In pictures: ‘Shameful’ scenes in Bristol after ‘Kill The Bill’ protest descends into anarchy
Written by Hit Music Radio News on 22/03/2021
Violent scenes at a Bristol “Kill the Bill” protest, which saw police officers injured, vehicles set alight and a police station attacked, have been widely condemned.
Many who attended the protest against the government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill on College Green were wearing face masks and carried placards, saying: “Say no to UK police state”, “Freedom to protest is fundamental to democracy” and “Kill the Bill”.
But what started as a non-violent demonstration on Sunday afternoon, quickly turned violent after hundreds of protesters, some wearing masks, descended on New Bridewell police station, and began destroying police property.
Two police officers were injured, suffering broken ribs and an arm, and taken to hospital.
The violence unfolded as rioters attempted to smash the windows of New Bridewell police station.
A group also destroyed Avon and Somerset Police vehicles parked nearby, setting fire to a car and a van – two of multiple vehicles targeted on Sunday evening.
Cars parked in a multi-storey car park adjacent to the police station were also damaged by protesters.
Avon and Somerset Police said its officers had missiles and fireworks thrown at them and used mounted officers and dogs to disperse the mob.
Home Secretary Priti Patel branded the scenes “unacceptable” and said “thuggery and disorder” would never be tolerated.
Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said he had “major concerns” about the bill but condemned the violence, calling it a “shameful day in an incredible year for Bristol“.
He added: “Smashing buildings in our city centre, vandalising vehicles, attacking our police will do nothing to lessen the likelihood of the Bill going through.
“On the contrary, the lawlessness on show will be used as evidence and promote the need for the Bill.”
Andy Roebuck, chairman of the Avon and Somerset Police Federation, said the “disgusting scenes” were enacted by a “mob of animals”.
He said: “Disgusting scenes in Bristol by a mob of animals who are injuring police officers, members of the public and damaging property.
“We have officers with suspected broken arms and ribs.
“This is so wrong.”
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.
John Apter, national chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “This is not about protecting the right to protest, it’s violent criminality from a hardcore minority who will hijack any situation for their own aims.”
Chief Superintendent Will White, of Avon and Somerset Police, said: “These scenes are absolutely disgraceful and they will be widely condemned by people across the city.
“There can never be any excuse for wanton disorder.
“All those involved in his criminal behaviour will be identified and brought to justice.
“There will be significant consequences for behaviour such as this.”
© Sky News 2020