Over 1000 people marched through central Bristol on Friday afternoon to protest against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Bill, which would give police increased powers to crack down on protest.
The march follows two previous Kill The Bill protests in the last week which have ended in confrontations between protesters and police and accusations from protesters of police brutality.
Friday’s march remained peaceful and was attended by a diverse crowd, including families, students, and one woman holding a sign saying “mums against the police Bill”.
One protester, who works as a nurse and asked to remain anonymous, when asked why she was marching today, said “I’ve worked through COVID I have not been protected by our government.
Nor is she alone in feeling that way: ‘for me standing here I know I’m representing at least 20 or 30 nurses. This crowd today, this is a fraction of how many people feel the same, but they’re too scared to come out and protest during COVID, which is understandable.’
When asked if it was right to be protesting during the pandemic, the nurse replied ‘100% This is right for the future. It’s wrong, what they’re [the government] doing right now.’
Despite fears that the riots and clashes with police may have overshadowed the ostensible reason for the protests themselves – the PCSC Bill – the crowd on Friday remained focused on its target.
Chants of “Kill the BIll” were frequent and many protesters held placards about the Bill and targeting Priti Patel, who is the chief motivating force behind the Bill.
One protester said ‘the right to protest is so integral to how we function as a society and all the rights we’ve claimed throughout history.’
The march later moved towards Bridewell police station, the site of Sunday’s riot, although scenes were less tense with protesters dancing or sitting in the road, and handing daffodils to officers.