The new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill was passed on Tuesday evening (March 16) by 359 votes to 263 – a majority of 96 – after it was overwhelmingly backed by Tory MPs.
The new bill proposes tougher crackdowns on public protests, including a 10-year jail sentence for defacing public statues and more powers for police to shut down peaceful protests.
It could also pave the way for the end of major protests previously undertaken by environmental groups such as Extinction Rebellion – who have previously welcomed support at Glastonbury Festival.
The principles of standing up for what we believe via marching & peaceful protest are under attack. I grew up going to marches and protests and the festival has always been a canvas for people who want to make their voices heard. We must preserve the right to peaceful protest. pic.twitter.com/LViSKD1xz9
— Emily Eavis (@emilyeavis) March 18, 2021
Posting on Twitter, Eavis wrote: “The principles of standing up for what we believe via marching & peaceful protest are under attack.
“I grew up going to marches and protests and the festival has always been a canvas for people who want to make their voices heard. We must preserve the right to peaceful protest.”
Eavis also shared a series of campaign posters posted at Glastonbury’s Park Stage – including opposition to the Trident nuclear programme.
“…those who cause annoyance could be jailed for up to ten years…” https://t.co/QE6RLPBEL4
— Thom Yorke (@thomyorke) March 17, 2021
The bill has been followed closely since a peaceful vigil was held in Clapham Common for Sarah Everard, the 33-year-old woman murdered while walking home earlier this month, turned violent with clashes between peaceful protestors and police.
“Over 50% of victims of violent crime in the last 3 years are women,” Labour leader Keir Starmer tweeted ahead of the vote.
“Don’t let anyone say it is a rare occurrence. It’s a devastating reality for women and girls across the country.”
Lily Allen was among the famous faces to also voice their opposition, tweeting: “I keep seeing people tweet that you can’t have a functioning democracy without the right to protest.
“If it’s not abundantly clear to you by now that this govt doesn’t care about democracy, you’ve not been paying attention.”
Elsewhere, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke retweeted a video of Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy, who gave a speech on why the party voted against the new crime bill. The musician captioned the post with the quote: “…those who cause annoyance could be jailed for up to ten years…”