The government’s reaction to protests like that on Clapham Common last night (March 13), when male police officers arrested many women who had gathered to protest at the kidnap and murder of a woman, apparently by a male police officer, is simple: it will stop us from protesting.
Do you think that is reasonable?
Priti Patel is pushing through new legislation to ensure that police can step in to prevent any protests, rallies, or other public demonstrations tomorrow (March 15).
Her new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will expand on powers to restrict demonstrations in the Public Order Act 1986 that allowed them to be restricted if there was a risk of “serious public disorder, serious damage to property or serious disruption to the life of the community”.
The new Bill increases the scope to allow restrictions on the basis of noise: Patel means to literally silence protest in the UK.
If it is enacted as it stands, then police will be able to stop protests that “may result in serious disruption to the activities of an organisation” – for instance by distracting employees in a nearby office.
This also applies if the event disturbs passers-by – if the noise of the protest could have “a relevant impact on persons in the vicinity of the procession”.
The threshold is minimal: if just one person could be caused “serious unease, alarm or distress”, the rozzers would be allowed to move in and get busy with their truncheons.
This is fascism – and it makes a mockery of the false hand-wringing the Bill’s author, Priti Patel, was exhibiting on Twitter yesterday:
Some of the footage circulating online from the vigil in Clapham is upsetting. I have asked the Metropolitan Police for a full report on what happened.
My thoughts remain with Sarah’s family and friends at this terrible time.
— Priti Patel (@pritipatel) March 13, 2021
Don't believe @pritipatel for one minute on how she thinks the Met's behaviour tonight is "upsetting".
Next week, she will try and push through a bill which will severely limit the right to peaceful protest. And we must not let her.
— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) March 13, 2021
We should have known this was coming, though. She made her position clear when she told LBC’s Nick Ferrari “I don’t support protest”:
When someone shows you who they are, believe them…
Priti Patel: "I don't support protests." pic.twitter.com/CHhmLL5Wci
— Femi😷 (@Femi_Sorry) March 13, 2021
The horrendous scenes on Clapham Common last night were a direct consquence of Patel’s ideology. Remember, she controls the Metropolitan Police:
This is outrageous. This has come directly from Priti Patel. We are now a Police State. https://t.co/sFbrjmeBaI
— MimiJ (@MimiJ9) March 13, 2021
This hideous display of police insensitivity on Clapham Common is down to Priti Patel. They followed her guidance from November.
Her position is untenable.
Priti Patel is a danger to every woman, man, and child in this country.#ArrestYourOwn
— Rachael Swindon (@Rachael_Swindon) March 13, 2021
It seems the new Bill will contradict the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights, which enshrines our right to protest in law:
Protest is a human right. It is protected under the Human Rights Act. Right now the government have effectively banned it under the Coronavirus Act and it's not ending there – Priti Patel is attempting to make that permanent with the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
— Moya Lothian-Mclean (@mlothianmclean) March 13, 2021
This Writer therefore called for all right-thinking people to make a stand against Patel’s fascism:
Priti Patel's Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill contains draconian curbs on the right to protest. It will be debated in Parliament on Monday.
Considering events on Clapham Common this evening, there should be a major demonstration in Westminster #EndViolenceAgainstWomen
— Mike Sivier (@MidWalesMike) March 14, 2021
I am glad to report that there will indeed be such an event:
So there it is. If you want to protest against Priti Patel’s (and by extension, Boris Johnson’s) plan to silence protest against male violence on women* then be at Parliament Square in London from 5pm tomorrow – Monday, March 15.
*Yes, she wants to stop all forms of protest but this is what she is stopping right now, and people need to be aware of what it means. If you want to complain about my choice of words, your priorities are as wrong as if you wanted to complain about my characterisation of “male” violence in a previous article.
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