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Join the fightback: Kill the Bill protests coming up this Saturday

Kill the Bill protest

Activists are gathering across the country this Saturday to fight back against the Tory’s draconian Policing Bill. Kill The Bill protesters are set to turn out in force. As extensively reported by The Canary, the legislation expands stop and search powers and criminalise the livelihoods of GRT people among other things. And human rights charity Liberty has called the bill an “assault on basic civil liberties”:

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No Borders Manchester tweeted a list of locations where you can join the fight against this authoritarian new law:

In the north of England these include:

  • 1pm at Briggate in Leeds city centre
  • 1pm at the Bombed Out Church in Liverpool
  • 1pm at St Peter’s Square in Manchester
  • 12pm, Grey’s Monument, Newcastle
  • and 2pm at Sheffield Town Hall

The Midlands

There will also be demonstrations against the bill in the Midlands:

  • 12pm in Coventry at Broadgate
  • 12pm at the Brian Clough statue in Nottingham
  • 12pm at Hanley Bus Station in Stoke-on-Trent
  • The Shrewsbury demo starts at 9am at Quarry Park.
  • Bristol on College Green at 1pm
  • Bath at Bath Abbey at 12pm
  • Cornwall at George Eustice’s Office in Camborne from 2pm
  •  Exeter from 12pm at Bedford Square
  •  and the Plymouth demo will start at Charles Cross Police Station from 12pm
  • Cardiff’s St John Batchelor Statue from 1pm
  • Newtown from outside Santander on the High Street at 12pm

Additionally, the main London Kill the Bill demo will start at Lincoln’s Inn Fields from 12pm.

Why we’re taking part

Some of those taking part explained their reasons for doing so. Gypsy Roma and Traveller community member Anne Marie:

Under the bill, our vehicles, which are often our only homes, could be confiscated and destroyed, whilst parents could be imprisoned and their children taken into care

Disabled People Against Cuts activist Andy Greene:

All of disabled people’s rights and freedoms were gained by us going out and protesting to demand them. All the harm and damage done to disabled people by government policies over the last ten years since austerity was imposed, would have continued unchecked without our community being able to come out onto the streets and tell its own story. These changes will affect disabled people’s right to protest and make us slide back to a state of disability apartheid, that we fought so hard to break down.

The coordinator of the Muslim LGBT Network, Ejel Khan:

As a person of colour and a Muslim I have been stopped and searched on several occasions and the authorities need no reasonable justification now to continue to racially profile individuals such as myself. If the bill is passed racial divisions in society will become more entrenched than they currently are. This is state-sanctioned apartheid, which positively discriminates against minority ethnic communities.

Marvina Newton of Black Lives Matter Leeds and United for Black Lives:

Protest has done so much for people who look like me. If it wasn’t for protesters such as Paul Stephenson, who was once considered disruptive, Black people in this country wouldn’t be able to ride on a bus in some cities or even buy a drink in a bar. This bill seeks to silence our fight against injustice while persecuting me for wanting an equitable society.

NHS worker and campaigner Karen Reissmann:

As a health worker, I think it is essential that we have the right to protest without fear. Too much is at risk. How can being annoying or a nuisance compare to millions of operations and medical appointments cancelled and 100,000 unfilled NHS vacancies.

Stand up for your rights

The proposed law is currently at the report stage, with some calling this weekend’s demonstrations the “last legal protests”:

Show solidarity this Saturday

And in the meantime, it’s a good idea to support those Kill the Bill activists currently in prison. As The Canary reported on 11 January, 10 people are currently in jail for the demonstration in Bristol in March 2021. On 9 January supporters held a solidarity demonstration for the eight held at HMP Portland in Dorset.

One activist told The Canary:

Noise demonstrations like this are extremely important. We do this to remind those who have been imprisoned that they are not alone, and that the struggle continues on their behalf outside of the prison walls. People are not forgotten as soon as they are behind bars. They are bearing the consequences of the repressive laws that we are fighting against, and they remain a central part of our movement.

So whether it is prison solidarity, turning out for the protests this weekend, or both, its time to get involved with the fightback against Priti Patel’s authoritarian Policing Bill.

Featured image – Wikimedia Commons, cropped to 770 x 403, licenced under CY BB 4.0

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