The government’s policing bill threatens our fundamental right to protest by introducing draconian new police powers to decide where, when and how citizens are allowed to protest. It makes it easier for the police to prosecute peaceful protesters. And it introduces harsh prison sentences for organisers of protests that breach police restrictions, and increased fines for attendees. What’s more, the bill’s trespass offence will criminalise the way of life of nomadic Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities – already some of the most marginalised communities in the UK.
Thankfully, following significant public pressure, peers across the political spectrum have blocked some of the worst parts of the bill. But the fight is not over. MPs still need to approve some of the changes made by the Lords when the bill returns to the House of Commons in February, and the government has made it clear it will try and reverse as many of our wins as it can.
Together we can send a clear message to MPs that the right to peaceful protest is a cornerstone of our democracy and must be protected. In particular, MPs must oppose giving the police powers to restrict protests due to their noise levels, support the right to protest on the streets around Parliament and limit the powers of the police to restrict peaceful assemblies.
So will you write to your MP and ask them to support the House of Lords’ changes to the bill? We’ve written a draft email that you can edit, so it should only take a minute.
This is our last chance to stop some of the worst parts of the bill from becoming law and damaging our rights and democracy. We must act now.