Clean-up operation begins after night of protests in Bristol

Seven arrests after ‘extremists’ brought bloodshed to Bristol: Chief Constable insists they had no intelligence that ‘peaceful’ Kill the Bill march would turn violent with 20 injured officers, a trashed police station and 12 wrecked vans

  • Violent protest took place on Sunday in Bristol against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill
  • A standoff at Bridewell Police Station saw protesters smash windows and set police vehicles alight on Sunday
  • Bill will give police more power to impose conditions on non-violent protests, including for being ‘too noisy’ 
  • Bill passed its second reading earlier this week, despite public opposition and votes against by Labour MPs  
  • Protests are currently banned under lockdown legislation, which prevents large gatherings from taking place 
  • Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees condemned ‘self indulgent, self-centred people coming here looking for a conflict’

The PROFESSIONAL anarchists behind Kill the Bill chaos: How Sisters Uncut group that hijacked Sarah Everard vigil joined forces with career rabble-rousers to bring Bristol to its knees 

Professional anarchists including one dubbed ‘the most dangerous man in Britain’ stirred up the Bristol protests into the city’s shameful night of violence.

The perfect storm of protesters, anarchists and troublemakers combined to create disgraceful scenes that saw police attacked and 999 vehicles set ablaze.

Last night Sisters Uncut, who already organised Kill the Bill marches in cities around the country, hailed the action in Bristol.

Showing a picture of the demonstrations, they declared: ‘In Bristol, thousands attended a protest in defiance of the government’s plan to give the police more powers. Thousands said: #KillTheBill!’

The post online coincided exactly with the separate approval of veteran agitator Ian Bone, best known for harassing MP Jacob Rees-Mogg’s children outside their home in a protest.

On March 16 he had shared a placard which read ‘F*** the police’ in huge white letters, with the smaller text below ‘Crime, sentencing and courts bill’.

The next day he retweeted the date and time for the protest in Bristol, together with the meeting place. 

Sisters Uncut was formed in 2014 by activists Janelle Brown and Vicky Ford to support victims of domestic violence, and found fame for stunts including jumping on the red carpet at the West End premiere of the movie ‘Suffragette’ starring Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter and later dying the Trafalgar Square fountains red.

Sisters Uncut say the police are institutionally violent against women and cannot be trusted with women’s safety.

Sisters Uncut has been backed by BLM UK and Extinction Rebellion, who were behind the most high profile protests in Britain over the past few years where police took the knee and were accused of not being tough enough on protesters who ran riot.

The Bristol Anarchist Federation was also involved in the protests.

On the eve of the gathering they Tweeted: ‘Tomorrow, let’s #killthebill Bristol!’

They then joked about a picture of a skateboarder in front of a burning emergency vehicle: ‘When you do a trick so sick that a police van bursts into flame.’

A chief constable whose force controversially stood by as protesters ripped down the statue of Edward Colston today insisted he had ‘no intelligence’ that a protest entitled ‘Kill The Bill’ would see rioters attacking police.  

At least 20 officers were injured as a ‘mob of animals’ tore through Bristol, setting police vehicles on fire, vandalising NHS workers’ cars, hurling fireworks and smashing the windows of a police station in a ‘night of thuggery’.  

But Andy Marsh, chief constable of Avon and Somerset Police, claimed the event had been ‘hijacked by extremists’ and said there was no ‘prior intelligence’ that any disorder was planned ‘on this scale’.

His force last year came under criticism for its handling of Black Lives Matter protests, during which police watched as activists toppled the statue of Edward Colston and hurled it into Bristol Harbour. 

Last night, professional anarchists including one dubbed ‘the most dangerous man in Britain’ stirred up the protests into a shameful night of violence. 

Sisters Uncut, who organised Kill the Bill marches in cities around the country, hailed the action. 

And veteran agitator Ian Bone – the left-wing activist best known for gleefully abusing the children of Jacob Rees-Mogg outside their home – also shared his approval of the violence.

As pictures of the carnage emerged, he gloated about the fires, attacking the city’s mayor who had urged calm: ‘All hail the Bristol uprising – Marvin Rees go f*** yourself’. 

‘Bristol always has and will be…riot city.’ 

Asked whether the much-criticised way the Metropolitan Police handled the vigil for murdered Sarah Everard earlier this month had made a difference to how officers behaved in Bristol, Chief Constable Marsh said: ‘Every protest and the police response to it needs to be dealt with in the context of that protest.’ 

He said today: ‘A tactical decision was made to deal with these criminals retrospectively and not make a significant number of arrests last night, which would have impacted significantly on our resources at the scene and created a greater risk of damage to property and injuries to the reduced number of officers left to deal with the disorder. 

