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In pictures: ‘Shameful’ scenes in Bristol after ‘Kill The Bill’ protest descends into anarchy

Written by 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.

Protests started off peacefully
Image: Protests started off peacefully near College Green
A demonstrator gestures during a protest against a new proposed policing bill
Image: A demonstrator comes face-to-face with an officer in riot gear
Protest against new proposed policing bill, in Bristol
Image: Officers worked to disperse the crowd

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.

More from Bristol

Avon and Somerset Police said its officers had missiles and fireworks thrown at them and used mounted officers and dogs to disperse the mob.

Protester kicks a smashed Bridewell Police Station window, as they take part in a 'Kill the Bill' protest in Bristol, demonstrating against the Government's controversial Police and Crime Bill. Picture date: Sunday March 21, 2021.
Image: A protester kicks a smashed Bridewell Police Station window
Protester breaks smashes a window with a stick outside Bridewell Police Station
Image: Another smashes a window with a stick
Police hold back people outside Bridewell Police Station
Image: Police hold back a crowd outside the station

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Officers injured during violent clashes in Bristol

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.”

Groups in Bristol
Image: Cars parked in a multi-storey car park were damaged by protesters
A police officer with a police dog faces protesters outside Bridewell Police Station
Image: A police officer with a police dog faces angry protesters
Demonstrators stand near a burning police vehicle
Image: Demonstrators stand near a burning police vehicle
A police van was set on fire after it was graffitied and had its windows smashed in
Image: A police van was set on fire after it was graffitied and had its windows smashed in

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.”

A demonstrator graffitis a police vehicle
Image: A demonstrator defaces a police vehicle
Police hold back people outside Bridewell Police Station as they take part in a 'Kill the Bill' protest in Bristol, demonstrating against the Government's controversial Police and Crime Bill. Picture date: Sunday March 21, 2021.
Image: Home Secretary Priti Patel described the scenes as ‘thuggery and disorder’
Kill the Bill' rally in Bristol saw a police station attacked, officers suffer broken bones and a number of police vehicles set alight by violent thugs. Pic: Dan Whitehead
Image: Officers were attacked with some suffering broken bones. Pic: Dan Whitehead

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

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