Stop the Police Bill Demonstration.

6 April 2021

By John Spottiswoode

I attended the 'Stop the Bill' on Friday evening in Guildhall Square because unfortunately we have to defend democracy in the UK.  Issues such as Climate Heating are too important just to pay lip service to, and protests are the way to highlight the emergency facing us all.  The Police Bill would allow the authorities to ban protests on very flimsy grounds.

The key point is that democracy is under attack.  I wonder whether we should start to use the 'three finger salute' used in authoritarian countries to protest for democracy.

There are three fundamental freedoms under attack:

  • 1.      Freedom to protest peacefully without having the protest banned by the authorities
  • 2.      Freedom to organise without the very heavy fines currently being handed out to anyone who dares to do so.
  • 3.      Freedom of speech so, for instance, an individual can bring their arguments directly to government in Parliament Square.  The Bill would ban people from doing this.  Or people could be told to stop their campaign because the authorities think it has gone on too long.

These are basic democratic freedoms under attack.  As a poster at the demonstration said, if we do not stop this bill then this is how democracy dies.  The price of liberty is everlasting vigilance.  We in Southampton need to step up and defend the right to protest, something that has historically brought so much positive change to this country.