Hundreds gather on Bristol’s College Green two days after violent protests
Police are not intervening at this time
Another Kill the Bill is taking place right now on College Green, with protesters setting up tents and signs.
The police are standing back and not engaging, and the protest is currently peaceful.
This comes two days after the first Kill the Bill protest on Sunday, which turned violent after around a thousand protesters swarmed Bridewell Police Station.
As well as protesting the bill generally, this gathering is specifically protesting the impact of the bill on Travellers, Roma, and Gypsies, alongside the general increased powers of the Home Office.
I'm at College Green in Bristol where people have gathered with tents and placards to peacefully protest the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill and the impact it will have on the traveller community
A few police officers present but no attempt so far to disperse pic.twitter.com/1o6K70jUZi
— Sophie Grubb (@Sophie_Grubb) March 23, 2021
So far, today’s protest does not seem to have the same numbers as Sunday, with only a couple of hundred people attending, though numbers could still grow.
The Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts Bill would give police and the Home Office increased powers to limit protests, and would also impact Travellers, Roma, and Gypsies, say campaign groups.
Gracie Bradley, Liberty Director, said: “If enacted, these proposals would expose already marginalised communities to profiling and disproportionate police powers through the expansion of stop and search, and Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities may face increased police enforcement through the criminalisation of trespass.”
— Izzy Posen (@PosenIzzy) March 23, 2021
Daniel, who lives in a van in Bristol, told Bristol Live: “It’s disgraceful. What are they going to do – take my home off me? We work, our vehicles are taxed and insured, maybe I’m one of the lucky ones but I’ve got water and heating and it’s probably better than most rented accommodation in Bristol.”
The protesters are very calm and peaceful, and there have been no clashes with the police who are standing back and keeping an eye.
The flowers and signs from the Sarah Everard vigil are still by the tree on College Green, and the Bristol Live reporter on the scene said: “everyone is being really respectful of that”.
This peaceful protest comes in stark contrast with the violence on Sunday night, where “20 officers were assaulted or injured and two of them were taken to hospital after suffering broken bones”, and one officer also suffered a punctured lung.
Today, the police released images of ten suspects they are currently looking for in connection with Sunday night’s violence, with many more expected to be released in the coming days.
Featured image: Sophie Grub / Bristol Live