Is Britain about feminist

Surveillance state on the rise

For days, thousands of people have been protesting against institutional sexism with the British police every evening in London and several other cities in Great Britain. The trigger was the violent termination of a vigil in London's Clapham Common Park for Sarah Everard, who was kidnapped and murdered by a police officer.

On Monday evening, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a package of measures with which the Tory government hopes to calm the situation. In it, Johnson promises a £ 45 million pot of money for local authorities to improve street lighting and install more surveillance cameras. In addition, the prime minister announced that he would extend the "Project Vigilant" (project vigilance) to the whole country. As part of this project, plainclothes police officers are to go on patrol outside and inside nightclubs to “ensure the safety of women,” Johnson said in a press release from No. 10 Downing Street.

On top of that. On Tuesday, the British House of Commons voted by a large majority in favor of a new law on police and security. Johnson had previously emphasized that this law is also part of the government's measures against sexual violence. Among other things, the penalties for serious violent crimes and sexualized assaults are increased by the amendment.

The reactions of the British feminist movement to the new package of measures advertised by the Prime Minister are, however, exclusively negative. A spokeswoman for the group “Sisters Uncut” said: “The police protect themselves. The police do not bring us any safety. Police officers in plain clothes will not protect us. On Saturday night the police were drunk with power. And now the government wants to give the police even more power. We say no to that. ”Among other things, Sisters Uncut helped organize the protests in London over the past few days.

Historically, undercover plainclothes police officers have played a far from positive role in the UK. Judicial investigations are still ongoing in the infamous "Spycops" scandal. It is about undercover investigators who, for years under false pretenses, deliberately entered into sexual relationships with political activists and trade unionists in order to spy out opposition movements. The identities of deceased children were sometimes used for this. Those affected by these practices speak of "police rape".

On Tuesday, Norman Tebbit, Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Labor Minister from 1981 to 1983, first admitted at a public hearing held in the House of Commons that he had been personally briefed on the investigation of these "spycops." One result of this infiltration was the creation of a »black list«, which meant that thousands of unionists were de facto banned from practicing their profession.

The current wave of protests is fueled by the fact that the new security law launched by Prime Minister Johnson to combat sexual violence is being rejected by a broad front from British civil society. Hundreds of associations, including civil rights organizations such as "Liberty", but also most of the major trade unions in Great Britain, oppose the security law. That pressure also led the Labor party to vote against the law on Tuesday. Actually, the Social Democrats only wanted to abstain.

The real focus of the new law is a drastic restriction of the right to demonstrate. The police are given far-reaching powers to break up demonstrations, rallies and acts of civil disobedience. Slogans on posters or banners, which could possibly be offensive to some people, should be sufficient for this in the future. None of this has anything to do with protecting women from violence.

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