Protesters were ‘selfish, self-indulgent and self-centred’ says Marvin Rees
Two police officers were seriously injured in last night’s violence
Bristol’s mayor Marvin Rees has called protesters “selfish, self-indulgent and self-centred” on the BBC’s Today Programme after Kill the Bill protesters set a police van on fire last night.
In the interview Rees said: “I am from communities disproportionately likely to be on the receiving end of the criminal justice treatment or receive unfair treatment”, however he made clear that last night’s protesters “have done nothing to make me or people like me feel safer.”
Rees has expressed personal concern for the the Police Crime and Sentencing Courts Bill, which plans to give police more powers to deal with non-violent protests.
However, he fears that this incident will be used by those who wish to promote the bill.
This is not about protecting the right to protest, it’s violent criminality from a hardcore minority who will hijack any situation for their own aims. My colleagues, some of whom are now in hospital face the brunt of that hatred. Thoughts remain with my colleagues. #Bristol pic.twitter.com/Hb1UI9i9Gd
— John Apter (@PFEW_Chair) March 21, 2021
At last night’s Kill the Bill protest, a police van was set on fire, fireworks were thrown into the crowd, and windows smashed during the clashes outside the Bridewell Police Station.
Police deployed mounted officers and dog units, as seven people were arrested and twenty police officers injured.
In a statement released today Rees has made clear that the protests are “unacceptable and have nothing to do with the real work we are doing to tackle politics, economic and social inequality”.
This is absolutely unacceptable. The scenes of violence and direct attack on the police in Bristol city centre will distress most people including anyone who believes in defending the right to peaceful democratic protest. https://t.co/aVe3Q3Xqz8
— Thangam Debbonaire 💙 (@ThangamMP) March 21, 2021
He added that this “is a shameful day” for the city. What “they [protesters] have done has more to do with self gratification than it has to do with the protection and advancement of those of us from communities most likely to be marginalised.”
According to Rees, police plan to publish images of those responsible for the violence and track down and arrest suspects.