Protesters have attacked police and torched vehicles in Bristol after thousands turned up to a demonstration against the government’s controversial new policing bill.

Crowds gathered on Sunday (March 21) at Bristol’s College Green to demonstrate against plans that could see police given new powers to shut down peaceful protests, before they marched to a nearby police station.

Protestors then began a sit-down protest outside a nearby police station, but it later descended into ugly scenes as many clashed with riot police who were deployed to control the crowds.

As the BBC reports, officers suffered broken bones and police vans were set alight as the clashes intensified.

Footage posted on social media also showed protestors being surrounded by mounted police while they chanted “10 years for protests, five years for rape” outside the police station.

Ch Supt Will White of Avon and Somerset police said, per The Guardian: “What started out as a peaceful protest has been turned by a small minority into violent disorder. 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.

“Officers have been subjected to considerable levels of abuse and violence. One officer suffered a broken arm and another suffered broken ribs. Both have been taken to hospital.”

He added: “These are men and women out there with the intention of serving and protecting the public – they should never be subjected to assaults or abuse in this way … All those involved in his criminal behaviour will be identified and brought to justice. There will be significant consequences for behaviour such as this.”

Bristol mayor Marvin Rees, also criticised the violence as counter-productive, and said that “the lawlessness on show” could be used to further promote the need for the bill.

Home Secretary Priti Patel also described the events as “unacceptable”.

“Thuggery and disorder by a minority will never be tolerated,” she said. “Our police officers put themselves in harm’s way to protect us all.”

Many campaigners at yesterday’s protest were said to have worn face masks and carried placards with slogans such as “say no to UK police state”, “Freedom to protest is fundamental to democracy”, and “Kill the Bill”.

Avon and Somerset Police had previously encouraged people to stay away from the demonstration and attend virtual protests instead.

The post Police attacked by protestors in Bristol as ‘Kill The Bill’ demo turns violent appeared first on NME.


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