Arrests made at third ‘Kill the Bill’ demonstration in Bristol

Claire Hayhurst, Rod Minchin and Jess Glass, PA
·3-min read

Arrests have been made at the third ‘Kill the Bill’ demonstration in Bristol, Avon and Somerset Police have said.

Hundreds of people protested in the city centre to rally against the Government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

Around 300 people initially joined a march through the city centre, where the crowd headed towards Bridewell Street.

Friday’s crowd grew over the course of the evening, leading to more than 1,000 people standing or sitting in the street near Bridewell police station.

Police officers wearing helmets and holding shields moved towards the protesters after 10pm, after calling for the crowd to disperse.

Soon after 10:30pm police said arrests had been made after projectiles were thrown at officers.

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The force tweeted: “Projectiles, including eggs and glass bottles, are being thrown at officers.

“Protesters are also pulling at officers’ shields while lasers are being shone in their faces.

“We will not tolerate violent disorder. Arrests have been made.”

The force, which did not specify the number of arrests, had previously urged people not to attend, and later to go home due to the risk of spreading Covid-19.

A large police presence was on duty during the demonstration, including horses and dogs which were used to help move the crowd back.

‘Kill The Bill’ protest – Bristol
Protesters sat in front of police officers during the demonstration (Ben Birchall/PA)

Prior to the arrests, protesters had been spotted dancing to music despite heavy rain, handing out flowers and chanting slogans such as “Who do you protect?” and “Justice for Sarah”.

Rows of officers and vans had blocked the protesters from Bridewell police station, the scene of Sunday’s violence.

Friday’s protest was the third demonstration held in Bristol against the proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

The legislation 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 under the bill liable to fines or jail terms.

The first demonstration last Sunday began peacefully with around 3,000 attending, but descended into a riot when some 500 people marched on Bridewell police station.

A man holds a bunch of daffodils in front of a police line near to Bridewell police station
A man holds daffodils in front of a police line near Bridewell police station on Friday (Ben Birchall/PA)

Nine people have been arrested in connection with the disorder, in which officers attacked, police vehicles were set on fire and the windows of a police station smashed.

The force later retracted claims two officers suffered fractures in Sunday night’s riot.

“We believed the information had been verified but it had not, and while we apologise for that there was no intention to mislead,” a force spokesman said.

A second protest took place on College Green on Tuesday night and resulted in 15 arrests.