Protesters Rally in Bristol Against Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts Bill

Protesters Rally in Bristol Against Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Courts Bill

You don't campaign for the right to peaceful protest by setting police vans on fire or graffitiing buildings.

He also saw police, some in full riot gear, using batons and shields to try to repel protesters.

John Apter, the national chair of the Police Federation, told Good Morning Britain that the peaceful protest in Bristol was hijacked by a hardcore element.

"Thuggery and disorder by a minority will never be tolerated", she tweeted.

At least 20 officers were injured as the "mob of animals" swarmed through the city.

Avon and Somerset Police's Chief Constable Andy Marsh condemned the actions of some protesters after violence broke out during a Kill the Bill protest on Sunday.

A demonstration about plans to give the police more powers to deal with non-violent protests has turned violent.

"It wasn't people frustrated with the lack of ability to protest - this was people intent on causing serious disorder, violence and damage, people with a grudge against policing".

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A police spokesman said: "The protest is now focused on Bridewell Street so we'd advise motorists to avoid this area".

"We're aware of a small number of incidences of criminal damage during the afternoon, including graffiti, and these will be investigated".

"The people involved in assaulting the officers, burning out vehicles, damaging vehicles, smashing windows, hurling projectiles from the multi-storey auto park, throwing things at our horses and dogs - they were people who came for a fight with the police".

The clashes erupted after a rally against the new "Police and Crime Bill" - drawn up by the government to grant the police greater powers to crack down on disruptive protests - when hundreds of protesters converged on a local police station.

Mass gatherings are now banned under coronavirus legislation and anyone breaching the regulations could be fined.

Human rights groups, the United Kingdom arm of Amnesty International, and the Rights of Women campaign group have slammed the proposed legislation.

Protesters carried placards with slogans such as "The Day Democracy Became Dictatorship" and "We Can't Be Silenced That Easy".

"I believe the events of yesterday were hijacked by extremists, people who were determined to commit criminal damage, to generate very negative sentiment about policing and to assault our courageous officers", he added. "This is unacceptable behaviour and those responsible for offences will be identified and brought to justice", the force said on Twitter.

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