Oppose Police Repression – Defend the right to protest

-Isai Priya

Tamil Solidarity condemns the aggressive and intimidating tactics of The Metropolitan Police against peaceful protesters. We defend the right to protest.

On Sunday, 14th March, an ongoing peaceful protest outside the homes of Tamil Activist Ambihai SelvaKumar, who has been on hunger strike for 16 days, was violently dispersed with a protester targeted and arrested.

This type of approach by the police is not new. Only a day before, footages emerged showing police officers heavy handling, pushing and arrested women at a peaceful vigil for Sarah Everard, a 33 year women abducted and murdered by a serving Metropolitan Police officer in Clapham, South London. The footages were so vicious that MPs including the Prime Ministers, raised concern and an independent inquiry is launched into the actions of the police.

We support the call for Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick to resign. But we also call upon answers from Home Secretary Priti Patel, who only last month said she didn’t support the Black Lives Matter protests, and Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will be debated in the parliament today and tomorrow. The measured in the bill means that the police will have more authority to break up loud and noisy protesters and those that have an impact. There will be more conditions imposed on the legality of the protest. It will mean that the police will be able to arrest protesters and issuing longer sentences for them. It also widens the definition of a “public nuisance”. The penalty for this offence includes jail sentences of up to 10 years.

Tamil Solidarity completely opposes this bill that gives more power to Met police. It’s an attack on our right to protest, assemble and fight for our rights.

Tamil community, in Britain, knows too well how the police deal with protests. All those involved in the 2009 mass movement, remember too well being pushed and roughly handled by the police, left with bruises and injuries.

We must now organise to defend the right to protest and to oppose police repressive measures.