Kill the Bill: What really happened in Bristol

  • Alice Poole

“The fundamental right to protest is what makes a democracy,” says 31-year-old Cameron*. “If we are being told when, where, and how we can protest, then (we’re no longer) free, but controlled by the state.” Cameron is one of thousands who joined the Kill the Bill protests in Bristol – week-long demonstrations that were marred by shocking scenes of police brutality. Attendees were demonstrating against the government’s proposed changes to the Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts bill, which are set to restrict our right to protest. The amendments could see protests constricted by start and finish times and noise limits, while protesters who cause “serious annoyance” or deface memorials could face up to 10 years in prison. 22-year-old Will, who also joined the demonstrations in Bristol, calls the measures “draconian and disproportionate”. He tells Dazed: “Many of the rights we enjoy today – universal suffrage, for example – have only been possible due to protests that have caused distress and annoyance. This bill is a knee-jerk reaction to the Black Lives Matter and Extinction Rebellion protests, and will be used to silence criticism that Priti Patel wrongly labels ‘hooliganism and thuggery’.” - Britt Dawson, Dazed Magazine 2021

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