Use Your Right to Protest — Best Response to Tory Legislation

London: The Tories forced through a string of brutally repressive and racist measures into law on Wednesday 27th April. They have major implications for protesters, Gypsies, Roma and Travellers, refugees, migrants and black people. And in an outrageous symbol of its utterly ineffective opposition, Labour abstained on one of the final key votes over a government assault on refugee rights.

The Nationality and Borders Bill is a racist response to desperate people fleeing war and poverty. It will close even further any legal route to Britain and therefore push refugees into reliance on people smugglers. When there is no border, you don’t need a trafficker to move around. When there is a thicket of obstacles, you rely on gangs that overcome them for profit.

Just as the bill passed through the House of Lords, some peers tried to ensure that Britain would have to follow international regulations on asylum. The Labour Party told its members not to oppose the government. Labour lord Prem Sikka tweeted that in a vote of whether to force the government to comply with the Refugee Convention, “The vote was lost by 212-157. Labour abstained. I voted against the party whip. Today, the government abuses refugees, tomorrow it is you/me.”

The battle has to start SAP to defy the law, welcome refugees, block deportations—and repeal the new measures and all racist laws. Stand Up To Racism said, “Despite protests and campaigning, the bill is now law. We have to come together to resist its effects.”

The police bill, passed into law the same day, combines authoritarian populism, a desire to find scapegoats—and a tiny bit of fear. It ramps up state powers in a way that can be trumpeted as “dealing with the disruptive minority” in a search for Tory votes. It also means harsher treatment for groups such as Extinction Rebellion, Insulate Britain and Just Stop Oil.

Read more: Breakfast in Red

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