By Robin Connolly, Co-Editor-in-Chief, Siavash Minoukadeh, Deputy Digital Editor, Filiz Gurer, News Editor and Billy Stockwell, Climate Correspondent
A peaceful demonstration that began on College Green this afternoon has escalated and turned violent in Bristol City centre as hooded protestors were seen smashing into glass windows at New Bridewell police station and spray painting the station’s walls and police vehicles.
UPDATE: This article previously stated that one police officer had broken bones and another had a punctured lung as a result of protester violence. This information was provided by Avon & Somerset police. The police have since stated that these injuries were not sustained by any officers and this article has been updated to reflect this updated information.
Epigram has also received reports that a police van has been set on fire.
Police lines were pushed back to Bridewell station entrance this evening as hundreds gathered outside it following today’s demonstration against government plans to increase police powers in protest situations.
Reports of protestor actions include:
• Police van set on fire after its windows were smashed
• Graffiti across Bridewell station stating ‘f**k the pol’
• Fireworks and other missiles used within the crowds, including glass bottles
Epigram has received reports that police officers are being deployed in full riot gear at the scene.
The proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill could potentially see protestors facing increased fines or jail sentences.
The events today began as people gathered on College Green around 2pm before marching towards Broadmead and Castle Park.
Onlookers have estimated there to have been thousands of attendees demonstrating throughout the day.
This morning, Avon and Somerset Police urged people not to attend the protest, warning of fixed penalty fines due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement this evening, Ch Supt Will White, Gold commander, said: 'What started out as a peaceful protest has been turned by a small minority into a violent disorder.
'These scenes are absolutely disgraceful and they wull be widely condemned by people across the city. There can never be any excuse for wanton disorder.
'Officers have been subjected to considerable levels of abuse and violence ... These are men and women out there with the intention of serving and protecting the public - they should never be subjected to assaults or abuse in this way.
'At least two police vehicles have been set on fire and damage has been caused to the outisde of the station. Protestors are not inside the building.
'We have requested mututal aid from neighbouring forces to bring this incident to a safe conclusion.
'All those involved in this criminal behaviour will be indentified and brought to justice. There will be significant consequences for behaviour such as this.'
Featured: Siavash Minoukadeh
Did you witness any of the violence at the ‘Kill the Bill’ demonstration today? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.