Civil liberties, justice, crime

Stop the Police Bill! Free jailed protesters!

Over eighty protestors have been arrested, at least 35 charged, and at least nine have been sentenced to jail in connection with the first Kill The Bill protest in Bristol. The now-famous 21 March demonstration developed into clashes with police, with pepper spraying, dogs, and horses being met with chanting and resistance, escalating among some to throwing objects and burning a police van. Police and prosecutors have been relentlessly pursuing protestors. After retracting initial lies about police officers injured, and performing no arrests on the day, police have since used footage to...

Women's Fightback: "Anti-sleaze" ploy won't fix police violence

The trial of Wayne Couzens revealed he used his police warrant card and handcuffs to kidnap Sarah Everard off the street before strangling her with his police belt and burning her body. He claimed to be using the extraordinary Coronavirus police powers, the same powers his colleagues later used to disperse the Sarah Everard vigil on Clapham Common and arrest campaigners present. Couzens is one of fifteen police officers convicted of killing women since 2009. The news follows findings that 26 Met officers have committed sex crimes in the past five years. Two of the officers were jailed for...

Trade unions break silence over the Police Bill. Will they mobilise?

Back in the weeks after the murder of Sarah Everard by Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens, militant protests against the government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill swept the Labour Party into voting against the Tories’ plans in Parliament, which Keir Starmer’s leadership had not intended to do. They also swept trade unions into making public statements and so on against the Bill. However, only a scattering of small unions (IWGB and UVW) and individual union branches made any real effort to mobilise on the streets. Quickly even the statements from trade unions dried up and...

Letters: XR and the police; Vibes won't save us; The bureaucrats had choices; Other Afghanistan films

XR, the police and working-class politics The climate demonstrations organised by Extinction Rebellion and participated in by Workers Liberty saw multiple instances of authoritarian and violent policing not previously witnessed at mainstream environmental protests. The opening days of the two week long protest introduced the police’s van-mounted loud hailer belting out “Section 14” dispersal orders in central London, and by the Tuesday of the second week videos were circulating of police officers mounting an open-top-bus and swinging batons at protesters inside. This, in the context of the...

Step up the fight against Police Bill

The Tories’ Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill has not, so far, been substantially amended in Parliament. It still constitutes an assault on the right to protest, on workers’ rights to strike and picket, on migrants and on Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. The Bill’s second reading in the House of Lords has been set for 14 September. Yet the latest round of protests against the Bill, on 21 August, was small and weak, with hundreds rather than thousands in London. There are multiple reasons why that is the case. One is that the labour movement has failed to mobilise against the Bill...

Police Bill: restart the fight, drag in the labour movement!

Protests against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (“Police Crackdown Bill”) began again in the week of 5 July, but the Tories have rammed it through the final stage of its passage in the House of Commons. It now goes to the House of Lords.

Police Bill back, more protest needed!

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill passed its third reading by a majority of 100, in the House of Commons on 5 July, with Labour voting against. Outside Parliament as the Bill was being discussed was a modest but lively and militant protest. The protest, organised by activists under the umbrella of "Kill the Bill", was nowhere near as strong as it needs to be. Apart from a banner from the RMT there was no union presence. Though it is clear that the Bill is specifically targeting XR and BLM in its limiting of protests and demonstrations, unions will be affected by this legislation...

Clampdown in Hong Kong

July 1 is a day of two anniversaries in Hong Kong. It is the 24th anniversary of the day when Britain "handed over" Hong Kong to China – from one colonial power to another. It is also the second anniversary of the 300,000 strong demo in Hong Kong against the Extradition Bill. That bill, which was later dropped, would have allowed the Chinese regime to extradite people from Hong Kong to China to face charges made by the Chinese regime against them. At the end of the 2019 demonstration, young protestors besieged and managed to break into Hong Kong’s parliament, its Legislative Council (LegCo). A...

"Questions of democracy are where to focus our energies"

Clive Lewis, Labour MP for Norwich South, spoke to Sacha Ismail in late March 2021. For an interview Clive did with us in March 2020, see here. There could still be another 30,000 deaths as we approach the end of lockdown, and maybe much more. Even with the vaccine program at full tilt, in the absence of a proper test and trace system, an isolation system and social support for people, it’s still potentially a dire situation and could still overwhelm the NHS. [This was even before the "Indian variant" of Covid was widely discussed.] NHS workers have launched their demand for a 15% pay rise. Do...

Osime Brown: how we stopped a deportation

From Neurodivergent Labour On 15 June, the Home Office decided that it would not proceed with their barbaric intention to deport autistic, learning-disabled man Osime Brown to a place he has no knowledge of. The victory comes after more than a year of campaigning by a coalition of activists and organisations, under the instrumental guidance of Osime’s mum, Joan. When ND Labour came into the campaign about a year ago, awareness about the case was limited to a layer of autistic and neurodivergent activists and migrants’ rights groups. It was a campaign typical of the classic style: a petition...

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