On 16th March the Conservative Government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill passed its second reading, bringing closer one of the biggest attacks on democracy, and under represented communities, in the UK in recent memory.
If passed into law, the Bill will immediately place a target on Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities with the police able to seize individuals property and vehicles, while also levying fines and the potential threat of prison.
In addition the Bill also places severe restrictions on our human right to protest, notably by enhancing the ability of police to place restrictions on public processions while at the same time leaving what such restrictions may be entirely open.
Framed as an attempt from the Conservative Government to curtail what is seen as the most disruptive elements of campaigns such as Black Lives Matter and Extinction Rebellion, the truth is the Bill will permit authorities to restrict any public protest, regardless of the subject matter, based on anything as simple as the potential level of noise from protestors.
In a week which has seen the Metropolitan Police in the headlines for their heavy handed treatment of women who organised and attended the vigil in memory of Sarah Everard in Clapham Common, the potential risks of this happening cannot be underestimated.
At a time when many under represented communities are under attack, as part of a media fuelled ‘culture war’, this Bill will potentially nullify their ability to fight back, from Black Lives Matter to Pride.
Protests against climate change? Attacks on our NHS? Austerity? All restricted if this Bill passes into law.
As a movement with a history of campaigning, including protesting, it’s important that everyone stands together in opposing this attack on our human rights from the Conservative Government and that the Trade Union movement stands in solidarity with those who continue to protest in the name of fairness and equality.
Kris is standing for the NEC as part of the Democracy Alliance. Click on the image for more information.