Hundreds gather for ‘Kill the Bill’ protest over police powers plan

Rod Minchin, PA
·1-min read

Hundreds of people have gathered in Bristol for a demonstration against plans to give the police more powers to deal with non-violent protests.

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 too noisy or a nuisance.

Those convicted under the proposed legislation could face a fine or jail.

The protest was taking place on College Green in Bristol city centre, where hundreds of people had gathered.

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

Many were wearing face masks and carried placards saying: “Say no to UK police state”, “Freedom to protest is fundamental to democracy” and “Kill the Bill”.

Avon and Somerset Police had urged people not to attend the demonstration – warning that enforcement action could be taken.

A spokesman for the force said: “Officers are engaging with a number of people who’ve turned up at the protest.

“We’d like to thank those who’ve agreed to leave for their understanding of why it’s still important to follow Covid-19 restrictions and protect all our communities from this virus.

People take part in a ‘Kill the Bill’ protest in Bristol
People take part in a ‘Kill the Bill’ protest in Bristol (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“The protest has moved into Park Street and the fountains so we’re asking people to avoid this area due to the potential disruption to traffic.

“Officers are continuing to engage with those attending. Enforcement action will be taken retrospectively when necessary and proportionate.”