‘There was a hardcore of serious criminals hidden within those 3,000 people – perhaps 400 or 500 people – and we certainly didn’t trigger this. 

‘By the time it got to 5.30pm, it became clear that whatever we did we would not be able to avoid a very violent confrontation.’ 

Around 3,000 activists, claiming to protect the right to demonstrate peacefully, had gathered in the city centre on Sunday for the demonstration to oppose plans to give police more powers to deal with non-violent protests. 

But 500 stayed behind to riot, and police headquarters came under siege as hooded yobs armed with baseball bats tried to smash the windows of the glass-fronted New Bridewell Station, while others attempted to scale the facade and some lobbed missiles at officers. 

The city’s furious Mayor today slammed the ‘self-indulgent, self-centred revolutionary tourists looking for a conflict to take advantage of.’ 

Seven people have been arrested so far – six for violent disorder and one for possession of an offensive weapon.

A total of 20 officers were injured and two were taken to hospital suffering broken bones after being stamped on, pelted with stones and beaten with sticks in the violent skirmishes. One also suffered a punctured lung.

Chief constable Marsh said 12 police vehicles were damaged, including two that were set on fire, and ‘significant damage’ was caused to the New Bridewell police station. 

As a huge clean-up operation gets underway, Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said the so-called activists were ‘a group of people running around the country looking for any opportunity to enter into physical conflict with police or representatives of what they see as the establishment.’   

The Mayor said he was ‘disgusted’ with the violence on the streets of Bristol. 

He added: ‘It also points out the political illiteracy of those people on our streets doing this violence last night. What has injuring police officers, smashing windows, burning cars got to do with the challenges we face as a city right now?’ 

Appearing on Good Morning Britain today, he added: ‘What we had last night, there were many people who went out and made their voices heard but there were these group of people, irrespective of the issue they were out there to cause problems for whatever revolutionary fantasy they’re playing at.

‘We’re not going to let them take away what we’ve built in recent years. 

‘It would be quite interesting in the mop up, not just to have these people arrested, but to see where they actually come from, because I imagine a few are not actually from this city, but are revolutionary tourists as it were.’

Avon and Somerset police have condemned scenes which saw a police station come under siege

‘Kill The Bill’ protesters were fighting with the police into the early hours of Monday morning after the day of unrest in Bristol

A row of at least nine cars with their windows smashed in the Rupert Street car park in Bristol. All of the cars were parked in bays reserved for NHS workers 

Police investigators were at the headquarters in Bristol today as an investigation got underway into the riots

The scene in Bristol today, where graffiti remains on the New Bridewell Street police station

One man clashed with members of the press outside Bridewell Police Station in Bristol this morning, after seven arrests were made overnight 

A huge clean-up operation is underway this morning, as Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees condemned the violence which marred a protest about the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

The group was ‘creating a scene’ outside Bridewell police station, where initially about 50 police officers were present

Teams of workers are out in force this morning cleaning up the city after the night of chaos 

Street cleaners work outside the police station the morning after demonstrators clashed with police

Seven people were arrested after a ‘Kill the Bill’ protest in Bristol turned violent last night 

Rioters set police vehicles on fire as protesters clashed with officers in the shocking scenes last night

Demonstrators stand near a burning police vehicle during a protest against a new proposed policing bill, in Bristol

A demonstrator skateboards in front of a burning police vehicle during a protest against a new proposed policing bill, in Bristol, Sunday

A demonstrator gestures in front of a burning police vehicle during a protest against a new proposed policing bill, in Bristol

A vandalised police van explodes outside Bridewell Police Station, after protesters set it on fire

A demonstrator gestures near a burning police vehicle as two other vans arrive at the scene to drive protesters away

The ‘mob’ at the ‘Kill the Bill’ protest in Bristol were ‘looking for a trigger to provoke a violent response,’ according to Avon and Somerset police chief constable Andy Marsh (pictured today)

What is the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill? 

The ‘Kill the Bill’ protest in Bristol was organised against the Government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which could see the police handed more powers to tackle demonstrations.

The wide-ranging proposals, as part of efforts to overhaul the justice system, cut offending and make streets safer, also include laws to reform sentencing, the courts and handling offenders.

If passed, some of the measures will be UK-wide while others may only apply in England and Wales.

– What are the key measures proposed in the Bill?

– Whole life orders for premeditated murder of a child, allowing judges to also hand out the maximum sentence to 18 to 20-year-olds in exceptional cases, like for acts of terrorism leading to mass loss of life.

– Powers to halt the automatic early release of offenders who pose a danger to the public and end the automatic release halfway through a sentence of serious violent and sexual offenders.

