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Clashes in the English city of Bristol left 20 police officers injured :: WRAL.com

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– A protest in the west English city of Bristol against new police legislation fell into violent clashes that left at least 20 officers injured, two of them seriously, police said.

The protest, which began Sunday afternoon and lasted until the early hours of Monday morning, was condemned by British Home Secretary Priti Patel. She marked the scenes, which also saw some police vehicles damaged, as unacceptable and said gangs and riots would never be tolerated.

What began as a peaceful demonstration turned violent after hundreds of protesters descended on the New Bridewell police station. Many people who took part in the protest at College Green in the heart of the city wore face masks and held placards, saying: Say no to the UK police state and Freedom to protest is essential to democracy.

The protesters were apparently venting their anger on the governments of Police, Crime, Punishment and Draft Courts, which is currently going through parliament. Under the terms of the bill, which covers England and Wales, police will be able to impose more controls on protesters.

Sue Mountstevens, police and crime commissioner for the Avon and Somerset region, said seven people had been arrested but that there would be many more arrested.

It’s embarrassing and savage, “she said. Police officers went to work yesterday and some have returned home through the battered and bruised hospital.

Protesters tried to break the windows of the police station with glass fronts and tried to burn one of the marked police vans parked outside, but the small flames were quickly extinguished by riot officers.

Andy Marsh, Avon and Somerset police chief, said 12 police vehicles were damaged and major damage was done to New Bridewell police station.

“The officers were shot with stones and rockets and fireworks and it was a terrible situation for them to deal with,” he said. “We have 20 officers injured, two of them seriously, and I spoke to one of them at the hospital.”

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