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Thousands expected to protest policing Bill as it returns to Parliament

THOUSANDS of protesters are expected to hit central London tomorrow against the draconian policing Bill as it returns to Parliament. 

Opposition MPs are hoping to deal several blows to the government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill through a series of amendments on Monday. 

But protest groups have stressed that amending the Bill is not enough and are calling for it to be scrapped entirely. 

Ahead of demonstrations outside Parliament, Sisters Uncut, one of the groups leading the Kill the Bill movement, said: “We already bear the brunt of so much police violence — we can’t allow the police to have any more powers.

“We’re [going to] make some noise and make sure that [Home Secretary] Priti [Patel] knows that amending this Bill isn’t enough. The whole thing has to go.”

United for Black Lives UK, Extinction Rebellion and Gypsy, Roma and Traveller organisations are also planning to join protests from 2pm. 

The government could face several defeats over the legislation with MPs set to challenge some of the most controversial parts at the Bill’s report stage and third reading. 

Lib Dem MP Alistair Carmichael is seeking to throw out the entire “public order” section of the Bill which seeks to give police powers to impose conditions including noise limits on protests and introduces new offences to criminalise peaceful protesters. 

A cross-party amendment by human rights committee chairwoman Harriet Harman would confirm “an express statutory right to protest.”

Labour MP Ian Byrne is seeking to throw out measures criminalising trespass, a move campaigners warn would threaten to destroy Travellers’ way of life. 

Other amendments tabled by Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy call for a review into the use of stop and search and an inquiry into how black and ethnic minorities are treated by the criminal justice system.

Ahead of the debate, Ms Ribeiro-Addy said she had tabled the two clauses due to the “the persistence of heavy-handed policing through the pandemic and our communities’ disproportionate suffering at every stage of the justice system.”

Labour also wants to create new criminal offences for assaulting retail workers in a bid to protect shopkeepers against escalating levels of violence and abuse. 

It’s understood that most of the proposed amendments will be thrown out by the Speaker, with four issues expected to be put forward for a vote. 

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