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‘Kill the Bill’: Thousands rally across UK against 'draconian crackdown' on protests

Demonstrators walk behind a ‘Kill the Bill’ banner in London, Britain, and many other cities across the UK, on January 15, 2022. (Photo by AFP)

Thousands of people have taken to the streets across UK to protest against the government’s controversial Police and Crime Bill that seeks to crack down on non-violent protests.

‘Kill the Bill’ demonstrations against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill were held in London, Bristol, Coventry, Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield and Plymouth.

The protesters described the bill as a "draconian crackdown" on the right to assembly, freedom of expression and other civil liberties.

The anti-protest provisions, which are already passed at the House of Commons, is only one step away from passing into law.

The House of Lords is expected to vote on the measures on Monday. If passed into law, the bill will give police more powers to massively crack down on demonstrators. It would make many forms of protest difficult or impossible across the UK.

Under the measures, protesters could face prison sentences of up to 10 years. The bill will also have an impact on minority communities. Plans are also being made to expand stop and search powers.

Critics describe the bill as an unprecedented power grab by the UK government.

Some 350 charities have signed a letter and more than 800,000 people have signed a petition calling for the proposal to be scrapped.

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