Hundreds chanting ‘Kill the Bill’ protest in Bristol over controversial Police and Crime bill

Hundreds of people have gathered in Bristol for a demonstration against plans to give the police more powers to deal with non-violent protests.

The controversial Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill would give the police in England and Wales more power to impose conditions on non-violent protests, including those deemed too noisy or a nuisance. 

Those convicted under the proposed legislation could face a fine or jail.

The protest is taking place on College Green in Bristol city centre, where hundreds of people had gathered – despite lockdown laws being in place.

A separate event for Reclaim the Streets – who are protesting violence against women in the wake of Sarah Everard’s death in London – is taking place in Newcastle.

Pictures show a large group gathering and a female protester being pinned to the ground by four police officers.

It also comes after dozens of people were arrested last night as police attempted to halt thousands of anti-lockdown protesters marching through the centre of London.

Mass gatherings are currently banned under coronavirus legislation and anyone breaching the regulations could be fined.

Many in Bristol were seen wearing face masks and carried placards saying: ‘Say no to UK police state’, ‘Freedom to protest is fundamental to democracy’ and ‘Kill the Bill’.

Demonstrators attempt to push over a police van as they take part in a protest against a new proposed policing bill, in Bristol

Demonstrators attempt to push over a police van as they take part in a protest against a new proposed policing bill, in Bristol

Demonstrators attempt to push over a police van as they take part in a protest against a new proposed policing bill, in Bristol

A separate event for Reclaim the Streets - who are protesting violence against women in the wake of Sarah Everard\'s death - is taking place in Newcastle

A separate event for Reclaim the Streets - who are protesting violence against women in the wake of Sarah Everard\'s death - is taking place in Newcastle

A separate event for Reclaim the Streets – who are protesting violence against women in the wake of Sarah Everard’s death – is taking place in Newcastle

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill would give the police in England and Wales more power to impose conditions on non-violent protests, including those deemed too noisy or a nuisance

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill would give the police in England and Wales more power to impose conditions on non-violent protests, including those deemed too noisy or a nuisance

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill would give the police in England and Wales more power to impose conditions on non-violent protests, including those deemed too noisy or a nuisance

People take part in a \'Kill the Bill\' protest in Bristol, demonstrating against the Government\'s controversial Police and Crime Bill, today

People take part in a \'Kill the Bill\' protest in Bristol, demonstrating against the Government\'s controversial Police and Crime Bill, today

People take part in a ‘Kill the Bill’ protest in Bristol, demonstrating against the Government’s controversial Police and Crime Bill, today

Avon and Somerset Police had urged people not to attend the demonstration – warning that enforcement action could be taken.

Footage taken in Bristol city centre showed the moment protesters almost overturned a police van they had defaced with graffiti, before officers in riot gear pushed them back with batons.

Another video appears to show police using riot shields to kettle protestors into a smaller cordoned area. 

A spokesman for the force said: ‘Officers are engaging with a number of people who’ve turned up at the protest.

‘We’d like to thank those who’ve agreed to leave for their understanding of why it’s still important to follow Covid-19 restrictions and protect all our communities from this virus.

‘The protest has moved into Park Street and the fountains so we’re asking people to avoid this area due to the potential disruption to traffic.

‘Officers are continuing to engage with those attending. Enforcement action will be taken retrospectively when necessary and proportionate.’   

