Police clash with ‘Kill the Bill’ protesters as thousands march across England

Police clash with Kill the Bill protesters as thousands march across England
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Dozens of arrests have been made after police clashed with ‘Kill the Bill’ protesters in London, as thousands rallied in cities across England on Saturday.

As of 8.45pm the Metropolitan Police said 26 people had been arrested, with 10 officers receiving minor injuries.

Earlier in the evening the force announced they had moved to the “enforcement stage” of their operation as people ignored Covid rules.

“Officers continue to engage and we urge those who remain in the area to leave and return home,” they added.

Meanwhile, in Bristol around 500 people remain at a peaceful city centre protest, with protesters seen drinking and dancing as police watch on.

In London, 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.

Protesters are currently marching through central London, amidst a heavy police presence, with officers positioned around the statue of Winston Churchill.

Footage on social media shows running scuffles between police and protests as officers instruct the crowd to go home.

Demonstrators were also seen knocking over bins and road-work barriers as they ran through the West End.

Police have been stationed around the Churchill statue at Parliament Square.
Police have been stationed around the Churchill statue at Parliament Square. Picture: PA

The arrests so far have been for offences including assault on police and breach of the peace, the Met said. One woman was was arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon after a knife was recovered.

Commander Ade Adelekan, who led the policing operation, said: “The vast majority of people who turned out in central London today did so while adhering to social distancing. They engaged with my officers when required and left when asked – I would like to thank them for doing so.

“However, a small minority did not engage despite the repeated efforts of officers on the ground. This left us with no option but to move to an enforcement stage and arrests have been made.

“This has been another challenging day for officers on the ground and I want to thank them for their efforts throughout the course of today.

“We remain in the middle of a global pandemic and we have made great progress in controlling the spread of the virus; we will not allow the selfish actions of a small number of people to put Londoners progress in jeopardy.”

Demonstrators drag road works fences into the street during clashes with police.
Demonstrators drag road works fences into the street during clashes with police. Picture: PA
Police restrain a demonstrator during clashes following a 'Kill the Bill' protest.
Police restrain a demonstrator during clashes following a ‘Kill the Bill’ protest. Picture: PA

Earlier in the day thousands of people marched through central London to Parliament Square where speeches were given.

Those addressing the crowd at the Kill the Bill rally included former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Mr Corbyn described the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill as a “very dangerous, slippery slope,” and defended the right to protest.

“If we don’t protest, things don’t change,” he said, which drew cheers and applause from the crowd.

Jeremy Corbyn speaks at ‘Kill the Bill’ protest
Large protests have also been seen in other UK cities, with over 1,000 gathering in Bristol for the fifth Kill the Bill demonstration in two weeks.

Avon and Somerset Police said: “About 500 protestors remain by the Cenotaph in Bristol city centre following the end of what was a peaceful march.

“Police liaison officers continue to engage with those there.”

Videos on social media showed protesters dancing and drinking as officers watch on.

Kill the Bill protest in Leeds.

Several hundred people also gathered in Newcastle, amidst a low-key response from Northumbria Police.

The protests in Leeds and Plymouth also passed off peacefully.