More than 100 people arrested at London Kill the Bill protest

Jess Glass, PA
·3-min read

The Metropolitan Police said 107 people were arrested in London on Saturday as demonstrations were held across England against plans to increase police powers.

Thousands of people marched in towns and cities in protest against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, despite the Covid-19 lockdown.

The proposed legislation would give police in England and Wales more powers to impose conditions on non-violent protests – including those deemed too noisy or a nuisance, with those convicted liable to fines or jail terms.

Throughout Saturday, police dealt with what they said were “peaceful” Kill the Bill protests in areas including London, Newcastle, Birmingham, Liverpool and Dorset.

On Sunday, Scotland Yard said 107 people were arrested for a range of offences during the demonstration in central London.

The alleged offences included breach of the peace, violent disorder, assault on a police officer and breaches of coronavirus legislation.

The force previously said 10 officers had been injured, though “none of these are believed to be serious”.

Footage shared on social media appeared to show the arrests of legal observers, who typically monitor the actions of police during demonstrations.

One woman was also arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon.

Outcomes await for those who have been arrested, the force added.

‘Kill The Bill’ protests
Demonstrators scuffled with police during the London protest (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Commander Ade Adelekan said: “While our advice to people remains not to attend large gatherings, the vast majority of people who attended central London yesterday adhered to social distancing, and engaged and listened to my officers.

“However, as the afternoon wore on it became clear that a small number of people were intent on remaining to cause disruption to law-abiding Londoners.

“Despite repeated instructions from officers to leave, they did not and, amid increasing levels of disorder, arrests were made.

“We should not allow the behaviour of a few individuals who attend these events with the purpose of committing criminal acts to taint the good behaviour of the majority who attended yesterday.”

In Bristol, Avon and Somerset Police said more than 1,500 people attended a protest in the city.

The M32 motorway was temporarily closed to inbound traffic at junction 3 when a smaller group of protesters occupied the road.

‘Kill The Bill’ protests
Demonstrators on College Green in Bristol (Andrew Matthews/PA)

At around midnight, a section 35 dispersal order was issued for the city centre following “several instances of minor disorder between protesters”, police said.

Seven people were later arrested.

Superintendent Mark Runacres said: “At around midnight there were several altercations between the small number of people who remained in the city centre. We never tolerate violence and so we made the decision to move people on.

“It’s disappointing that once again there were those who refused to listen to our requests to leave and that we had to make arrests.”

There was a low-key response from Northumbria Police as hundreds of people gathered beneath Grey’s Monument in Newcastle.

Protesters, including one who held up a placard saying “we will not be silenced”, cheered as a singer with a guitar performed in opposition to the proposed Bill.

Many took the knee at the Civic Centre and held a minute’s silence for victims of oppression, after which a round of applause broke out.

Dorset Police thanked those who took part in “peaceful protests” in Bournemouth and Weymouth and stuck to the Covid-19 restrictions.