Letter: If protest is prohibited or curtailed, this seems to make violence inevitable

This letter was written by Alexi Dimond of the Green Party Candidate for Gleadless Valley

Friday, 16th April 2021, 9:59 am
Updated Friday, 16th April 2021, 10:32 am
A Youth for Climate Protest.

In Sheffield and South Yorkshire, we have first hand experience of what happens when authoritarian regimes try to shut down peaceful protest.

If peaceful protest is prohibited or curtailed, this seems to make violence inevitable. This is not because protestors will resort to violence - but because the police will be legally mandated to use violence to stop otherwise peaceful protests. This was aptly demonstrated by the use of violence against women at the Sarah Everard vigil in Clapham recently.I have been attending protests all my life: from Anti-Apartheid and miners’ rights demonstrations as a child in the 1980’s to Palestinian rights, Black Lives Matter and climate marches in recent years.

Protest is a fundamental part of our democracy, and if the right to protest is eroded - or if permission is required - the UK ceases to be a full democracy.Without protest, none of the rights we enjoy today, from the right to vote, to join a trade union, to roam across our countryside, to equality legislation protecting marginalised communities, would exist. For these reasons, Sheffield Green Party party opposes the Police, Crime and Courts Bill and is proud to be part of a growing coalition of political, campaigning and rights groups organising against the bill.