UK officers arrest 10 people at protest against new policing bill

British police arrested 10 people in Bristol on Friday evening during a third night of protest against a policing bill.

The Avon and Somerset Police said in a statement that more than 1,000 people had gathered from mid-afternoon in the south-eastern English city. Dogs, horses and a police helicopter were eventually deployed to break up the protest with the operation concluding at 01:00 am local time on Saturday.

Large public gatherings are currently prohibited in the UK as a measure to curb the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.

“The majority of people acted peacefully however there was a minority who once again showed hostility to officers,” Superintendent Mark Runacres said.

“Items, including glass bottles and bricks were thrown at officers, fireworks were launched at our mounted section while one of our horses was also covered with paint,” he added.

One of the 10 people arrested for offences including violent disorder, assaulting an emergency worker and possession of Class A Drugs has been issued a fine, the other remained in custody on Saturday morning.

The protest was against a contentious bill currently making its way through parliament which would grant law enforcement greater power to police or prevent protests. The main opposition Labour Party has said it will oppose it, describing it as “missed opportunity” to tackle violence against women.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the events in Bristol as “mob intent on violence and causing damage to property.”

“The police and the city have my full support,” he added.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said she “was disgusted by the disorder” and “the violence being directed towards the police.”

“Despite repeated warnings to disperse, it’s clear these thugs were only intent on causing trouble. I am receiving regular updates and the police have my full support,” she wrote on Twitter.

Police have come under greater scrutiny following the death of Sarah Everard earlier this month.

The 33-year-old disappeared in South London as she was walking home at night. She was confirmed dead 10 days later after her body was found. A serving police officer was arrested and charged with murdering her.

Images of police officers violently arresting women attending an unauthorised vigil in her honour have caused consternation.

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