As the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill makes its slimy way through the Commons, and now the Lords, the GRT community and friends chose to stand up and decry their outrage on Wednesday.
The series of speakers from a variety of groups led by members of the GRT community were hosted at a static demonstration in Parliament Square. The speeches highlighted the insidious racism in section 4 of the bill which is set to criminalise trespass, making it a criminal offence to follow a tradition of nomadism that has underpinned Gypsy and Roma heritage for the last 1000 years. Penalties could include hefty fines of up to £2,500, 3 months prison time and the traumatic seizure of peoples homes and vehicles.
The rally brought together many vibrant groups and individuals from all walks of life. A vocal presence of New Travellers, squatters, political factions, BLM activists all came mutually empower one another and stand as one for Traveller’s rights.
The rally was followed by a short walking demo to Europe House to hand in a letter to the World Roma Congress regarding the persecution of Roma in Kosovo in 1999. More splintered off after this planned part of the protest an energetic march through central London, headed mostly by New Travellers, as well as squatters from up and down country and their supporters. The fairly heavy police presence and monitoring was hugely disproportionate to the size of the moving procession, which punctuated and energised by instruments and chants.
One person was arrested outside Downing street for a supposed trivial offence. The crowd attempted to peacefully de-arrest the individual by blocking the police escort to the van. After a short stand off, the crowd continued on coming to a close at a park.
The campaign to KILL THE BILL is set to escalate over the summer and the voices of the GRT community need to be elevated in this fight. We stand in solidarity with all those impacted by this facist legislation. We will continue actively exercise our right to roam and reside, regardless of what laws are imposed upon us we will continue to live freely.
FREE THE LAND /// SQUAT THE FUCKING WORLD
Keep updated with the Drive2Survive Campaign on their site: www.drive2survive.org.uk and social media: https://www.facebook.com/Drive2Survivecampaign2021