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‘It’s what you’d expect from the Middle East or China’: Gedling borough campaigners will join protests in Notts later today against ‘draconian’ police bill

A small group of Extinction Rebellion activists will be outside Nottingham Crown Court at 10am to express their opposition to the Bill.

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Campaigners from Gedling borough will today join protests against controversial amendments to a bill that would give police powers to stop and search protesters without suspicion.

Amendments to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (PCSC bill), which has already included “draconian” powers to ban protests over noise, were sparked by recent disruption caused by Insulate Britain demonstrations.

Campaigners say that if the Bill goes ahead without the House of Lords making changes, simply taking part in a demonstration, or making too much noise (such as playing drums or chanting) could result in a criminal record and a 51-week prison sentence.

‘Locking-on’, a technique used by protesters to make it difficult to remove them from their place of protest, would also become illegal and protest organisers could also be imprisoned for nearly 10 years.

Two protest events against the proposals will now take place over the day (December 8) in Nottingham.

Ruth Devlin, 62, from Carlton is a retired journalist and public relations consultant and member of Global Justice Nottingham and is in full support of today’s planned action against the PCSC Bill.

Extra powers could be given to police to stop protests

She said: “Looking back at history we often celebrate protesters. There are statues to Gandhi, Mandela, Emily Pankhurst, all of whom won historic freedoms for people denied their rights. These people were criminalised at the time, but now they’re seen as role models.

“I fiercely believe that everyone should have the right to protest, whether I agree with them or not!”

“This is horrific. It’s what you’d expect from the Middle East, China or Russia,” said Tanya Myers, 63, Mapperley Park, theatre director, carer and grandmother, who is one of the bound and gagged protestors.

“We have a proud history of freedom of speech and it’s about to quietly vanish. Working class men got the vote through protest, and so did women, thanks to the suffragettes. The fact I can go on a country walk today and that there are public footpaths is thanks to the Kinder Scout trespass.”

A small group of Extinction Rebellion activists will be outside Nottingham Crown Court at 10am to express their opposition to the Bill. Four women and one man, all dressed in black, with red mouth gags and their hands held high and bound with rope. A sign says “Death of Protest = Death of Democracy”.

At 5pm people will gather at the Brian Clough statue, (the same time as many protests across the UK) in defiance of the PCSC Bill and it’s proposed restrictions. The march will be led by the five bound and gagged protesters, followed by representatives from a number of groups dressed in black, carrying a candle, and singing a lament to a lone drum beat.

“The Bill was bad enough to start with, but recent amendments seem to imply that posting an event on social media could bring the police to your door. Threatening peaceful protestors with 51 weeks in prison is outrageous!” said Ben Rosser from Sherwood, CEO of The Pythian Club.

“Priti Patel proposes to remove important freedoms and we‘re not going to take that lying down.”

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3 COMMENTS

  1. As a nation we’ve always been really proud about our democracy and about our freedom of speech. I can’t understand how this has happened.
    I have seen groups of people protesting about things I really don’t agree with, but I still think they have the right to protest! Everyone should have!

  2. We in Britain have long criticised those regimes who seek to stifle protest and have felt ourselves to be superior to such states.
    Priti Patels bill threatens to sweep away hard won and cherished right to expression that are fundamental to a democracy and are ingrained in our national psyche and underlies our whole form of governance. This translates directly into our system if policing by consent which we recognise as the only legitimate or indeed practical form of public control
    This bill appears to be aimed at BLM & environmental protestors even though few would argue that these are not laudable aims.
    It is a purely political move, that lacks integrity and is taken without due consideration of the enduring damage it will cause by breaking the delicate social contract.
    I will join the protestors for the peaceful protest ar 5pm in Nottingham I couldn’t rest if I thought i had just let these hard won rights that underpin a healthy democracy slip away.

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