Residents gather for policing bill protest
Protestors gathered on Lemon Quay in Truro on Saturday to oppose changes to the right to protest
24th March 2021
By Matt Dixon
Around 100 people gathered illegally in Truro on Saturday to make a stand against a proposed parliamentary bill giving more powers to police during protests.
The rally began at 2pm to protest against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which would give police more power to impose conditions on non-violent protests.
An array of anti-police banners were held aloft including “Police are the perpetrators” and “No to police state”.
A woman with a loudspeaker addressed the crowd and said: “There is no such thing as a friendly chat with police. They are here to gather intelligence, do not go and talk to them.
“I felt really nervous coming down to this protest. It is technically illegal under covid regulations to hold a protest, so it made a really nerve-wracking decision coming down here and I thank every one of you that’s also made that decision today.
“Those nerves that I felt today coming to a very nice gathering in Truro could be the same nerves that I’ll feel if this bill goes ahead because it will affect all our rights to protest.”
The woman then explained that the passing of the proposed bill has been delayed after thousands of people signed a petition to prompt further parliamentary debate.
She added that it had been delayed for a month, two at the most.
The proposed bill would put more conditions on protests, enabling police chiefs to impose a start and finish time, set noise limits and apply the rules to a demonstration by just one person.
The Labour Party opposes the bill, with shadow justice secretary David Lammy stating it is “poorly thought-out measures to impose disproportionate controls on free expression and the right to protest”.
The woman on Lemon Quay added: “Make no mistake this is the biggest threat to our freedom to protest that we’ve seen in generations. The police already abuse their powers. We saw what happened on Clapham Common last week when the Met Police waded into a peaceful vigil.”
Some of the crowd then shouted “shame on you” at officers stood nearby on the quay, before the protest left Lemon Quay and walked through the city centre.
Violence broke out in Bristol on Sunday evening when another protest over the same bill spilled into violence, with two police officers seriously injured.