London. Thousands of protesters joined rallies in several British cities on Saturday as part of a “weekend of patriotic action” against a bill that would give police more powers to stop protests.
The Police, Crime, Rulings, and Courts bill aims to tighten measures that officers can take to disperse demonstrations, such as imposing restrictions on time and noise, which activists fear will be used to curb dissent.
On Saturday, the “Kill the Bill” marches were held in dozens of cities, including London, Manchester and Bristol, with support from large activist groups like Extinction Rebellion, climate change advocates and the Black movement. Lives Matter.
“(I am here) to stand up for the rights of free speech and the rights of organizations in our society,” said Jeremy Corbyn, a former leader of the opposition Labor Party who was among thousands of people who joined the protest. In the center of London.
“These demonstrations, 50 of them today, will make a difference,” he told Reuters before the Houses of Parliament.
Since the bill was submitted to Parliament last month, there have been sporadic protests. In Bristol, southwest England, demonstrations were violent, with officers and police stations attacking bricks and bottles, and police cars set on fire.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson criticized what he described as “shameful attacks” on the officers, but the demonstrators accused the police of using extremely harsh tactics.
The days of the Extinction Rebellion protests, which brought parts of London to a standstill in early 2019, have sparked calls from some politicians for police authorities to prevent any unnecessary disruption.