Campaigners defied a police ban to stage another 'Kill the Bill' protest in Manchester city centre.Protesters turned out at St Peter's Square from 1pm on Good Friday to show their opposition to the Government's proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021.The rally took place despite a 48-hour police dispersal order remaining in place for the entire city centre.
That was imposed by Greater Manchester Police because of a rave-type event which took place at the Castlefield Bowl in the city.
The order gives Greater Manchester Police the power to tell people engaged or likely to engage in anti-social behaviour to leave a specified area.The rally follows a similar one held in St Peter's Square on Saturday 27 March.On that occasion, some demonstrators who sat on the tram tracks were forcibly removed by officers and 18 people were arrested.
A GMP spokesperson said: "We have worked closely with partners to ensure appropriate plans have been put in place."
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021 proposes allowing the police to take a more proactive approach in managing what are deemed ''highly disruptive'' protests, causing serious disruption to the public.
Police will be able to impose conditions like start and finish times, and permitted noise levels for demonstrations on static protests.
They will also be able to limit the amount of noise if it is considered disruptive for residents or businesses nearby - even on one-person protests.
It has been heavily criticised by objectors who say it will restrict civil liberties.
Socially-distanced peaceful protests are permitted under the latest Covid restrictions, which were eased on Monday. The Manchester rally was timed to coincide with similar protests in Leeds, London and Southampton.