperse protests, such as the imposition of time and noise limits, which activists and activists fear may be used to curb dissent.
Since the bill was introduced in Parliament last month, there have been sporadic protests, notably in Bristol, in the south-west of England, where protests have turned violent with police and a police station. police were bombarded with bricks and glass bottles and police vehicles set on fire.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson criticized what he described as “shameful attacks” on police officers, but protesters accused the police of using harsh tactics.
Paul Brennan of Al Jazeera, reporting on a protest in London on Saturday, said “scores of groups are angry with the bill”.
“There are several provisions in this bill that have caused people to take to the streets – not just in London, but in England. We call it the national weekend of action, ”he added.
On Saturday, climate change group Extinction Rebellion (XR) and the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement joined other activists in ‘kill the bill’ rallies in London and other cities, including Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and Brighton.
“The government is trying to curb protests – especially BLM and XR – that is the purpose of this bill. We want the sections of this protests bill struck down, ”said Mark Duncan, one of more than 500 people marching through central London, beating drums and singing.
Days of protests by Extinction Rebellion brought parts of London to a standstill in early 2019, an action that fueled calls from some politicians for the police to be given more stringent powers to avoid undue disruption.
Protests had not been allowed as long as a coronavirus lockdown was in place, but restrictions were relaxed this week, meaning organized rallies can continue as long as they are “COVID secure”.
In London, the police warned that “coercive measures will be taken, if necessary, in the interest of public health”.
Some senior officers said the label “kill Bill” was deliberately provocative, as “Bill” is a nickname in Britain for the police.