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Fourteen Arrests In Bristol After Second Night Of Protests

Fourteen people have been arrested at a second night of protests in Bristol, police have said.

On Tuesday night about 130 people demonstrating against the government’s new Police and Crime Bill gathered at College Green. It came two days after another protest in the city turned violent after dark, injuring several police officers.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said there is “no acceptability” for “criminality and thuggish behaviour”.

Avon and Somerset Police said it had to act due to lockdown restrictions. One of those arrested was in connection with the disorder in Bristol on Sunday, the force said.

Ms Patel said: “Protests are unlawful right now and quite frankly we have just seen more criminality and violent behaviour, which is simply unacceptable.” She added: “Peaceful protest is totally different from what we’ve seen in Bristol. “We live in a democracy and obviously we uphold the right to protest but we’re in the pandemic and I would urge people to continue to follow the rules and guidance.”

There were between 200 and 250 people at the peak of the protest on Tuesday afternoon, which had been peaceful, with some of those intending to sleep in tents at College Green overnight.

But, like on Sunday, police said they only took action after dark when people ignored instructions to leave. Ch Supt Claire Armes said: “We will always attract opposing and differing views in these situations but we have successfully cleared the area and minimised any disruption to the city of Bristol.”

Earlier, she said protesters had “insulted” Bristol’s communities, who “have made too many sacrifices and worked so hard” to defeat coronavirus.

Officers from British Transport Police, Devon and Cornwall, Dorset, Dyfed Powys, Gloucestershire, Gwent and Wiltshire forces were drafted in to help. In a tweet, police said officers had attempted to engage with demonstrators earlier in the evening and asked them to move on. “It’s disappointing we needed to take this action on a day we remember those who’ve lost their lives,” the force said earlier, referring to the anniversary of the first national lockdown.