Mar 22, 2021 - World

Policing bill protest in U.K. city turns violent

A vehicle is set alight in Bristol, England

A vehicle is set alight in Bristol, southwest England. Photo: Bedminster Fire Station/Twitter

Vehicles were set alight as protesters and police clashed in Bristol, southwest England, Sunday night following a massive rally against a bill that would give authorities more powers to restrict nonviolent demonstrations.

Driving the news: Thousands of people participated in what local police described as a peaceful protest against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill — which critics say would "impose disproportionate controls on free expression and the right to protest," per the BBC.

  • A "small minority" turned the rally into a "violent disorder" that saw two police officers taken to the hospital — one with broken ribs and the other with a broken arm, according to a statement by Avon and Somerset police chief superintendent Will White.
  • White said two police vehicles were set on fire during the unrest. Bedminster Fire Station, which responded to calls in Bristol, reported other vehicles were also set alight.

What they're saying: Home Secretary Priti Patel, who is behind the proposed legislation, tweeted Sunday night that the scenes in the city were "unacceptable."

  • "Thuggery and disorder by a minority will never be tolerated," she said. "Our police officers put themselves in harms way to protect us all. My thoughts this evening are with those police officers injured."
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