Dorset Trade Unions Council, Stand Up to Racism Dorset, Weymouth Animal Rights, Black Lives Matter, Unite and Extinction Rebellion are joining forces this Saturday 3 April to protest the Police and Crime Sentencing Bill. The alliance of groups and individuals are meeting at 1pm at the Kings Statue in Weymouth then carrying out a march through the town centre. This peaceful protest will be joining a national day of action against the bill on Saturday across many cities and towns in the UK.
The groups are urging all those who are concerned about what is happening to our basic civil liberties to come together to stand up for our democratic values. The Bill is a deeply worrying step towards becoming an authoritarian police state, where the voices of ordinary people, particularly those most marginalised and disadvantaged, are silenced by state sanctioned penalties. We must act to resist this.
The right to peacefully assemble and protest are a fundamental part of any democracy, empowering people to have their voices heard, in addition to holding the government to account. The government’s Policing Bill is a draconian piece of legislation that seriously threatens the integrity of our democracy, breaking the UN Covenant on Human Rights.
Jenny Lennon-Wood from Dorset Trades Union Council said “The government has exploited key workers, putting their lives at risk throughout the pandemic. The “reward” is an attack on their jobs and pay – renewed austerity to make workers pay for the Covid crisis while the chumocracy continues to pour public funds into the pockets of the super-rich. Now the Police and Crimes Bill aims to rob us all of our right to protest against the injustices of poverty pay, insecure jobs and discrimination in workplaces and all aspects of our daily lives. Dorset Trades Union Council says a resounding NO to this undemocratic assault on our democracy!”
Lynne Hubbard from Stand up To Racism Dorset said: “The government wants to criminalise people who protest against racism – like those who’ve joined demonstrations called by the Black Lives Matter movement. The Home Secretary described these as ‘dreadful’. What’s dreadful is the attack on our rights and on all those who want to see social justice.”
A spokesperson from Weymouth Animal Rights added “It has been paramount to the animal rights movement, as shown throughout history, that the right to protest has made substantial changes in the fight against the torture, abuse and persecution of all animals globally and locally. Take away our right to protest and it takes away ‘their’ voice. We stand united in the fight against this authoritarian bill”.
Portland resident and mother, Olympian, Laura Baldwin, commented with a question, “Please ask yourselves why, if this government says they want to be global leaders in climate and nature restoration, why are they acting to silence the truth tellers of Extinction Rebellion and labelling us ‘extremists’? They say they are not racists, so why are they trying to suppress the BLM movement and label us ‘dreadful’? If they are not sexists, why were women aggressively pinned to the floor during a vigil for a woman killed by a policeman, whilst a week early, male football fans were permitted to flow through the streets as they wished with the police alongside? Much is wrong here!”
Emma Smart from Extinction Rebellion said “As groups we all have our individual campaigns but this bill will affect us all and that is why we are joining together- people united are stronger and an alliance of movements and individuals is real people power and what the authorities that seek to repress us are most in fear of”.
The peaceful protest has been advertising guidelines in order to ensure it is covid-safe, with attendees requested to wear face-masks and maintain social distancing. Anyone who has covid symptoms is being asked not to attend the protest.
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