A socially distanced protest is planned at Devonshire Green tomorrow, Saturday, March 27, at 2pm, with those attending asked to wear face coverings.
Organisers, who oppose measures in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which would give police greater powers to break up demonstrations, say they are gathering to ‘defend our right to protest’.
A number of people were arrested at similar protests in Bristol, which turned violent, though some people accused police there of being ‘heavy-handed’.
Chief Inspector Paul Ferguson, of South Yorkshire Police, said, “Previously local people have gathered to voice their opinions but have worked alongside us and responded to our requests to protest safely, in accordance with requirements for social distancing.
“Our neighbourhood officers will be in present; their role will be to ensure that participants balance their rights to protest set against a continued need for us all to comply with the guidance in place to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
“We are confident that Sheffield groups will continue to make their beliefs heard, but work with us to ensure a safe protest for all.”
The Sheffield Against the Policing Bill group, meanwhile, has issued advice to anyone planning to attend, reminding them to wear a mask and maintain social distance.
In a series of tweets, it also advised people: “If confronted by police, remember the ‘5 key messages’: no comment, no caution, under what power, no duty solicitor, no personal details! Police will try to gather information and any conversations with them could put your comrades at risk.”