Fourteen arrested after second 'Kill the Bill' protest in Bristol

Fourteen people have been arrested after police broke up a second protest in Bristol city centre - two days after the first descended into riots.

It was the latest 'Kill the Bill' protest in the city against the Government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which will see the police handed new powers to tackle demonstrations.

Protesters started gathering in the College Green area at around 4pm.

Police say they attempted to disperse the crowd by encouraging people to leave, but their requests were ignored and a tent and sound systems were then set up by organisers.

Highly trained public order officers from Avon and Somerset, British Transport Police, Devon and Cornwall, Dorset, Dyfed Powys, Gloucestershire, Gwent and Wiltshire were deployed to move protestors on at 10pm.

Specialist officers from neighbouring forces were called in to help. Credit: PA

Shortly before 11pm, police said protesters had been moved off College Green but that a “significant number” remained on Deanery Road “and continue to refuse to leave the area”.

A YouTube livestream appearing to be from the demonstration showed large numbers of police, with some officers on horseback and others with dogs.

Chants of "Shame on you" and "Our streets" could be heard from the crowd.

The force tweeted: “Officers will take proportionate action to disperse crowds. They are not containing anyone and we continue to urge people to move on.”

About 90 minutes later, police reminded the public that gatherings were not permitted, warning demonstrators they “risk spreading the virus further”.

Fourteen people were arrested. Credit: PA

A statement issued by Avon and Somerset Police later confirmed 14 people were arrested for offences including breaches of Covid-19 legislation and obstruction of a highway, with one arrest in connection Sunday’s violent disorder.

Chief Superintendent Claire Armes shared her frustration at the actions of those involved on a day of national reflection for those who have died because of Covid.

She said: “Officers had engaged with protestors and asked them to disperse, but tents and a sound system were set up so it was abundantly clear they were intent on remaining at the location, in spite of legislation in place to protect public health.

“After the scenes of violence witnessed in the city at the weekend it was necessary to bring in additional resources from our neighbouring forces to ensure the protest was safely brought to a swift conclusion.

Police bosses say after the events of the weekend, extra officers were neccessary. Credit: PA

“Throughout the operation, officers continued to urge protestors to move on – at no time were they contained – but there came a time when enforcement was necessary as gatherings are still not permitted.”

Ch Supt Armes added: “It’s disappointing that officers needed to take this action on a day we should be remembering all those who’ve lost their lives to Covid-19 over the past year.

“The communities of Bristol have made too many sacrifices and worked so hard to defeat this virus, it’s unacceptable for people to insult their efforts in this way.”

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