The people of Brighton and Hove took to the streets on Saturday 20 March to protest the Police Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
The socially-distanced protest worked its way through the city from 2pm, ending at a demonstration on Hove Lawns. Those involved are fighting a reprehensible piece of legislature being rushed through commons by the Tory party, that seeks to criminalise protest under the guise of Covid safety.
Should the bill become law participating in public events deemed “a nuisance” could result in five-figure fines and up to 10 years jail time. The low limit at which police would be able to arrest protestors has clearly been set so that central powers have carte blanche to ban any and all protests they disagree with.
Under the current wording, and in-person event that even make enough noise to reasonably cause “a nuisance” or impairs the regular day to day life of even one single person (the literal entire point of protests) can be instantly criminalised, and organisers and attendees alike arrested without furter reasoning.
The abhorrent nature of the fascist legislation has rightfully drawn protests across the United Kingdon, and we are proud to say that Brighton played its part. The march was not only well attended, but those taking part were clearly all masked, and distanced from one another. Previous BLM protests last summer showed that such events can be conducted without any threat of Covid case spikes, a clear and present statistical fact that makes the latest bill even the more disgusting.
Caroline Lucas MP for Brighton Pavilion spoke out against the bill earlier this week, stating that its implementation would “undermine one of our most precious rights”.
The government is rushing this bill through parliament in a knee-jerk reaction to last year’s Black Lives Matter and Extinction Rebellion protests because some right-wing MPs didn’t like them.
“Criminalising protests which are noisy or ‘have an impact’, as this bill would, is outrageous and hands the police sweeping powers to interpret that as they will.”