Sunday, 29 January 2023 — Netpol
Public Order Bill and Strikes Bill both in parliament next week
The draconian Public Order Bill is due to enter its report stage in the House of Lords on Monday 30th January. The bill was already a vicious attack on our right to protest, but a new amendment has made it even worse. Last minute changes to the bill include loosening S12 and 14 of the 1986 Public Order Act so that the police can take into account previous protests when imposing conditions on demonstrations – even if the protests are organised by different people with different groups attending. It has also removed protest being a “reasonable excuse” as a defence in court and lowered the threshold of serious disruption to disruption that is “more than minor”.
Meanwhile, our right to strike is also under attack, with the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill also entering report stage in the House of Commons on 30th January.class=”mcnTextContentContainer” width=”100%” border=”0″ cellspacing=”0″ cellpadding=”0″ align=”left”>This attack on our rights is being resisted and there are protests in London on Monday. The Kill the Public Order Bill demo is at 4pm in Abingdon Street Gardens (opposite the House of Lords and Enough is Enough is calling an emergency protest at 6pm outside Downing Street.
It’s clear that the government thinks that it can legislate its way out of facing resistance to its policies that are driving people into poverty and killing the planet. It is scared of our power.
But it’s equally clear that new legislation won’t stop this resistance. We have the right to strike. We have the right to protest. And we will keep resisting because we don’t have a choice.
Read more about Netpol’s campaign to Defend Dissent
We must not forget imprisoned BLM protesters
On 12 January 2023, a protester was sentenced to 34 months in prison for alleged offences during the Black Lives Matter (BLM) demonstration that took place in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in September 2020. Another person has been sentenced to 29 months and a third is already in prison.
Those targeted by the police are all young Black and Asian men who were confronted by members of far-right groups who threw Nazi salutes and racist abuse as well as physical violence at them.
The Anti Racism Protest Defence Campaign is supporting those who have been charged and are crowdfunding to support those in prison.
Those in prison are the victims of a racist criminal justice system. The Black Lives Matter movement received widespread support across Britain in 2020. This same level of support must now be extended to those in prison. Solidarity must go further than a week or a month of action.
Take action and make sure that people know this is happening. Donate to the crowdfunder if you can – or share the link everywhere if you can’t and write to Abz.
Aggravated Activism Day is coming soon….
It’s not long to go now until 15th February and Aggravated Activist Day. Find out why we’re embracing and owning the new police label ‘Aggravated Activist’ and using it to celebrate the hard work of campaigners and activists across Britain, fighting for change in Netpol’s new video.
Get involved and organise something in your area! And let us know what you’re up to so we can start building a calendar of the amazing things people are doing across the UK!
One thought on “Our right to dissent is under attack! It’s time to fight back!”
Apparently, so I’m told by reliable sources, there are still a few isolated individuals in the UK under the mistaken belief that they live in a free and fair democracy where people’s human and civil rights are upheld, where they have real freedom of expression, where there is freedom of the press & no censorship, and where the right of protest and strike actions are respected. Oh yes, and where government is fully transparent and genuinely accountable.
I think that somebody needs to put them straight before they get themselves into trouble. They will be very disappointed, I know, but it can’t be helped. They must be told the truth.