Five protesters were also arrested on last Saturday’s 16th National demonstration (Picture: Richard Bayfield)

Recent arrests of protesters are shocking examples of the powers the police now have to suppress dissent.

They grabbed Just Stop Oil activists before airport protests and Palestine activists against alleged attempts to disrupt the Pride march under the Public Order Act 2023.

Such repression is targeted at people fighting the companies who are complicit in the mass slaughter of Palestinians and fueling climate chaos.

The Public Order Act 2023 was designed with the explicit goal of breaking the climate justice movement.

In particular, it was the government response to the very effective mass protests organised by Extinction Rebellion in 2019.

But the use of this new power by the police is not simply limited to climate justice activists who would block roads.

It has been used against trade unionists and activists from other movements as we have seen recently. This is a major assault by the state against all our rights.

Rather than address the problems that caused people to protest or take industrial action, the government devotes a huge amount of its time and resources to suppress dissent and double down on its reactionary politics.

The state’s objective is to take away our agency and our ability to change society for the better. This must be resisted by all of us. The state wants to make us feel powerless. But state action can and must be challenged.

It needs a collective response from all of us, whether we are gay or straight, black or white, trade unionists or climate activists. Unfortunately, Labour is not going to repeal this legislation.

The only way we are going to defeat this attack on our right to protest is if we all come together on the streets. The state can pick us off individually, but it can’t defeat us if we come together in our millions.

John Sinha

North London

Are there ‘No kings in the US’?

Millions of people were shocked to learn of the United States supreme court’s recent ruling that presidents have immunity from prosecution for official actions made during their time in office.

It is a lifeline from a Republican-dominated court for Donald Trump who faces multiple ongoing court cases.

Not surprisingly, Trump celebrated wildly on social media. US president Joe Biden declared that this undermined the cherished idea that there are “no kings in America” and that presidents were “above the law”.

Liberals like Biden see it as a betrayal of their fundamental principles. The truth is that US presidents have always been able to find ways of putting themselves above the law.

Richard Nixon, facing impeachment for the Watergate scandal, was pardoned by his former vice-president Gerald Ford immediately after Ford became president.

Biden need never worry about being on trial for US war crimes such as supplying arms to Israel while it bombs Gaza. No US president should be above the law.

But the law is never applied equally. The system always looks after the rich and powerful. We need an entirely new justice system—and that will come from mass movements from below, not relying on the entirely unjust US justice system.

Michael Dudley

Manchester

Help arrives after pigs stole my cameras

I was recently photographing a theatrical protest at the enormous mansion owned by our former prime minister and his wife.

The protesters were making a point about Rishi Sunak’s imminent departure and also the ongoing scandal of raw sewage being tipped into our waterways.

After identifying myself to a uniformed cop with my press card while on a public footpath, he then arrested all of us for aggravated trespass.

The police held me for 12 hours and announced that all my equipment was being kept as evidence to be reviewed in mid- September.

This will effectively prevent me from working until then. I’m extremely grateful to friends and colleagues who launched a Crowdfund to raise £4,500 to purchase some basic second hand camera equipment.

That target has been met. When the police return my equipment, I will donate the temporary gear to the Palestinian Journalist Syndicate (PJS).

Journalists in Gaza are facing the most extreme conditions imaginable, over 100 of them have lost their lives since 7 October.

Guy Smallman

South London

We were right to be on strike on election day

As an adult mental health social worker in Barnet, north London, I’ve been on strike for over 70 days.

The Labour-controlled council has yet to address our demands for better recruitment and retention.

This ongoing strike isn’t just about wages. It’s about ensuring we can provide the best possible care for our community.

Striking on election day highlighted the critical intersection between workers’ rights and political accountability.

We need people in elected office who are willing to engage with and support essential workers, not just during elections
but every day.

Our strike is a call for action, urging voters to consider the real impacts of their choices at the ballot box.

It’s well overdue for Barnet council to step up and negotiate in good faith. Our community demands better.

Medina Hussein

East London

Struggle for open borders

The recent detention and deportation of 100 Chinese refugees from the United States is brutal but not surprising.

It highlights the infuriating trend of centrist political figures imitating the far right— only encouraging them more.

Recent mobilisations of anti-raid activists combined with building anti-racist organisations like Stand Up To Racism are essential to mobilising a movement capable of smashing racism.

Mark Penman

Glasgow

Do not look at The Sun

The Sun, the rag, that has backed every rotten Tory government last week backed Keir Starmer for Number 10.

This endorsement should be a warning to anyone who was holding onto hope that Labour would bring any real change. Of course spineless Starmer was “delighted” to have its backing.

Jim Webb

Newcastle

Clear out all the profiteers

It’s encouraging to see the supreme court ruling that the Manchester Ship Canal Company can sue United Utilities for dumping raw sewage into the canal.

Now every climate activist should redouble campaigns to stop the rampant polluting of rivers and seas.

The courts will only decide to act when judges feel pressure from below that’s too powerful to ignore.

Frank Reed

Norfolk

Don’t forget a new Nakba

Around 90 percent of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been displaced since Israel began its brutal assault last October.

The United Nations OCHA agency also found that many had been forced to move more than once.

Let’s keep up the fight against Israel’s genocide under this new government.

Julia Ryder

Worcestershire

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