500 signatures reached
To: MPs, Parliament as a whole & UK Government
Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021
To open up an inclusive, extensive, deliberative, participatory national debate about these proposed, further restrictions on the fundamental democratic right to protest.
Why is this important?
The words of the Met Police Commissioner in calling for more police powers over demonstrations are chillingly frank about the target of such proposed legislation. Protest is fundamental to democracy in that it allows citizens to gather together to air issues, generate support for them and publicise the strength of feeling about those issues to policy-makers, who cannot, or will not, facilitate proper debate about these issues amongst the citizenry itself and not just within a parliament dragooned into following party leadership instructions. Protest is inevitably ‘inconvenient’ but it is often only when our lives are disrupted that we sit up and take notice of what is happening to us and around us. We know from experience how restrictions designed, purportedly, to cover a very specific ‘concern’ have an uncanny habit of being rolled over into all sorts of circumstances.
“Ever since the first large-scale Extinction Rebellion protest in April last year I have been talking publicly and with the government about the potential for change to powers and to legislation that would enable the police to deal better with protests in general given that the act that we work to – the Public Order Act – is now very old, [dating to] 1986
But specifically to deal with protests where people are not primarily violent or seriously disorderly but, as in this instance, had an avowed intent to bring policing to its knees and the city to a halt and were prepared to use the methods we all know they did to do that.”
Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick