Police respond after journalist ‘assaulted’ at Bristol protest

Police in riot gear at the protest in Bristol. Credit: Matthew Dresch

Avon and Somerset Police has issued a statement after video on social media appeared to show a journalist being assaulted during a protest in Bristol.

Daily Mirror reporter Matthew Dresch claimed he was assaulted while covering a ‘Kill the Bill’ protest in the city centre.

He shared video footage of the incident on social media, which showed police in riot gear attempting to push him back.

The video has been widely shared and police have been criticised for their actions at the protest.

A spokesperson for Avon and Somerset Police said: “We're aware of a video showing a journalist being confronted by officers during last night's protest in Bristol. 

“We're making efforts to contact him. A free press is a cornerstone of our democracy and we fully respect the media's vital role in reporting events fairly and accurately.”

Protesters clashed with police in Bristol at a third 'Kill the Bill' demonstration.

Why were people protesting?

People have been demonstrating against a proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which would give police increased power to stop protests.

The Bill also makes a special new law to protect monuments and statues, in the wake of the toppling of the statue of Edward Colston, with the crime of damaging them punishable by up to ten years in prison.

Under new government proposals trespass would become a criminal offence - rather than being a civil matter - in order to tackle unauthorised encampments, giving police the power to seize vehicles and arrest people who refuse to move.

Those breaking the new law on trespass could be fined up to £2,500 and could face a prison sentence of up to three months, but concerns have been raised by both academics and organisations that the new law will disproportionately affect travellers and more widely those living on roadside camps.

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