This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed
The Government claims the legislation is needed to stop disruptive protests but critics claim it undermines free expression. Demonstrators will gather from 12pm in London’s Trafalgar Square as well as a range of other cities including Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and Cambridge.
Protests against the Policing and Crime Bill in Bristol last month resulted in violent clashes during which police vehicles were set alight.
Some of the protests will be combined with events to celebrate international workers day, which takes place annually on May 1.
In a statement the Metropolitan Police urged protesters to comply with coronavirus restrictions.
They said: “The Met is also aware a number of people may come to central London this Saturday, 1 May, for the purpose of protest.
“People who are involved in planning one of these protest events ought to ensure they comply with the current legal restrictions on protest gatherings.
“This means they need to have carried out a risk assessment, which sets out how the gathering will be safe and minimise the risk of people transmitting COVID-19.
“It is the responsibility of organisers to comply with the regulations and ensure their gathering is safe.
“Throughout the weekend, the Met will have a significant policing operation in place and police will take steps against anyone who engages in violence or disorder.”
Some groups are posting advice online for protesters in case they are arrested during today’s demonstrations.
The new legislation creates a new offence of “intentionally or recklessly causing public nuisance”.
Labour’s shadow justice minister David Lammy branded the plans “a mess”.
He claimed they are “poorly thought-out measures to impose disproportionate controls on free expression and the right to protest”.
The new law also allows judges to consider whole life sentences for child murderers and increases the penalty for low-level assaults on emergency service workers.
More than 20 police officers were injured in Bristol on March 21 when a protest against the Policing and Crime Bill turned into a riot.
Officers were attacked with bottles, fireworks and lumps of concrete whilst a police station had its windows smashed.
A number of police vehicles were also set on fire by vandals.
According to the Bristol Post police have arrested 45 people in connection with the unrest.
Earlier this week a 21-year-old women was arrested on suspicion of violence disorder and has since been released under investigation.