HUNDREDS of people marched through Brighton again yesterday in the fourth protest against a controversial government bill in a month.

Kill the Bill campaigners took to the streets with placards and banners to demonstrate against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill.

The proposed bill is a huge piece of legislation which includes changes to protests, in which police would be given more powers to make restrictions on demonstrations.

Yesterday, demonstrators marched through the city from the Level to Brighton Town Hall - and staged mass sit-ins on the way, holding up traffic in the city centre.

The Argus: Photo: David BoltonPhoto: David Bolton

Photos show the moment hundreds of protesters sat down outside the Clock Tower, blocking the road on the busiest weekend in Brighton for months, as it was the first Saturday where non-essential shops and hospitality businesses with outdoor spaces could open this year.

Buses were forced to take alternative routes around the protest.

Demonstrators also staged a sit-in outside Brighton Police Station in John Street.

Officers were present as the march moved through the city, and there were no arrests, the force said.

The Argus: Protesters outside Brighton Police Station in John Street. Photo: @thekinatonProtesters outside Brighton Police Station in John Street. Photo: @thekinaton

The easing of lockdown rules on Monday means “Covid-secure protests or picketing” are now permitted.

According to the guidance issued by the government, protests can go ahead “where the organiser has taken the required precautions, including the completion of a risk assessment.”

Protest stewards in high visibility jackets were handing out hand sanitiser, while many of the protesters wore face masks.

Under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill, officers would be able to set start and finish times for demonstrations and set noise limits - which would apply to any number of people, including just one person engaged in an act of protest.

The Argus: Photo: David BoltonPhoto: David Bolton

Anyone who refuses to comply with police could be fined up to £2,500, under the proposals.

In addition, damage to memorials, including statues, could lead to up to ten years in prison.

The bill has sparked widespread protests across the country since its introduction to Parliament, and there were violent scenes in Bristol last month.

Protester Jack Curry described the bill as "hugely problematic".

He said: "The Bill is a wide-ranging attack on civil liberties because it not only gives the police and Home Secretary draconian powers to shut down protests they deem inappropriate, but discriminates against Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities who are already facing huge levels of persecution at the hands of the state.

The Argus: Photo: David BoltonPhoto: David Bolton

"Plans to increase the maximum sentence for damaging a statue from three months to 10 years would put vandalising an inanimate object on par with stalking and sexual assault in the eyes of the law.

"It could create a situation in which someone gets more prison time for damaging the statue of a slave trader than someone convicted of sexual assault or rape.

“There are also plans to expand the powers of stop and search, which we already know disproportionately targets young black men.

"It is clear the government has not listened to the demands of the Black Lives Matter movement.”

The Argus: Photo: @thekinatonPhoto: @thekinaton

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is currently at the committee stage in the House of Commons.

It will go before the Human Rights (Joint) Committee after May 15.

Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas, Brighton Kemptown MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle and Hove MP Peter Kyle all voted against the Bill during its second reading in the House of Commons.