Police arrests 10 people at Friday's 'Kill the bill' protest in Bristol

Photo: Reuters A demonstrator skateboards in front of a burning police vehicle during a protest against a new proposed policing bill, in Bristol, Britain, March 21, 2021.

Ten people were reportedly arrested in the city of Bristol in southwest England on Friday after protests over a new policing bill once again turned violent with people throwing glass bottles and bricks at officers.

“Ten people were arrested for offences including violent disorder, assaulting an emergency worker and possession of Class A drugs,” the local Avon and Somerset Police Superintendent Mark Runacres said in the statement.

“Items, including glass bottles and bricks were thrown at officers, fireworks were launched at our mounted section while one of our horses was also covered with paint,” Runacres added.

Ignoring COVID-19 restrictions, thousands of demonstrators converged on the city centre to protest against a government bill going through parliament that would give police new powers to restrict street protests. Last Sunday, during the previous so-called 'Kill the bill' demonstration, two police officers were seriously injured and at least two police vehicles set on fire in Bristol.

The new policing bill would give police new powers to impose time and noise limits on street protests, which has angered activists, particularly since a heavy-handed police response to a London vigil for murder victim Sarah Everard on 13 March caused widespread outrage and criticism of the police.

A police officer has been charged with Everard’s kidnap and murder, and the case has unleashed an outpouring of grief and rage over the issue of violence against women and girls.

The bill pre-dated the Everard case and covers a wide range of policy areas as well as the policing of protests. However, the two became connected in many people’s minds because, by coincidence, the bill was up for debate in parliament two days after the London vigil.

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