Trade unionists protest outside Downing Street, London to defend the right to strike. (Picture: Guy Smallman)

It’s not just trade unionists who are threatened by new Tory laws. As MPs voted on laws that make strikes less effective, another repressive bill reached a crucial stage in the House of Lords.

The Tories’ public order bill will give cops new powers to crush protests, even before they begin. 

It will allow the state to ban individuals—including those who have never committed a crime—from protesting. The new measures would also subject these activists to curfew conditions, restrict them from using the internet, and even require them to submit to electronic tagging. There will be more stop and search powers, meaning more space for racist policing.

Home secretary Suella Braverman openly declares that the bill seeks to break resistance from climate groups’ direct action. And if the bill passes into law, the Tories and the police won’t stop at breaking up protests. The law can, and will, be used much more widely—including against pickets and those who ministers decide are “disruptive”. The government is relying on our side being fragmented. It fears unity between trade unionists and climate campaigners and seeks to set them against one another.

Trade unionists should stand with climate campaigners and those whose protest rights are under attack. The right to resist should not be some gift from the state—it has to be defended. We need a united movement that defends and extends the rights of all.

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