Bristol Riot Videos Capture Carnage as 20 Police Officers Injured by Protesters

Twenty police officers were injured in the English city of Bristol when a protest against a proposed crime bill turned violent on Sunday.

Demonstrators set fire to vehicles, smashed windows and let off fireworks, while a police station was also damaged. Two police officers were taken to hospital, one with broken bones and another with a collapsed or punctured lung.

Local police estimated that about 3,000 people took part in the outdoor "Kill the Bill" demonstration that had begun peacefully but was "turned by a small minority into a violent disorder".

Seven arrests were made—six for violent disorder and one for possession of an offensive weapon—and a police investigation into the disorder is underway.

#killthebill protest in Bristol pic.twitter.com/2PNFHxnZpb

— Chris Rolandsen (@ChrisRolandsen_) March 21, 2021

Police station now breached #bristol pic.twitter.com/WolEQk0gYr

— Alon Aviram (@AlAviram) March 21, 2021

Authorities condemned the violence. "Thuggery and disorder by a minority will never be tolerated," Britain's Home Secretary Priti Patel said in a statement. "Our police officers put themselves in harm's way to protect us all."

Crowds had gathered in the city to demonstrate against the "Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill," which is currently being debated by lawmakers.

If passed, the bill would overhaul how protests are policed in the U.K., including banning any demonstration which could cause "public nuisance," and protesters facing arrest if they cause "serious annoyance" or "serious inconvenience" to the public.

The legislation would also give police more powers to tackle "non-violent" protests and protesters facing jail terms of up to 10 years.

Some rioters tore down scaffolding from around a building and used it to attack police pic.twitter.com/y6vRBFxQOs

— Martin Booth (@beardedjourno) March 21, 2021

Opposition to the bill was intensified after London's Metropolitan Police were heavily criticized for how they aggressively handled a vigil planned in Clapham, south London, after a woman was allegedly abducted and murdered by a police officer while walking home from a friend's house.

Videos of officers dragging women who were engaging in the peaceful demonstration for victim Sarah Everard on March 13 went viral on social media, with police declaring the unofficial event unlawful due to coronavirus restrictions against large crowds gathering.

Condemning the disorder which took place in Bristol on Sunday, Avon and Somerset Police Chief Constable, Andy Marsh, said that the "wanton violence and destruction" had nothing to do with the protest against the bill.

"The scenes we witnessed yesterday were shameful and I know will be condemned by the whole city," Marsh said.

"We've received messages of support from across the policing, emergency service and political landscape. No-one wants to see police officers abused or attacked in this way.

"These men and women put their safety on the line every day to keep the public safe, and do not deserve to be on the forefront of this abhorrent criminal behaviour."

Police Chief Constable Sue Mountstevens said in a statement that "violent demonstration is shameful at any time, let alone during a pandemic."

She added: "20 officers were injured last night and this is unacceptable. These men and women went to work yesterday with public safety as their number one priority and still faced a level of violence that cannot be justified."

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Anti protest bill sign is seen on March 22, 2021 in Bristol, England. Protests in Bristol on Saturday at the "Kill the Bill" demonstration turned violent as protestors clashed with police. Crowds had gathered for the demonstration in opposition to the Police and Crime Bill. Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images