We can not lose our freedom to protest: Take action now

Hi folks,

Allow us to interrupt normal festival chat for a moment. We are extremely concerned about the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, that seeks to restrict our freedom to protest – to the degree that we feel the need to use our platform to kick up as big of a stink as possible.

We are moving towards a society that doles out 10 years of prison time to protestors marching for equal rights, whilst sexual abusers and rapists frequently walk free in under 5 years. As well as ‘stifling dissent’, the new bill also allows for further criminalising of the Gypsy and Traveller communities, as well as exposing already marginalised communities to profiling and disproportionate police powers through the expansion of stop and search.

The consequences of this bill are huge – and we encourage all of you to make a stand with us. Here are some quick actions you can take.

1. SIGN & SHARE the petition.

2. WRITE TO/EMAIL YOUR MP

  • This nifty little website called ‘Write To Them’ will show you how to find your MP, and write to them. Once you’ve found yours, we encourage you to write to them with your concerns. We’ve included a template below, based on a letter originally written by Jess Davies.
  • Important: Please ensure you make your own edits – too many identical copied and pasted messages have a tendency to get blocked by the server, and thus may not reach your MP.

LETTER TEMPLATE:

Dear (Insert MPs name)

I am contacting you as a member of your constituency to urge you to speak out against Priti Patel’s New Police and Crime Bill and use your vote to oppose it in Parliament in an attempt to slow it’s passage to allow for meaningful debate around our democratic right to protest in the UK.

This bill is being fast-tracked through Government in an attempt to silence and restrict protestors and it is crucial that the Government upholds the democratic and human right of the people it serves to protest against inequality and those situations they deem unfair.

A protest is supposed to be loud and disruptive, it is provactive in it’s nature to draw attention to an event/inequality/incident or frustration in the effort to seek change and demand that the voices of the people are heard. The Government works to protect and serve the people, and I do not believe that this new Police and Crime Bill upholds those values, but seeks to silence and de-legitamise the public’s opinions and views.

This is a crucial moment in time when across the World there are protests against the inequality and violence towards people of colour, women and the impending climate disaster. There is no reasonable excuse to offer more power to the Police to shut down these important protests which seek to change society for the better and unite people in their anger, hurt and passion and this new bill serves as an unneccesary attack on the freedom to protest.

The bill states that police would have the power to move in on protests that may cause disruption and that involve direct action and civil obedience. It also states that any protest seemed to be an ‘annoyance’ can be shut down, these rules leave scope for police to close down any protest that they do not agree with and strips away our human rights and freedom of speech.

Change is born in the displays of passion of those who take to the streets and demand action. Priti Patel is actively seeking to restrict this and I cannot stress the importance of opposing these sanctions on protests, for the future of our country and the younger generation. 

The recent violent displays of power by the Police towards protestors serves as a worrying example of the future if this new crime bill passes. To have a law in place which could see protestors marching for equal rights given a sentence of ten years in jail, whilst someone stalking, sexually abusing or raping an individual could walk free in less than five years would be a historically dark day in our democracy and I urge you to speak out and vote against this damaging and restrictive bill. 

I understand the difficult times we are in and the danger COVID-19 still opposes to our society and your constituency, but I also believe that our human rights must be upheld and that the freedom of protest serves as a sign of strength and unity in the democratic country we claim to live in. If we strip away our right to protest, we strip away our voices; Voices which saw those before us lay down their lives for us to have the right to be heard. 

I ask you as one of your loyal constituents to oppose the the New Police and Crime Bill in parliament and to speak out against the damage of restricting the freedom to protest. 

I trust that I can rely on you to do the right thing and represent your constituents with their best intentions at heart. 

Thank you

Insert your name

We implore as many of you as possible to get behind this – the consequences for the future of peaceful protest in the UK really can’t be understated.

Solidarity, love & rage,

Sham HQ x