Two more Kill The Bill protests have been planned for Bristol this week

If both go ahead, there will have been five protests in the space of 13 days

Protesters against the introduction of the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill have scheduled two more Kill The Bill protests in Bristol this week.

One demonstration is scheduled to start at 6pm today on College Green, and the next on Saturday 3rd April as part of a “national weekend of action” across the country over the Easter bank holiday weekend.

The legislation they are protesting against is set to give the police far greater powers to respond to protests, including the ability to stop protests due to noise levels and disruption to the public.

If both of these protests go ahead, there will have been five protests against the bill in Bristol within a period of 13 days.

Unlike the previous protests last week, which saw peaceful protests by day and violence unfold by night, protesting is now legal as the coronavirus lockdown has been eased. However, organisers must submit risk assessments and ensure social distancing for it to remain a legal event.

Ahead of the protest planned for today, First Bus has announced that all of its city centre services will be cancelled from 4pm this afternoon until 5am tomorrow morning to avoid disruption to its services.

Superintendent Mark Runacres of Avon and Somerset Police said in a statement: “We are aware of two protests due to take place in Bristol city centre on Tuesday, 30th March and Saturday, 3rd April.

“Following changes to covid regulations, there is now an exemption to allow peaceful protests. However, this exemption only applies if the organisers take the required precautions to ensure people’s safety is not put at risk.

“We would encourage any protest organisers to engage with the police so we can help them ensure any protest are legally compliant, while also minimising the risk to the general public during this health emergency.”

He also said that while the police “understand the strength of opposition to the new legislation” they are asking people to “exercise their right to protest responsibly due to the clear health concerns”. They also aim to ensure the protests go ahead “peacefully and without incident”.

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