#KillTheBill protests make a difference (What’s Happening newsletter #13)

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Welcome to the second Real Media / Phoenix Media Co-op newsletter of the year. Please also remember to subscribe on YouTube to check out our What’s Happening round-up, which will be back in February.

#KillTheBill protests

At the end of 2021, the UK government amended its controversial Policing Bill during its progress through the House of Lords, bringing in a swathe of new authoritarian anti-protest measures

This sparked a campaign by a coalition of movements asking the Lords to vote down the new clauses, and in a day of action on 15 January, people across the UK made their voices heard on the streets:

In Manchester, Huda Ammori from the successful Palestine Action group stressed that “When the government takes away your power, you take it back!”

Campaigners also disrupted a Zoom call with home secretary Priti Patel to make their opposition to the bill clear:

On 17 January, the House of Lords threw out almost all of the new proposals, sending a strong signal to the government about people’s right to protest. The only part which passed was a new offence aimed at groups like Insulate Britain, making obstruction of any part of the Strategic Road Network a criminal offence, with penalties of huge fines and up to 51 weeks’ imprisonment.

While many around the country celebrate this small victory, we must remember that the original bill, returning to the Commons for final reading, already erodes many of our rights: 

  • New police powers to tackle knife crime are seen as a charter for institutional racism. And sections on “Unauthorised Encampments” are a crushing blow to the way of life of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities:

  • Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) insist that “This bill will criminalise disabled people who are telling their stories. It will stop those stories from being heard. And enable the harm to go on.”

For more, watch this Real Media interview with Kevin Blowe from The Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol), who explained why the bill is of such great concern:

Edmonton Incinerator latest

On 18 January, the North London Waste Authority signed a contract with controversial Spanish corporation Acciona to rebuild a much larger waste incinerator in the densely-populated borough of Edmonton. Although this is a blow to more than 50 campaign groups who have been fighting the project, they say the battle will continue, with more protests and actions, as well as a legal challenge. 

For more, see this Real Media interview with campaigner Rembrandt Koppelaar, who outlines some of the new technology alternatives to incineration:

Other news:

  • Outsourced security guards at Great Ormond Street hospital began a six-week strike today demanding equal rights to fellow workers at the hospital who won a campaign for direct employment. Watch Real Media’s original report on this campaign.
  • Three female activists are on trial in Birmingham from tomorrow for shutting down the landlords of the Elbit Systems UAV Engines weapons factory last July. Vine Property Management (merged with Fisher German) are responsible for the oversight and management of the site. Palestine Action, who organised the protest, say that the landlords contribute to the war crimes committed against Palestinian people by enabling the manufacture of drones used to surveil and bomb in the illegally-occupied territories. Watch Real Media’s original report of the action.
  • Oxfam released a paper insisting that: “The wealth of the world’s 10 richest men has doubled since the pandemic began. The incomes of 99% of humanity are worse off because of COVID-19. Widening economic, gender, and racial inequalities—as well as the inequality that exists between countries—are tearing our world apart.”


That’s all for this week, but please let us know of any stories and issues you’d like to see more of, and remember to subscribe on YouTube.