– Introducing life sentences for killer drivers.

– Expanding position-of-trust laws to make it illegal for sports coaches and religious leaders to engage in sexual activity with 16 and 17-year-olds in their care.

– Will the police have more power under the Bill?

Potentially. The legislation looks to toughen up powers the police have to tackle ‘non-violent’ protests which are significantly disruptive to the public or on access to Parliament.

The proposed law includes an offence of ‘intentionally or recklessly causing public nuisance’.

According to the Bill, someone commits this crime if they cause ‘serious harm to the public’, which can include ‘serious annoyance, serious inconvenience or serious loss of amenity’. Those convicted could face a fine or jail.

The plans could also see police given powers to impose more conditions on static protests, like time and noise limits, and extend the rules to one-person demonstrations.

Meanwhile, the Government is also seeking to increase the maximum penalty for criminal damage to a memorial from three months to 10 years, under the Bill.

The laws could also see police have more powers to crack down on unauthorised encampments which interfere with the ability to use the land.

Officers could also be allowed to stop and search people more if plans for serious violence reduction orders go ahead.

This would make it easier to carry out checks on those who have previously been convicted of carrying a knife.

– What about other measures for victims?

The Bill seeks to reverse bail reforms which led to suspects accused of serious and violent crimes being released without restrictions, and instead imposing conditions if they could pose a risk to victims, witnesses or the public.

Laws could also be introduced to allow police to obtain search warrants to help find human remains where it is not possible to bring about a prosecution, such as where a suspect has died, is unfit to plead or has already been convicted of the offence in the absence of a body.

– Are there plans to provide more protection for police officers?

Yes, Home Secretary Priti Patel wants to double the maximum sentence for assaulting an emergency worker to two years and enshrine a Police Covenant in law to protect serving and retired officers and their families.

– What are the other measures proposed in the Bill?

– The amount of time offenders can be subject to curfews could be doubled to two years.

– A legal duty could be placed on councils, police, criminal justice bodies, health and fire services to tackle serious violence and share intelligence and data.

– Homicide reviews could be carried out for deaths of adults involving offensive weapons, to try to better understand and prevent violent crime.

– Profoundly deaf people could be allowed to sit on juries for the first time, by allowing a British sign language interpreter into a jury deliberation room.   

After a night of violent rioting, it emerged today:

  • Andy Marsh, chief constable of Avon and Somerset Police, claimed Sunday’s protest had been ‘hijacked by extremists’;
  • Ms Marsh said there was no ‘prior intelligence’ that any disorder was planned ‘on this scale’;
  • A total of 20 officers were assaulted or injured and two were taken to hospital after suffering broken bones. One also suffered a punctured lung; 
  • 12 police vehicles were damaged, including two that were set on fire, and ‘significant damage’ was caused to the New Bridewell police station;
  • Seven people have been arrested – six for violent disorder and one for possession of an offensive weapon;
  • Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the events in Bristol were ‘inexcusable’ and ‘completely unacceptable’ 

Avon and Somerset Police Chief Constable Andy Marsh said there was no ‘prior intelligence’ that any disorder was planned ‘on this scale’.

‘No specific organiser was identified prior to the event but we did engage with a number of organisations who had expressed an interest in attending to discourage them due to the current Covid-19 restrictions,’ he said.

‘We hoped stressing the sacrifices the Bristol community had made over the past year would deter people from attending.

‘A tactical decision was made to deal with these criminals retrospectively and not make a significant number of arrests last night, which would have impacted significantly on our resources at the scene and created a greater risk of damage to property and injuries to the reduced number of officers left to deal with the disorder.

‘What the public will see now is a huge police investigation in which we’ll be gathering evidence from CCTV, body-worn video, social media content and images or video sent in by the public.’

Asked whether the much-criticised way the Metropolitan Police handled the vigil for murdered Sarah Everard earlier this month had made a difference to how officers behaved in Bristol, Mr Marsh said: ‘Every protest and the police response to it needs to be dealt with in the context of that protest.’

The Met faced widespread criticism for the way it dealt with the vigil in Clapham Common, south London, where officers handcuffed and removed several women who had come out during lockdown in memory of Ms Everard.

Chief Constable Marsh told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘By the time it got to to 5.30pm, it became clear that whatever we did we would not be able to avoid a very violent confrontation.

‘Once that has happened a handful of officers making a small number of arrests when there is a crowd of 100 damaging vehicles, throwing missiles and throwing fireworks at us – that would not be a good response, that would just put the people who remained in more danger.’

He added: ‘Let’s be clear, the wanton violence and destruction had nothing to do with protest – it was committed by those looking for an excuse to commit disorder.

