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Drive2Survive demonstration, Parliament Square

Drive2Survive demonstration, Parliament Square. Photo: Lucy Nichols

Protesters gathered in Parliament Square to oppose the Police and Crime Bill that is set to criminalise GRT way of life, reports Lucy Nichols

On Wednesday hundreds of demonstrators came together in Parliament Square to protest the Police and Crime Bill, which passed its third reading in the House of Commons this week. The demonstration – supported by Kill the Bill and the Peoples’ Assembly – was organised by Drive to Survive, a Gypsy and Romani Traveller campaign group set up to oppose the disastrous new police bill.

The demonstration saw members of the GRT community join Kill the Bill and Black Lives Matter activists, squatters’ groups and many more to stand up to the Tory government, as it veers in an even more authoritarian direction and is set to criminalise the way of life for many GRT people.

The well-attended protest was defiant, and speakers took aim at the government, likening their treatment at the hands of the Tories to the history of anti-Traveller racism around Europe and in Britain especially. Howard Beckett and John Rees were amongst those speaking, and called for solidarity with the GRT community given heightened attacks from the government. The demonstration also celebrated GRT culture, with singing, a traditional horse and cart and traditional clothing given out to those from traveller backgrounds.

It is clear that the Police and Crime Bill will not be passed without a significant fight from all corners of the UK’s working class. It is up to us to continue to organise against the Conservative government, which can only be done through collective action and solidarity.

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