3 April United for our right to protest: Extinction Rebellion, United for Black Lives and others collaborate in national day of action against the Policing Bill

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This Saturday 3rd April at 1pm, a large coalition of groups collaborating to oppose the Police, Crimes, Sentencing and Courts Bill will unite around the country to march for the right to protest. Groups include Extinction Rebellion, United for Black Lives, Black Lives Matter local groups and many more. In London people will meet at Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park for 1pm to march through the streets in a celebration of unity, diversity and protest and in direct opposition to the Policing Bill that seeks to stifle them. See the Facebook event here.

Only united will we defeat this bill.

Speakers on the day include Jeremy Corbyn MP, Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP, representatives from United for Black Lives, and Clare Farrell of Extinction Rebellion and many more. The Protest will wrap up at 5pm.

Three weeks ago, United for Black Lives, Black Lives Matter local groups, Extinction Rebellion and others co-wrote and signed a statement that began the collaboration against the Policing Bill under the ‘Kill the Bill Coalition’. In it they stated that the Bill “appears to be a blatant attempt to create an authoritarian police state, where the voices of ordinary people, particularly those most marginalised and disadvantaged, are silenced by state sanctioned penalties. We collectively decry this move by the UK government and demand that MPs Kill The Bill.”

Marvina Newton, founder of BLM Leeds and United for Black Lives said: “This bill has been created to silence those most marginalised and disadvantaged by taking their democratic rights away from them, only increasing the inequalities we face in the UK. In light of yesterday’s Sewell report which labels Britain a ‘model’ of racial equality, this bill removes our ability to challenge the system that has brutalised, victimised and criminalised Black people in this country. 

“This bill has been designed to create more division within our movement, but we come united and ready to fight for everyone’s rights, to have our voices heard and influence and create an equitable society for all. We will not be silenced. They are trying to bury our voices but with this bill we only grow stronger in solidarity. I do this for my children, for my children’s children, and for everyone regardless of their ethnic backgrounds, gender identities, sexualities, faiths, abilities, ages or social standings and I want them to know that I came, I fought and I thrive to create a legacy for change.”

Alanna Byrne of Extinction Rebellion said, “It should come as no surprise that this government has set out to delegitimise protestors when each protest pierces the bubble of complacency surrounding their record on Covid, racial injustice and climate to name but a few. This is the desperate act of a government in denial, to censor the voices of dissent rather than face the reality of the situation we are in.

“As protest is criminalised and our fake democracy is pushed further towards authoritarianism, we seek to find where we can come together with other movements to tackle the common causes that affect us all. We believe strongly that we will only tackle the intersecting crises we face if we find ways to unite against a system that thrives on division, a pervasive sense of powerlessness and that profiteers from people’s suffering. Together we can and will kill this bill.”

The Kill the Bill coalition said: “Already we have seen massive pushback to this bill up and down the country. Demonstrations have sprung up in London, Manchester, Bristol, Brighton, Cardiff and Newcastle. These demonstrations have seen a wide range of activist groups coming together including BLM Groups, feminist organisations like Sisters Uncut and climate groups such as Extinction Rebellion. Although this is a promising start the fight isn’t over yet. It is vital that we keep up the pressure on the government to make them understand that we will not allow our democratic rights to be taken from us.”

The Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts Bill is a nearly 300 page document, sponsored by the Home Office & Home Secretary, Priti Patel. The Bill proposes to “overhaul” police, criminal justice, and sentencing legislation, and encompasses disparate areas of existing law including knife crime, protests, crimes against children, and sentencing limits. Section 3 of the Bill gives police forces broad authority to place restrictions on protests and public assembly.

Under current UK legislation, police must show a protest may cause “serious public disorder, serious damage to property or serious disruption to the life of the community” before imposing any restrictions. Under the Bill, police forces will be allowed to criminalise protests they believe constitute a “public nuisance”, including imposing starting and finishing times, noise limits, and will be able to consider actions by one individual as protests under provisions of the Bill.

The bill has passed its second reading in the House of Commons, meaning the majority of our MPs are actively voting against our rights and unless we express our dissent, at this point the bill will likely pass.

Keep up to date with other #KillTheBill protests happening around the UK at the @killthebill_official instagram page.
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Twitter: @killthebill_uk

ABOUT EXTINCTION REBELLION

Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and increasingly rapid climate change. If urgent and radical action isn’t taken, we’re heading towards 4˚C warming, and the societal collapse and mass loss of life that that implies. The younger generation, racially marginalised communities and the Global South are on the front-line. No-one will escape the devastating impacts.

Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their Government.

Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:

  1. Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  2. Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  3. Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

What Emergency? | Extinction Rebellion in Numbers |This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook 

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About Rising Up!

Extinction Rebellion emerged from the Rising Up! network, which promotes a fundamental change of our political and economic system to one which maximises well-being and minimises harm. Change needs to be nurtured in a culture of reverence, gratitude and inclusion while the tools of civil disobedience and direct action are used to express our collective power.

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