Reply To: Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019

Home Forums Discussion Forum Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019 Reply To: Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019

Kim Sanders-Fisher

Desperate to paint all protesters as violent extremists I believe the far-right were just enlisted to initiate violence in the progressive Socialist stronghold of Bristol. In the London Economic Article entitled “Reaction as ‘Kill the Bill’ protest turns violent,” Jack Peat reports on the “Protests against anti-protest measures turned ugly in Bristol last night. Violent scenes which marred a ‘Kill the Bill’ protest in Bristol that saw a police station attacked, officers injured and vehicles set alight have been widely condemned. Home Secretary Priti Patel branded the scenes ‘unacceptable’ and said ‘thuggery and disorder’ would never be tolerated. Bristol mayor Marvin Rees, who said he had ‘major concerns about the Government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, condemned the thuggery but said the disorder would be used to justify the legislation. Freedom to protest is fundamental to democracy’ Mass gatherings are currently banned under coronavirus legislation and anyone breaching the regulations could be fined.”

Peat reports that “‘Many who attended the protest on College Green were wearing face masks and carried placards, saying: ‘Say no to UK police state’ and ‘Freedom to protest is fundamental to democracy’ and ‘Kill the Bill’. What started as a non-violent demonstration on Sunday afternoon turned violent after hundreds of protesters descended on the New Bridewell police station. Two police officers were injured, suffering broken ribs and an arm, and taken to hospital during violent skirmishes with masked thugs. Later, protesters attempted to smash the windows of the glass-fronted police station. They also tried to set fire to one of the marked police vans parked outside the station but the small flames were quickly extinguished by riot officers. Other protesters set fire to a police van parked on Bridewell Street, near to the police station. Rioters smashed the windows of the police station and also destroyed Avon and Somerset Police vehicles parked nearby, setting fire to a car and a van.”

Peat points out that “Cars parked in a multi-storey car park adjacent to the police station were also damaged by protesters. Avon and Somerset Police said its officers had missiles and fireworks thrown at them and used mounted officers and dogs to disperse the mob. The mindless violence was condemned by the Home Secretary, police federation representatives and local leaders. Home Secretary Priti Patel tweeted: ‘Unacceptable scenes in Bristol tonight. ‘Thuggery and disorder by a minority will never be tolerated. Our police officers put themselves in harm’s way to protect us all. My thoughts this evening are with those police officers injured’.” What luck! This was just the kind of violent scene Patel wanted to ram through her draconian legislation.

Bristol was the perfect place to infiltrate a peaceful protest. Peat notes that Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said: “I have major concerns about the Bill myself, which is poorly thought out and could impose disproportionate controls on free expression and the right to peaceful protest. ‘Smashing buildings in our city centre, vandalising vehicles, attacking our police will do nothing to lessen the likelihood of the Bill going through. ‘On the contrary, the lawlessness on show will be used as evidence and promote the need for the Bill. This is a shameful day in an incredible year for Bristol. We have faced times of great confrontation particularly surrounding Black Lives Matter and the events that followed. ‘We have had numerous protests. Our police, city representatives and I have been able to point out with pride that we have faced these moments of conflict without the physical conflict that others have experienced. ‘Those who decided to turn the protest into a physical confrontation and smash our city have robbed us of this’.”

Citing the “Right to protest” Peat reports that “Reaction elsewhere has been divided, with Ash Sarkar saying ‘if the government wants people to protest peacefully then they shouldn’t push through measures which would criminalise peaceful protest’.” Jake Hanrahan added that “if this happened in a foreign country the British press would frame it as a revolt against brutal measures brought in by a hardline government, Instead the clashes are ‘disgraceful’. What’s disgraceful is how staggeringly authoritarian the bill is. #killthebill” Our most serious problem remains that the majority of the British public still fail to recognize that the UK has rapidly descended into a repressive authoritarian police state. The extent of the brutality of our far-right fascist regime is evidenced by the glaringly obvious statistic, exposing the horrific death tolls directly caused by Tory austerity, poverty and only now Covid 19.

But Peat did note that “There was widespread condemnation of the minority who hijacked the situation for their own aims.” John Apter Tweeted: “This is not about protecting the right to protest, it’s violent criminality from a hardcore minority who will hijack any situation for their own aims. My colleagues, some of whom are now in hospital face the brunt of that hatred. Thoughts remain with my colleagues. #Bristol Such as this familiar face:” There was report on Politics Live of a Tory MP claiming that such controversial legislation was introduced to deliberately stir-up trouble; if true it has certainly worked out well for this toxic regime. In a bewildered response to: Nigel Farage Tweeting: “In Bristol tonight we see what the soft-headed approach to the anti-police BLM leads to. Wake up everyone, this is not about racial justice. These people want all-out anarchy and street violence,” Alex Beresford Tweeted: “Sorry what has BLM got to do with the scenes in Bristol today?” No Nigel, the far-right want to precipitate violence, stir-up racial tensions and social unrest: it’s all part of their ruthless ‘divide and conquer’ strategy.

