HUNDREDS of protestors marched through Oxford this afternoon, uniting in their opposition to a controversial crime bill.

Across England and Wales, 25 cities have seen ‘Kill the Bill’ protests today.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will make it easier for police to ban or shut down peaceful protests if they are considered too disruptive or likely to lead to disorder.

Protestors gathered in Bonn Square from 2pm, with various groups present, including Black Lives Matter, Extinction Rebellion and Oxford Youth Strike.

Oxford Mail: Kill the Bill protestors in Bonn Square, Oxford. Picture: Liam RiceKill the Bill protestors in Bonn Square, Oxford. Picture: Liam Rice

Pat Carmody, from Stand Up To Racism, said: “The bill being proposed is one of the most draconian and irresponsible pieces of legislation.

“The idea we can’t have a small protest without facing the risk of appearing in the dock is disgraceful.

“Protests for our planet or those by the Black Lives Matter movement put those subjects on the agenda.

“Demonstrations are happening around the country today and it’s brilliant that people are defending against this nasty legislation.”

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Ian McKendrick, from the Oxford branch of the Socialists Workers Party, said it was important to defend the right to protest.

He added: “The best way to defend the right to protest is to protest, and I think that’s why movements like this will grow.

“Fundamentally, this is the start – we want to put this to our local politicians and see whether they are against it.

“Earlier protests have already led to a delay in Parliament, and that shows protests work.”

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Crowds in Bonn Square chanted ‘if they won’t give us justice, we won’t give them peace’.

From there, the protestors marched through the city, stopping outside the St Aldates police station and Oxford Crown Court.

Dr Sheikh Ramzy, director at the Oxford Islamic Information Centre, spoke to the crowds in Bonn Square.

He added: “This is the most democratic country in the world and we are talking about people having the right to protest taken away from them.

“The freedom to protest is important and we should not neglect it.”

Oxford Mail: Kill the Bill protestors march through Oxford. Picture: Liam RiceKill the Bill protestors march through Oxford. Picture: Liam Rice

Tom Burkitt, a protestor, who joined the march, said: “We’re here to show our opposition to the bill that’s being discussed.

“It essentially criminalises, or at the very least, throws shade on protesting.

“There’s a real danger that people could be punished for essentially being annoying.

“Therefore, it’s important to talk about that – the bill is over the top.

“Protests are a cornerstone of democracy – whether you’re protesting for Palestinian rights or an anti-lockdown protest, it is a right and therefore should be for everyone.

“Protesting has worked for people the world over, and so much of what we enjoy today was gained through peaceful protests.”