UK protesters clash with police during rally over new law

LONDON (AP) – Police in the English city of Bristol say they arrested 10 people during a third night of protest against a new police law.

Hundreds of protesters against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill staged a sit-in protest outside a police station in the southwestern England city on Friday night, and some clashed with officers wearing helmets and shields who They tried to break up the meeting.

Avon and Somerset police said Saturday that eggs, bottles and bricks were thrown at officers and that a police horse was smeared with paint.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned what he called “shameful attacks on police officers in Bristol.”

“Our officers should not have to face a mob with violent intentions throwing bricks, bottles and fireworks at them causing property damage,” he said on Twitter. “The police and the city have my full support.”

The controversial bill, which is currently being approved by Parliament, gives the police stronger powers to restrict protests. Two other “Kill the Bill” rallies against the legislation in Bristol this week also saw clashes. Police blamed a minority of rioters among the mostly peaceful protesters.

But some have accused the force of responding with a heavy hand and exaggerating the magnitude of the injuries suffered by the officers. Police initially claimed that two had suffered broken bones during a protest that turned into a riot on Sunday. The force later said that no officers had fractures, but 40 were slightly injured.

Police Superintendent Mark Runacres said officers “showed exceptional patience in the face of significant disruption” and had used “reasonable force.”

The conduct and priorities of the police in Britain have come under intense scrutiny following the death of Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old Londoner who disappeared while walking home from a friend’s house on March 3. A serving police officer has been charged with murdering her.

Tensions escalated when police disrupted a vigil in Everard’s memory because he violated coronavirus restrictions that prohibited mass gatherings.


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