In the Byline Times Article entitled “Peaceful Protests have Shaped Democracy We Must Do Everything we can to Protect Them,” Dr Meenal Viz makes a strong case for not allowing this Government to silence protest. They say “With a Government crackdown on protests to be voted on imminently, frontline NHS doctor Meenal Viz explores how powerful taking a stand can be in speaking truth to power and enacting change.” Dr Viz says “Last April, I was faced with a stark choice. As a doctor who was six months pregnant, I was forlorn. Just minutes from where I lived in Luton, Mary Agyapong had died. Mary was a pregnant nurse and died in the same hospital where she worked. She never got to meet her newborn daughter. Echoing my own experience, Mary’s concerns about working while pregnant during the pandemic had not been heard, and now she had no voice. I did not want to become another statistic and so I felt I needed to take drastic action. Peaceful protests are the common man’s conduit to power.”

Dr Viz says “When routine escalation fails and bureaucracy obstructs, one of our last remaining options is to press a hard reset on the system. Pressure needs to be exerted on decision-makers, who are increasingly obsessed with focus groups and social media analytics. We shouldn’t have to fight for the right to protest in a functioning democracy and a clampdown on protests is ample evidence that our democracy is not functioning. In the absence of powerful contacts, PR firms and media managers, I knew that I had to create an image that would resonate with the public, iconic enough to empower pregnant women across the world and encourage them to stand up for their rights. I knew that I would be the first person to protest during lockdown and that in itself entailed a great deal of personal and professional risk. There was great ambiguity about the laws surrounding protest, just as there was great ambiguity about the status of pregnant healthcare workers.”

“I was acutely aware that the Government’s instructions were to stay at home,” Viz says “I knew that the situation for pregnant healthcare workers was untenable and that the system’s inertia would put myself and colleagues at risk before a decision was made. A week after Mary died, I drove to London. I planned for every eventuality. My hunch was that the Government was already trying to stifle communication from healthcare workers as I was already aware of several colleagues who had been issued with eerily similar not-so-veiled threats about social media posts and media appearances. It is a system which tried to silence the truth, and this systematic suppression of voices is what causes people to mobilise. Protest does not happen in a vacuum; it is a symptom of systemic failures. On that Sunday morning, my bamboo sign was recyclable, my scrubs were reusable, and my cloth mask was washable. I had written my husband’s phone number on my arm in case I was arrested. I rehearsed my lines, but didn’t get much further than ‘I’m pregnant’ and pointing to my belly.”

Dr Viz claims she “Only tipped off a trusted journalist minutes before my arrival because I was certain that, if Downing Street’s communications team was made aware of my protest, it would use every avenue, including the police, to discredit and discourage me. I marched down Whitehall by myself, we are allowed one hour of daily exercise, after all, officer, and positioned myself outside the gates of Downing Street for one hour. There, I reflected and I meditated in total silence. It was a pleasant spring morning and I spent much of my time admiring the sun-kissed cherry blossom. Mine was a silent protest, but it was a silence that I chose, in stark contrast to the draconian communications policies being imposed upon doctors. It was not lost upon me that I was a single person and, standing behind the Downing Street gates, were the usual number of armed policemen. (The policemen were all unfailingly polite during my protest and, as I left, I thanked them for allowing me to protest without disturbance).”

Dr Viz says “The next morning, I was shocked to see that my picture had made the front pages of both The Times and the Telegraph. It had reached a worldwide audience with The New York Times and further syndication across the world. In one hour of silent protest, I had achieved what I had tried to do through months of escalation to no avail. I received a phone call from hospital management, advising me that I could now work from home. Ultimately, my protest gained mainstream political support and helped to shape policy to protect healthcare workers during the pandemic. One silent protest served to give a voice to many. Later in the year, I was also invited to advise some Black Lives Matter protests in the UK. During a pandemic, safety protocols are paramount and I was pleased to be able to help create practical and innovative solutions to allow safe environments for peaceful protest.”

