Protestors gathered outside the office of Stroud MP, Siobhan Baillie, on Friday.
They were addressed by Martin Whiteside, Co-ordinator of Stroud District Green Party, and Cllr Catherine Braun, leader of the Green Group at Stroud District Council. Cllr Braun read out the letter that they planned to deliver to the MP, stating fears that the government’s Police, Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill (the Policing Bill) will take away the right to peaceful protest.
She said: “The Policing Bill threatens to remove one of our most basic human rights: the right to peacefully protest. And the amendments to the Bill that have been slipped into it by the government at a late stage make it even worse.
“The Bill and its amendments would give the police, acting under instruction from government, the power to stop any protest if they think it will cause ‘serious annoyance’ to two or more people or an organisation. It would also allow the police to arrest anyone they think may be planning to take part in such a protest. People charged under these laws could be jailed for up to 51 weeks.
“These are the kind of powers used by dictators, and they create the conditions for this government, or any future government, to introduce a police state.
“The Bill could be used to criminalise people taking part in climate-related protests, nurses and doctors protesting for better PPE, or any other group that the government might find annoying. We are calling on all MPs and members of the House of Lords to stand up for our basic human rights and reject this extremely dangerous and anti-democratic Bill.”
Stroud’s Red Band provided tuneful accompaniment and the event ended with the letter being taped to the doors of the MP’s office and banners placed across the front of the office.