Press Association 2021
Police have issued warnings against people gathering over the Easter weekend as multiple Kill the Bill protests are expected to take place across England on Friday.
A rally against the Government’s proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill has been organised for 2pm at Finsbury Park in London, with similar events planned in Leeds, Manchester and Southampton.
Although the protests are lawful providing organisers submit a risk assessment and take steps to ensure the gatherings are safe, the Metropolitan Police warned on Thursday the safety of the wider community is paramount.
The force said: “Enforcement action will be taken, if needed, in the interests of public health.”
Meanwhile, Greater Manchester Police sought to avoid a repeat of scenes played out across the country this week by introducing a 48-hour dispersal order for the city centre, to last until 3pm on Saturday.
It means officers can direct anyone acting anti-socially to leave the area.
The first Kill the Bill protest in Bristol on March 21 descended into a riot, with subsequent rallies on March 23 and 26 also ending in clashes between the police and protesters. A further demonstration on March 30 passed off peacefully.
The proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill would give police in England and Wales more power to impose conditions on non-violent protests, including those deemed too noisy or a nuisance, with those convicted liable to fines or jail terms.