Activists rally against police bill across UK

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London Police move in to disperse protesters at a 'We Do Not Consent!' mass rally against vaccination and government restrictions designed to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus, including the wearing of masks and taking tests for the virus in Trafalgar Square, London, Sept. 26, 2020, (AFP Photo)

Activists are taking to the streets across the country in “Kill the Bill“ protests, calling on the House of Lords to reject the police, crime, sentencing and courts bill.

Demonstrations are taking place in cities including London, Bristol, Coventry, Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Plymouth on Saturday.

The action comes ahead of a crucial vote on the bill by peers on Monday.

Protesters describe it as a draconian crackdown on the right to assembly, freedom of expression and other civil liberties.

In London, many hundreds marched from Holborn towards Parliament Square in Westminster, chanting “kill the bill” and carrying banners reading “defend the right to protest” and “we will not be silenced”.

Members of a wide range of social, racial and environmental justice groups joined the rally, demanding that peers stop the bill from becoming law.

Demonstrators hold smoke flares during a ‘Kill The Bill’ protest (Danny Lawson/PA)
Demonstrators hold smoke flares during a ‘Kill The Bill’ protest (Danny Lawson/PA)

Ben Hancock, 70, from London, told the PA news agency: “The measures are completely draconian really, basically rights will be taken away from anybody to protest.”

“I mean, effectively we’re going to be reduced to a state similar to Russia.”

Sue, a 62-year-old who would only give her first name and who had travelled to the protest as part of Extinction Rebellion from Godalming, Surrey, said: “And I believe that some of the provisions in that bill will severely limit the sorts of things that we’re able to do to protest.”

Tied to a fellow protester, she went on to say: “So we won’t, for instance, be able to be together like this holding hands, or, or even tying ourselves together.

“There are many, many things that we won’t be able to do and really, protests will just be a thing of the past.

“And so many of the the freedoms that we have in this country have been gained through protest.

“Not through just people being quiet about it, and people in power deciding that they’ll give freedoms to people, but because people have come out on the streets and made a noise and made a protest.

“And I want to still be able to do that, I want my children to be able to do that.”

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