Protests planned in Sheffield parks over Government's new Policing Bill
Demonstrations are to be held in parks across Sheffield this weekend in opposition to the Government’s new Policing Bill.
Simultaneous demonstrations are to be held at 1pm in Endcliffe Park, Hillsborough Park and Norfolk Park, as part of a national day of action with similar protests being held across the country.
The protests are aimed at showing opposition to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
If approved, new legislation will be introduced to Whole Life Orders for the premeditated murder of a child.
There would also be no automatic early release of offenders who pose a danger to the public or for serious and violent sexual offenders.
Killer drivers would also be eligible for life sentences and the maximum sentence for assaulting an emergency worker would be doubled to two years.
But, if approved, the bill would also curtail the rights of protestors.
Police forces would have more powers to tackle non-violent protests deemed significantly disruptive to the public or parliament.
An offence of ‘intentionally or recklessly causing public nuisance’ is included in the bill.
Police could also be given more powers to impose conditions on protests, such as time and noise limits.
Saturday’s events come after a series of demonstrations and marches in Sheffield since the bill was announced in March.
More than 50 organisations and businesses in Sheffield have signed an open letter opposing the bill.
A Sheffield Against the Policing Bill spokesperson said: “The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is an affront to our democracy and our human rights. If made into law, it will give the police increased powers to clamp down on peaceful protest and to target minority communities who already face disproportionate harassment and violence at the hands of the police.
“The response of the people of Sheffield and South Yorkshire in opposition to the bill has been overwhelming, as it has across the country. We have seen incredible displays of protest and solidarity, with thousands attending demonstrations in the city centre. Every day the movement is getting bigger, as more people find out about this bill and get organised to oppose it.
“This weekend, we are taking the movement against the Policing Bill to Sheffield’s parks, to engage people and communities across the city, including those who will be most affected by this bill. We encourage people to join their local demonstration, and to bring friends and family for a day out in the park.
“In recent weeks, there has been an increasingly visible police presence in a number of Sheffield parks – originally under the guise of enforcing Covid-19 regulations – making our public spaces less welcoming and less safe for communities already disproportionately targeted by police.
“Particularly during lockdown, parks have been vital spaces for our communities, particularly for those with less space at home, and it is important that everyone is able to enjoy them freely and equally. By bringing the conversation about the Policing bill to the parks, we also want to reclaim them as community spaces for everyone.”