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Bristol: 14 people arrested following further ‘Kill the Bill’ protests

Written by on 24 March 2021

Police have made 14 arrests following a further “Kill the Bill” protest in Bristol on Tuesday night.

Specially trained public order officers were deployed to College Green, where police said around 200 people had gathered from 4pm.

Footage of the protest showed crowds of people shouting, “our streets” and “shame on you” at lines of police – some on horseback and others with dogs.

The “Kill the Bill” protesters were demonstrating against the government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which will see the police handed new powers to tackle demonstrations.

It comes just two days after another “Kill the Bill” protest in the city descended into rioting.

Avon and Somerset police said 14 people had been arrested for offences including breaches of COVID-19 legislation and obstruction of a highway.

One of those detained was also arrested for offences connected with the violent disorder in the city on Sunday.

Earlier in the evening, the force said officers had attempted to engage with demonstrators and asked them to move on.

Shortly before 11pm, police said crowds had been moved off College Green but that a “significant number” remained on Deanery Road “and continue to refuse to leave the area”.

About 90 minutes later, police reminded the public that gatherings were not permitted under COVID rules, adding that demonstrators risked “spreading the virus further”.

A police officer with a police dog faces protesters outside Bridewell Police Station Image: A police officer faces protesters outside Bridewell Police Station on Sunday Police hold back people outside Bridewell Police Station Image: Violent riots saw 21 officers injured at the weekend

Chief Superintendent Claire Armes said: “Officers had engaged with protestors and asked them to disperse, but tents and a sound system were set up so it was abundantly clear they were intent on remaining at the location, in spite of legislation in place to protect public health.

“After the scenes of violence witnessed in the city at the weekend it was necessary to bring in additional resources from our neighbouring forces to ensure the protest was safely brought to a swift conclusion.”

She added: “It’s disappointing that officers needed to take this action on a day we should be remembering all those who’ve lost their lives to COVID-19 over the past year.”

Meanwhile, police investigating Sunday’s riot have released images of 10 people they wish to trace.

The violent clashes saw a police station attacked, 21 officers injured and vehicles set alight.

Suspects Image: The 10 people police want to speak to

Around 3,000 people attended the peaceful demonstration on College Green but events turned violent after around 500 people descended on the New Bridewell police station.

Detective Chief Superintendent Carolyn Belafonte, of Avon and Somerset Police, said the investigation “will undoubtedly” be one of the largest in the force’s history.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson led the condemnation of the riot describing the scenes as “unacceptable”, while Home Secretary Priti Patel said “thuggery and disorder” would never be tolerated.

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Patel condemns ‘appalling criminality’ in Bristol

Bristol mayor Marvin Rees, who said he had “major concerns” about the government’s bill, condemned the thuggery but said the disorder would be used to justify the legislation.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill would give the police in England and Wales more power to impose conditions on non-violent protests, including those deemed too noisy or a nuisance.

Those convicted under the proposed legislation could face a fine or jail.

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