After cops shut down its coronation demo, campaign group Republic is coming out against the Public Order Act

Not My Bill flyer about the Public Order Act protest Republic is part of
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After the Met Police targeted anti-monarchy campaigners at Charlie Windsor’s coronation, it became clear that the ToriesPublic Order Act is every bit as dire as people predicted. However, despite it now being law, campaign groups like Republic aren’t done with this dire piece of legislation. They’re preparing to tell parliament exactly what they think of it.

Public Order Act: what a shitshow

As the Canary previously reported:

The draconian Public Order Act was given royal assent on 2 May, dramatically increasing police powers to arrest protesters.

Tom Anderson wrote that:

The new Public Order Act powers include penalties of a year in custody for blocking roads, railways and airports. In addition, protesters who use the tactic of locking-on could face up to six months in prison.

Moreover, he also noted that the Act massively widens the definition of ‘serious disruption’.

This means traditional protest behaviour can now be criminalised, more so when you factor in the Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts (PCSC) Act. We’ve already seen the police attempt to do this.

Read on...

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As the Canary previously reported, when Charles Windsor was crowned, cops arrested a group of Republic members – simply for having placards and planning to protest. Police also accused them of having lock-on kit – which was actually just luggage straps to keep their placards together.

Cops partly used the Public Order Act to do all this. It’s of little wonder, though, really. As the Canary‘s Glen Black previously wrote, the Public Order Act was:

rushed through [parliament] in order to deal with protesters during the coronation.

However, Republic and other groups are not taking this draconian attack on people’s basic rights lying down. It and other organisations have organised a protest against the Public Order Act.

#NotMyAct says Republic and others

At 12pm on 27 May, Republic, Jeremy Corbyn‘s Peace and Justice Project, Black Lives Matter (BLM) Croydon, Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), Just Stop Oil, Extinction Rebellion, and others will converge on Parliament Square:

Republic will be out again for the demo, presumably with placards and luggage straps once more:

The protest is using #NotMyBill – a follow-on from Republic’s #NotMyKing. The group Extinction Rebellion Families explained on Twitter why it’s joining the demo:

The new powers in the Public Order Act are an attack on our right to protest which is a fundamental right & a vital way for children to make their voices heard in a democracy when they aren’t allowed to vote.

The Public Order Act is a blatant attempt to silence dissent and, as ever, marginalised communities are most at risk from the abuse of these powers.

Solidarity is key to resisting this bill, so come together in Parliament Square to tell the government this is #NotMyBill.

Republic said:

While we’re still focusing on our main goal, to push for an end to the monarchy, we realise that to achieve this, we must stand up for the right of freedom of speech, assembly and democracy in this country.

If your political/activist group is also interested in joining, please get in touch at [email protected] – organisers will be in touch. If you’re thinking of attending, please also sign up to the Eventbrite page

You can sign up to show interest in the demo here.

A bit of irony

It’s quite the irony that the Tories have maneuvered society into such a stranglehold that protesters have to protest to defend their right to protest (it’s quite a mouthful, as well). However, that’s where we’re at.

How cops will respond to the demo on 27 May is unclear. Given that some of the groups involved are fairly non-confrontational when it comes to activism, the police response might be low-key. However, the presence of Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion may change that.

Whatever happens, though, at least these groups are actively doing something about our right to protest. If you feel the same, then we’ll see you at Parliament Square on 27 May.

Featured image via Republic 

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