A so-called #KillTheBill protest has ended peacefully today, after hundreds gathered in Sheffield City Centre.
Crowds began to accumulate at Devonshire Green in Sheffield to protest against the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which was passed through the House of Commons earlier this month.
There was a small number of police in the area. One police officer commented that their job was simply, 'to ensure everyone got home safely'. When asked about the legality of the gathering, he admitted that 'the protest, currently, isn't legal. However, on Monday, when the guidance changes, it will be.' It seemed for the sake of two days, they weren't willing to do anything to risk instigating anything.
Chants like 'No Justice, No Peace, F*ck the Police!' rang out around the streets. Trams, buses and cars were forced to abruptly stop as the protesters marched in their path.
Whilst the protest originally began in the open space of Devonshire Green, the group moved through the city, pausing to conduct 'sit-ins' near the police station and the Peace Gardens.
One speaker, during the sit-in next to the Peace Gardens, stated that the group were 'here, because we care about each other.' Another added, 'if we don't stand together, we're going to lose'.
'People have a right to protest,' another police officer said as he monitored the group from a distance. He continued by saying, 'we actually turned away a mounted unit earlier [...] to ensure we kept a low profile.' It's evident a large area of concern for them, was keeping the waters calm.
Tensions were high as, just a few days before, protesters in Bristol were seen setting fire to police vans, as officers retaliated with force.
The protests in Sheffield occurred at the same time as demonstrations swept across the country, including Brighton and Manchester. Just the same morning, Prime Minster Boris Johnson condemned the events in Bristol, stating that what he saw was 'disgraceful'. Events in Sheffield remained peaceful throughout.
Anger towards the Bill comes from many different sides. The main area of concern is handing police officers more power, allowing them to 'arrest and fine' anyone caught in a protest deemed too disruptive or loud. Essentially, people are concerned that police will have too much power and control over protests.
These changes come after ministers were concerned that older laws aren't strong enough for 'disruptive' protests like we've seen in recent times, such as the XR demonstrations.
The crowds began to thin at half 4 outside the Peace Gardens as speeches came to and end. To finish off the day, an impromptu rave took place on the tram lines. A very small number of people were seen dancing to loud music whilst drinking lager in the street. Even then, the police stood off and watched from afar.