Protesters in Cambridge gathered outside the Parkside Police Station this afternoon, April 3, to take part in a nationwide afternoon of protests around the country.
The ‘Kill the Bill’ protest is being held in opposition to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which is making its way through the House of Commons.
The bill which has caused all this backlash is a huge piece of legislation which includes major proposals to changes on crime and justice in England and Wales.
One of the main points not sitting well with protesters is, well, their freedom to protest.
Currently, if the police want to place restrictions on a protest they have to show that it may result in “serious public disorder, serious damage to property or serious disruption to the life of the community”.
In these instances, specific measures can be imposed on routes of marches, and restrictions are often discussed with organisers before the event takes place to try and reach a compromise.
However, if the bill is passed then police chiefs will be able to put more conditions on static protests.
- Imposing a start and finish time
- Setting noise limits
- Applying these rules to a demonstration by just one person
If someone refuses to follow police directions over how protests should be conducted, then protesters can face a fine of up to £2,500. It will also become a crime to fail to follow restrictions the protesters “ought” to have known about – even if they have not received a direct order for an officer.
The proposed changes include an offence of “intentionally or recklessly causing public nuisance” – which would allow far less aggressive and violent protests to be shut down by police, and protesters arrested.
It is designed to stop people from occupying public spaces, gluing themselves to windows (as XR have been known to do in Cambridge in the past), hanging off bridges or generally doing things to make themselves seen and heard.
Follow our live blog below for all the updates from the protest this afternoon: