Scroll down this page for
1: The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021
2: Key statements from KONPNE
3: Protect the right to protest – sign and circulate these petitions
4: Joining the dots
5: Open letter
6: At the Monument, Newcastle upon Tyne: 3.4.21 // 17.4.21 // 1.5.21 // 15.1.22
7: Voting in the Lords – Monday 17th January 2022
UPDATE: 28th April 2022
The UK government’s controversial policing bill becomes law this week. Despite huge public outcry and opposition from many MPs, Peers and campaigners, it was finally passed with measures that will severely restrict our right to protest – and attack the way of life of many.
But our fight doesn’t end here. Our movement will continue to challenge growing authoritarianism, defend the right to protest and stand in solidarity with the groups most affected – such as the Gypsy and Traveller communities who face increased criminalisation under this law.
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021
The government is still pushing through legislation that threatens our fundamental democratic rights. It gives the police sweeping new powers to restrict the location, time and noise of peaceful protests – protests could be banned because they might cause annoyance, or unease, or just be too noisy.
The right to free speech and right to assemble are basic human rights – put together they make the right to protest. They are essential in a democracy. If this Bill is passed, our right to stand up to protect the NHS will be significantly restricted.
“It appears that our Government is now not just intent on dismantling our NHS, but through this bill they are attempting to break our capacity to act to protect it” NHS Staff Voices – KONP, March 2021
“This is an attack on our right to political participation. For people engaged in social movements, the fabric of our lives is interwoven with regular organising meetings, talking to people, forming friendships and sharing information online – in short, coming together in solidarity around the issues that matter to us. Protest-banning orders threaten to criminalise these things, isolate people and devastate movements and communities”. Excellent article from Open Democracy – 6th December 2021 (click here for the full article)
Click here for the UK Parliament website, providing details of the Bill.
…..and KONP Co-Chair Tony OSullivan makes this crucial point on social media @DrTonyOSullivan :
@NHSStaffVoices opposing draconian proposals in Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts Bill. This would’ve stopped us protesting & saving Gloucestershire community, Lewisham, Barnstable, Glenfield, Huddersfield RI, Ealing, Charing Cross, Liverpool Women’s Hospitals …
“The whole point of protest is that it does have an impact and may well cause unease or annoyance to those who do not agree with its aims. The value of our freedom to assemble peacefully and express our views is supremely important, and protected in law by the Human Rights Act 1998. The proposals in the bill are clearly a clampdown on protest with too many discretionary powers being given to the Home Secretary and the police. More than 150 groups, including human rights charities, unions and faith organisations have warned that it will have a hugely detrimental effect on civil liberties.”
to read the full statement from National KONP
Sir David King, former Government Chief Scientist, on the Police and Crime Bill 2021:
“It’s extremely worrying, as we pride ourselves in Britain on having developed a true democracy. Any democracy needs to give voice to dissent. There’s a real danger that we’re going down a pathway that leads away from democracy.” 13th April 2021; click here
Joining the dots
From Unlock Democracy
These might all sound fairly innocent –
Judicial Review and Courts Bill
Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill
Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill
But when you join the dots, a clear picture emerges. Put together, they make up a huge power grab by the Government and a concerted attempt to stop anyone from holding them to account.
To us – it’s clear the Government wants to be untouchable. That’s why they want to pass the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which will restrict our right to protest against their actions. It’s also why they are introducing the Judicial Review and Courts Bill, designed to make it harder for individuals to challenge unlawful decisions made by the Government and public bodies.
Can you see a pattern here?
The Government also want to sneak through the Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill – putting the power to call a General Election solely in the Prime Minister’s hands. The Elections Bill puts the Electoral Commission under the control of Conservative politicians as well as potentially disenfranchising millions through voter ID.
And that still isn’t everything. But it all adds up to a huge and sustained attack on our democracy that has no precedent in this country.
PROTECT THE RIGHT TO PROTEST – sign and circulate these two petitions
for more information and to sign the “Freedom of Assembly Rights” petition
for more information and to sign the UK Gov petition
** Update 2nd April 2021: Due to the large number of people who have signed the UK Gov petition, the issue is now scheduled for debate in the Commons at 6.15pm on Monday 26th April, This debate may be viewed at the youtube link here and a transcription of the debate will be available from Hansard and linked here
This open letter is co-signed by KONPNE.
The “Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill” must be defeated, as it is an attack on our rights. The Government is intent on dismantling our NHS and, through this Bill, they are now attempting to break our capacity to protect it.
At the Monument, Newcastle upon Tyne: 3.4.21 // 17.4.21 // 1.5.21 // 15.1.22
3rd April 2021: David McAllister speaks for North East People’s Assembly at the Kill the Bill protest in Newcastle
“The best way to defend the right to protest is to keep protesting”
17th April 2021: KONPNE at the rally at the Monument in Newcastle upon Tyne
The Government is now not just intent on dismantling our NHS but, through the Police Bill, they are attempting to break our capacity to protect it.
It is important for KONPNE members to be at the Monument – the “Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021” must be stopped….if passed, it will have a hugely detrimental effect on freedom of speech, democracy and civil liberties
Click here for a report + photos + videos from The Chronicle
1st May 2021: Statement of support from KONPNE
Keep Our NHS Public North East send our very best wishes for a successful day of action this May Day. In our ambition for a return to a universal, publicly—funded, publicly-provided, national health service free at the point of use: we find that we have more and more reasons to protest.
Last year we had several protests about the money being poured into the disastrous SERCO “Test and Trace”, the inclusion of the NHS in the Trade Bill and migrant charging in the NHS. This year we have actions planned protesting about private on-line GP services in North Tyneside and the embedding of private companies in the new Integrated Care Systems.
