Demo at the City HallAlexi Dimond has written to the press:

Dear Editor,

Policing Bill is a grave threat to our democracy

In Sheffield and South Yorkshire, we have first hand experience of what happens when authoritarian regimes try to shut down peaceful protest. In June 1984, miners at Orgreave were viciously attacked by the police – and still await justice More recently the Labour administration of Sheffield used draconian anti-trade union laws, when peaceful protesters defending Sheffield’s street trees were wrongfully arrested.

If peaceful protest is prohibited or curtailed, this seems to make violence inevitable. This is not because protestors will resort to violence – but because the police will be legally mandated to use violence to stop otherwise peaceful protests. This was aptly demonstrated by the use of violence against women at the Sarah Everard vigil in Clapham recently.

I have been attending protests all my life: from Anti-Apartheid and miners’ rights demonstrations as a child in the 1980’s to Palestinian rights, Black Lives Matter and climate marches in recent years. Protest is a fundamental part of our democracy, and if the right to protest is eroded – or if permission is required – the UK ceases to be a full democracy.

Without protest, none of the rights we enjoy today, from the right to vote, to join a trade union, to roam across our countryside, to equality legislation protecting marginalised communities, would exist. For these reasons, Sheffield Green Party party opposes the Police, Crime and Courts Bill and is proud to be part of a growing coalition of political, campaigning and rights groups organising against the bill.

Alexi Dimond

Green Party Candidate for Gleadless Valley Ward.


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