107 people arrested during 'Kill the Bill' protests in London on Saturday

4 April 2021, 14:35 | Updated: 4 April 2021, 20:58

Scores of people were arrested on Saturday during 'Kill the Bill' protests in the capital
Scores of people were arrested on Saturday during 'Kill the Bill' protests in the capital. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

More than 100 people were arrested during the 'Kill the Bill' protests that took place in central London on Saturday, the Metropolitan Police has said.

Arrests were made for a range of offences including assault on police, violent disorder, breach of the peace and breaches of coronavirus restrictions.

One woman was taken into custody on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon.

It comes after thousands of people marched in towns and cities across England despite ongoing Covid-19 measures.

They came out to demonstrate against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which would give police in England and Wales more power to impose conditions on non-violent protests - including those considered too noisy or a nuisance, with those convicted liable to fines or jail terms.

Read more: Dispersal order issued in Bristol amid 'Kill the Bill protests' across England

Watch: Police break up Good Friday church service in London for breaching Covid rules

Police said most people who attended the demonstrations on Saturday adhered to social distancing measures and listened to the instructions of officers.

However, Commander Ade Adelekan - who led the policing operation for the protests - said that as the afternoon went on, "a small number of people were intent on remaining to cause disruption".

He explained that those offenders repeatedly ignored the instructions of officers and were responsible for "increasing levels of disorder".

Mr Adelekan said: “While our advice to people remains not to attend large gatherings, the vast majority of people who attended central London yesterday, adhered to social distancing, and engaged and listened to my officers.

“However, as the afternoon wore on it became clear that a small number of people were intent on remaining to cause disruption to law-abiding Londoners.

Read more: Illegal party in Cardiff leaves Welsh Parliament 'littered with rubbish'

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Kill the Bill protesters clashed with the police across forces across England on Saturday
Kill the Bill protesters clashed with the police across forces across England on Saturday. Picture: PA

“Despite repeated instructions from officers to leave, they did not and, amid increasing levels of disorder, arrests were made.

“We should not allow the behaviour of a few individuals who attend these events with the purpose of committing criminal acts to taint the good behaviour of the majority who attended yesterday.”

On Saturday, Avon and Somerset Police said that a section 35 dispersal order had been issued in Bristol's city centre.

"This follows a number of incidents involving violence between the remaining protestors," the force added.

"Officers are now dispersing people from the area."

Earlier, the M32 motorway was reopened following a brief closure after protesters sat on the road.

A spokesperson for the force tweeted: "The M32 at Junction 3 is now open in both directions.

"Protestors briefly obstructed both carriageways before turning around and marching back into the city centre."

On Saturday, thousands of people took part in what various police forces described as "peaceful" Kill the Bill protests in regions including London, Newcastle, Birmingham, Liverpool, Dorset and Bristol.

In the capital, projectiles were thrown as police pushed protesters away from Parliament and at least one officer was injured as officers worked to unblock the road for a McDonald's lorry to pass.

Elsewhere, in Bristol, around 100 protesters briefly blocked the M32 in both directions after a static rave-like protest turned into a march at around 9pm.

More than 1,000 people attended the Bristol demonstration, according to Avon and Somerset Police.