Demonstrators climb a police van as they take part in a protest against a new proposed policing bill, in Bristol, today

Demonstrators climb a police van as they take part in a protest against a new proposed policing bill, in Bristol, today

Demonstrators climb a police van as they take part in a protest against a new proposed policing bill, in Bristol, today

People gather in front of Bridewell Police Station, Bristol

People gather in front of Bridewell Police Station, Bristol

The protest is taking place on College Green in Bristol city centre, where hundreds of people had gathered - despite lockdown laws being in place

The protest is taking place on College Green in Bristol city centre, where hundreds of people had gathered - despite lockdown laws being in place

The protest is taking place on College Green in Bristol city centre, where hundreds of people had gathered – despite lockdown laws being in place

Hundreds of people have gathered in Bristol for a demonstration against plans to give the police more powers to deal with non-violent protests

Hundreds of people have gathered in Bristol for a demonstration against plans to give the police more powers to deal with non-violent protests

Hundreds of people have gathered in Bristol for a demonstration against plans to give the police more powers to deal with non-violent protests

Mass gatherings are currently banned under coronavirus legislation and anyone breaching the regulations could be fined

Mass gatherings are currently banned under coronavirus legislation and anyone breaching the regulations could be fined

Mass gatherings are currently banned under coronavirus legislation and anyone breaching the regulations could be fined

Thousands descended on the streets of Bristol exercising their right to protest and holding signs reading \'kill the bill\'

Thousands descended on the streets of Bristol exercising their right to protest and holding signs reading \'kill the bill\'

Thousands descended on the streets of Bristol exercising their right to protest and holding signs reading ‘kill the bill’

Many were wearing face masks and carried placards saying: \'Say no to UK police state\', \'Freedom to protest is fundamental to democracy\' and \'Kill the Bill\', in Bristol

Many were wearing face masks and carried placards saying: \'Say no to UK police state\', \'Freedom to protest is fundamental to democracy\' and \'Kill the Bill\', in Bristol

Many were wearing face masks and carried placards saying: ‘Say no to UK police state’, ‘Freedom to protest is fundamental to democracy’ and ‘Kill the Bill’, in Bristol

\'Kill the bill\' is written on the road as thousands of protestors march the streets surrounding\u00A0College Green in Bristol today

\'Kill the bill\' is written on the road as thousands of protestors march the streets surrounding\u00A0College Green in Bristol today

‘Kill the bill’ is written on the road as thousands of protestors march the streets surrounding College Green in Bristol today

Avon and Somerset Police had urged people not to attend the demonstration - warning that enforcement action could be taken

Avon and Somerset Police had urged people not to attend the demonstration - warning that enforcement action could be taken

Avon and Somerset Police had urged people not to attend the demonstration – warning that enforcement action could be taken

A police spokesperson said:\u00A0\'We\'d like to thank those who\'ve agreed to leave for their understanding of why it\'s still important to follow Covid-19 restrictions and protect all our communities from this virus

A police spokesperson said:\u00A0\'We\'d like to thank those who\'ve agreed to leave for their understanding of why it\'s still important to follow Covid-19 restrictions and protect all our communities from this virus

A police spokesperson said: ‘We’d like to thank those who’ve agreed to leave for their understanding of why it’s still important to follow Covid-19 restrictions and protect all our communities from this virus

Police hold back people outside Bridewell Police Station as they take part in a \'Kill the Bill\' protest in Bristol

Police hold back people outside Bridewell Police Station as they take part in a \'Kill the Bill\' protest in Bristol

Police hold back people outside Bridewell Police Station as they take part in a ‘Kill the Bill’ protest in Bristol

Meanwhile, a woman was arrested in Newcastle while protesting as part of a Reclaim These Streets march.

She was told to move and when she refused, police responded by taking her to the floor, where she was handcuffed before being put in a van.

In a video shot at the scene close to Grey’s Monument in the city, the woman is visibly distressed and screaming as she is bundled into the back of the police vehicle.    

It is understood the woman was standing on her own when she was approached by the police more than an hour before it was set to start.

The protests come after Home Secretary Priti Patel defended the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill in Parliament earlier this week. 

