The Socialist 21 April 2021 |
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Protests continue against proposed anti-protest laws
Youth Fight for Jobs campaigning as youth unemployment soared during the last economic crisis photo: Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)
Guildhall Square in Southampton rang out to chants of "Kill the Bill" for the second time this month. The turnout was smaller, but made up for it with the defiant spirit of the young people who organised it.
This was the day of Prince Philip's funeral and the police had asked that a minute's silence be observed at 3pm. The response of those present was to observe a minute's silence, with fists raised, but more appropriately in remembrance of all those killed at the hands of racists and the police, and those who have died due to Covid-19.
Socialist Party member Larry Kazingizi spoke on the problems facing young people and the need for socialist change. Sacked bus driver Declan Clune explained how the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill could be used to prevent the sort of protest that RMT bus drivers have organised in his defence. These and other fighting speeches were enthusiastically received.
Southampton Trades Council advertised their May Day march and rally on 1 May. The young organisers agreed to combine their own event with the Trades Council and will provide speakers, and so an important new link for solidarity was forged. We will work together to defend our right to protest.
Socialist Party members joined around 200 others at Grey's Monument in Newcastle to protest against this horrific anti-protest bill. Various groups came together to denounce the blatant attempt to supress protest. It was widely agreed that this bill is an attack on our civil liberties by a vicious ruling class.
There were a number of speakers, all furious and disgusted, including a fifteen year-old. Speakers were followed by chants of "Kill the bill" and "Whose streets? Our streets!", as well as a performance by a rock band. All in all, the mood was peaceful with a real current of anger running just below the surface.
A member of the Socialist Party, Matty Collerton, took to the mic and was met with a great response just for mentioning socialism - he had to pause on occasion to allow for cheers of support. Police were present, but this did not stop our voices being heard in the slightest. Newcastle will not be silenced!
The protest in Sheffield brought together at the very least 300 people - the majority of them young people. Chants included things like "Whose streets? Our streets!", "Tory scum", and "Tell me what democracy looks like."
The protest had a positive atmosphere, but with a little less energy than the 1,000 that protested in previous weeks. It still got a positive response from the public, and since the Covid restrictions are being rolled back, more people were out and about to hear the message. The Socialist Party flags and banner were prominent on the demo and seven people left their details and indicated that they are interested in joining.