A proposed law would give police powers to impose conditions on non-violent protests.
ANOTHER “KILL THE Bill” protest in Bristol passed off peacefully last night as hundreds of demonstrators marched through the city for the fourth time in ten days.
The proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill would give police in England and Wales more power to impose conditions on non-violent protests, including those deemed too noisy or a nuisance, with those convicted liable to fines or jail terms.
Between 200 and 300 people gathered on College Green in Bristol yesterday before marching through the city centre to stage a sit-down protest outside Bridewell police station – the scene of previous flash points.
Uniformed police officers watched from a distance as the crowd sat in the street, played reggae music and shouted “peaceful protest”, “our streets” and “kill the bill”.
Superintendent Mark Edgington, of Avon and Somerset Police, said: “From the outset we had a very positive dialogue with those gathering at College Green, led by our police liaison officers.
“We were committed to facilitating a peaceful protest in line with the Covid-19 legislation.
“We’d like to thank all those who engaged with us and to those who expressed their views in a peaceful and respectful manner.
“Now that restrictions around protest have changed, we wanted to press a reset button, and I believe we achieved this last night.”
There have been three demonstrations in Bristol since 21 March against the proposed the Government’s proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, with violence erupting on each occasion.
On Friday night, ten arrests were made, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel condemning the scenes.
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About 300 people initially joined a protest march before the crowd swelled to more than 1,000 as tempers flared.
Avon and Somerset Police said glass bottles, bricks and eggs were thrown at officers and fireworks were launched at its mounted division, with one horse being daubed with paint.
The first protest on 21 March descended into a riot when about 500 people marched on Bridewell police station and set fire to police vehicles and attacked the station.
The following Tuesday, there was a further demonstration with 15 arrests made after trouble flared when police began moving protesters from College Green.