The bill will see new powers given to the police and Home Secretary to deal with protests that are deemed to have caused \'serious unease, alarm or distress\'

The bill will see new powers given to the police and Home Secretary to deal with protests that are deemed to have caused \'serious unease, alarm or distress\'

The bill will see new powers given to the police and Home Secretary to deal with protests that are deemed to have caused ‘serious unease, alarm or distress’

The bill will also raise the maximum sentence for defacing statues to 10 years, while new measures are also expected to crack down on knife crime

The bill will also raise the maximum sentence for defacing statues to 10 years, while new measures are also expected to crack down on knife crime

It has garnered controversy, particularly after Met Police officers were seen restraining women attending a vigil in memory of Sarah Everard in Clapham Common last month

It has garnered controversy, particularly after Met Police officers were seen restraining women attending a vigil in memory of Sarah Everard in Clapham Common last month

The bill will also raise the maximum sentence for defacing statues to 10 years, while new measures are also expected to crack down on knife crime. It has garnered controversy, particularly after Met Police officers were seen restraining women attending a vigil in memory of Sarah Everard in Clapham Common last month

The bill will mean that home secretaries will be able to create laws to define what \'serious disruption,\' to communities and organisations means

The bill will mean that home secretaries will be able to create laws to define what \'serious disruption,\' to communities and organisations means

The bill will mean that home secretaries will be able to create laws to define what ‘serious disruption,’ to communities and organisations means

The bill passed its second reading earlier this week, despite Labour voting against it. MPs voted 359 to 263, a majority of 96, at second reading, the first significant Commons test of a bill

The bill passed its second reading earlier this week, despite Labour voting against it. MPs voted 359 to 263, a majority of 96, at second reading, the first significant Commons test of a bill

The bill passed its second reading earlier this week, despite Labour voting against it. MPs voted 359 to 263, a majority of 96, at second reading, the first significant Commons test of a bill

However MPs including Theresa May raised concerns over the impact it will have on freedom of speech. 

The bill will see new powers given to the police and Home Secretary to deal with protests that are deemed to have caused ‘serious unease, alarm or distress’.

It will also raise the maximum sentence for defacing statues to 10 years, while new measures are also expected to crack down on knife crime. 

The bill has garnered controversy, particularly after Met Police officers were seen restraining women attending a vigil in memory of Sarah Everard in Clapham Common last month.

The bill will mean that home secretaries will be able to create laws to define what ‘serious disruption,’ to communities and organisations means. 

Speaking at the debate, on Monday night Ms Patel said peaceful protest was a ‘cornerstone of democracy,’ before adding: ‘The current legislation police use to manage protests, the Public Order Act 1986, was enacted over 30 years ago.  

‘In recent years we’ve seen significant change in protest tactics, with protesters exploiting gaps in the law which have led to disproportionate amounts of disruption.

Ms Patel said: ‘Last year we saw XR (Extinction Rebellion) block the passage of an ambulance on emergency calls, gluing themselves to trains during rush hour, blocking airport runways, preventing hundreds of hard-working people from going to work.’ 

Ms Patel said peaceful protest was a \'cornerstone of democracy\'. Here protestors climb onto the roof of a cafe in Bristol

Ms Patel said peaceful protest was a \'cornerstone of democracy\'. Here protestors climb onto the roof of a cafe in Bristol

Ms Patel said peaceful protest was a ‘cornerstone of democracy’. Here protestors climb onto the roof of a cafe in Bristol

People sit down in front of Bridewell Police Station as they take part in a \'Kill the Bill\' protest in Bristol

People sit down in front of Bridewell Police Station as they take part in a \'Kill the Bill\' protest in Bristol

People sit down in front of Bridewell Police Station as they take part in a ‘Kill the Bill’ protest in Bristol

Crowds, some masked, gather on Bristol\'s streets to protest the\u00A0Government\'s controversial Police and Crime Bill

Crowds, some masked, gather on Bristol\'s streets to protest the\u00A0Government\'s controversial Police and Crime Bill

Crowds, some masked, gather on Bristol’s streets to protest the Government’s controversial Police and Crime Bill

Police hold back people outside Bridewell Police Station as they take part in a \'Kill the Bill\' protest in Bristol, demonstrating against the Government\'s controversial Police and Crime Bill

