The mass Gaza demo that brought down Braverman. Photo: Roger Thomas
The mass Gaza demo that brought down Braverman. Photo: Roger Thomas

June Angus, West London Socialist Party

Rishi Sunak has announced plans to launch yet another round of restrictions that attempt to limit and curtail peaceful protests.

Some of the anti-protest measures to be added to the new Criminal Justice Bill include giving police the power to arrest protesters wearing face coverings, banning the use of flares or pyrotechnics, and criminalisation of climbing on national memorials.

While the National Police Chiefs’ Council claims that such measures are a response to “reckless and criminal acts” during recent protests, this Bill is little more than another futile attempt to silence growing discontent. Just like with the Public Order Act 2023 and the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022, the new Bill shows how scared Sunak is of the increasingly vocal majority of working-class people frustrated at years of government incompetency and economic instability.

The last few years have seen a historic rise in mass public protests against climate change, social inequality, stagnant wages, and most recently, the bombing of Gaza. In November, Tory home secretary Suella Braverman tried to get a Gaza protest banned. But when an estimated 800,000 people turned up, she was forced to resign!

We must fight to defend our right to protest against any and every attack. But no doubt the new measures will fail to stop protests. With a string of failed pledges and policies in his wake, Sunak is resorting to a now familiar Tory tactic – throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.

The Tories’ days are numbered. Will Labour leader Keir Starmer promise to reverse the Tories’ anti-protest laws in office? So far he has completely failed to challenge them, and is at pains to show he stands on the bosses’ side.

Working-class people won’t be silenced. Build the movement to fight for our rights and freedoms!