I wrote this to my MP today – from my perspective as a survivor
As David Lammy MP put it, “ This would give higher penalties for damaging a statue than for assaulting a woman.”
Dear (I have redacted my constituency here as I didn’t want to post my home locality online )
As your constituent, I am writing to request your vote against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021. Your party should be upholding our freedoms, not further restricting citizens from exercising their democratic rights by way of peaceful protest. Individual liberty, a cornerstone of conservatism, means fighting for free speech, against heavy-handed policing, and in favour of adults choosing for themselves.
This weekend, women, among them Mrs Kate Cambridge, visited Clapham to pay respects to Sarah Everard, a rape and murder victim, for which a male police officer is on trial. This was a protest by women for all of our right to walk the streets safely. A peaceful vigil was met with blatant brutality by the police, against innocent female protesters. I hope and request that that my MP is filing a complaint about this please , to demand those police responsible are sacked and charges brought against them – I am a rape survivor and seeing these reports struck a chord, as it has with many other survivors. Many of us have ourselves experienced brutal treatment by police. In a democracy, policing should be there to protect our right to peaceful protest, not to crush , threaten it and engage in violence toward innocent protesters. But the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021, as it stands, threatens our basic democratic rights, which this country has always maintained were the backbone of our system. It seeks to expand the restriction zone from Parliament Square Green to all the roads surrounding it and up Whitehall, meaning that the government could simply ban any protests outside Parliament or Downing Street that it disagrees with. It contains clauses about single-person protests, whether standing or even just passing through. And it seeks to outlaw noisy demonstrations.
The point of ordinary people being able to protest is that they can be heard by those with power. Unamended, this Bill would kill off the kind of lively, visible, widely-supported, vibrant activities Best for Britain and many other peaceful organisations have engaged in. The role of our government should be to facilitate safe and legal protest, not make it harder – and it is possible to do that under the existing laws – changing them is a political move, not one designed to make protest safer.
I believe in international liberal democracy and want Britain to lead the way in promoting those values. But we can’t credibly do so while eroding the liberties of the British people at home. For example, we can’t with good moral authority criticise China for clamping down on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, if we curtail those same freedoms at home. If we are to build Global Britain as a respected brand on the world stage, we must uphold the right to peaceful protest.
As my MP, I look forward to hearing that you did the right thing and voted against this Bill.
#GirlSurvivor. #RapeSurvivor #ReclaimTheStreets #IBelieveYou #Woman #Democracy #DontBeSilenced #AnnaJuliet #SarahEverard #PoliceBrutality #RightToSpeak #Abuse #ViolenceAgainstWomen #PoliceCrimeSentencingandCourtsBill2021 #MP #NoJustice #InJustice