by Isabel Ringrose
Mon 5 Apr 2021 by https://socialistworker.co.uk/
The police are taking their revenge on people who have joined Kill The Bill protests.
During a 5,000-strong protest in central London on Saturday, the Metropolitan Police made 107 arrests. This included two independent legal observers.
Police kettled and arrested protesters, and claimed to have discovered a small number “intent on remaining to cause disruption” as justification for their actions.
The protests are showing that new police powers will only give cops more opportunity to use violence, as seen over the last few weeks.
Seven were arrested in Bristol after a demonstration on Saturday.
This means up to 50 people have been arrested because of anti-bill protests in the city.
On Saturday some demonstrators blocked part of the M32 road—so for the fourth time in two weeks Bristol’s riot cops reacted with violence.
The protests at the weekend were powerful.
But they are still small compared to what will be needed to win.
And the high number of arrests and rising levels of violence shows the state is determined to intimidate people.
Everyone needs to push for bigger protests. And to grow it must continue to bring in wider issues in society that people are angry about.
The pandemic and the government’s failures can play a huge part in mobilising more people to the streets.
It’s vital that workers are at the centre of it.
Workers’ involvement should be about class anger rather than a round of statements from unions that would not take anything forward.
Every trade unionist should be on the protests and demand that their union leaders actively back them.
There should be mass publicity against the bill and clear calls from the unions to turn out on the streets.
Currently a loose coalition of groups have taken to the streets—from climate activists to anti-racists, and others who want to resist the bill and defend the right to protest.
Unity in action is a powerful tool. But it shouldn’t prevent groups from taking a lead or using radical tactics on the streets.
And unity under a class banner can hold more power for change.
The movement cannot let police tactics squash the movement, neither should the involvement of union leaders or parliamentary figures stifle the rage and anger.
Kill the Bill protesters need to be out regularly on the streets causing as much disruption as possible to kick out the Tories and their bill.
Sexism ingrained in police
A Metropolitan police officer accused of raping two women still works for the force, despite undergoing a misconduct inquiry.
The accused cop also stayed in his role during a two-year criminal investigation into the allegations that were made back in 2017.
A criminal investigation was dropped in 2019 after the Crown Prosecution Service concluded there was “no realistic prospect of charge”.
Essex police said it conducted “lengthy investigations, which were carried out by specialist detectives and highly trained civilian staff”.
But it added that “there were areas for improvement in the management of these investigations”. The two alleged victims made separate allegations of physical and sexual assault.
One of the women was awarded £17,100 in compensation by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and the other received £11,600. Despite now facing an internal inquiry over potential breaches of professional standards, the officer has never been arrested or been charged.
Police try to intimidate protesters
Two women have accused police in Bristol of abuse of power after they used anti-terror tactics on them.
Both women were caught up in undercover raids by Avon and Somerset Police as part of their crackdown on protests in Bristol.
This, following the suspected murder of Sarah Everard by a police officer and the violent tactics used against protesters in Clapham, shows how sexism is at the core of the police.
Katie McGoran said she was mistakenly arrested by a male officer dressed as a postal worker after the protests in Bristol that saw clashes with police.
She says the disguised officer and at least three other male plain-clothed officers followed her flatmate up the stairs before revealing they had a warrant.
They then forced their way into her bedroom and handcuffed her. She was only partially dressed.
Cops kept her in handcuffs even after they realised she didn’t match the picture of who they were looking for. McGoran said they eventually uncuffed her but didn’t apologise and instead made jokes.
The same day police raided another all-female shared student house in Bristol.
Grace Hart, 16, answered the door twice to a male officer pretending to be a postal worker.
The officer reportedly barged in along with at least three other plain-clothed male officers and pointed Tasers at her, even though she didn’t attend any of the protests.
The police don’t keep us safe. The violence they claim to be clamping down on comes from them.