A protest to honour the women lost to gender violence and stop the Police Crackdown Bill will take place from 4:30pm at Manchester Piccadilly Gardens on Saturday 20th March.
Attendees are told to bring flowers, signs, comrades, masks and water.
Instagram account @manchestermarch is sharing the hashtag ‘kill the bill’, one of their post’s states: “Those peacefully protesting the inadequacy of our government and much more around the UK could be criminalized.”
Thousands of people have liked the post, but some people have expressed their concerns in the comments about the safety of a protest going ahead during a pandemic.
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is a very large piece of legislation. It includes major government proposals on crime and justice in England and Wales. The part of the bill which is causing an uproar on social media is the potential changes to protesting.
Currently, if the police want to place restrictions on a protest, they usually have to show it may result in “serious public disorder, serious damage to property or serious disruption to the life of the community.” Police can also impose specific measures on the routes of marches.
But if the legislation passes, police chiefs will be able to impose a start and finish time for protests, set maximum noise limits and can apply these rules to a demonstration by just one person. If a person refuses to follow police directions over how they should conduct their protest, they risk being fined up to £2,500.
Following the toppling of a statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol last year, the legislation additionally states that damage to memorials could lead to up to 10 years in prison.
There are many more protests planned across the country in honour of women lost to gender violence and to practise their right to protest.