The “Kill Bill” protest was denounced by government and local lawmakers after protesters clashed with police, attacking a police station and leaving several officers with broken bones Sunday night.
“Massacre and disorder by a minority will never be tolerated,” UK Home Secretary Priti Patel wrote on Twitter, calling the scenes “unacceptable”.
The event began as a demonstration against Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s main police bill, which critics say would give police and ministers powers that could seriously hamper citizens’ ability to protest peacefully.
But tensions escalated as the protest raged on Sunday, leading to violent scenes that have been condemned by officers and lawmakers across the political spectrum.
“Officers have been subjected to significant levels of abuse and violence. One suffered a broken arm and another suffered a broken rib. Both were taken to hospital,” Avon and Somerset Police said Sunday night. “They should never be attacked or abused in this way. At least two police vehicles have been burned and damage has been caused to the outside of the station.”
Andy Roebuck, president of the Avon and Somerset Police Federation, called the protesters “a crowd of animals”, while the national president of the Police Federation of England and Wales, John Apter, questioned their motives. “This is not about defending the right to protest, it is a violent crime by a tough minority that will grab any situation for their own purposes,” he said.
And local Member of Parliament Darren Jones, from the opposition Labor party, said: “You are not campaigning for the right to peaceful protest by setting fire to police vans or buildings with graffiti.”
Metropolitan Police Officer Wayne Couzens was charged with abducting and killing Sarah Everard earlier this month, in a case that has been intensively pursued and led to a new national discussion about intimidation, harassment and violence against women.
But police became the subject of outrage as well, when they moved to a peaceful vigil on Everard in south London on 13 March and appeared to have forced women to land, an approach that has led to a review and review of pending legislation that would increase their powers to disperse mass protests and rallies in the future.
Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said he had “great concerns about Bill himself, who is ill-thought-out and could impose disproportionate controls on free expression and the right to peaceful protest”.
But he condemned violent demonstrators in his hometown to make it more likely that the bill would pass. “Breaking buildings in the center of our city, destroying vehicles, attacking our police, will do nothing to reduce the likelihood of the Draft Law. Otherwise, the illegality in the show will be used as evidence and will promote the need for the Draft Law. . “
The bill was debated in Parliament last week. He suggests, in somewhat vague language, that demonstrations and protests should not “cause” or “recklessly” “public concern”, and elsewhere says that damaging monuments could carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison – a clause of seen as a response to black life protesters who destroyed or condemned the statues of slave traders in Bristol and elsewhere last year.
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