Kill The Bill weekend of action
Thursday, April 1, 2021
Over the past two weeks we have seen the explosion of a national movement against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. People across the UK have taken to the streets to say: no more police powers – the Police Crackdown Bill must be stopped. In this short space of time, we have gained some big wins, including forcing the government to delay the Bill through Parliament, instead of quietly rushing it through like they had originally planned to do.
Amazingly, and unsurprisingly, this movement has rapidly grown way beyond us.
This weekend, people across the UK are once again taking to the streets to demand that the government #KillTheBill. There have been demos called across the country throughout the weekend including one in London on Saturday, April 3rd.
We are calling for a National Day of Action on Sunday, April 4th: this is not a demonstration, but rather a series of small events and actions you can take from home. There is more information on this below.
We know that not everyone can, or wants to, go to demonstrations. The actions below contribute to the movement and can be done from home. Our strength is in our numbers, and it is only through a national mass mobilisation that we will defeat the police powers bill. We already know the police are drunk on power, and they cannot be given more.
Although we are not leading on any demonstrations this weekend, we encourage those that do go out to do so safely: please follow COVID-safe protocols and check out Green and Black Cross’ website for advice on your rights when protesting. Remember to not go to or leave a demonstration alone, and if asked to do anything by a police officer, always ask: under what power?
This is a national movement and one that we are proud to be a part of. We have spent the past week reaching out to and organising with groups affected by the police powers bill – you can read our collective statement of solidarity here. This Bill affects communities differently, but is bad for all of us: it threatens our right to work, assemble, protest, and travel. This also means that we will need all of us to defeat it, this movement leaves no one behind.
Many of you have sent us posters, designs and more support over the last few weeks. We’re now putting these to use as part of our National Day of Action on 4th April 2021.
What can you do on 4th April?
- Use the resources available here to let your community know that you are part of the #KillTheBIll movement.
- Put a poster up in your window
- Flyer outside a busy spot (wearing masks and observing social distancing)
- Post flyers through all your neighbour’s letterboxes
- Put up posters in your community
- Share your posters online using the hashtag #KillTheBill
- Set aside some time to read more about the Policing, Crime Sentencing and Courts bill.
Part of the government’s strategy is to let time pass in the hopes that we forget about the bill. We will not let this happen. We are asking that everyone, in their cities, towns, and villages call their local radio stations to say: do not give more powers to the police.
- You can find your local digital radio station here.
- Here are some talking points:
- The police are drunk on power and should not be given more
- You are concerned about the Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that is moving through parliament, and want it to be scrapped entirely.
- The events at the Clapham vigil and at demonstrations over the last few weeks are a dangerous indication of what the future of protest will look like if the police powers bill moves through parliament.
- The police powers bill will give police increased power to threaten, intimidate and use violence against Gypsy and Traveller communities – including give them permission to seize their property (which includes homes)
- The police powers bill will increase stop and search powers, which already discriminate against marginalised communities
We are letting the government know: we will make this bill unenforceable in the streets. This is just the beginning. We will #KillTheBill.
Sisters Uncut Statement on Bristol – We Will Not Be Divided
Tuesday, March 23, 2021
It feels like every day a new story about police violence comes to light. Over the past week, we’ve seen a police officer walk free after being caught on camera assaulting a woman, using tactics that he had learned on the job to force her to the ground, screaming that she was a ‘fucking slag’ when she managed to escape. In the 6 years between 2012 and 2018 there were 594 complaints of sexual violence against Met police employees, of which only 119 were upheld. We know that only a fraction of incidents of sexual violence are ever reported to the police, so it’s safe to assume that the true number is far, far higher. With the passing of the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Act earlier this month, the state authorised police officers to deceive women into sexual relationships, and even into pregnancy. The police are the perpetrators.
The police already have a monopoly on violence and the Police Crackdown Bill will only entrench this further. Protests in Bristol over the weekend were described in national newspapers as having ‘turned violent’, yet we know that it was protesters, not police, who bore the brunt of that violence. Police tactics, including kettling, the use of batons, and dispersal techniques such as horse charges, are violent in both intent and effect. Whether they are manhandling protesters at Saturday’s vigil in memory of Sarah Everard, aggressively pursuing young Black women for their details, or forcefully arresting protestors for shaking their heads at officers, as we saw last weekend at Bristol, it is clear that it is the police who turn protest into violence.
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will enable the police to decide where, when and how citizens are allowed to travel, congregate, protest, and work. Sentences of up to 10 years are laid down for anything from a protest to a house party or even just a lone individual causing ‘serious annoyance’. This bill attacks all communities, and it is all of us that must resist.
31 years ago, a mass movement formed in opposition to Thatcher’s poll tax, a flat tax that would have punished the poorest in society, and took to the streets to defeat a bill that could not be defeated in parliament. During the protests, mounted police and police vans charged through crowds of people, who were beaten with batons, but politicians and the media drew a contrast between a moral majority and a small number of violent protesters. The stigmatisation of protesters is a tactic of division that we won’t stand for. It is a fearful response by a state that thrives on division and scarcity. While the police can use violence against people with impunity, protesters are condemned for ‘violent’ damage to property.
We applaud all those who went out this weekend, and took to the streets to defend the right to a life free of state violence. The police use violence to divide us, but we will not be divided. The conservative media attempts to paint a moral hierarchy, but we will not be forced apart. We know that this bill can be defeated, and we are coming together in a coalition of solidarity to do just that. We will not be silenced. We will kill the bill!