As the mainstream media continues to fail the public by not informing them of continuing, creeping privatisation of the NHS, it is absolutely essential that we have the freedom to take to the streets to inform the public ourselves. In the words of the KONP NHS Staff Voices group:
“It appears that our Government is now not just intent on dismantling our NHS, but through this bill they are attempting to break our capacity to act to protect it”
Solidarity and thanks to everyone participating today.
Jude Letham Co-ordinator KONPNE
15th January 2022 – Kill The Bill National Day of Action – voting takes place in the Lords next week
Is there anything more deserving of protest than a plan to infringe the right to protest?
THIS BILL MUST BE STOPPED. KONPNE were proud to speak at the Kill The Bill Rally in Newcastle today, and many thanks to North East Peoples Assembly, Stand Up to Racism North East, Resist Ncl and Extinction Rebellion North East for organising the event. A great turn out – and, now, we expect our representatives in London to do the right thing by voting to uphold democracy and human rights
Jude Letham, Co-ordinator, Keep Our NHS Public North East at the Kill The Bill National Day of Action, 15th January 2022
Click here to watch (most of) the speech on video, and click here for a written version
Voting in the Lords – Monday 17th January 2022
Speaking on the win in the Lords in January 2022, the Chair of the London Race and Criminal Justice Consortium Lee Jasper said:
“We definitely won an important battle on Monday. Now we have to keep it moving if we are to win the war. This government has embarked on the most sustained and savage attack on our human rights ever seen in recent history. We will not stand for it. Together we can win.”
On Monday we welcomed the news that some of the discriminatory legislation was rejected as “outrageous” by Labour peers and sent back to the Commons for review. After weeks of discussions, the Lords voted down amendments that could have criminalised “noisy” protests and extended stop and search powers. Already, police are nine times more likely to stop and search Black people rather than White people. Amendments to the bill would have worsened this discrimination, allowing officers to search citizens without even suspecting them of having committed a crime.
However, we will remain vigilant while the government could reinstate these amendments. Trespassing legislation in the bill remains intact and would threaten the very existence of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. Meanwhile, the Nationality and Borders Bill will enter the committee stage on Thursday 27 January, which could jeopardise the British citizenship of 6 million people.
Monday 17th January 2022 Results Breakdown:
Peers voted against the government’s plans to:
Create a new offence of “locking on”, a tactic used by protesters to make it difficult to remove them, carrying with it a penalty of up to a year in prison
Create a new offence of obstructing the construction or maintenance of major transport works
Make it an offence for a person to interfere with the use or operation of key national infrastructure, including airports, the road network, railways and newspaper printers
Allow police officers to stop and search a person or vehicle if it was suspected an offence was planned, such as causing serious disruption or obstructing major transport works
Allow police to stop and search anyone at a protest “without suspicion”
Allow individuals with a history of causing serious disruption to be banned by the courts from attending certain protests
Peers voted for new amendments to the bill that would:
Scrap the power to impose conditions on protest marches judged to be too noisy
Protect Parliament Square as a place to protest
Require police officers to tell the truth in public inquiries
Demand an urgent review into the prevalence of drink-spiking offences
Restrict the imposition of tougher sentences for blocking a highway to major routes and motorways (rather than all roads)
Nick Anim of Jubiliee4Climate, Africans Rising and Extinction Rebellion, “I wish I could say that the various defeats for the government in the House of Lords amount to a victory. But for me, we shouldn’t be fighting just to keep our basic human rights and civil liberties. And that is what the PCSC Bill was and still is about. It is the government telling us that there is no alternative; the future is more of the same. They are trying to limit our imagination, our hopes. We know we can do better. We will not stop just because the HoL has said no to some amendments. The whole Bill should be chucked in the bin. As Malcolm X said, “If you stick a knife in my back nine inches and pull it out six inches, there’s no progress””
Human rights campaigner, author, artist, co-founder of BARAC UK and Founding member of BAME Lawyers for Justice @ZitaHolbourne said: “We know from our lived experience that Black and Brown people are racially profiled and disproportionately targeted at protests by the police and we also know that here in the UK – not just in the USA – police abuse their powers with heavy-handed, racist policing which has led to disproportionate deaths in custody.
“If we look at many of the human and equality rights and freedoms we have today, these were hard fought for by people who were prepared to take direct actions and protest, sometimes putting their lives on the line. We stand on the shoulders of those who came before and we owe it to them as well as ourselves and future generations to defend those rights.”
The fight is not over, but hopefully we made it a little easier thanks to all our efforts so far. We’ll done. Keep up the incredible work EVERYBODY.
The Canary (28th April 2022) The government stripped away our civil liberties overnight. But we won’t back down
Liberty (18th January 2022) VICTORY OVER PROTEST RESTRICTIONS SHOWS UNITED FRONT CAN DEFEAT GOVERNMENT POWER-GRAB
Byline Times (14th January 2022) ‘Terrifying’: Johnson’s Government ‘Following Far-Right Playbook’ on Crushing Dissent
Open Democracy (6th December 2021) England and Wales’s Police Bill threatens anyone with a cause they believe in
Liberty (March 2021) Briefing
The Guardian (16th March 2021) Bill that curtails ability to protest in England and Wales passes second reading
Open letter to Home Secretary from community groups and organisations (15th March 2021) Click here
Liberty (15th March 2021) Leading organisations join condemnation of Policing Bill
The Guardian (14th March 2021) New anti-protest bill raises profound concern and alarm, human rights groups say