‘The scenes we witnessed yesterday were shameful and I know will be condemned by the whole city.

‘We’ve received messages of support from across the policing, emergency service and political landscape.

‘No-one wants to see police officers abused or attacked in this way. These men and women put their safety on the line every day to keep the public safe and do not deserve to be on the forefront of this abhorrent criminal behaviour.

’20 of our brave officers suffered various injuries – including two who suffered more serious injuries which needed hospital treatment.

‘I was at a Bristol station last night and can tell you the feeling of anguish was felt by all our officers and staff at seeing colleagues injured while on the front line.’

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees added: ‘There is a debate to be had and there’s debate to be had about all proposed Government legislation.

‘But I think there are particular concerns about this Bill and we’ll speak about those more on another occasion.

‘But the violence that happened in a city last night goes nowhere to actually reducing the likelihood of this Bill winning support.

‘In fact, it does quite the contrary.

‘People from those communities who have been on the rough end of the criminal justice system are now in more danger. 

‘It doesn’t put them closer to justice, it puts them further away.

‘It runs absolutely against what they claim to be in fighting for – political illiteracy at large.’  

The Mayor said the riot had nothing to do with the ‘real everyday struggles’ that people in the city face after 12 months of the pandemic.

‘It’s selfish, it is self-indulgent and self-centred activity – people living out their revolutionary fantasies,’ he said.

‘This has nothing to do with being in lockdown for a year. There are people who go around looking for the latest demo.

‘They look for the opportunity for the flashpoints and I suspect there are a number of people who were here last night who are amongst those.

‘It’s got nothing to do with Covid and a lockdown.’

The chairman of the police federation dubbed the rioters ‘a mob of animals’ while Home Secretary Priti Patel branded the scenes ‘unacceptable’ and said ‘thuggery and disorder’ would never be tolerated. 

Health minister Helen Whately told Sky News this morning: ‘What we’ve seen in Bristol, those protests were completely unacceptable, just disgraceful behaviour in fact.

‘It was one of these occasions where, if I understand it right, there was a peaceful protest and then a small minority from that protest then turned it very ugly and we saw those scenes of completely unacceptable violence.

‘Not only the damage and the vandalism of police property but, worse still, injuring police officers, so we’re seeing officers with serious injuries and going to hospital. That clearly should not happen, it is unacceptable and inexcusable.’

The Avon and Somerset police and crime commissioner said ‘many more’ would be arrested in the coming days as officers examined a large amount of CCTV footage from Sunday night’s riot.

Twenty police officers were injured, two seriously, when what started as a non-violent demonstration turned violent after hundreds of protesters descended on the New Bridewell police station.

Two of these injured were treated in hospital after suffering broken ribs and an arm. Both have since been discharged.

Ian Bone, the lifelong anarchist whose family’s privacy comes first

Veteran activist and grandfather Ian Bone, 71, was once dubbed Britain’s most dangerous man after the Class War newspaper he launched in 1982 became so incendiary it featured pictures of beaten up policemen.

The full-time anarchist – who’s been on state benefits since leaving university – now walks with a stick due to Parkinson’s disease. 

Bone has been protesting since the 1980s and is a publisher with class activist publications, Class War and The Bristolian.

Class War became a class movement as well as a newspaper, which at its height sold 15,000 copies weekly and supported striking miners, dockers, print workers and demos including the Brixton Riots of 1981, before the publication was launched.

Bone went on Bash the Rich marches (Bash the Rich is also the title of his autobiography). Just a decade ago he advocated violence to overthrow the state.

While still a weekly paper, Class War dubbed itself ‘Britain’s most unruly tabloid’.

After Prince William’s birth in September 1984 it carried a front page picture of him with the headline ‘Another f***ing royal parasite’.

Another front page carried an image of Margaret Thatcher with a hatchet buried in her head. When the paper folded, it carried on as a pressure group.

Bone admits to having a working class hatred for the rich as his own father was a butler. 

He lived in Grenfell from 1983-1986 and knew several residents who were caught up in the fire there where 72 people died.

He went on to protest outside The Shard when Grenfell residents weren’t being re-housed as there were 10 £50m empty luxury flats inside the state-of-the-art tower.

Bone was taken to the High Court by Qatari royal family, owner of The Shard, in February this year to stop his protests before their lawyers withdrew their threat of an injunction against him.

In 2006 he told The Guardian newspaper that violence was key, saying: ‘Not (attacking someone) individually, but if you’re fighting back as a mob against a particular thing like the poll tax or the Iraq War (then) yes.. If the rich or the ruling class or the police are defending their interests, they deserve everything that’s coming to them.’