8M Feminista Latinx
Anarchist Communist Group
Black Lives Matter UK
Community Action on Prison Expansion (CAPE)
Disabled People Against Cuts
Docs Not Cops
Jewish Solidarity Action
Kurdistan Solidarity Network
Minority Protection Initiative
No More Exclusions
Prisoner Solidarity Network
Remember & Resist
Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century
Sisters of Frida
SOAS Detainee Support
United Families and Friends Campaign
Women Defend Rojava
BREAKING: Sisters Uncut declare victory at halting police powers bill in Parliament
Thursday, March 18, 2021
- Feminist direct action group Sisters Uncut declare victory as controversial police powers bill is delayed in Parliament.
- Sisters Uncut have organised five consecutive days of action since Saturday 13 March, where women were brutalised by police at a Sarah Everard vigil.
- Sisters Uncut say the police are drunk on power and should not be granted more.
- Since Saturday 13 March, thousands have joined Sisters Uncut outside Parliament Square and New Scotland Yard. A coalition of grassroots groups have mobilised together to speak out against the Bill.
- In response to the breaking news that the Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill has been delayed until April, the group are defiant: “This is the power of protest, and this is just the beginning. We are ready to fight the police powers bill at every stage of parliament”
Email: [email protected]
At 21:30 on Thursday 18 March, feminist direct action group celebrated victory against the government’s police powers bill.
Sisters Uncut have held five consecutive days of organised protest against the Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill, which was sparked by the police violence against women at a Sarah Everard vigil on Clapham Common on Saturday 13 March.
The week so far:
At 18:00 on Saturday 13 March, Sisters Uncut joined thousands of people on Clapham Common at a Sarah Everard vigil. After flowers were laid and the sun went down, Metropolitan police stormed the bandstand where women were standing and told members of the public to “go home”. By 7.30pm, police were trampling flowers and grabbing, manhandling and arresting women in the crowd.
At 16:00 on Sunday 14 March, Sisters Uncut declared a second vigil outside Scotland Yard in direct response to the police violence. A minute’s silence was held for Sarah Everard, before the crowd moved to Parliament Square, where thousands of people lay down on the ground in protest at the state’s violence against women and gender non-conforming people. Speeches were made, featuring MP for East Nottingham Nadia Whittome who emphasized that the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will expand police powers and diminish the right to protest. She said, “This bill will see the biggest assault on protest rights in recent history. If this bill passes, we won’t be able to gather outside Parliament Square anymore in mourning like we are today.”
At 17:00 on Monday 15 March, after two consecutive days of vigils honouring Sarah Everard and rejecting gendered violence and police violence, thousands gathered for a third day of protest at Parliament Square. Protesters were joined by multiple Members of Parliament and trade unionists. Between speeches, the crowd took a minute of silence to remember Sarah Everard and all victims of police, state, and gendered violence.
At 09:00am on Tuesday 16 March 2021, on the second day of the government’s reading of the draconian Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, feminist group Sisters Uncut laid flowers outside parliament spelling out the words “kill the bill” in a bid for the government to scrap the legislation.
At 18:00 on Tuesday 16 March, thousands gathered at Parliament Square for the fourth consecutive day of protests for Sarah Everard and against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill moving through Parliament. Speakers at the protest called the Bill an “assault on freedom” and implored Members of Parliament inside to “kill the bill.”
This demonstration happened at the same time as the bill had its second reading in Parliament. The vote was called during the demonstration, and whilst it passed this reading 359–263, protesters pledged to continue fighting, chanting a popular refrain from Assata Shakur, “It is our duty to fight for our freedom – it is our duty to win.”
Speakers referenced police at Clapham Commons on Saturday who ignored sexual harassment of women protesters, spoke about the dehumanising photos taken by police of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry after their deaths, and invoked the names of Black people who died at the hands of police. Members of Sistah Space, a Black-led domestic violence support centre, said, “This is for Sarah, for Sandra Bland, for Breonna Taylor, for Nicole and Bibaa. If you see a Black woman arrested, get involved.”
A speaker from Sisters Uncut announced the reading vote, saying, “This is just the beginning. We will fight in our thousands at every stage, and we’re just getting started. Join us. We will not be silenced.”
At 19:00 on Thursday 18 March, Sisters Uncut held an online meeting with over 4,000 attendees. Speakers included the Public Interest Law Centre, Black Lives Matter, Traveller Pride, No More Exclusions, Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement (SWARM) and Disability Justice.
Evidence shows that giving the police more power, as is proposed in the Police, Crime, Senencing and Courts Bill, will lead to an increase in the number of survivors being arrested, especially black and minority ethnic and poorer survivors. It will give police more power to digitally stripsearch survivors of gendered violence who report to the police. It will give police more powers to enact sweeping new stop and search powers, to increase surveillance and to criminalise Gypsy and Traveller communities. And most importantly it will give police more power to to decide where, when and how citizens are allowed to protest institutional systemic violence.
An anonymous member from Sisters Uncut said, “The last week has shown that protest works. That’s why they want to ban it, and that’s why we’re fighting back. The coalition that is coming together shows just how many people are angry about the brutal reality of policing in this country, and who are determined to roll back this dangerous extension of state power. Saturday night has shown us that the police are drunk on power, and should not be rewarded with more.”
“Policing by consent is a story this country likes to tell about itself. The reality is that policing is unaccountable, aggressive and violent. Targets of police repression – working class people, racial minorities, sex workers and many others – have had enough.”
Notes for Editors:
- Sisters Uncut are a direct action group protesting cuts to domestic violence services. The group was formed by domestic violence survivors and sector workers in 2014 to defend domestic violence services from austerity cuts, and has blossomed into a mass movement across the UK, with groups in Doncaster, London, Newcastle, Bristol, Portsmouth and Birmingham.
- Sisters Uncut is formed of non-binary people and women renowned for bold protest tactics, including jumping on the red carpet at the ‘Suffragette’ premiere and dying the Trafalgar Square fountains red.