LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday condemned “disgraceful attacks” on police after a third night of violence hit the western city of Bristol by protesters condemning new crime legislation.
Police in Bristol arrested 10 people on Friday night after what they called “violent conduct” at the protest, which swelled to 1,000 participants despite a government ban on mass gatherings owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
Previous “Kill the Bill” demonstrations in Bristol last Sunday and Tuesday also turned violent, with protesters demanding the withdrawal of the legislation, which critics say harshly restricts the right to peaceful protest.
“Last night saw disgraceful attacks against police officers in Bristol,” Johnson said on Twitter.
“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,” he said.
“The police and the city have my full support.”
Protesters in Bristol have accused police of excessive force, and mocked them on Friday after the local force was forced to admit that it was mistaken in initially saying some officers had suffered broken bones last Sunday.
Further protests against the bill are planned later Saturday in British cities including Manchester, Nottingham and Sheffield, but police are warning people to stay away because of the coronavirus ban.