A SMALL band of protesters gathered for the third time in Regent Circus as part of a demonstration against a bill to impose new restrictions on protests.

Around 20 people met on Saturday afternoon to show their opposition to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

The proposed legislation would give officers more powers to crack down on any peaceful protest deemed a public nuisance.

The protest was part of a national day of action and had no official organiser in Swindon.

Holding placards and banners, participants were encouraged to speak out during the protest and share their opinions.

Linda Lee, from West Swindon said: “I’m really concerned about the effect of this bill on everybody.

“That could stop anybody from Extinction Rebellion who want climate justice to people from the community like Black Lives Matter.

“There are things people want to speak about, like injustices, and with this bill they could be stopped and be arrested. It’s silencing people, we’ve always had the right to protest and to be able to speak up.

“We have to do something and not to be silent about it.”

Tony Hillier, from Old Town said: “Here we care about protecting the right to protest. There are enough safeguards in the law for us not to misbehave too much. We will be here holding the line, until we don’t need to.

“ I’m here for the future generations. I’m not here for myself, I’m here for them.

“We care about protecting the right to protest,” he said.

Groups including Acorn and Extinction Rebellion have expressed their concerns regarding the potential passing of the bill, which has prompted protests around the country, including nearby Bristol where there was violence last month.

Secretary of Acorn Swindon, Kate Linnegar, said: “We are here supporting the national day of action which is happening across towns and cities all across the UK.

“People like ourselves; we use protest as a tool to make people listen for what we need and what we deserve.

“If protest is criminalised, it will make Acorn’s job much harder. Acorn has changed policies, but this can be done by protest. It is our right to protest. We need to make sure this bill doesn’t pass. There’s a lot of cases in history where people have won rights through protest.”