British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday strongly criticised “disgraceful attacks” on police officers after protests in Bristol against a new policing bill turned violent, resulting in 10 arrests.
Local police said bricks, glass bottles and eggs were thrown at police late on Friday evening after a protest on Friday afternoon turned sour in the late evening.
“Last night saw disgraceful attacks against police officers in Bristol. Our officers should not have to face having bricks, bottles and fireworks being thrown at them by a mob intent on violence and causing damage to property,” Johnson said in a tweet.
“The police and the city have my full support.”
Police in riot gear beat back crowds of protesters with shields and batons, Reuters pictures and TV showed.
Bristol has been a centre of protests against a government bill going through parliament that would give police new powers to restrict street protests.
Last Sunday, two police officers were seriously injured and at least two police vehicles set on fire in the city after a peaceful protest turned violent.
Local police said the disorder on Friday followed a protest involving more than 1,000 people. Large gatherings are currently not allowed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“The majority of people acted peacefully, however there was a minority who showed hostility to officers,” said Bristol police commander Mark Runacres. He added that three of the ten people arrested were also detained in connection to last Sunday’s disorder.
“Officers repeatedly encouraged people to disperse but once the atmosphere changed and people became physical it was necessary to take action.”