Peaceful protestors gathered at Forest Recreation Ground yesterday (March 27) to protest the latest Police and Crime Bill, despite still being in a national lockdown.
People gathered on the field as speakers read out poems, shared statistics and offered up stories of their personal experiences with sexual assault at 4pm.
The controversial Police and Crime Bill provides police with increased powers to halt disruptive protests via tighter conditions such as strict noise limits and specified start and finish times.
Rachel Strong, 43, a speaker at the protest said: “Human rights are far too important to ignore just because of the pandemic.
“The Bristol violence was caused by the police; the people had no other option than to fight back.”
Adding to the comment on the Bristol Violence, Louis Holland, 18, said: “It goes against what the bill stands for but is the only way we are listened to, we are here to listen and learn.”
One woman at the protest wore the costume of a Handmaid, in reference to the 1985 dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood, to symbolise the abuse against women; her attire illustrates the presence of just one of the offshoots of the protest.
Kill the Bill was an open invitation to many other causes to have their voices heard, also in attendance at the protest were groups such as Extinction Rebellion, Nottingham Stand Up to Racism and Unite the Union, although the predominant protest groups were Reclaim the Streets and Kill the Bill.
Organisers of the protest, Next Gen Movement said: “The protest was so powerful.
“We are hoping to put together a campaign to put forward to MPs and Nottinghamshire Police to reject the bill for our city.”
Politics student Daisy Williamson, 20, said: “The Bill is slowly stripping away our basic freedoms, turning this country into an authoritarian state.
“It is scary how the police use violence for no reason; they are trying to silence us.”
Coronavirus regulations were being followed throughout the protest with the vast majority of people wearing masks and social distancing.
Despite the current lockdown, protestors felt as though they needed to be heard and ignored their own anxieties to attend the event.
Rebecca, 37, stayed on the outskirts of the protest: “I am anxious to be here because of Covid, but I believe it’s an opportunity to stand up for what you believe.”
Organisers of the protest often reminded people to keep to social distancing rules and reiterated that it was a peaceful protest.
Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Paddy Tipping tweeted: “Kill the Bill protest in Nottingham today passed without incident and peacefully.
“Grateful to all involved for their respectful and responsible approach.
“We need to work together to change and improve the proposed legislation.”
The helpline shared by the speakers at the protest was Nottinghamshire’s Sexual Assault Services: 0115 941 0440
By Shannon Samecki
Lead image: Shannon Samecki