ON TUESDAY, the Tories unveiled The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill to stamp down on protests and give the police, courts and the Tory government sweeping powers over any show of dissent.
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill includes plans to ‘strengthen police powers to tackle non-violent protests that have a significant disruptive effect on the public or on access to Parliament.’
In a statement, the Home Office said the new laws would enable police to ‘safely manage protests where they threaten public order or stop people from getting on with their daily lives.’
It gives a senior police officer powers to impose conditions on a public assembly to ‘prevent disorder, damage, disruption, impact or intimidation.’
Tory Home Secretary Priti Patel will be handed the power to rule if a protest is deemed a ‘serious disruption’ to the country’s economy, political life and ‘free speech’. If she rules that a protest falls in this category then this will trigger the extra police powers to break up any protest or demonstration.
Writing in the Daily Mail newspaper, Patel and Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said the new laws would allow the police to ‘safely manage’ protests that ‘threaten public order and stop people from getting on with their daily lives.’
Only static protests will be allowed to go ahead if they adhere to strict police limits on their duration, location and noise levels.
Anyone organising a protest that fails to abide by these laws will face jail terms of six months while anyone taking part in an ‘unlawful’ demonstration faces fines of up to £2,500 each.
It also includes new laws on unauthorised encampments and damage to memorials with the maximum jail sentence for ‘vandalising’ them increased from three months to ten years!
The new law would make it illegal to obstruct the distribution of newspapers or broadcast media, preventing them from ‘exercising their democratic duties’ – this would make any strike by workers in these industries automatically illegal.
This Bill was promised by Patel in the wake of the Extinction Rebellion protests last September and the Black Lives Matter demonstration in 2020. But it is clear that the main target for the Tories is the working class.
This was alluded to by a Home Office source who told the Daily Mail ‘the disruption caused by some Lefty protests has exposed an emerging threat to our way of life, our economy and the livelihoods of the hard-working majority.’
The main threat to the capitalist economy and the way of life for the bosses and bankers, comes from the working class rising up against mass unemployment, as millions of workers are thrown out of work when the Tory support schemes come to an end in a matter of months.
Strikes, picket lines and demonstrations by workers will come under savage attack from the police, courts and all the other state forces that the Tories are gearing up to wage class war on the working class and the unions.
A massive drive to recruit 20,000 extra police and £4 billion to build more prison cells to accommodate all the thousands of workers and young people the Tories are expecting to jail, is a sign of the desperate preparations of this bankrupt ruling class in the face of an inevitable uprising as a bankrupt capitalist system confronts a working class and youth that will not be prepared to accept being driven into the gutter to keep the bosses and bankers in profit.
The working class must make its own preparations for the struggle ahead by kicking out those trade union leaders who refuse to fight the Tories and instead are determined to collaborate with them, even while they are preparing the state to smash the unions.
These leaders must be removed and replaced with the revolutionary leadership of the WRP that will mobilise the strength of the working class in a general strike to kick out the Tories and bring in a workers government and advance to socialism and a workers state.
This is the way forward.