Bristol protests: Boris Johnson describes violence towards police as “disgraceful” as 10 arrested over ‘Kill the Bill’ demonstrations

The arrests took place at the third Kill the Bill protests - prior protests had resulted in police cars being set on fire and police officers being injured
Police officers with shields and helmets sought to disperse the protests as crowds grew to over 1,000 (Picture: PA)Police officers with shields and helmets sought to disperse the protests as crowds grew to over 1,000 (Picture: PA)
Police officers with shields and helmets sought to disperse the protests as crowds grew to over 1,000 (Picture: PA)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has expressed concerns over violence towards police in Bristol, as Kill the Bill riots took place for a third day.

On Friday 26 March, 10 demonstrators were arrested following what police called unacceptable "violent conduct" at the protest.

Johnson has said violence towards police during protest in Bristol was "disgraceful", as officers say they are concerned more disorder could follow.

He Tweeted that police had his full support, as concerns grew over the violent nature of some protesters.

He tweeted: "Last night saw disgraceful attacks against police officers in Bristol.

"Our officers should not have to face having bricks, bottles and fireworks being thrown at them by a mob intent on violence and causing damage to property. The police and the city have my full support."

Home Secretary Priti Patel added that those who had used violence were “thugs” whose interests only lay in “causing trouble”.

She said: "I am disgusted by the disorder in Bristol and the violence being directed towards the police.

"I'm in no doubt the silent, law-abiding majority will be appalled by the actions of this criminal minority.

"Despite repeated warnings to disperse, it's clear these thugs were only intent on causing trouble."

On Friday night, Around 300 protesters took to the streets, marching through the city centre as they shared their disdain for the UK Government's new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

The proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill would give 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 liable to fines or jail terms.

By 10pm, the crowd had grown to over 1,000 demonstrators, and police officers wearing helmets and holding shields moved in to disperse the protest.

Avon and Somerset Police said glass bottles, bricks and eggs were thrown at officers and fireworks were launched at its mounted division, with one horse being daubed with paint.

Protesters had also shone laser lights into officers' faces, the force said.

Superintendent Mark Runacres told BBC Breakfast on Saturday that more protests are expected over the weekend, with new legislation coming into effect on Monday which will allow officers to engage more effectively with protest organisers.

When asked if he expected further demonstrations, he responded: "It is a concern for us, it is something that we are preparing for.

"From Monday, changes in the legislation will allow us, hopefully, to engage effectively with protest organisers, which is what we have always done previously prior to the legislation changes around the Covid regulations stopping that happening."

Previous marches took place last Sunday (21 March) and Tuesday (23 March). Three demonstrators detained on Friday night have been connected to Sunday’s protests also.

A large police presence was on hand during Friday’s demonstration, with horses and dogs used to help move the crowd back.

Prior to the arrests, protesters had been spotted dancing to music despite heavy rain, handing out flowers and chanting slogans such as "Who do you protect?" and "Justice for Sarah", in reference to the death of Sarah Everard.

Serving police officer Wayne Couzens, 48, from Deal, Kent, has been charged with her murder.

Rows of officers and vans blocked the protesters from Bridewell police station, the scene of last Sunday's violence - were around 500 people marched into the station and some engaged in setting police vehicles on fire and smashing windows.

Police officers were also injured in Sunday’s riot. This was followed by additional marches on Tuesday night, with 15 protesters arrested.