Police release pictures of 'Kill the Bill' Bristol riot suspects

23 March 2021, 18:52 | Updated: 24 March 2021, 14:16

Police have released the pictures of these people they wish to speak to
Police have released the pictures of these people they wish to speak to. Picture: Avon and Somerset Police
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Police have released the images of people they wish to speak to following the riot that tarnished a "Kill the Bill" protest in Bristol.

Some 21 officers were injured and several police vehicles were set on fire during the violent scenes that erupted in the city-centre on Sunday evening.

On Tuesday, Avon and Somerset Police released the pictures of a number of suspects they wished to trace in connection with the disorder.

Seven men, aged between 20 and 44, have already been arrested on suspicion of violent disorder but have since been released under investigation.

Meanwhile, a 28-year-old man, from the Bedminster Down area of the city, has been charged with the possession of an offensive weapon.

He appeared at Bristol Magistrates' Court earlier in the day and is next due to appear at the same court on 10 June.

Read more: More arrests 'imminent' after 20 officers injured in 'Kill the Bill' protest

Watch: Police assaults at 'Kill the Bill' protests were 'unacceptable', ex-top cop

Roughly 3,000 people attended the peaceful demonstration on College Green, Bristol, but things took a turn for the worse when some 500 individuals descended on the New Bridewell police station.

Detective Chief Superintendent Carolyn Belafonte said: "The investigation into Sunday's disgraceful scenes of violence will undoubtedly be one of the largest in Avon and Somerset Police's history.

"More than 100 officers and staff continue to work on the inquiry which is being led by our major crime investigation team.

"Hundreds of hours of digital material has already been reviewed and images of the first 10 people detectives want to talk to about Sunday's events have been identified.

"Officers and staff are working their way through images and footage as quickly as they can but with more than two terabytes worth of CCTV footage as well as nearly 100 officers' body-worn video cameras and more than 100 videos already sent in by members of the public to review, this will take a considerable amount of time.

"We expect to release images of many more people in the coming days and ask anyone who recognises anyone to contact us."

Watch: Starmer tells LBC violence in Bristol was 'inexcusable' and 'unacceptable'

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Demonstrators convened in the city on Sunday afternoon to protest against the government's Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which will see officers given new and greater powers to tackle such events.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson led the condemnation of the riot, describing the scenes as "unacceptable", while Home Secretary Priti Patel said "thuggery and disorder" would never be tolerated.

Andy Marsh, chief constable of Avon and Somerset Police, said the demonstration had been "hijacked" by several hundred "extremists".

Bristol mayor Marvin Rees, who said he had "major concerns" about the government's planned legislation, condemned the thuggery and said the disorder would be used to justify the Bill.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill would give officers 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.