'Kill the Bill' protests: 107 arrested as demonstrators clash with police at central London rally
The Police and Crime Bill proposes to give police in England and Wales more power to impose conditions on non-violent protests including those which are deemed too noisy or a nuisance
London: A total 107 people have been arrested after clashes between officers and demonstrators at a "Kill the Bill" protest in central London on Saturday, the Metropolitan Police has said.
Projectiles were thrown around as Met Police officers pushed protesters away in an effort to disperse crowds. Earlier, the police said that around 10 of its officers had received injuries during the operation.
In an update on Sunday, the Met Police said the arrests were made for a variety of offences including breach of the peace; violent disorder; assault on police and breaches of COVID legislation.
In one instance, a woman was arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon after a knife was recovered.
“While our advice to people remains not to attend large gatherings, the vast majority of people who attended central London yesterday [Saturday], 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,” Commander Ade Adelekan, who led the policing operation in Parliament Square in London, said on Sunday.
“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,” he said.
“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,” he added.
The so-called “Kill the Bill” demonstrations also took place in Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol, Newcastle, Brighton, Bournemouth, Weymouth and Luton to protest against the Police and Crime Bill – which proposes to give police in England and Wales more power to impose conditions on non-violent protests .
Anyone refusing to follow police directions about a protest could be fined up to £2,500 under the law.
Former Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn was among those who addressed the protest in London and said the bill would prevent protest without police approval.
"Stand up for the right to protest, stand up for the right to have your voice heard," he told the crowds.
Protesters also carried anti-sexism placards and chanted "women scared everywhere, police and government do not care" as they marched past Downing Street.
In Bristol, more than 1,000 people gathered for a peaceful protest, after demonstrations on 23 March and 26 March ended in clashes with police, and in Manchester, people were seen sitting on tram tracks before police moved in.
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