By Michael Holden | Reuters
LONDON – Dozens of marches and rallies are planned across Britain on Saturday as part of a ‘national weekend of action’ against proposed new law that would give police additional powers to curb protests .
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill would strengthen measures officers can take to disperse protests, such as imposing time and noise limits, which activists and activists fear it will be used to curb dissent.
Since the bill was introduced in Parliament last month, there have been sporadic protests, notably in Bristol, in the south-west of England, where protests have turned violent with police and a police station. police bombarded with bricks and glass bottles, and police vehicles set on fire.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson criticized what he described as “shameful attacks” on police officers, but protesters accused the police of using harsh tactics.
On Saturday activists, climate change activists and the Black Lives Matter movement say they will join ‘kill the bill’ rallies in London and other cities like Manchester, Leeds, Brighton and Bristol.
“As protest is criminalized and our bogus democracy is pushed further towards authoritarianism, we seek to find where we can come together with other movements to tackle common causes that concern us all,” Alanna said. Byrne of the environmental group Extinction Rebellion.
His group’s days of protests brought parts of London to a standstill in early 2019, an action that helped fuel calls from some politicians for the police to be given more stringent powers to avoid undue disruption.
Protests had not been allowed as long as a coronavirus lockdown was in place, but restrictions were relaxed this week, meaning organized rallies can continue as long as they are “COVID secure”.
In London, police have warned that “enforcement action will be taken, if necessary, in the interest of public health.”
Some senior officers said the label “kill Bill” was deliberately provocative, as “Bill” is a nickname in Britain for the police.
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