Protests against new police bill in England turn violent
A peaceful protest ended in violent scenes in the English city of Bristol where vehicles were set on fire and two police officers were seriously injured. Why are the people protesting? Find out below
New sweeping police powers
Thousands of demonstrators had converged on the city centre, ignoring COVID-19 restrictions, to protest against a government bill going through parliament that would give police new powers to restrict street protests.
Protests started off peacefully
The local force, Avon and Somerset Police, said the demonstration began peacefully but was later turned into a violent disorder by a small minority.
Two police officers injured
Two officers were taken to hospital, one with a broken arm and another with broken ribs, while others were subjected to violence and verbal abuse. The outside of a police station in the city centre was vandalised. Avon and Somerset Police said it had requested help from neighbouring forces to bring the situation under control.
‘Kill the Bill’
Some demonstrators carried placards with slogans such as "Kill the Bill", "The Day Democracy Became Dictatorship" and "We Can't Be Silenced That Easy". The government's Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill would give police new powers to impose time and noise limits on street protests.
Outrage after Everard murder
That has angered activists, particularly since a heavy-handed police response to a London vigil for murder victim Sarah Everard on March 13 caused widespread outrage and criticism of the police. A serving police officer has been charged with Everard's kidnap and murder, and the case has unleashed an outpouring of grief and rage over the issue of violence against women and girls.