As it happened: Riot police and protesters clash at Kill The Bill protest in Bristol
The battles are taking place in front of New Bridewell Police station
Protesters and riot police clashed in Bristol last night during a “Kill the Bill” protest.
A police van was set on fire, fireworks thrown, and windows smashed during the clashes outside the Bridewell Police Station next to Broadmead.
Police deployed mounted officers and dog units, as seven people were arrested and twenty police officers injured.
The Bristol Tab’s reporters were on the scene, delivering live updates as the clashes turned violent.
After peaceful protests all afternoon, protesters began defacing and attempting to tip over a police van, which resulted in riot police and mounted units moving in.
Protesters were seen pushing and shoving police, throwing items at the lines, and trying to break through. Police responded by using their batons and shields, attempting to keep the crowd under control.
Footage from the Kill the Bill protest in Bristol. Police "continuing to engage with those attending" but enforcement action will be taken "retrospectively when necessary and proportionate" pic.twitter.com/wJJEl4BI4S
— Conor Gogarty (@ConorGogarty) March 21, 2021
NEWS: Kill The Bill protest in Bristol turns violent!
— Ben Bloch (@realBenBloch) March 21, 2021
Above: video of the moment the protest turned violent (credit: Lily Sheridan-Power)
Tensions are rising and falling by the minute. The protest is on a knife edge between violence and peace, as protesters are now sitting down in front of police horses.
They can still be heard chanting “Kill The Bill”, “Who’s streets? Our streets?” and “Who do you protect?” in front of the police wall.
Protesters set off fireworks in the street.
Police dogs were brought out, and protesters began offering pizza to the dogs to distract them. One dog began attacking the officer handling him.
The atmosphere has turned from a carnival to a riot.
The atmosphere has taken a turn towards a riot as more violence breaks out with the police.
Protestors are reporting being pepper sprayed, despite some not acting violently, and fireworks have been let off. The police have brought in police dogs, and the New Bridewell police station is currently “under siege”.
After a brief lull and party-like atmosphere, protesters have now started to mobilise and destroy a police security van.
Protesters have now set fire to the police van.
To the right of the fire is the University of Bristol student accommodation, New Bridewell.
Explosions can be heard from the van and riot police are now moving in.
Mounted police and riot police are now moving in on protesters from the direction of the city centre.
Protesters can be heard shouting “Kill The Bill” and are also throwing objects towards the police, including cones and glass bottles.
There are now fewer people than there were, some are chatting and shaking hands with police.
People in the background are playing music and partying.
The police van is now in smouldering ruins.
Groups of people are moving back and crowds in front of the police have thinned.
The crowd has now thinned but lines of riot police remain.
A few attendees are still intent in causing destruction, and smashing are smashing property.
The atmosphere remains tense.
Over 2,000 people attended the protest, with the police vastly outnumbered. Police had stayed back for the duration of the protest and the march.
Protesters began gathering on College Green from 1:30pm this afternoon to protest a government bill that will give police more powers to curb protests.
They marched through the City Centre, round Broadmead and ended up at Castle Park. A Twitter user at the scene described it as a “carnival atmosphere”.