By Micheal Keogh
Police in England came under attack from demonstrators as a rally against plans to increase powers for dealing with peaceful protests turned violent.
Thousands gathered at what was dubbed the 'Kill the Bill' event, in reference to the attempts to stop a proposed law which would give police and the UK government increased powers.
However, the protest turned sour when demonstrators made their way to the Bridewell police station in the city.
Tensions escalated into the evening with riot police, dogs and police horses deployed in the street outside the station.
There were violent scuffles, and fireworks and projectiles were thrown at police and windows were smashed.
Some people made their way onto the roof of part of the police station building.
The atmosphere became ‘violent and hostile’, according to a reporter with BristolLive.
Avon and Somerset Police said what had started "as a peaceful protest" had been "turned by a small minority into a violent disorder".
Two police vehicles were set on fire, damage was caused to a police station, one officer suffered a broken arm and another suffered broken ribs, the force added.
Police said a demonstration in Bristol, England, that began peacefully later turned into violent disorder because of a small minority. Thousands had converged to protest against a bill that would give police new powers to restrict street protests https://t.co/pXUEskGqT4 pic.twitter.com/cnBNWbTqE6— Reuters (@Reuters) March 22, 2021
Under the present law, police can place restrictions on a protest if they can show it may result in "serious public disorder, serious damage to property or serious disruption to the life of the community".
The proposed law would allow Police chiefs to put more conditions on static protests.
They would be able to impose a start and finish time, set noise limits and apply these rules to a demonstration by just one person.