Is 'Kill The Bill’ self-defeating?

Violent protests broke out in Bristol earlier this week and ‘Kill the bill’ is the chant that dominates the media right now – but what is it all about, and can it be morally supported?

Is 'Kill The Bill’ self-defeating?

Another protest. 

This has become my tone for the past year as mass protests have become a normality in the media: Black Lives Matter swamped the US, The Women’s Strike against abortion took place in Poland, and now Kill the Bill in the UK are but a few examples of movements that have caused people to take their voices to the streets. 

Protesters are demanding a rethink of the proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which would give the authorities more power to clamp down on nonviolent demonstrations, and could compromise UK citizens’ rights to expression and to protest.

In Bristol, demonstrations against these new proposed powers resulted in over 20 people being arrested, the stoning of police, and police vehicles set ablaze. There were also cries and accusations of police arguably being heavy handed in their response – heavily armed and towering in numbers.

There are certainly conversations to be had around how the police maneuver and respond to mass demonstrations, and tempers are still running high after the tragic events surrounding Sarah Everard’s death. 

In event after event, police officers have repeatedly been accused of over-aggressive responses, and the thought of that behaviour being both enabled and legitimised in legislation caused an uproar. 

That built up anger against the police and the government is evidently starting to bubble over, and could be a contributing factor to the Bristol protestors behaviour. 

However this does not excuse violence on any level. This event was far from peaceful, and frankly it completely undermines the wider cause. The violence and destruction of property by protestors was appalling, and leaves us as the general public confused as to whether to support the intention or condemn the outcome. 

The violence on our screens left both parties looking bad, and the reports of injured police officers widely soured opinions on the protestors. Only, the Avon and Somerset Police have since confessed that the “injuries to some police officers were not as bad as first claimed.” Optics are at the heart of every public debate, and being caught lying about the scale of the violence experienced is helpful – providing you aren’t caught out. 

The rushed and controversial bill has subsequently been shelved, so what was the point of it all? Do we now have to praise the protestors for achieving their goals?

It’s likely the bill will come back when the heat has died down, but whether it does or not, this was a sham of a protest. Even if the protest started in good faith, the resulting violence and arson undermines its credibility. I’m for taking your voice to the streets, but immature behaviour only serves to strengthen the argument of the opposition – defeating the point and leading to public sympathies to turn against the precious right to protest. 

Everybody needs to reflect on this event and learn how to be effective – even disruptive – without becoming destructive. 

Header Image Credit: "UK Police" by tbz.foto is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Author

De-Mornae Clarke

De-Mornae Clarke Kickstart Team

De-mornae is a Kickstart Journalist for Voice. Music, interviews and pop culture are her preferred topics of interest but is often pushing her own creative boundaries to prove that anyone can have an opinion regardless of their background, education or class.

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