Twelve police vehicles were damaged as vehicles were torched when an initially peaceful protest turned ugly.
Bristol appears to be a wasteland on 22 march 2021, after chaos erupted in the city on 21 march 2021, when a peaceful protest turned into a riot.
The aftermath of Bristol riots
Twelve police vehicles were damaged as vehicles were torched when an initially peaceful protest turned ugly. Avon and Somerset Police stated that seven people were arrested in total, six on suspicion of violent disorder and one on suspicion of possessing an offensive weapon. Burnt-out police vehicles litter the filthy city streets, local businesses’ windows have been smashed, graffiti covers blacked out walls and the roads and pavements are littered with broken glass and waste.
Thousands of people initially gathered on College Green in the centre of Bristol from 2 pm on Sunday 21 march afternoon, before marching through the city. In the evening, protestors congregated outside Bridewell police station and scenes became violent.
A police van was graffitied and set on fire, and the front windows of the police station were shattered and images shared by Bedminster Fire Station depict a second police vehicle being torched.
The protests were a response to the proposed Police, Crime, and Sentencing Bill, which will include the need for permission for protests to be granted in advance, with imposed starting and finishing times and set noise limits, or face a £2,500 fine.
Marvin Rees, Labour Mayor of Bristol said: “As a city, we roundly condemn this. This is not what we have been building over these years. There’s no strategy. It’s just their excuse to have a political tantrum. I don’t care what they call themselves, to be perfectly frank. What they’ve just done is stacked up a whole bunch of evidence, a whole bunch of stuff that those who promote the bill will use to justify pushing the bill forward. I’m a mixed-race man. I come from a poor background. I am from communities that are disproportionately likely to be on the receiving end of the criminal justice system and receive unfair treatment. What they have done has done nothing to make me and people like me safer. My brothers and sisters or the people in the communities that I’ve been a part of. This was selfish, self-centred violence on their behalf. Smashing buildings in our city centre, vandalising vehicles, attacking our police will do nothing to lessen the likelihood of the bill going through. On the contrary, the lawlessness on show will be used as evidence and promote the need for the bill. This is a shameful day in an incredible year for Bristol.”
Chief Constable Marsh said: “20 of our brave officers suffered various injuries – including two who suffered more serious injuries which needed hospital treatment. I was at a Bristol station last night and can tell you the feeling of anguish was felt by all our officers and staff at seeing colleagues injured while on the frontline.”
Avon and Somerset Police issued a statement on Sunday night which read: “Following a protest held earlier today, several hundred people congregated outside Bridewell Police Station during the afternoon. What started as a peaceful protest was turned by a small minority into a violent disorder. These scenes are disgraceful and they will be widely condemned by people across the city. There can never be any excuse for the wanton disorder. Officers have been subjected to considerable levels of abuse and violence. One suffered a broken arm and another suffered broken ribs. These are men and women out there to serve and protect the public – they should never be subjected to assaults or abuse in this way. At least two police vehicles have been set on fire and damage has been caused to the outside of the station. Protestors are not inside the building. All those involved in this criminal behaviour will be identified and brought to justice. There will be significant consequences for behaviour such as this.”
Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, tweeted: “Unacceptable scenes in Bristol tonight. Thuggery and disorder by a minority will never be tolerated. Our police officers put themselves in harm’s way to protect us all. My thoughts this evening are with those police officers injured.”
National chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, John Apter, said: “Horrendous scenes in Bristol. A number of officers badly injured, police vehicles damaged and a police station under attack. This is not protest, it’s just mindless violence. Thoughts are with my colleagues.”