And in June 2018 he posted on his own Facebook page in regards to Donald Trump’s visit: ‘Spend the day idling and drinking around Bond Street/ New Bond street………..enter shops……handle the goods….be insolent to the rich… insolence comrades…let insolence win the day.’ 

After his unabashed assault on the Rees-Mogg family in 2018, the father-of-five remained unrepentantly silent about his own family. 

Having taken the fight down to a personal level, he would not discuss his own children – or even grandchildren, instead using the media spotlight for his own political message. 

‘Jacob Rees Mogg supports policies such as benefit reforms for the disabled and the new welfare system Universal Credit, where there have been cuts and delays in payments to the most needy.

‘If I was Rees Mogg, I wouldn’t have a problem with my children being told that I’m a horrible person. I could have said far worse.

‘I stand by telling his kids who their father really is.’

Police said between 2,000 and 3,000 people had gathered at College Green on Sunday to protest against the Government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which will see the police handed new powers to tackle demonstrations.   

Home Secretary Priti Patel described the scenes as unacceptable and said ‘thuggery and disorder’ would never be tolerated.

Bristol mayor Marvin Rees, who said he had ‘major concerns’ about the Government’s Bill, condemned the thuggery but said the disorder would be used to justify the legislation.

Sue Mountstevens, police and crime commissioner for Avon and Somerset, said seven people had been arrested so far and there would be ‘many more’ detained. 

She said: ‘I cannot condemn enough the scenes of violence and destruction that we witnessed yesterday and I know these feelings are felt by the majority of the city and beyond.

’20 officers were injured last night and this is unacceptable. 

‘These men and women went to work yesterday with public safety as their number one priority and still faced a level of violence that cannot be justified.

‘Such a violent demonstration is shameful at any time, let alone during a pandemic that has seen local people make many sacrifices.

‘Those who clearly acted with intent to cause damage and destruction showed reckless disregard for the safety of local people, police officers and the general community.

‘The financial cost of this to the public is also going to be substantial.’

Footage captured the descent into anarchy as protesters clashed with police armed with batons and pepper spray. Mounted officers were seen attempting to disperse a large crowd gathered outside Bridewell Police Station.

Later a group of hooded protesters tried to smash the windows of the glass-fronted police station and another mob set fire to a police van parked in nearby Bridewell Street. 

Protesters managed to get up onto the roof of the first floor of the police station and rained down missiles on the police, who lined up to defend the entrance of the police station.

Three police vans were driven into the area, but one was damaged, had its tyres let down and then a fire was built underneath it, burning it out completely as darkness fell.

In other scenes, officers with police dogs were seen attempting to hold back large crowds as demonstrators scaled the walls of the police station and threw fireworks.

Other videos and pictures on social media showed dozens of officers in riot gear guarding the entrance to the station and protesters trying to roll a police van daubed with graffiti.

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds today condemned the ‘appalling’ and ‘completely unacceptable’ violence in Bristol.

He told the BBC news channel: ‘Of course, I agree with legitimate protest in a Covid-safe and secure and peaceful way – that is one of the things that is most precious about our democracy – but there is no link between that and the appalling scenes that we saw last night.

‘That violence which we saw last night, which was completely unacceptable, does absolutely nothing for the cause of those of us who are making perfectly legitimate arguments about concerns around the Policing Bill which in the way that it seeks to limit protests.’

Meanwhile Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the events in Bristol were ‘inexcusable’ and ‘completely unacceptable’.

The former director of public prosecutions said he hoped those responsible for the violence were brought to justice.

‘I hope that the perpetrators are identified and prosecuted where that’s appropriate,’ Sir Keir told LBC Radio.

Darren Jones, the Labour MP for Bristol North West, said: ‘You don’t campaign for the right to peaceful protest by setting police vans on fire or graffitiing buildings.’ 

People watch a burning police vehicle during the protest, which has become violent with protesters attacking a police station

Bristol Mayor slams ‘political illiteracy’ of ‘revolutionary tourists’ who turned out in force to smash up his city

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees, pictured on GMB this morning, said he was ‘disgusted’ with the violence on the streets of Bristol

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said he was ‘disgusted’ with the violence on the streets of Bristol.

‘We’re disgusted at what happened in the city and absolutely condemn the actions of those people who brought violence and destruction to our city last night,’ he said.

‘It also points out the political illiteracy of those people on our streets doing this violence last night. What has injuring police officers, smashing windows, burning cars got to do with the challenges we face as a city right now?

‘As we come out of Covid-19, we face economic depression, we have to secure jobs for people, tackle child hunger, build homes for people. It’s got nothing to do with the struggles in this city and I wouldn’t even mention these people in the same breath as the very legitimate debate that there is over this Bill.’