Dr Viz understands that “Some will argue that, due to COVID-19 restrictions, all mass gatherings are currently illegal and that protests should not be excepted. While recognising this concern, we must note that issues such as structural racism are also a public health crisis. It was therefore disheartening to see that the Metropolitan Police refused to allow permission for a peaceful vigil to take place in Clapham Common on Saturday evening, in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard. Instead of allowing the vigil to be observed and allowing the crowds to disperse naturally, police were seen to be using force against those who attended. This comes within a concerning context of the Government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, a law which seeks to criminalise the more trivial aspects of protest.” This Tory Government crackdown is proof positive of just how effective our protests are, but we must be vigilant to ensure that far-right infiltrators do not spark violence and vandalism to negate our message.

Dr. Viz warns that “If this bill is passed, a protestor could be banned if a person comes to harm as a result of ‘serious distress, serious annoyance, serious inconvenience or serious loss of amenity’. The penalty would be up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine. Worryingly, a crime could be committed by a protestor even if a person is merely at risk of suffering from serious annoyance as a result. You can be certain that the first protestor found guilty of causing harm as a result of serious annoyance is going to have to pay his fine to The Ministry of Silly Walks. By their very nature, protests are not meant to make everyone in the room happy. They are designed to disrupt the status quo. Throughout history, attempts to ban low-key peaceful protests have almost always resulted in accelerant being poured on a fire that might have otherwise burned out by itself. It could be that, in trying to limit the scope of protests, the Government will motivate a new generation of protestors to take to the streets.”

In the Canary Article entitled “MPs and campaigners demand the home secretary stops police clamping down on protest,” they note that “Campaigners, MPs, and peers have written to home secretary Priti Patel. They’re calling for changes to coronavirus (Covid-19) legislation to allow for protests to take place during lockdown.” They insist on “Protecting the right to protest. The letter was organised by Liberty and Big Brother Watch. It calls on the home secretary to provide guidance for police on how to facilitate protests during the pandemic. And it also asks for clarity around laws on the right to protest. The letter emphasises that protest is a human right. This comes ahead of further ‘Kill the Bill’ protests to challenge the government’s draconian Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. The protests are due to take place nationwide on 20 and 21 March.”

“MPs from various parties have signed the letter. However, the Canary say that Network for Police Monitoring co-ordinator Kevin Blowe highlighted that the Tory MPs who signed the letter previously voted for the bill which proposes to ‘clamp down on protest’: Note: the Tory MPs who signed the letter, Baker, Chope, Fuller, Green and Mitchell, all voted for the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. – Kevin (Aggravated Activist) Blowe (@copwatcher)” This is obviously a Tory Government attempt to ban protests, they say “Earlier in March, campaigners tried to secure exemption from lockdown legislation to attend a vigil commemorating Sarah Everard. The judgement handed down suggested ‘that the human rights of expression and gathering might be considered reasonable excuses in some circumstances’. But police still proceeded to harass and arrest vigil attendees. Big Brother Watch director Silkie Carlo said:”

The Canary report on “The harrowing scenes of police officers using force against women at Clapham Common recently were avoidable and wrong. Over the past week, many more demonstrators and even legal observers have been arrested or fined. This stain on our democracy is a direct consequence of this government’s disrespect for the most basic of British democratic freedoms. Sam Grant from Liberty added: Last week, the police conceded protest is not banned under the lockdown regulations, but used them to threaten then arrest demonstrators anyway. The home secretary must immediately issue guidance to all police forces to ensure socially distanced protests can go ahead and create an explicit exemption for protest in the current regulations.” General perception of the disproportionate use of force caused a public outcry and severe embarrassment to the MET. I wouldn’t rule out Tories recruiting thugs to spark a violent attack on police in Bristol in an attempt to rebalance opinion in favour of a crackdown!

Yes the Tories are that untrustworthy and devious; for Boris this is all about the optics as Johnson knows he can rely on the BBC to spin this latest incident to overwhelm previous bad press and support the growing authoritarianism of his crooked cabal. The Canary say that “Doughty Street Chambers barrister Adam Wagner highlighted, as set out in the judicial review, that any police force with a blanket ban on all protest would be acting unlawfully.” Adam Wagner Tweeted: “Mr Justice Holgate’s judgment in the @ReclaimTS Judicial Review interim hearing from last Friday has been published. Paragraph 24 is key and couldn’t be clearer. Any police force with a policy which bans all protest would be acting unlawfully” Netpol Tweeted: “This is Wiltshire’s Chief Constable, not knowing that the clear duty to facilitate protests has not been suspended or that Mr Justice Holgate’s judgment in the @ReclaimTS case says any police force with a policy that bans all protest would be acting unlawfully.”

