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Kill the bill! Not us!


The government has introduced the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill to Parliament, and its second reading was rushed through. Because of widespread protests, the third and final reading has been delayed.

The bill will ban protests that block roads around Parliament, and it will introduce a new offence, punishable by up to ten years in prison, of ‘public nuisance’ for actions that cause “serious distress”, “serious annoyance”, and “serious inconvenience” including “serious noise”! 

It will make trespass an offence, criminalising Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. And introduces new stop and search powers that will increase racial profiling and harassment.

It also includes a possible ten-year sentence for damaging a memorial or statue. It means you could get a longer sentence for damaging a statue than the average sentence given to rapists!

Protests take to the streets

Since the vigil for Sarah Everard (a senior police officer has been charged), there has been waves of protests throughout the UK against the policing bill, police brutality, the carceral state, misogyny and racism and to demand the right to protest for all.

The police ‘safeguarded’ Sarah Everard’s vigils by forming human barriers and pushing the protestors, mainly women, closer together. Millions of people looked in horror as TV news showed police officers brutally arresting women at such vigils. 

In every demonstration police used threats of arrest and fined some protestors up to £10,000.

Legal confusion grew following last week’s Court of Appeal case – during which the police appeared to accept that it did not have a policy of blanket bans on protests because that would breach human rights.

More than 60 MPs and Lords have written to the Home Secretary calling for a change in Covid-19 legislation to allow protests to happen during the lockdown. Their letter says, “The police have no legal certainty as to their duties and powers, protestors have no legal certainty as to their rights, and there is  inconsistent application of the Regulations across the country. This cannot continue”.

Sam Grant from Liberty said: “Last week, the police conceded protest is not banned under the lockdown regulations but used them to threaten to arrest demonstrators anyway.”

Policing is unaccountable, aggressive and violent

coalition of groups has come together to oppose the bill. Sisters Uncut have led the fight against the bill and women’s demonstrations. As they say, events have shown that protest works, “that’s why they want to ban it, and that’s why we’re fighting back. The coalition that is coming together shows that many people are angry about the brutal reality of policing in this country and who are determined to fight this dangerous extension of state power….policing is unaccountable, aggressive and violent. Targets of police repression – working class people, racial minorities, sex workers and many others – have had enough.”

Our democracy not theirs

When Johnson and the establishment talk of democracy, they mean bourgeois democracy and the rule of their law. When people start anything that could harm their control, they react by trying to kill it off.

Organisations of youth and women are taking to the streets. This is a struggle for our democratic rights, for our democracy, the democracy of the streets and our organisations.

Successive governments have introduced anti-trade union laws, and the TUC did nothing but hold conferences. Labour governments increased those powers of the state which are used against workers. At the same time, each government has strengthened immigration controls and removed automatic rights for health and jobs. Our rights have been attacked for decades, and now they are coming for more.

The Tories know that anger is building against their policies on Covid-19 that led to so many unnecessary deaths in care homes, of elderly people, frontline workers, black and ethnic minorities and disabled people. The anger of many health workers is increasing because most were ‘honoured’ by Johnson with a 1% pay increase that amounts to an effective pay cut. Workers are also fighting and striking against “Fire and Rehire”. All these problems highlight that Johnson aims to make poor people and workers pay for their mismanagement of the Covid-19 crisis and the coming economic crisis.

Women and youth, workers and unions that organise strikes, all those opposed to violence against women and black people show they can fight. That is what the government fears because, in many cases, the struggles are not controlled by the Labour Party or by the TUC.

Trade Union leaders pose no action

Union leaders will make speeches on Zoom, they may condemn the Tory bill, and then they will go quiet.

Most unions in health say they support the 15% pay demand of NHS workers. They praise them but do nothing.

That is why we say to workers: act now, take this discussion into every workplace, discuss the Tory bill and how it is a major attack on your right to organise. Discuss how to fight this, and demand your union opposes and mobilises fights the bill. Kill the bill – you have the power to do that, but you need to organise with the women and youth and all social struggles.

Defend our democracy on the streets

Kill the bill! Not us!

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