Hundreds of protesters join fourth ‘Kill the Bill’ demonstration in Bristol

Rod Minchin and Tom Pilgrim, PA
·2-min read

Hundreds of demonstrators have marched through Bristol’s streets as part of the fourth “Kill the Bill” protest in the city in the space of 10 days.

Protesters passed through the city centre for around hour on Tuesday evening before gathering 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”.

Several hundred protesters carrying placards and banners had earlier left Bristol’s College Green shouting “Our streets” and “Kill the Bill”.

‘Kill The Bill’ protest – Bristol
Police officers watch on as people take part in a ‘Kill The Bill’ protest in Bristol against The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (Ben Birchall/PA)

Avon and Somerset Police previously said on Tuesday night that its liaison officers had had a “positive dialogue” with many of those at the “peaceful protest” at the city centre green space.

The force later tweeted shortly after 9.30pm: “A number of the protestors are now in Bridewell Street and some have sat down.

“It continues to be a peaceful protest and our police liaison teams are continuing to engage with those there.”

There have previously been three demonstrations in Bristol since March 21 against the proposed the Government’s proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, with violence erupting on each occasion.

‘Kill The Bill’ protest – Bristol
Kill The Bill protesters in Bristol (Ben Birchall/PA)

On Friday night, 10 arrests were made, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel condemning the scenes.

Some 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 March 21 descended into a riot when some 500 people marched on Bridewell police station and set fire to police vehicles and attacked the station.

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The following Tuesday, there was a further demonstration with 15 arrests made after trouble flared when police began moving protesters from College Green.

Ahead of the fourth event, police had urged organisers to “engage” with the force due to changes in the coronavirus regulations that now allow peaceful protests.

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.