Police hold back people outside Bridewell Police Station as they take part in a \'Kill the Bill\' protest in Bristol, demonstrating against the Government\'s controversial Police and Crime Bill

Police hold back people outside Bridewell Police Station as they take part in a ‘Kill the Bill’ protest in Bristol, demonstrating against the Government’s controversial Police and Crime Bill

Police hold back people outside Bridewell Police Station as they take part in a \'Kill the Bill\' protest in Bristol

Police hold back people outside Bridewell Police Station as they take part in a \'Kill the Bill\' protest in Bristol

Police hold back people outside Bridewell Police Station as they take part in a ‘Kill the Bill’ protest in Bristol

However, former prime minister Theresa May argued: ‘Freedom of speech is an important right in our democracy, however annoying or uncomfortable sometimes that might be and I know there will be people who will have seen scenes of protest and will have said, ‘why isn’t the Government doing something?’, to which the answer in many cases may simply be because we live in a democratic, free society.’

Ms May added: ‘It’s tempting with the Home Secretary to think that giving powers to the Home Secretary is very reasonable because we all think we’re reasonable, but actually future home secretaries may not be so reasonable and I wonder if the Government would be willing to publish a draft of those regulations during passage of the Bill so we can actually see what that is going to be and make sure that it is not also encroaching on the operational decisions of the police.

‘So there are very important elements of this Bill, but I would urge the Government to consider carefully the need to walk a fine line between being popular and populist. Our freedoms depend on it.’

The bill passed its second reading earlier this week, despite Labour voting against it.

MPs voted 359 to 263, a majority of 96, at second reading, the first significant Commons test of a bill. 

As the bill was voted through, protesters had gathered outside the Palace of Westminster to rally against both the legislation and also the police.

But it has been reported by Cambridgeshire Live that it has since been delayed.

According to the Labour MP Victims and Youth Justice Shadow Minister Peter Kyle, the bill committee has been ‘pulled’ and ‘won’t start until later in the year’.

Priti Patel defended new powers that would be given to police and the Home Secretary to curb protesters, should the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill be approved on Tuesday

Priti Patel defended new powers that would be given to police and the Home Secretary to curb protesters, should the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill be approved on Tuesday

Priti Patel defended new powers that would be given to police and the Home Secretary to curb protesters, should the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill be approved on Tuesday

Politicians, including former prime minister Theresa May, have raised concerns with the bill, following Met Police\'s handling of a vigil in memory of Sarah Everard in Clapham Common on Saturday

Politicians, including former prime minister Theresa May, have raised concerns with the bill, following Met Police\'s handling of a vigil in memory of Sarah Everard in Clapham Common on Saturday

Politicians, including former prime minister Theresa May, have raised concerns with the bill, following Met Police’s handling of a vigil in memory of Sarah Everard in Clapham Common on Saturday

The Policing Bill was part of the Conservative 2019 manifesto but elements raised eyebrows from MPs on the party’s libertarian wing.

The draft legislation includes an offence of ‘intentionally or recklessly causing public nuisance’, and someone will be judged to have committed this crime if they cause ‘serious harm to the public’, which can include ‘serious annoyance, serious inconvenience or serious loss of amenity’, with those convicted potentially facing a fine or jail.

The ‘serious annoyance’ element of the criteria has prompted a furious backlash from critics who warn the laws could pose a threat to free speech rights and the right to protest.

Labour voted against the bill, and shortly after the vote Sir Keir Starmer railed against it in a Twitter video, branding the Government’s priorities ‘completely wrong’.

He said: ‘The Conservatives have just voted for legislation to increase prison sentences for those damaging statues. But does nothing to address violence towards women and girls.’

A spokesperson for the Home Office tonight told MailOnline that people should not currently be protesting due to lockdown laws. Blanket restrictions on protesting are due to be lifted later this month.

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