The Canary report that “Statements from the Metropolitan police, London mayor Sadiq Khan, and Wiltshire’s police constable are not in line with Holgate’s judgement: Wiltshire News Tweeted: During ‘normal’ times we have a very clear duty to facilitate legal and peaceful protest, but the covid-19 legislation has enforced a ban on large gatherings’ Kier Pritchard: Working hard to build confidence in county police force The letter to the home secretary states: The absence of clear guidance on these issues has created an entirely unsatisfactory situation, which has persisted to varying degrees for almost a year now. The police have no legal certainty as to their duties and powers, protestors have no legal certainty as to their rights, and there is inconsistent application of the Regulations across the country. This cannot continue.”

Describing the lack of clarity Canary say that “Netpol suggested that the confusion created by ‘state-of-emergency laws and enforcement’ is ‘a very effective way of making people fearful about exercising’ their rights:” Netpol Tweeted: “The absence of clear guidance on these issues has created an entirely unsatisfactory situation… protestors have no legal certainty as to their rights, and there is inconsistent application of the Regulations across the country” “It is underappreciated how state-of-emergency laws and enforcement is intended to create uncertainty about our rights: it’s a very effective way of making people fearful about exercising them. This is also true of continually introducing more and new public order laws” The Home Office responded to the joint letter, saying: ‘While we are still in a pandemic we continue to urge people to avoid mass gatherings, in line with wider coronavirus restrictions.’ The Home Office also confirmed that stay at home regulations will remain in place until 29 March.”

In the Canary Article entitled “‘Kill the Bill’ protests are happening across the country this weekend,” they warned ahead of time of the public backlash against “The bill saying that “The Tory government’s authoritarian Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will not only clamp down on protest but will also target marginalised communities, criminalising the Gypsy and Romany Traveller (GRT) community and introducing more stop and search powers. As the call to action from Cornwall explains: The new bill gives the police more power to impose conditions on a protest, including ones they view as too noisy… and it’s not just protest. The bill will make trespass an offence, criminalising Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. It introduces new stop and search powers that will increase racial profiling and harassment.”

“The Canary warned earlier this week that: The Bill will ban protests that block roads around Parliament. It also allows the police to impose conditions on one-person protests. And it will introduce a new offence, punishable by up to ten years in prison, of ‘public nuisance’ for actions that cause ‘serious distress’, ‘serious annoyance’, ‘serious inconvenience’. Yes, that’s right. If you cause serious annoyance on a protest, you could go to jail for a decade! Oh, and then there’s the ten year sentences for damaging a memorial or statue. Yep, you could get a longer sentence for damaging an inanimate object than the average sentence given to rapists. As a result, a coalition of groups is coming together to oppose the bill. Sisters Uncut have led the charge against the bill and in women’s demonstrations. In a press release, an anonymous member urged supporters to keep up the pressure.”

The Canary note that “The last week has shown that protest works. That’s why they want to ban it, and that’s why we’re fighting back. The coalition that is coming together shows just how many people are angry about the brutal reality of policing in this country, and who are determined to roll back this dangerous extension of state power. Saturday night has shown us that the police are drunk on power, and should not be rewarded with more. Policing by consent is a story this country likes to tell about itself. The reality is that policing is unaccountable, aggressive and violent. Targets of police repression, working-class people, racial minorities, sex workers and many others, have had enough.” They listed the weekend protest against the bill held in: Liverpool; Bristol; Manchester, Cornwall, Truro; Newcastle; London (Deptford); Plymouth; Brighton; Cardiff; Birmingham; Sheffield; London, New Cross; Despite all but one of these protests proceeding peacefully; only the violence in Bristol made the BBC News agenda.

The Canary say “News that the bill has been delayed is welcome and a victory. But the battle is far from over and everyone still needs to take urgent action to ensure this repressive bill doesn’t become law.” Priti Patel was so ‘seriously annoyed by Extinction Rebellion protests that she broke a fingernail rapping on her desk in a fit of peak; she wants protesters thrown in jail for inflicting such serious distress! This is the Tory ‘mountain out of molehill’ rant to strip away our civil rights and lock up all outspoken activists as criminals in their repressive authoritarian dystopian nightmare scenario of ‘new normal.’ We should never have allowed the Tories to seize control unchallenged in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election, but it is not too late to demand a full Investigation of the result, along with the numerous corrupt abuses of power and squandering of public funds that have occurred since. In a functioning democracy such an extreme and relentless level of corruption would have seen the leadership team in jail not rewarded with office! DO NOT MOVE ON!