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Bristol mayor blasts ‘selfish’ protesters as police detain seven following ‘kill the bill’ unrest

Bristol mayor blasts ‘selfish’ protesters as police detain seven following ‘kill the bill’ unrest
Marvin Rees has slammed those involved in Sunday’s riot which saw 20 police officers injured, some seriously, as people took to the streets of Bristol to protest a bill that will give UK police new powers.

Speaking on Monday, the mayor said the violence had nothing to do with the “real everyday struggles” that people have been facing during the pandemic. “It’s selfish, it is self-indulgent and self-centred activity - people living out their revolutionary fantasies,” he contended. 

“This has nothing to do with being in lockdown for a year. There are people who go around looking for the latest demo. They look for the opportunity for the flashpoints and I suspect there are a number of people who were here last night who are amongst those,” Rees stated. 

On Sunday, as unrest spread across the city and a police station was put under siege by protesters, the mayor said it was a “shameful” day for the city.  

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Hundreds descended on Bristol on Sunday to demonstrate against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill but clashes with law enforcement soon broke out as the protest turned violent. 

A total of 20 officers were injured, two seriously, as police vans burned and a station was surrounded by an angry mob. Avon and Somerset Police made seven arrests, six for violent disorder and a seventh for possession of an offensive weapon. 

The bill, which would expand police powers and increase sentences for those committing “serious annoyance or inconvenience” in public, passed its second reading in the House of Commons last week but will face further scrutiny before it is enacted.

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