Officers injured after protest against new police bill turns violent in Britain
Two officers suffered broken bones and another suffered a punctured lung, officials said
BRISTOL, England — Seven people have been arrested after weekend protests in the English city of Bristol over a new police bill turned violent.
Avon and Somerset Police said on Monday six people were arrested for violent disorder while one was arrested for possession of an offensive weapon during the protest on Sunday.
Politicians and the force's chief constable have condemned the violence after 20 officers were assaulted or injured and two of them were taken to hospital after suffering broken bones.
One also suffered a punctured lung.
Images and footage from the scene, which originally began as a peaceful protest, showed anti-police graffiti on buildings and a police van set on fire.
Chief Constable Andy Marsh said the "wanton violence and destruction" had nothing to do with protest, but instead was undertaken "by those looking for an excuse to commit disorder."
Tensions between the police and Britons have been fraught in recent weeks.
A new bill is currently making its way through British parliament which could see the police being given more powers during protests.
The proposed law sees a new offence of “intentionally or recklessly causing public nuisance," which could see people facing jail time or a fine if found guilty. The protesters in Bristol shouted their opposition to the legislation.
Separately, a police officer was charged with murder and kidnapping after a 33-year-old Londoner, Sarah Everard, went missing while walking home. The police's subsequent handling of a vigil for Everard also garnered criticism.
This is not about protecting the right to protest, it’s violent criminality from a hardcore minority who will hijack any situation for their own aims. My colleagues, some of whom are now in hospital face the brunt of that hatred. Thoughts remain with my colleagues. #Bristol pic.twitter.com/Hb1UI9i9Gd— John Apter (@PFEW_Chair) March 21, 2021
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