(Reuters) – Ten people were arrested in the south-west England city of Bristol on Friday after protests over a new police bill turned violent and people threw glass bottles and bricks at officers, police said in a statement.
Thousands of protesters gathered in the city center, ignoring COVID-19 restrictions, to protest a government bill that is passing through parliament that would give the police new powers to restrict street protests.
“Ten people were arrested for crimes including violent disorder, assaulting an emergency worker and possession of Class A drugs,” Avon and Somerset Local Police Superintendent Mark Runacres said in the statement.
“Items, including glass bottles and bricks, were thrown at officers, fireworks were fired at our mounted section while one of our horses was also covered in paint,” added Runacres.
Last Sunday, two policemen were seriously injured and at least two police vehicles burned in Bristol after a peaceful protest turned violent.
“Three of the detainees were also arrested in connection with the violent disorder that took place in Bristol on Sunday,” Runacres said.
The new police bill would give police new powers to impose time and noise limits on street protests, which has angered activists, particularly since a heavy-handed police response to a vigil in London for the victim of Sarah Everard’s murder on March 13 caused widespread outrage and criticism from the police.
A police officer has been charged with Everard’s kidnapping and murder, and the case has sparked a torrent of pain and anger over the issue of violence against women and girls.
The bill predates the Everard case and covers a wide range of political areas, as well as the monitoring of protests. However, the two were connected in the minds of many people because, by coincidence, the bill was debated in parliament two days after the London vigil.
Report by Aakriti Bhalla and Anirudh Saligrama in Bengaluru; Edited by Chris Reese and Michael Perry