Thousands of people marched through the streets of central London this afternoon, with lots of chants and signs bearing the inscription “Kill the Bill”. Groups demonstrated outside government buildings to protest new legislation aimed at increasing police powers and curbing protests.
Numerous events were also organized in Sheffield, Manchester and Newcastle.
In a statement, Met police said nine people had been arrested and that police were “continuing to engage” with protesters who gathered in a south London park after the march.
Groups began to gather around Trafalgar Square and the Mall shortly after noon.
More than 1,000 people had joined the protest by the end of the afternoon and many made their way to Westminster and to the Home Office.
In Newcastle, protesters were embroiled in a lengthy confrontation with officers outside a police station.
In Sheffield, some protesters took the knee and hailed black power in a park near the city center, before marching towards town hall.
Meanwhile, in Manchester, large groups occupied Portland Street in the city center.
Today’s protests were the last to take place against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
The first of the protests took place in Bristol in March and saw several days of violent clashes between activists and police.
The bill would give police in England and Wales more powers to impose conditions on non-violent protests.
Officers would have the power to stop protests on the grounds that they are too loud or bothersome – those involved facing fines or even jail time.
Metropolitan Police Commander Simon Dobinson had urged people to comply with existing restrictions on coronaviruses.
Ahead of the protest, the Met chief said: “We have tried to contact the organizers of the protests on Saturday.
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He said: “The right to protest is the cornerstone of our democracy, but in recent years we have seen an increase in the use of disruptive and dangerous tactics.
“It is totally unacceptable to destroy private property, block emergency vehicles and prevent the printing press from distributing newspapers.
“The government will not stand idly by as the rights and freedoms of individuals, businesses and communities are violated by a minority.
“These new measures will not prevent people from exercising their civic rights to protest and be heard, but they will prevent large-scale disruption – allowing the silent majority to live their lives.”
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This notice was published: 2021-05-01 17:36:00