PROTESTS have been a hot topic of debate recently after the police bill  sparked concerns that the right to hold demonstrations would be restricted.

It would allow the police to take a more proactive approach in managing protests.

Many protests have been held over the years in Oxford by organisations, groups and individuals who want to bring awareness to societal issues and make a change.

Here's a round-up of some of the demonstrations that have taken place in the past couple of years:

1. Protest outside Oxford Crown Court in response to police bill

A group of 30-50 people sat outside Oxford Crown Court and Oxford Police Station on St Aldate's, on March 20 in protest against the police bill. 

One man said protests are meant to be disruptive by nature, to make people listen and that it is a 'fundamental part of democracy'.

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2. Protest outside St John's College against huge 440-home development in Oxford

Residents lined up placards against the wall of St John’s College on St Giles last month to protest against homes and offices set to be built as part of a development called Oxford North.

Campaigners called for it to be replaced with a new forest to improve local biodiversity, and for offices and shops left vacant by the pandemic to be reclaimed as affordable homes to help address Oxford’s housing crisis.

Oxford Mail:

3. Protest to stop the destruction of a historical Victorian bridge

Residents met at the footpath on top of Cuddesdon Road Bridge in Horspath on February 24 to peacefully protest to show that it does not need to be demolished to be safe.

They fear the bridge will be permanently removed after a Freedom of Information request surfaced stating that the bridge was one of the railway bridges across the county listed for demolition.

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4. Extinction Rebellion protests against 'white elephant' HS2 

Members of Extinction Rebellion dressed up in a white elephant costume and walked around the city centre in January.

It was part of the group's campaign which was launched by Chris Packham, TV naturalist and presenter, to stop High Speed Rail 2.

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5. Protest at BMW plant to support UNITE against no-deal Brexit

Thousands of jobs in the Cowley plant could have been at risk of a no-deal Brexit resultin in a 10 per cent EU tariff on UK car exports.

Workers therefore protested on October 8, 2020 in support of the UNITE union's new call for a Brexit deal that secured the future of the UK car industry.

Oxford Mail:

6. Pensioners protest over BBC licence fee

Pensioners held a demonstration in Bonn Sqaure, Oxford on July 30, 2020 as part of a national last bid to stop plans to end free television licences for over 75s.

The benefit was set to end on July 31 and up to 3.7 million pensioners would have to pay up to £157.50 to watch the BBC on TV and on iPlayer, according to the National Pensioners Convention (NPC).

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7. Climate protesters hold 'shoe strike' in Oxford

Parents For Future Oxford (PFF Oxford) organised a ‘Shoe Strike’ in front of Oxford’s Radcliffe Camera on September 25, 2020.

The charity laid out pairs of children and adult’s shoes, some with notes attached about ‘hopes, wishes, and fears for the future’.

The shoes represented those who are unable to protest due to Covid restrictions and future generations, not yet born, who will be most impacted by the climate crisis.

Oxford Mail:

8. Black Lives Matter protest takes over South Park

People of all ages flocked to Oxford's South Park in their droves for what was the first Black Lives Matter demonstration on June 3, 2020.

Hundreds of people gathered to support the movement, in scenes that were mirrored across the world since the death of American George Floyd in police custody on May 25.

Oxford Mail:

9. Hundreds take part in Rhodes Must Fall protest

Hundreds of people descended onto Oxford High Street on June 8, 2020 to demand that a 'racist statue' of Cecil Rhodes, which stands tall above Oriel College, is taken down.

The controversial statue came under fire again after a statue of Edward Colston was toppled by demonstrators in Bristol a few days before.

Oxford Mail:

10. Extinction Rebellion hold Bank of England climate protest

Campaigners staged a protest at the heart of Oxford on August 29, 2020 in support of a simultaneous protest by families in London outside the Bank of England, who demanded that it stops funding firms, which destroy the climate.

The group believes that the Bank's short-term view is a 'false economy' that fails to recognise the joint crises of Covid-19 and climate change.

Oxford Mail:

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