LiveLeeds Kill the Bill: Live updates as protest takes place in Millennium Square on Good Friday

A Kill the Bill protest has been organised in Leeds today (Good Friday).

Friday, 2nd April 2021, 1:28 pm

The "peaceful, family-friendly" protest is expected to take place in Millennium Square at 1pm.

It's one of several rallies organised across the country, with gatherings to take place in London from 2pm, Manchester from 1pm and Southampton from 5.30pm.

Campaigners are protesting against the proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which could give police extra powers to crack down on peaceful protests.

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The Kill The Bill protest is taking place in Leeds Millennium Square

Officers could be able to impose start and finish times, set noise limits and apply the new rules to demonstrations of one person.

Organisers of the 'Leeds Day of Action' say the protest will be "peaceful and family-friendly".

Protesters are asked to wear face coverings at all times and to keep a safe distance between other people.

It comes after hundreds joined a Block the Bill protest outside outside Leeds Civic Hall in Millennium Square on Monday, March 22.

The Kill The Bill protest is taking place in Leeds Millennium Square

Speeches and poems were read out at the protest, and many members of the crowd joined in to chant "Kill the Bill".

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill cleared its secondary parliamentary hurdle on March 16, after receiving a second reading by 359 votes to 263, majority 96, despite opposition to several measures contained within it.

Changes included in the Bill are plans to give police in England and Wales more powers to impose conditions on non-violent protests judged to be too noisy and thereby causing “intimidation or harassment” or “serious unease, alarm or distress” to the public.

Time and noise limits could be imposed as a result of the measures in the Bill and those convicted could face a fine or jail.

The Kill The Bill protest in Leeds city centre

The wide-ranging Bill includes plans to bring in tougher sentences for child killers and those who cause death on the roads, longer jail terms for serious violent and sexual offenders, and expand child sex abuse laws to ban religious leaders and sports coaches from having sex with 16 and 17-year-olds in their care.

The Bill could also see the maximum penalty for criminal damage of a memorial increased from three months to 10 years.

Labour tabled an amendment intended to block the Bill from being considered further, although this was defeated by 359 votes to 225, majority 134.

The motion from Labour was based on support for some sections – such as tougher sentences for serious crimes including child murder – alongside warnings it “rushes” changes to protest law and “fails” to take action to protect women.

The Bill will undergo further scrutiny at a later stage.

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Leeds Kill the Bill: Live updates as protest takes place in Millennium Square on Good Friday  

Last updated: Friday, 02 April, 2021, 14:49

  • Kill the Bill protest has been organised in Millennium Square Leeds
  • The rally is against proposed extra police powers to crack down on peaceful protest

Protesters have been in Leeds city centre today marching against the new police powers legislation

Protesters have been in Leeds city centre today marching against the new police powers legislation

Protesters have been in Leeds city centre today marching against the new police powers legislation

Protesters marched through Leeds city centre on Good Friday in opposition to the new protest policing powers bill

Protesters march through Leeds city centre

Are protesters staying socially distant?

Yes, says reporter Abbey Maclure. “People are social distancing and staying within groups of six.

One protester said it was “too important not to be here”

“We have a proud history of demonstrating and organising protests in Leeds”, says Jayne Aitchison, president of the Leeds Trades Union Council.

She is speaking to the crowd and bringing up some of the biggest protests in Leeds’ history.

She added: “They are trying to ban protests because they know protests work. But it works for the many, and not for the few.”

Protesters in Leeds city centre

Protesters are slowly feeding into the square as they wait for the rally to start

Protesters are slowly feeding into the square as they wait for the rally to start

There is a noticeable police presence, but not a huge number of officers yet.

Police are patrolling the outskirts of the Square and liaison support officers are talking to organisers and people manning stalls.

The rally will take place from the steps of Leeds Civic Hall, where organisers have laid down banners and placards for people to use.

Leeds TUC volunteers are handing out masks to protesters who need them, and social distancing areas are marked out with cones on the square.

People slowly feeding into the square

First protesters gather in Leeds Millennium Square for Kill The Bill protest

Kill The Bill protest

What is the protest about?

Campaigners are protesting against the proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which gives police extra powers to crack down on peaceful protests.

Officers could be able to impose start and finish times, set noise limits and apply the new rules to demonstrations of one person.

Organisers of the ‘Leeds Day of Action’ say the protest will be “peaceful and family-friendly”.

Protesters are asked to wear face coverings at all times and to keep a safe distance between other people.

Live updates as protest takes place in Millennium Square on Good Friday

A Kill the Bill protest has been organised in Leeds today (Good Friday).

The “peaceful, family-friendly” protest is expected to take place in Millennium Square at 1pm.

It’s one of several rallies organised across the country, with gatherings to take place in London from 2pm, Manchester from 1pm and Southampton from 5.30pm.

Our reporter will be sending live updates from Millennium Square.

Why Introducing vaccine passports could potentially “scupper things” for hospitality venues who are trying to reopen, according to Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association.

Introducing vaccine passports could potentially “scupper things” for hospitality venues who are trying to reopen, according to Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association.

On whether life could be made easier for businesses by vaccine passports as it could mean there is no need for them to track and trace, she told BBC Breakfast: “This would be an additional burden put on to the pubs. We are desperate to get back open again. We are desperate to do that.

“We will play our part in test and trace but the additional burden of the vaccine passport could really, really scupper things.

“It could make it feel that we are discriminating against sections of the population that have not been offered a vaccination or are unable to have one like pregnant women or a grandad who is probably going to forget his actual vaccine passport because he does not have it on his smartphone.

“It is a difficult process for us to implement in venue and yet today we have not had a consultation with the Government about how we would do this in pubs.”

Police have contacted the parents of more than 40 young people found breaking lockdown rules to travel on trains – including some as young as 12.

Police have contacted the parents of more than 40 young people found breaking lockdown rules to travel on trains – including some as young as 12.

British Transport Police (BTP) is urging parents and carers to check on their children after large groups of youths were found travelling by train between council areas.

The force said that in 24 targeted operations since January, 43 youths have either been returned home to their parents or collected after officers discovered them travelling unaccompanied and breaching coronavirus regulations.

These include children as young as 12 who travelled from Helensburgh in Argyll and Bute to Partick in Glasgow, and others who took the train from Dalmuir in Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, to Airdrie in North Lanarkshire.

BTP Inspector Chris Shields said: “We urge parents and carers to ensure they know where their children are and have conversations with them to remind them of the Covid guidelines that are currently in place.

“One of the most concerning aspects from our operations has been the number of young people we spoke to that were the opposite side of the city from where they live without parental consent or knowledge.

“The railway is not a playground and large groups of youths as young as 12 years old have resulted in increased patrols to ensure there is safeguarding in place for children and young people who are traveling on the network.

“We all have a responsibility to protect vulnerable children in our community and I would encourage people to be on the lookout for young people who might need help and report any concerns they may have so we can make sure they don’t come to any harm.

“Passengers continue to be our eyes and ears and they can help us by reporting crimes and concerns by texting 61016.”

Living wage increased for Leeds workers:

The age threshold for the National Living Wage changes from 25 to 23 today, the government has announced.

The National Living Wage (NLW) will increase on Thursday April 1 to £8.91, giving a real-terms pay rise to thousands of workers across Leeds.

At the same time, the age threshold for the rate will move from 25 to 23, meaning that thousands of young workers will be eligible for higher wages across the city.

These changes follow recommendations made to the Government by the Low Pay Commission (LPC) and are a first step towards the target of the NLW reaching two-thirds of median earnings for workers aged 21 and over by 2024.

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