1 May is going to be massive for #KillTheBill

A map of the #KillTheBill demos Priti Patel and Protesters
Steve Topple

Saturday 1 May is International Workers’ Day (IWD) – or May Day. So, what better way to mark over 130 years of struggle than to get out on a #KillTheBill demo?

Remembering the Haymarket Martyrs

As LibCom wrote, IWD dates back to 1886:

the roots of the modern May Day bank holiday are in the fight for the eight-hour working day in Chicago in 1886, and the subsequent execution of innocent anarchist workers.

In 1887, four Chicago anarchists were executed; a fifth cheated the hangman by killing himself in prison. Three more were to spend six years in prison until pardoned by Governor Altgeld who said the trial that convicted them was characterised by “hysteria, packed juries and a biased judge”. The state had, in the words of the prosecution put “Anarchy is on trial” and hoped their deaths would also be the death of the anarchist idea.

The anarchists were trade union organisers and May Day became an international workers day to remember their sacrifice. They were framed on false charges of throwing a bomb at police breaking up a demonstration in Chicago. This was part of a strike demanding an 8 hour day involving 400,000 workers in Chicago that started May 1st 1886.

You can read more about the Haymarket Martyrs here.

So, protesting on 1 May about home secretary Priti Patel’s authoritarian and regressive Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (the Police Bill) seems apt. And here’s how you can get involved.

#KillTheBill everywhere

Campaign group Collective Action LDN has produced an interactive map of where #KillTheBill protests will be happening. It had 46 listed as of Friday 30 April at 12pm. Most of them are happening on Saturday 1 May:

#KillTheBill Demo Map 1 May

Some of the protest are as follows:

And as The Canary‘s Emily Apple previously wrote, make sure you know your rights when you’re out on a #KillTheBill demo.

Rules of the game

First – the government has slightly relaxed the coronavirus (Covid-19) rules around protests. As Apple previously wrote:

regulations have also changed and now include an exemption for protest.

But as police monitoring group Netpol’s Kevin Blowe previously told The Canary, don’t take anything for granted if you’re on a #KillTheBill demo this weekend:

The coronavirus regulations changed on 29 March, providing protests with an exemption from restrictions.

He added:

forces may still take a rigid, confrontational stance on public health rules in areas where there is no prior negotiations, so it remains vital to make sure everyone knows their rights. Please, also remember that social distancing matters – without it, we risk excluding many of the people who are needed to help the movement against the bill to grow

Keep it schtum

Second – follow these simple steps from legal group Green and Black Cross to protect yourself on protests. Make sure you read The Canary‘s full details of them here:

  • NO COMMENT.
  • DON’T GIVE POLICE PERSONAL DETAILS.
  • ASK WHAT POWER UNDER THE LAW ARE THE POLICE USING?
  • DON’T ACCEPT A DUTY SOLICITOR.
  • DON’T ACCEPT A CAUTION.

Also, watch out for the so-called ‘Blue Bibs’. These are police liaison officers. They may appear friendly and make idle small talk, but they are actually trying to get info on you and those you’re protesting with. So, do not engage with them at this weekend’s #KillTheBill demos:

IWD is one of the most important days in the activist calendar. And this year, it takes on new meaning with #KillTheBill. So, the more people out across the country the better.

Featured image via Collective Action LDN – screengrab, the Telegraph – YouTube and Resist G7

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