10 nabbed after violent protest in UK over crime bill

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LONDON, March 27 (Xinhua) — Ten people were arrested after the protest over a crime bill turned violent again in Bristol, a city in southwestern England, local media reported Saturday.

A “minority” of protesters “showed hostility” to police officers on Friday night and arrests were made after some who had sat in front of a police station were cleared, according to the BBC.

Crowds swelled to around 1,000 as protesters confronted officers in an angry stand-off before firing fireworks at police horses. Officers were also pelted with eggs, bottles and traffic cones, the Evening Standard newspaper reported.

Police in riot gear started dispersing crowds at around 22:10 p.m. (2210 GMT) on Friday due to COVID restrictions and mounted police and dog units were used to drive back the crowds, according to the London-based newspaper.

Supt Mark Runacres, of Avon and Somerset Police, said in a statement: “The majority of people acted peacefully however there was a minority who once again showed hostility to officers.”

“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 said.

“This violent conduct is not acceptable…Officers repeatedly encouraged people to disperse but once the atmosphere changed and people became physical it was necessary to take action,” Runacres said.

“At times reasonable force had to be used — this is not something we ever want to do but we have a duty to uphold the law, prevent crime, and protect people and property.”

Demonstrators clashed with police last Sunday in Bristol during the “Kill the Bill” demonstration against the British government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

The bill would give the police in England and Wales more power to impose conditions on non-violent protests, including those deemed to be too noisy or a nuisance, according to Sky News. Those convicted under the bill could face a fine or jail.

Mass gatherings are currently banned in Britain under coronavirus legislation. Enditem

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