Appearing on Good Morning Britain today, he said: ‘We’re disgusted and I absolutely condemn what’s gone on.  

‘I draw a hard line between those people out smashing up my city and the bill, they’ve got nothing to do with the bill, they’re a group of people running around the country looking for any opportunity to enter into physical conflict with the police or representatives of what they see as the establishment whether it’s the bill, whether it’s some other protest they’ll take the opportunity.’ 

He added: ‘What we had last night, there were many people who went out and made their voices heard but there were these group of people, irrespective of the issue they were out there to cause problems for whatever revolutionary fantasy they’re playing at.

‘We’re not going to let them take away what we’ve built in recent years. It would be quite interesting in the mop up, not just to have these people arrested, but to see where they actually come from, because I imagine a few are not actually from this city, but are revolutionary tourists as it were.

‘They are self-indulgent, selfish, self-centred, what they’ve done has nothing to do with the bill and in fact as everyone’s been pointing out, it will be used as evidence by people who want to support the bill. They’ve no strategy, they’ve no connection to any real politics it’s just taking the opportunity to express their emotions of whatever distorted source they have.

‘Being a black man, I’m from a community that’s disproportionately likely to end up on the wrong side of the criminal justice system and receive unfair treatment from the system, if they make the bill more likely, it does not bring me closer to justice, it pushes justice away. Myself, my brothers and sisters, people from traditionally poor communities, they’ve done nothing to support us, nothing in line with what we’ve done in the last few years to feed our children to house people who don’t have homes, take care of people coming out of the criminal justice system.

‘They haven’t turned up for that, they’ve just turned up to smash up our city and that’s unacceptable.’

A vandalised police van on fire outside Bridewell Police Station, as other police vehicles arrive

Riot police, with police horses and police vehicles, move down Rupert Street in Bristol towards protesters

Woman protester is pinned down by police 

Police officers arrest a female protester near the Monument in Newcastle city centre yesterday afternoon

A separate event for Reclaim the Streets – who are protesting violence against women in the wake of Sarah Everard’s death in London – also took place in Newcastle yesterday.

Pictures show a large group gathering and a female protester being pinned to the ground by four police officers.  

She was told to move and when she refused, police responded by taking her to the floor, where she was handcuffed before being put in a van.

In a video shot at the scene close to Grey’s Monument in the city, the woman is visibly distressed and screaming as she is bundled into the back of the police vehicle.    

It is understood the woman was standing on her own when she was approached by the police more than an hour before it was set to start.

Andy Roebuck, chairman of the Avon and Somerset Police Federation, said: ‘Disgusting scenes in Bristol by a mob of animals who are injuring police officers, members of the public and damaging property.

Chief Superintendent Will White of Avon and Somerset Police said: ‘What started out as a peaceful protest has been turned by a small minority into violent disorder.

‘Officers have been subjected to considerable levels of abuse and violence. One suffered a broken arm and another suffered broken ribs. Both have been taken to hospital. At least two police vehicles have been set on fire and damage has been caused to the outside of the station.’

He added: ‘We have requested mutual aid from neighbouring forces to bring this incident to a safe conclusion.’ 

This morning, a spokesperson for Avon and Somerset Police said: ‘I can confirm seven arrests have been made overnight.

‘We will now be carrying out a significant investigation to identify all those responsible. There were in region of 12 officers injured – with two taken to hospital with serious injuries. We will be carrying out high profile patrols today.’

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees added: ‘Smashing buildings in our city centre, vandalising vehicles, attacking our police will do nothing to lessen the likelihood of the Bill going through.

‘On the contrary, the lawlessness on show will be used as evidence and promote the need for the Bill. This is a shameful day in an incredible year for Bristol.’

He warned: ‘Being a black man, I’m from a community that’s disproportionately likely to end up on the wrong side of the criminal justice system and receive unfair treatment from the system, if they make the bill more likely, it does not bring me closer to justice, it pushes justice away.’ 

He added: ‘The violence and damage that have emerged from today’s protests are unacceptable and have nothing to do with the real work we are doing to tackle political, economic and social inequality.

‘I recognise the frustrations with the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

‘I have major concerns about the Bill myself, which is poorly thought-out and could impose disproportionate controls on free expression and the right to peaceful protest.

‘It also misses as much as it includes, such as measures that could reduce violence against women and girls. We will raise our concerns.

‘We have faced times of great confrontation, particularly surrounding Black Lives Matter and the events that followed. We have had numerous protests.

‘Our police, city representatives and I have been able to point out with pride that we have faced these moments of conflict without the physical conflict that others have experienced.

‘Those who decided to turn today’s protest into a physical confrontation and smash our city have robbed us of this.

‘What they have done has more to do with self-gratification than it has to do with the protection and advancement of those of us from communities most likely to be marginalised and mistreated by our political and legal systems.’

Thangam Debbonaire, Labour MP for Bristol West and shadow secretary of state for housing, said: ‘This is absolutely unacceptable.

‘The scenes of violence and direct attack on the police in Bristol city centre will distress most people including anyone who believes in defending the right to peaceful democratic protest.’ 

John Apter, national chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: ‘This is not about protecting the right to protest, it’s violent criminality from a hardcore minority who will hijack any situation for their own aims.

‘My colleagues, some of whom are now in hospital, face the brunt of that hatred. Thoughts remain with my colleagues.’  

Demonstrators throw objects from the top of Bridewell Police Station in Bristol  which has been defaced during the protest

A close up of protesters on the roof of Bridewell Police Station as police watch from inside

Demonstrators graffiti a police shield during the Bristol protest against a new proposed policing bill

Protestors attack a police van which is then set on fire as police clash with protesters outside Bridewell Police Station

Demonstrators stand near a police vehicle which has been defaced, during the protest against a proposed policing bill

Mr Roebuck later told the BBC: ‘This is the worst violence in Bristol for many, many years. It’s really unprecedented violence. Between four and six or possibly more officers are seriously injured and some have broken bones. No one had any indication it would erupt this way.’

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, introduced to the Commons this month, would give officers 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 Bristol protesters were carrying signs reading ‘say no to UK police state’ and ‘freedom to protest is fundamental’.

Police had advised people not to attend the protest due to coronavirus legislation, which bans mass gatherings.

Home Secretary Priti Patel tweeted Sunday evening: ‘Unacceptable scenes in Bristol tonight. Thuggery and disorder by a minority will never be tolerated.

‘My thoughts this evening are with those police officers injured.’     

Riot police, with police horses and police vehicles, move down Rupert Street in Bristol towards protesters as violence continues into the evening

Riot police, with police horses behind them, move down Rupert Street in Bristol towards protesters

A demonstrator graffitis a police vehicle whilst another lies under the van, in Bristol Sunday

Police officers with police dogs face protesters outside Bridewell Police Station as they take part in a ‘Kill the Bill’ protest

Hundreds gathered in Bristol city centre to demonstrate against a controversial Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which 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.   

The demonstration, which begun on College Green, turned violent after protesters set a police van alight and threw fireworks and ‘projectiles’ towards officers. 

Police donned riot gear and brought in dogs and horses to control the growing crowds as tensions rose into the evening.

The ‘mob’ then gathered around Bridewell Police Station where protesters were filmed smashing through the building’s windows with a baton and rocks. Police were seen protecting the station from the inside whilst filming perpetrators.

Those convicted under the proposed legislation could face a fine or jail. Mass gatherings are currently banned under coronavirus legislation and anyone breaching the regulations could be fined. 

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

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

Demonstrators launch fireworks at police officers during the protest in Bristol, with footage showing some protesters fleeing to safety

Fireworks are launched as police officers with dogs arrive to the protest in Bristol city centre

Demonstrators stand in front of a police station’s smashed windows during the Bristol protest as officers protect the building

Police hold back people outside Bridewell Police Station as they take part in a ‘Kill the Bill’ protest in Bristol

Demonstrators stand in front of a police station during a protest against a new proposed policing bill, in Bristol

Protesters set fire to a vandalised police van outside Bridewell Police Station

The man suspected of Everard’s murder is a police officer, and the case has unleashed an outpouring of grief and rage over the issue of violence against women and girls.

The government bill pre-dated the Everard case and covers a wide range of policy areas as well as the policing of protests. However, the two became connected in many people’s minds because, by coincidence, the bill was up for debate in parliament two days after the London vigil.  

Footage taken in Bristol city centre showed the moment protesters almost overturned a police van they had defaced with graffiti, before officers in riot gear pushed them back with batons.    

It also comes after dozens of people were arrested last night as police attempted to halt thousands of anti-lockdown protesters marching through the centre of London. 

The protests come after Home Secretary Priti Patel defended the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill in Parliament earlier this week. 

