Protest over powers for UK police turns violent
Updated / Sunday, 21 Mar 2021 20:46
A demonstration about plans to give British police more powers to deal with non-violent protests has turned violent.
Hundreds of people gathered at College Green in Bristol before marching to a police station on nearby Bridewell Street.
Pictures showed graffiti being sprayed on an Avon and Somerset Police vehicle and it being rocked side to side by protesters.
Other pictures showed mounted officers intervening to disperse the large crowd that had gathered outside the New Bridewell police station.
“The protest is now focused on Bridewell Street so we’d advise motorists to avoid this area,” a police spokesman said.
“We’re aware of a small number of incidences of criminal damage during the afternoon, including graffiti, and these will be investigated.”
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.
Mass gatherings are currently banned under the coronavirus legislation and anyone breaching the regulations could be fined.
Many were wearing face masks and carried placards, saying: “Say no to UK police state” and “Freedom to protest is fundamental to democracy” and “Kill the Bill”.
Avon and Somerset Police had urged people not to attend the demonstration, warning that enforcement action could be taken.
“Officers are engaging with a number of people who’ve turned up at the protest,” the spokeswoman added.
“Officers are continuing to engage with those attending.
“Enforcement action will be taken retrospectively when necessary and proportionate.”