Cambridge gathers to protest the ‘repressive’ Policing Bill

Around 100 protestors – including both townies and gownies – attended the protest

On Saturday afternoon (15/1), around 100 protestors – among them Cambridge students – gathered in Market Square to protest the government’s new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

The protest was a peaceful one. Participants held up placards with slogans such as “Protect the Right to Roam” and “Kill the Bill.” Other slogans were chanted, including, “Hey ho, fascist bills have got to go” and “No borders, no nations, f*** deportation.”

Protestors also declared that “there will be active civil disobedience” against the Policing Bill later in February at Great St. Mary’s, the University Church at King’s Parade.

Image credits: Akrit Agarwal

In a leaflet distributed at the rally, the organisers stated that this bill “contravenes … the right to freedom of assembly and association.” The leaflet goes further to say that the bill is a “repressive measure,” which criminalises communities protesting against local issues and Gypsy, Roma and Travellers for up to 10 years – twice the maximum sentence for bodily assault.

The protest was staged after a mass internet campaign on Twitter and Instagram, in which accounts such as @killthebill_official called for a “National Day of Action” with protests in 18 towns and cities across England and Wales, including Cambridge, Manchester, and London. The Tab has confirmed that Cambridge students have attended Kill the Bill protests in other cities.

Neither the protestors nor the organisers of the protest appear at this stage to be linked to the Extinction Rebellion protestors who sprayed fake oil on the Cambridge Senate House on Saturday afternoon (15/1).

Nonetheless, the “Cambridge collective” of the wider Kill the Bill movement across England and Wales has in the past directly voiced support for Extinction Rebellion Cambridge on social media during the run-up to COP26, citing their common opposition to current politicians and institutional lack of power of  “those who suffer… to influence … decision-making process[es].”

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill passed in the House of Commons last July, and has today (18/01) seen a range of defeats in the House of Lords. 

Feature image credits: Akrit Agarwal