Police hurt as protest turns violent
A ‘KILL the Bill’ protest descended into disorder in Bristol city centre on March 21 as Bridewell Police Station was attacked, two officers were hospitalised and vehicles were set alight.
Around 2,000 - 3,000 people gathered at College Green for a peaceful protest about Government plans to give the police more powers to combat demonstrations. Most protesters complied with officers' request to disperse. However, several hundred people then congregated outside the police station in Bridewell Street and, as night fell, the violence erupted.
Chief Superintendent Will White said: “What started out as a peaceful protest has been turned by a small minority into a 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 suffered a broken arm and another suffered broken ribs. Both have been taken to hospital. 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.
“At least two police vehicles have been set on fire and damage has been caused to the outside of the station.
“All those involved in this criminal behaviour will be identified and brought to justice. There will be significant consequences for behaviour such as this.”
Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees condemned the violence and damage that emerged from the protests as “unacceptable and nothing to do with the real work we are doing to tackle political, economic and social inequality”.
He said: “I recognise the frustrations with the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. I have major concerns about the Bill myself, which is poorly thought-out and could impose disproportionate controls on free expression and the right to peaceful protest. It also misses as much as it includes, such as measures that could reduce violence against women and girls.
“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.”