Hundreds on May Day march in Sheffield city centre against policing bill

Several hundred Sheffield trade unionists and policing bill protesters joined forces for a May Day march in Sheffield city centre.

Saturday, 1st May 2021, 5:09 pm

Sheffield Trades Council and the Sheffield Against the Policing Bill coalition jointly organised the 700-800-strong march from Devonshire Green to Barkers Pool. Demonstrators heard speeches from a range of groups and campaigns at both ends of the protest and took the knee in support for the Black Lives Matter movement at Devonshire Green.

Sheffield Against the Policing Bill supporters also marched around the city centre afterwards, handing out leaflets.

The protesters’ objections to the Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill include increased police powers to curb protests, expansion of police stop and search police powers that are condemned as racist, 10-year prison sentences for defacing statues and restrictions on the rights of Gipsy, Roma and Traveller communities through the criminalisation of trespass.

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May Day March and Kill The Bill protest marching from Devonshire Green in Sheffield

The event was the latest in a series of big demonstrations against the Bill that have taken place in the city and around the country, bringing together a wide range of protest movements and campaigns to voice their anger.

May 1 is also International Workers’ Day, traditionally a day of protest in the labour movement.

Sheffield Trades Council secretary Martin Mayer said in a statement: “The Policing Bill is part of a consistent pattern from this Government to restrict our democratic rights and remove accountability from the state and its security services and the police.

Martin Mayer of Sheffield Trades Council speaking at the May Day March and Kill The Bill protest in Sheffield

"The rights and freedoms we enjoy today are the product of struggle and protest – from the mass trespass of Kinder Scout in support of the right to roam, to the miners’ strikes and the recent Black Lives Matter protests.

"We will not stand by and see these rights taken away again.”

Speakers included representatives of Sheffield Against the Policing Bill, Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign, climate change school strikers, Extinction Rebellion, university student rent strikers, Black Lives Matter, trade unions and campaigns.

Marchers were asked to remain socially distanced and wear masks. The protest organisers liaised with both police and the city council, who raised no objections to the event taking place.

A South Yorkshire Unite Community union branch banner on the May Day March and Kill The Bill protest held in Sheffield
Protesters take the knee in support of Black Lives Matter on the May Day March and Kill The Bill protest which moved off from Devonshire Green in Sheffield
May Day March and Kill The Bill protest marching from Devonshire Green in Sheffield