Black activists have played leading roles in the “kill the bill” coalition, which has led thousands of people to march through London and thousands more to join protests in cities across the country against the criminal, police bill, judicial and judicial on Saturday.
Organizers hope it will be the largest demonstration yet of public opposition to the bill, which would give the police a range of new discretionary powers to stop protests.
More than 600 civil society and protest groups have called on the government to withdraw the legislation, and the swift approval planned by parliament has already been delayed.
Among the main protests are several groups that were instrumental in organizing the UK’s Black Lives Matter marches last summer. Recent protests to kill the bill in London have been led by BLM banners and have been addressed by various speakers aligned with the movement, particularly black women.
Phoen! X Tha Rude Boii of the Black Music Movement, who helped organize the BLM protests last summer, said he was motivated to start a conversation among black activists about the anti-crime bill because of the persecution he had faced by part of the police because of their activism.
“Instead of changing the laws or doing something about the issues we raise [with BLM], they’re just trying to shut down the protest, ”said Pheon! x, who preferred to use his artist name. He said black activists were particularly alarmed by the discretionary powers that the new bill would give the police.
“He is just playing with that cycle of racism. It is so obvious how that will be used because it is up to the police and the Home Secretary to decide which protests are bothering people or not. Obviously [black] people walking down the street annoy the police because they try to stop and search us. “
Marvina Eseoghene Newton, founder of United for Black Lives and co-founder of BLM Leeds, said it was important to highlight that a variety of activists and activist groups were involved in the movement against the crime bill. She said that the leading role of black women had given the movement an intersectional character that made it inclusive for all groups.
“We think about inclusion more than anyone, because we know what intersectionality looks like,” said Newton, who competed in two recent rallies in London. “The only way we can all be liberated is if we all liberate each other and are the best allies we can be to each other. So I can see my Roma brother and I can see my Muslim brothers and sisters and I can see my trans community and I can say: you matter, I see the pain.
Participating in protests carries particular risks for black activists, who have sometimes been singled out by the police. Following a recent demonstration in Parliament Square, BLM activists issued a statement accusing police of targeting black protesters in an effort to expel them, an attack they said was not experienced by white activists.
“Protesting while black is different, and no one really tells that story,” Newton said. “Our right to protest comes with a lot of fear, the fear of being put on Redwatch [a far-right site targeting leftwing activists], afraid of being put in the EDL [English Defence League] pages, or being attacked on the day of the march. “
All Black Lives’ Aima, who has spoken at several protests to kill the bill in London, prefers not to give her last name to journalists after a Daily Mail story denouncing her as an organizer of the BLM protests led her to to receive torrents of abuse. “Especially in this country, when blacks talk about the racism they have suffered, the British start to get defensive,” he said.
In his experience, blacks better understood the broad implications of the bill, Aima said. “My problem is getting white people to listen,” he said. “Because I’m a creator on TikTok, I talk to a lot of left-wing creators around the world, and the black people in America that I know are talking more about this than the white leftists in this country.
“Blacks will be afraid to come out and protest when this bill passes, because when it passes our voices will not be heard at all.”
In London, protesters will gather in Trafalgar Square from noon, with marches starting earlier in Brixton and Elephant and Castle in south London with the aim of joining them. In total, 46 protests are expected to kill the bill across the UK.
A spokesman for the Interior Ministry said: “The right to protest is a cornerstone of our democracy, but in recent years we have seen an increase in the use of disruptive and dangerous tactics.
“It is totally unacceptable to vandalize private property, block emergency vehicles and prevent the printing company from distributing newspapers. The government will not stand by while the rights and freedoms of individuals, businesses and communities are trampled on by a minority.
“These new measures will not prevent people from exercising their civic right to protest and be heard, but will prevent large-scale disturbances, allowing the silent majority to move on with their lives.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism