Bristol 'Kill the Bill' violence condemned by police and politicians

  • Watch Mayor of Bristol condemns violence in city

Senior politicians, police bosses and city leaders have condemned the actions of rioters after a 'Kill the Bill' protest in Bristol turned violent.

The day started with a peaceful demonstration against the proposed new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which campaigners argue contains harsh restrictions around protests.

But the demonstration later turned violent, with police officers suffering broken bones and Bridewell Police Station being damaged.

Home Secretary Priti Patel described the events as "thuggery and disorder" and shared sympathy for the police officers involved.

Meanwhile, Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset Police Sue Mountstevens said the violence as "disgraceful".

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said the rioters had brought a "shameful day" on the city.

In a statement, he said: "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."

Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees has said the rioters have destroyed the city's good reputation.

He continued: "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. 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.

A police van was set on fire.

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

Andy Roebuck, the chair of the Avon and Somerset Police Federation has described those involved as a "mob of animals"

This sentiment was echoed by John Apter, national chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, who 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.”

Darren Jones, Labour MP for Bristol North West, said: “The scenes in Bristol this evening are completely unacceptable.

“You don’t campaign for the right to peaceful protest by setting police vans on fire or graffitiing buildings.”

Chief Superintendent Will White, of Avon and Somerset Police, said: “These scenes are absolutely disgraceful and they will be widely condemned by people across the city.

Glass windows at Bridewell Police Station in Bristol city centre were smashed by rioters.

“There can never be any excuse for wanton disorder.

“All those involved in his criminal behaviour will be identified and brought to justice.

“There will be significant consequences for behaviour such as this.”

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