Reclaim These Streets to take the Met Police to court over protest ban

25 May 2021, 20:44

The new bill gives police the power to restrict protests
The new bill gives police the power to restrict protests. Picture: PA

By Emma Soteriou

Reclaim These Streets are raising money to take the Metropolitan Police back to court over new concerns of the proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

The activist group announced they were relaunching their legal fundraiser for the cause across social media.

They claims the Met's decision to deny people the chance to gather was “not about women’s safety or preventing the spread of Covid” and the force were wrong to stop people from attending the candlelit vigil.

Reclaim These Streets hope to raise £20,000 in the next 10 days to be able to proceed with the case, but will need approximately £120,000 in total.

In a statement, they said: "We have the opportunity to greatly reinforce the legal protection for our - and everyone's - human right to protest, regardless of new Covid variants or lockdowns.

"And just as importantly, if the police are given more power by Parliament, the precedent we hope to set will help hold them back from abusing those powers to suppress peaceful protest."

Read more: Kill the Bill: Why are people protesting in Bristol?

Read more: Reclaim These Streets organiser criticises Met over Sarah Everard vigil policing

This comes after a new government law was proposed - the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (PCSC).

It will allow the police to control the start and end times to protests as well as noise levels, but there are concerns it will also restrict freedom of expression.

Since it was announced, protests have taken place around the UK against the bill, leading to the Kill the Bill movement.

Reclaim These Streets said: "The government removed the exemption for the right to protest once and can do it again."

Read more: Kill the Bill protests: Another man charged over riot in Bristol

Read more: Kill the Bill protests: Eight charged with riot after Bristol police demonstration

Reflecting on the original court case around the Sarah Everard vigil, the group said they had "no choice but to fight back" when the police tried to silence them.

Police warned before the vigil that everyone that got involved could be fined up to £10,000, arrested or both.

When the group asked the court to review the stance, they ruled that "Reclaim These Streets’ view of the law was right – the vigil could be lawful and police couldn’t issue a blanket ban on protests".

The group revealed in their statement that they have "hundreds of pages of documents" reinforcing their case against the decision to ban the vigil.