The Tories are trying to silence you!

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Here’s what you need to know about the Priti Patel’s authoritarian public order bill.

Video transcript

Have you ever wanted to change the world? Want to take action against a multinational corporation that’s destroying the planet? Blockade an arms company? Protest against an environmentally devastating transport project like HS2? Or do you want to save a local green area from development by greedy capitalists? 

Well, you can go straight to jail under new laws proposed by Priti Patel.

Yes, that’s right, the home secretary is introducing yet more powers to stifle protest – powers that are a massive threat to our civil liberties.

The police haven’t even had a chance to exercise their new powers in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act and the government has introduced a new Public Order Bill.

We’ve been here before. The bill is basically a rehash of some of the worse amendments to the PCSC act that were chucked out in the Lords. 

New offences include locking on, going equipped to lock on, and obstructing national infrastructure. 

Read on...

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There are new stop and search powers, including a suspicionless power for protest-related offences. This will be used to harass anyone who looks like a protester. But it will particularly impact marginalised communities who already bear the brunt of an institutionally racist police force. 

Protest too much and you could receive a serious disruption prevention order. You don’t even need to commit an offence to get one. Restrictions can include not seeing certain people, not going to protests, and not using the internet for protest-related activities. Orders can even be enforced with electronic tagging. 

But the government’s logic for introducing this new repressive legislation doesn’t even make sense.

In the same speech, Priti Patel described protesters as “a mob” engaged in “disruptive and self-defeating tactics” whilst saying that she wants to free up police who are diverted away from the communities where they are needed most to prevent serious violence and neighbourhood crime”.  She cited the cost of policing XR and Just Stop Oil protests.

MP Matt Vickers described protesters as ‘verging on domestic terrorism’ before labelling protest policing as a ‘waste of time’.

There’s a massive contradiction here.

Introduce a load of new offences and police powers, and guess what? The police will use them.

This will mean more money spent on protest policing and bigger policing operations. Not to mention the amount of money it’ll cost to prosecute and imprison more activists. That’ll mean even less cops available to tackle the sort of crime the Tories claim they want the police fighting.

Because protests aren’t going to stop. There have been 1000s of arrests on XR protests. That’s people who’ve already committed to risking arrest because we are living in a climate emergency. 

And at some point, people will start fighting back in the class war masquerading as a cost of living crisis that’s currently being waged against us.

This is what the government is really worried about. It is cracking down on dissent because it’s lost all legitimacy. It knows it won’t be long before people rise up and start fighting back.

We will continue taking action. Not because it’s fun or because we want to get arrested. But because we don’t have a choice. Our planet is on fire, we can’t afford to pay the bills, and we want a future for our children. 

So we all need to send a clear message to the government. New legislation will not stop us. We will resist these new powers. We will be ungovernable and we will fight back.

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