War memorial vandalised in Norwich 'kill the bill' protest
- Credit: Archant
Hundreds of people took to the streets of Norwich to show their support for the right to protest peacefully.
Graffiti with the slogan 'Kill The Bill' was daubed on Norwich's war memorial during the demonstration staged at Saturday lunchtime despite current Covid restrictions on mass gatherings.
A crowd of about 300 gathered across the road outside Norwich City Hall for the demonstration which was one of dozens across the country against legislation put forward by home secretary Priti Patel.
The protest passed off peacefully with a handful of police officers observing the event from a distance.
The Police and Crime Bill would give senior officers powers to put more restrictions on protests, including imposing a start and finish time, set noise limits and apply such rules to a demonstration by just one person.
Demonstrators, many with banners and home-made placards opposing the planned new laws, chanted ‘no justice, no peace’ while listening to speeches by people using a megaphone before marching down Guildhall Hill past Norwich market.
A group later sat on St Stephen’s Roundabout blocking traffic and causing delays to bus services into St Stephen’s Street and Norwich Bus Station.
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Jim and Sue Green said: “The right to protest is a basic right. If you shut down protests it will come out in other ways. It is a right of all of us to be able to protest and this bill is a very dangerous precedent. I feel very strong that this is very dangerous.
“Protest changes things, think of Gandhi and Martin Luther King. I’m a Christian and my whole faith is rooted in protest. It is what people need to be able to do. Where would we be without it?”
Ingo Wagenknecht, who was wearing a large homemade hat bearing slogans against the bill, said: “I’m a veteran of Twyford Down and many other road protests, non-violent protests, and I think it is so important that people realise this is setting back history by 200 years.
“You cannot have a democracy without having the right to free expression and free speech. And this bill is drawn out of a time of a pandemic, an emergency law, which is being used now on the back of that to control us.”