‘If we don’t protest, things don’t change’
The police, crime, sentencing and courts bill, which passed its second reading in parliament last month, will modify existing public order legislation to make it easier for police to ban or shut down peaceful protests if they are considered too disruptive or likely to lead to disorder.
This means an individual holding a placard with a megaphone could be fined up to £2,500 if they refuse police direction.
Additionally, criminal damage to statues and memorials, like those witnessed during the Black Lives Matter protests last year or the fule protest in 2007 that brought motorways to a halt would be punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
In London, thousands of protesters rallied at Speakers’ Corner from midday onwards before marching down Park Lane, towards Westminster. Marching to the beat of a samba band, crowds chanted: “Kill the bill” and “The UK is not innocent.”
Speaking in Parliament Square in central London, Mr Corbyn invoked figures such as the suffragettes and Nelson Mandela as he urged the crowd to oppose the bill.
“Stand up for the right to protest, stand up for the right to have your voice heard,” he said.
Jeremy Corbyn spoke about how it was”perfectly correct and proper vigil” for Sarah Everard, who was killed as she walked home in south London
“I want a society where it is safe to walk the streets, where you can speak out, you can demonstrate and you don’t have to seek the permission from the police or the home secretary to do so,” he said.
Several women addressed the crowd and shared personal experiences of abuse and being drugged.
Protesters carried anti-sexism placards and chanted “women scared everywhere, police and Government do not care” as they marched past Downing Street.
The Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy was among the speakers who addressed the crowd in the park. She said: “The police, crime, sentencing and courts bill should come as no surprise: it’s part of an authoritarian drive from this government. We can see it in everything they have been doing recently, from voter ID registration to anti-union laws and now anti-protest laws. They want to strip away our hard-fought, hard-won democratic rights and we must stop them.”
Other speakers included the Labour MPs Apsana Begum, Clive Lewis and Zarah Sultana, and the civil rights campaigners Peter Tatchell and Lee Jasper.
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”- John F. Kennedy
There is an inevitable truth in the words of JFK, its not a justification of violence but it is a warning of more protest and a rejection of a system that has overstretched in its intrusions onto peoples liberties and lives.
This is not a Left or Right issue, this is an issue that affects all people of all persuasions. Thomas Paine once said: “He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression.” in that light it’s understood ensuring our liberties are not taken from us or restricted in any way is ‘common cause’.
The British people are many things and have many layers of complexities but the one thing that binds us all is our freedoms, those hard fought battles from the Magna Carta of 1215 to the Human Rights Act 1998, were not given they were won.
Freedom of speech and the right to protest peacefully are protected by the law both the common law and the Human Rights Act 1998 cover these fundamental rights.
Common law stipulates our rights: personal security, personal liberty and private property, and auxiliary rights necessary to secure them, such as access to justice. Rights to a fair trial, right to open justice and to freedom of speech are recognised both in the common law and in the Convention of Human rights.