London, March 28 : Ten people were arrested after a protest against the UK government’s crime bill turned violent in the English city of Bristol, local media reported.
A “minority” of protesters “showed hostility” to police officers on Friday night and arrests were made after some who had sat in front of a police station were cleared, Xinhua news agency quoted the BBC as saying in a report on Saturday.
Crowds swelled to around 1,000 as protesters confronted officers in an angry stand-off before firing fireworks at police horses.
Officers were also pelted with eggs, bottles and traffic cones, the Evening Standard newspaper reported.
Police in riot gear started dispersing crowds at around 10.10 p.m. on Friday due to Covidrestrictions and mounted police and dog units were used to drive back the crowds, according to the London-based newspaper.
Supt Mark Runacres, of Avon and Somerset Police, said in a statement: “The majority of people acted peacefully however there was a minority who once again showed hostility to officers.
“Items, including glass bottles and bricks were thrown at officers, fireworks were launched at our mounted section while one of our horses was also covered with paint.
“This violent conduct is not acceptable…Officers repeatedly encouraged people to disperse but once the atmosphere changed and people became physical it was necessary to take action.
“At times reasonable force had to be used — this is not something we ever want to do but we have a duty to uphold the law, prevent crime, and protect people and property.”
Demonstrators clashed with police last week in Bristol during the “Kill the Bill” demonstration against the UK government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
The bill would give the police in England and Wales more power to impose conditions on non-violent protests, including those deemed to be too noisy or a nuisance, according to Sky News.
Those convicted under the bill could face a fine or jail.
Mass gatherings are currently banned in Britain under coronavirus legislation.
In a tweet on Saturday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the violent protest was “disgraceful”.
“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,” Johnson said.
“The police and the city have my full support,” he added.
Home Secretary Priti Patel also condemned the disorder with “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,” she said on Twitter.
“Despite repeated warnings to disperse, it’s clear these thugs were only intent on causing trouble. I am receiving regular updates and the police have my full support.”