‘Kill the bill’: More than 100 arrests at London protest

Thousands marched to protest against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which would give police more powers to impose restrictions on non-violent protests.

A masked demonstrator holds a placard on top of a post during a 'Kill the Bill' protest in Bristol, Britain, April 3, 2021 [Henry Nicholls/Reuters]

Police have said that 107 people were arrested in London during Saturday’s demonstrations against government plans to increase police powers.

Thousands marched in towns and cities across the country on Saturday to protest the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, defying coronavirus restrictions.

Police said the “Kill the Bill” protests were mostly peaceful and most of those taking part observed social distancing.

They said a small number of people were intent on causing disruptions, and that those arrested committed alleged offences including violent disorder, assaulting police officers and breaches of coronavirus legislation.

The force said 10 officers had been injured, though none of the injuries was believed to be serious.

The proposed legislation would give police in England and Wales more powers to impose conditions on non-violent protests, including those deemed too noisy or a nuisance, with those convicted liable to fines or jail terms.

A recent protest against the new police legislation in Bristol, southwest England, descended into widespread violence that saw police officers injured, a police station damaged and police vehicles torched.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson criticised what he described as “disgraceful attacks” on officers, but protesters have accused police of using heavy-handed tactics.

Some senior officers have said the “kill the bill” tag was deliberately provocative as “the bill” is a nickname in Britain for the police.

Sarah Everard killing

The protests come amid the recent uproar in Britain over the murder of Sarah Everard last month.

The 33-year-old was abducted as she walked home from a friend’s house in south London on March 3. Her body was later found in woodland about 80km (50 miles) away, in the southeastern county of Kent.

Wayne Couzens, a serving officer in the capital’s Metropolitan Police Service whose role was to guard diplomatic buildings, was later arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and killing her.

Everard’s killing led to widespread anger across the nation and soul-searching about what the police, government and society can do to stop male violence against women.

Source: News Agencies