March 21 marked two years since the first Kill the Bill protest in Bristol, an initially peaceful demonstration and march turned into violent confrontation following police intervention.
Since that day, 85 people have been arrested and 32 people imprisoned, many for five years on riot charges, and in the most serious case to over 14 years for Ryan Roberts.
The Kill the Bill movement, which saw widespread protest throughout 2021, was launched in opposition to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, since passed into law, which afforded police far greater powers to curb protest.
On Tuesday, hundreds once again took to the streets, beginning at the Bearpit and marching to Bridewell police station, this time to demand that those arrested for taking part in the 2021 protest are freed and charges dropped against those awaiting trial.
Over two years since the riot, Avon & Somerset Police continue to track suspects and bring charges via the Crown Prosecution Service in what is often boasted as the largest operation in the force’s history. Trials for those already charged will continue throughout this year.
However, the public interest in continuing to pursue charges against predominantly young people, and the value of the operation in both police time and money, have been questioned, most recently by TBA’s James Ward, appearing on ITV West Country.
All images: Wong Yat Him.