Home News Moment ‘Kill The Bill’ protesters targeted Bristol office

Moment ‘Kill The Bill’ protesters targeted Bristol office

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This was the moment campaigners against the controversial Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill took their protest for the right to protest to the offices of a Bristol MP.

Instead of marching around the streets of Bristol, as other ‘Kill The Bill’ protesters have done over the past couple of months, activists from the community union ACORN instead staged a protest outside the office of Conservative MP Chris Skidmore.

They stuck copies of the PCSC Bill onto the windows of the Kingswood MP’s office in Hanham High Street at lunchtime on Saturday, May 8, even though the office has been closed during the pandemic.

ACORN members then sprayed those paper copies with slogans, before making a paper chain out of other copies of the Police and Crime Bill to hang across the office shopfront.

They sang songs and chanted, as well as making speeches about how the proposed legislation will affect different people – from curtailing the right to protest, to adversely affecting the way of life of members of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

The protest in Hanham was part of a nationwide day of action across the country by ACORN members against the Police and Crime Bill.

ACORN has predominantly been a tenants’ union, with members taking direct action protests against slum landlords, and in Bristol, the red t-shirted campaigners have become well known for targeting landlords and lettings agencies.

There are sections in the proposed legislation which give police powers to stop or crackdown on otherwise legal protests that are deemed ‘noisy’ or ‘annoying’ – something which ACORN’s direct action protests in Bristol, while not marching the street to block the traffic, have often been.

“Without the right to protest and use direct action, we would not have been able to force the council to rehouse two of our members – one of whom had a young son – whose safehouse was compromised after they had been victims of domestic violence,” said ACORN member Jack Windle.

“The campaign led to a review of how the council houses vulnerable people. If this Bill had been in force then, our members would have faced further trauma and vulnerable people might still be housed in unsafe conditions now,” he added.




ACORN’s Jane McDowell added that the protests the organisation had staged against landlords work in improving conditions for tenants.

“Protesting was the only way that we got a landlord to carry out £25,000 worth of repairs to one of our member’s homes after her 10 year old son fell through the rotten floor boards,” she said.

“Protests are essential in cases like this when tenants’ health and safety are at such risk.”

And the chair of ACORN’s board of directors, Rohan Kon, said the action across the country was about defending free speech.




“This isn’t just about students waving placards outside Downing Street – it’s about you, me, our families and neighbours, protecting our right to speak out when we are treated unfairly,” he said.

“If we sit back and accept this Bill, what freedoms will politicians take away from us next? Join us standing up for ourselves and our communities,” he added.

ACORN said they targeted the office of Chris Skidmore because the Conservative MP backed the Bill and voted for it. All of Bristol’s four Labour MPs voted against the proposed legislation.

Bristol Live contacted the office of Chris Skidmore MP but is yet to receive a reply.

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