April RoachSun, 28 March 2021, 7:32 pm
Demonstrations against the Government’s Police Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill, which criminalises protests deemed a “public nuisance”, are gathering momentum with more protests planned on Sunday after a weekend of unrest.
Further action is expected to take place next Saturday in London, as well as other cities including Plymouth and Bournemouth.
Adverts shared on social media call for a “London day of action” that is part of a “National Weekend of Action.”
Police have urged people not to take part in further protests and Boris Johnson has branded the violence towards officers as “disgraceful”.
In a statement, chief superintendent Claire Armes from Avon and Somerset Police said: “While Covid restrictions are in place, gatherings of any kind will only put our communities at risk.
“This pandemic has cost many lives and is still a significant challenge for our colleagues in the NHS. Anyone who chooses to flout the restrictions is playing a part in prolonging this difficult situation.
“We fully understand the strength of feeling around the right to protest, but now is not the time. We’re again asking people to please do the responsible thing and stay at home this weekend.
“Policing resources are in place to ensure we’re able to keep our communities safe and maintain order.”
The warning comes after violence erupted at the third Kill the Bill demonstration in Bristol on Friday, with 10 arrests made following what police called unacceptable “violent conduct”.
Eighteen people were arrested on Saturday after protesters blockded tram lines in Manchester City Centre.
Following the Bristol protest Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that police and the city had his full support.
Mr Johnson tweeted: “Last night saw disgraceful attacks against police officers in Bristol.
“Our officers should not have to face having bricks, bottles and fireworks being thrown at them by a mob intent on violence and causing damage to property. The police and the city have my full support.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel also tweeted that it was clear that “thugs” had only been intent on causing trouble.
She added: “I am disgusted by the disorder in Bristol and the violence being directed towards the police.
“I’m in no doubt the silent, law-abiding majority will be appalled by the actions of this criminal minority.
“Despite repeated warnings to disperse, it’s clear these thugs were only intent on causing trouble.”https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1375799705276452864&lang=en-gb&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fuk.yahoo.com%2Fnews%2Fkill-bill-protesters-plan-national-181750587.html&theme=light&widgetsVersion=e1ffbdb%3A1614796141937&width=550px
Labour’s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said “people have the right to be heard”, but added that the violence is “completely unacceptable and has put at risk the safety of frontline workers”.
Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said it was concerning how many people were travelling to the city to protest or “cause conflict”.
In a statement on Facebook on Saturday, he added: “The question those engaging in the action should be asking is: is what I am doing advancing the cause I claim to be campaigning for?
“Many people protested peacefully but there are a number who refuse to go home and others who are here merely to cause conflict: the Bill itself is not their cause, it is their opportunity.
“If the protests are meant to reduce the likelihood of the Bill, then the actions of some of these protesters are politically illiterate and strategically inept.”