More than 500 people have marched into Falmouth town centre to protest against a proposed bill which will hand greater power to police to shut down protests deemed overly disruptive.
The Kill the Bill protesters are campaigning against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which is currently making its way through the House of Commons.
Protesters met just after 1pm at the Princess Pavilion car park, where a punk band put on a performance and the crowd, who were dressed in all black clothing, chanted “Kill the Bill” and “Who’s rights? Our rights”.
They also called for better support for the travelling and Roma communities, and shouted “Say her name – Sarah Everard” and “Say his name – George Floyd” before speeches were given.
George Floyd was murdered in May 2020 by US police officer Derek Chauvin who detained him and knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes.
Sarah Everard went missing in March 2021 while walking home in south London. She was later found dead in woodland in Kent.
Met Police officer Wayne Couzens has admitted raping and kidnapping Ms Everard and has accepted responsibility for her death but has not entered a plea on the charge of murder.
The protesters walked down to the front of the G7 media centre where they continued to chant, play music and give speeches.
One speaker, who did not give their name, told the crowd: “We are here today to protest against the Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill.
“This is a racist, oppressive and draconian bill that will shift the cause of our democracy from progression to regression,” to which the crowd booed.
The protesters then sat down outside of the entrance to the G7 media centre, where they continued to give speeches, including calling for the release of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and chanted “Kill the bill”.
More than 20 police officers lined the entrance of the media centre while others stood on the opposite side of the road.
Political activist Femi Oluwole attended the protest and gave a speech.
He said: “Every time this Government does something wrong, they think the answer is to punish us for doing something about it.
“Every single form of protest is wrong according to this Government.”
“Fascists!” the crowd then shouted before they started chanting “Priti f****** fascist” repeatedly, referring to Home Secretary Priti Patel who has put forward the bill.
Speaking to the PA news agency afterwards, Mr Oluwole said: “I came down today because I wanted to support the people who are very, very worried about people’s rights to protest.
“I had to get up at 4.30am this morning to come down from Birmingham. I think this is a pretty impressive turnout.”
The protesters were later escorted by police to a nearby beach.
Separately, Extinction Rebellion continued its third day of protest activities in the town of St Ives.
Their activities included a “die-in” at town harbour beach and art installations.
Devon and Cornwall Police said that protests in St Ives and Falmouth had passed peacefully with no arrests being made in relation to these events.
But it added that eight people had been arrested at two protests in west Cornwall where people had locked and glued themselves to roads and other items.