UK PM slams violent protest in southwestern England

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LONDON, March 27 (Xinhua) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Saturday that the violent protest over a crime bill in Bristol, a city in southwestern England, was “disgraceful”.

“Last night saw disgraceful attacks against police officers in Bristol. Our officers should not have to face having bricks, bottles and fireworks being thrown at them by a mob intent on violence and causing damage to property,” Johnson said on Twitter.

“The police and the city have my full support,” he added.

Meanwhile, British Home Secretary Priti Patel also condemned the disorder with “violence being directed towards the police”.

“I’m in no doubt the silent, law-abiding majority will be appalled by the actions of this criminal minority,” she said on Twitter.

“Despite repeated warnings to disperse, it’s clear these thugs were only intent on causing trouble. I am receiving regular updates and the police have my full support.”

Ten people were arrested after the protest over a crime bill turned violent again in Bristol on Friday night. A “minority” of protesters “showed hostility” to officers 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 on Friday night 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.

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.

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

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 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 under coronavirus legislation. Enditem

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