Hundreds of terrifying ‘Kill the Bill’ protesters vow to ‘shut down Bristol’ on new march | UK | News
Large crowds of demonstrators can be heard chanting and seen carrying banners as they once again marched through the town centre. Many can be seen with a traditional face coverings, meanwhile others can be spotted wearing terrifying balaclavas. Groups started to gather at College Green from around 6pm, the same location as the four previous protests in the past nine days.
The protests were sparked following the Government’s decision to press ahead with a new Police and Crime Bill, which is set to give authorities more powers to curb demonstrations.
This evening, several activists were heard issuing rallying cries to the gathered crowds, one person was heard shouting “let’s go to the Bearpit. We can shut down Bristol”.
Meanwhile, others yelled “peaceful protest” as well as “Kill the Bill”.
Groups also congregated outside Bridewell police station – the scene of previous flash points.
Many can be seen sitting cross-legged on the floor outside the entrance.
A small number of uniformed police officers have been deployed to the scene and were seen walking in front of the crowds.
In a statement, Avon and Somerset Police said: “Around 150 people are continuing to take part in a peaceful protest on College Green in Bristol – and our police liaison officers have had positive dialogue with many of them throughout the evening so far.”
The force later added: “The protestors are taking part in a march towards the city centre so there may be some disruption to traffic.”
Avon and Somerset Police earlier said it was aware of the planned protest this evening and again at the weekend.
The said changes to the coronavirus rules meant there was now an exemption to allow peaceful protests – but urged people to act responsibly.
Superintendent Mark Runacres, Bristol area commander, said: “We are aware of two protests due to take place in Bristol city centre on Tuesday March 30 and Saturday April 3.
“Following changes to Covid regulations, there is now an exemption to allow peaceful protests.
“We would encourage any protest organisers to engage with the police so we can help them ensure any protests are legally compliant, while also minimising the risk of the general public during this health emergency.
“We do understand the strength of opposition to the new legislation being debated in Parliament but we’re asking people to exercise their right to protest responsibly due to the clear health concerns.”
The police chief also encouraged people to find “alternative ways to express themselves”, such as writing to their MP or signing a petition.
The previous protest on Friday, began with around 300 people before more than 1,000 people took to the streets.
Scenes began to turn violent towards the end of the night and police said glass bottles, bricks and eggs were thrown at officers.
Avon and Somerset Police added fireworks were launched at its mounted division, with one horse being daubed with paint.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel both condemned the incident.
The first protest took place on March 21 and was followed by another violent demonstration two days later.
The initial protest descended into a riot when some 500 people marched on Bridewell police station – 25 arrests were made.
The protests were triggered by the proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which would give police in England and Wales more power to impose conditions on non-violent protests.
They include restricting demonstrations deemed too noisy or a nuisance, with those convicted liable to fines or jail terms.