Anti-racist campaigner blasts draft legislation

New bill would have criminalised residents protesting against racist attacks on Romanian families last June The draft ‘Public Assemblies’ Bill under discussion by the Assembly Executive has been branded a ‘disgrace’ by local anti-racist campaigner and South Belfast Socialist Party spokesperson Paddy Meehan.

This new legislation would have meant local residents, including myself, would have been liable to 6 months in prison or a £5,000 fine for protesting against racist attacks on Roma families last June. This legislation is an absolute disgrace. The politicians who condemned the attacks last June are now attempting to criminalise people for protesting against such attacks.Racist thugs didn’t give 37 days notice so why should we?

 

The real intent behind this legislation is to undermine democratic rights, in particular the ability of communities to protest against the cuts to public services the Executive are implementing. Trade unionists, community activists and young people who will face severe restrictions on their rights must come together to oppose this bill and subsequent legislation.

Should the politicians succeed in passing this draconian piece of legislation then a campaign needs to be built that links campaigners against water charges, library closures and community campaigns with the trade union movement which defies this legislation.

 

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