Demonstrators attempt to push over a police van as they take part in a protest against a new proposed policing bill, in Bristol

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

People take part in a ‘Kill the Bill’ protest in Bristol, demonstrating against the Government’s controversial Police and Crime Bill, today

Protesters film as they speak to police in riot gear outside Bridewell Police Station in Bristol this afternoon

Demonstrators climb a police van as they take part in a protest against a new proposed policing bill, in Bristol, today

A police officer uses pepper spray during a protest against a new proposed policing bill, in Bristol, this afternoon

Police horses are deployed as they hold back people outside Bridewell Police Station at the ‘Kill the Bill’ protest in Bristol

A police officer holding a camera tries to detain a demonstrator during the Bristol protest this afternoon


The protest is taking place on College Green in Bristol city centre, where hundreds of people had gathered – despite lockdown laws being in place

Hundreds of people gather in Newcastle city centre yesterday afternoon to join a Reclaim These Streets protest in response to the death of Sarah Everard, in spite of Northumbria Police deploying dozens of officers to stop protests taking place

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

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

Thousands descended on the streets of Bristol exercising their right to protest and holding signs reading ‘kill the bill’

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’, in Bristol

‘Kill the bill’ is written on the road as thousands of protesters march the streets surrounding College Green in Bristol today

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

A police spokesperson said: ‘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

A separate event for Reclaim the Streets – who are protesting violence against women in the wake of Sarah Everard’s death – was taking place in Newcastle

Police hold back people outside Bridewell Police Station as they take part in a ‘Kill the Bill’ protest in Bristol

The bill will see new powers given to the police and Home Secretary to deal with protests that are deemed to have caused ‘serious unease, alarm or distress’


The bill will also raise the maximum sentence for defacing statues to 10 years, while new measures are also expected to crack down on knife crime. It has garnered controversy, particularly after Met Police officers were seen restraining women attending a vigil in memory of Sarah Everard in Clapham Common last month

The bill will mean that home secretaries will be able to create laws to define what ‘serious disruption,’ to communities and organisations means

The bill passed its second reading earlier this week, despite Labour voting against it. MPs voted 359 to 263, a majority of 96, at second reading, the first significant Commons test of a bill

Speaking at the debate, on Monday night Ms Patel said peaceful protest was a ‘cornerstone of democracy,’ before adding: ‘The current legislation police use to manage protests, the Public Order Act 1986, was enacted over 30 years ago.  

‘In recent years we’ve seen significant change in protest tactics, with protesters exploiting gaps in the law which have led to disproportionate amounts of disruption.

Ms Patel said: ‘Last year we saw XR (Extinction Rebellion) block the passage of an ambulance on emergency calls, gluing themselves to trains during rush hour, blocking airport runways, preventing hundreds of hard-working people from going to work.’ 

Ms Patel said peaceful protest was a ‘cornerstone of democracy’. Here protesters climb onto the roof of a cafe in Bristol

People sit down in front of Bridewell Police Station as they take part in a ‘Kill the Bill’ protest in Bristol

Crowds, some masked, gather on Bristol’s streets to protest the Government’s controversial Police and Crime Bill

Police hold back people outside Bridewell Police Station as they take part in a ‘Kill the Bill’ protest in Bristol, demonstrating against the Government’s controversial Police and Crime Bill

Police hold back people outside Bridewell Police Station as they take part in a ‘Kill the Bill’ protest in Bristol

However, former prime minister Theresa May argued: ‘Freedom of speech is an important right in our democracy, however annoying or uncomfortable sometimes that might be and I know there will be people who will have seen scenes of protest and will have said, ‘why isn’t the Government doing something?’, to which the answer in many cases may simply be because we live in a democratic, free society.’

Ms May added: ‘It’s tempting with the Home Secretary to think that giving powers to the Home Secretary is very reasonable because we all think we’re reasonable, but actually future home secretaries may not be so reasonable and I wonder if the Government would be willing to publish a draft of those regulations during passage of the Bill so we can actually see what that is going to be and make sure that it is not also encroaching on the operational decisions of the police.

‘So there are very important elements of this Bill, but I would urge the Government to consider carefully the need to walk a fine line between being popular and populist. Our freedoms depend on it.’  

As the bill was voted through, protesters had gathered outside the Palace of Westminster to rally against both the legislation and also the police.

But it has been reported by Cambridgeshire Live that it has since been delayed.

According to the Labour MP Victims and Youth Justice Shadow Minister Peter Kyle, the bill committee has been ‘pulled’ and ‘won’t start until later in the year’.

Priti Patel defended new powers that would be given to police and the Home Secretary to curb protesters, should the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill be approved on Tuesday

Politicians, including former prime minister Theresa May, have raised concerns with the bill, following Met Police’s handling of a vigil in memory of Sarah Everard in Clapham Common on Saturday

A spokesperson for the Home Office told MailOnline that people should not currently be protesting due to lockdown laws. Blanket restrictions on protesting are due to be lifted later this month.

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