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As part of the ‘Stop killing Bristolians’ movement, several Bristol student activists protested against pollution this afternoon by blocking off the top of Park Street.

The protest was organised by the group RisingUp, a growing network of people who seek positive societal change.

With the support of police officers, the demonstrators aimed to raise awareness of pollution levels in the city. They covered the top of the road by the traffic lights with a banner which read, ‘Stop Killing Bristolians. Cut Air Pollution.’

Mild disruption was caused during the protest on one of Bristol’s busiest streets, forcing buses to stop their journeys and cars to redirect their routes. Cyclists were able to dismount and ride around the demonstration, avoiding any major inconveniences.

Stuart Basden, one of the protest leaders, informed Epigram that 300 deaths a year can be attributed to exposure to both nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter. This amounts to 8.5% of deaths in Bristol per year.

He said,

‘We are just blocking the street for five minutes to highlight this problem.’

The demonstration lasted no longer than ten minutes and involved Basden and other protesters chanting from a megaphone, holding up banners and handing out flyers to the public. They chanted ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way! Clean air today!’

The police involvement meant the demonstration was carried out peacefully, their presence meant motorists were less aggressive towards the protestors.

Second-year Modern Languages student, Kim Schewitz, witnessed the protest on her way back from Cabot Circus and said, ‘this is quite disruptive, but I think it’s an important cause.’

Olivia Critoph, second-year Sociology student, who took part in the demonstration by handing out flyers said:

‘It’s really important to raise awareness of how bad the air pollutions is in Bristol, even if only a handful of people listen.’

Once the demonstration was complete the group cleared the area and the road reopened as normal.


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