Maya OppenheimSat, 27 March 2021, 7:53 pm
One of the Bristol protesters described by Priti Patel as “thugs” has told of being “dazed” after an officer “whacked” him with a baton, leaving him with a “large bump” on his head.
Ross Tatham, who is in the final year of a Physics masters at Bristol University, told The Independent his “ears were ringing” after the clash with police at Friday night’s protest against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which Labour has warned could lead to harsher penalties for damaging a statue than attacking a woman.
The home secretary said the “Kill the Bill” protesters were “intent on causing trouble” – and was backed by prime minister Boris Johnson who said a “mob” had carried out “disgraceful attacks against police officers”.
It came hours after the Avon and Somerset force retracted a claim that two officers suffered broken bones during a previous Kill the Bill protest last Sunday.
Riot police could be seen pushing people to the ground with their shields in videos posted on social media, while a Daily Mirror journalist was the subject of an “assault” by police.
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Mr Tatham, a 24-year-old student, said he was hit in the head by a police officer while standing on the frontlines of the protest in Bristol on Bridewell street at around 11pm on Friday night.
He added: “I was saying ‘I’m peaceful’ and had my hands in the air saying ‘I’m here to protest not to fight’. The officer came and whacked me in the head with a baton. I got dazed and stumbled back. A lot of people got a lot worse than I did.
“There is some bruising. You can definitely see it. I’m definitely still a bit dazed. I had a bit of trouble getting to bed last night. My ears were still ringing. But it is having witnessed police behaving that way that’s shaken me more than getting hit on the head.”