Emergency vehicle on fire, several police officers injured: Mass rioting broke out in Bristol, UK, during a protest against a new police law.
Bristol (AP) – In the western English port city of Bristol, protests against a planned police law have sparked violent riots and clashes with security forces.
In the riots in the city center, countless people attacked a police station, the Sky News broadcaster reported Sunday evening (local time). At least two emergency vehicles have been set on fire, according to the police. Several officers were injured and at least two were broken. Home Secretary Priti Patel spoke of “unacceptable scenes” and wrote on Twitter that “shameful violence and riots by minorities will never be tolerated”.
As the police announced on Twitter, several hundred protesters had initially gathered in front of a police station in the afternoon. “What started as a peaceful protest was turned into violent riots by a small minority,” said Detective Chief Will White. “These scenes are an absolute shame and will meet with widespread opposition from the inhabitants of this city. There can never be an excuse for deliberate riots. “No one broke into the police station, but the facade of the building was damaged. The police asked for reinforcements from the area to get the situation under control.
The police law enacted by the conservative government (police, crime, penalties and courts) grants the security forces much more extensive powers than before. For example, it provides that peaceful demonstrations may be more restricted by the police in the future if they “intimidate the public” or “cause serious inconvenience” because of noise or other reasons. Opposition MPs criticized the law as an expression of the government’s “penchant for authoritarianism”.
The plan to increase the maximum sentence for damaging monuments to ten years in prison also provokes strong criticism of the law. Last summer, protesters of the “Black Lives Matter” movement toppled the statue of a former slave trader in Bristol and threw it into the harbor basin.
Regardless of the law, the British police are currently facing severe criticism. Officials last weekend at an unauthorized rally in memory of Sarah Everard, who was allegedly kidnapped and murdered by a police officer in London, stood up against the corona measures to be enforced and arrested several women.
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