One thousand protesters face police at third Bristol ‘Kill the Bill’ demo

Protesters sit in front of a police line during the ‘Kill The Bill’ protest against The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill in Bristol (Ben Birchall/PA)
Protesters sit in front of a police line during the ‘Kill The Bill’ protest against The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill in Bristol (Ben Birchall/PA) (PA Wire)
23:01pm, Fri 26 Mar 2021
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More than 1,000 protesters faced police in Bristol for the third time in under a week for another ‘Kill the Bill’ demonstration.

Hundreds of people gathered on College Green on Friday to rally against the Government’s Police Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

Police said around 300 people initially joined a march through the city centre where the crowd headed towards Bridewell Street.

Friday’s crowd grew over the course of the evening, leading to more than 1,000 people standing or sitting in the street near Bridewell police station, the scene of Sunday’s violence.

A large police presence was on duty, including horses and dogs, with rows of officers and vans blocking the protesters from the station.

The demonstration remained loud but peaceful in the evening, with protesters dancing to music despite heavy rain.

Some participants had also been seen holding daffodils, while others chanted slogans such as “Who do you protect?” and “Justice for Sarah”.

Friday’s protest was the third demonstration held in Bristol against the proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

The legislation 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, with those convicted under the proposed legislation able to face a fine or jail.

A man holds a bunch of daffodils in front of a police line near to Bridewell police station (PA Wire)

Avon and Somerset Police urged demonstrators not to attend, and later to go home due to the risk of spreading Covid-19.

In the evening, the force repeated the call for the protesters to return home, adding: “All necessary and proportionate enforcement action will be taken.”

The first demonstration held last Sunday started off peacefully with around 3,000 attending but descended into a riot when around 500 people marched on Bridewell police station.

Nine people have been arrested in connection with the disorder, which saw officers attacked, police vehicles set on fire and the windows of a police station smashed.

The force later retracted claims two officers suffered fractures in Sunday night’s riot.

“We believed the information had been verified but it had not, and while we apologise for that there was no intention to mislead,” a force spokesman said.

A second protest took place on College Green on Tuesday night and resulted in 15 arrests.

‘Kill The Bill’ protest – Bristol (PA Wire)

Police later said those arrested after Tuesday’s protest had all been released from custody and face being fined or reported for summons for Covid breaches, while several were on conditional bail for obstructing the highway, pending further inquiries or charging decisions.

A 22-year-old man from Bristol was released on conditional bail for the theft of a police baton, which was recovered, and two women from Bristol, aged 19 and 24, accepted a caution for obstructing the highway.

Two of those arrested on Tuesday were in connection with the violent disorder on Sunday, and they have been released under investigation.

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