Police investigating a riot that marred a “Kill the Bill” protest in Bristol have released images of 10 people they wish to trace.
Violence erupted in Bristol city centre on Sunday evening and saw a police station attacked, 21 officers injured and vehicles set alight.
Avon and Somerset Police released the 10 images of suspects they wished to trace in connection with the disorder.
Seven men, aged between 20 and 44, were arrested on suspicion of violent disorder and have all been released under investigation.
A 28-year-old man, from the Bedminster Down area of Bristol, has been charged with possessing an offensive weapon and appeared at Bristol Magistrates’ Court earlier. He is next due to appear at the same court on June 10.
Protest on College Green
Around 3,000 people attended the peaceful demonstration on College Green but events turned violent after around 500 people descended on the New Bridewell police station.
“The investigation into Sunday’s disgraceful scenes of violence will undoubtedly be one of the largest in Avon and Somerset Police’s history,” Detective Chief Superintendent Carolyn Belafonte said.
“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.”
New police powers
People had gathered on Sunday afternoon to protest against the Government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which will see the police handed new powers to tackle demonstrations.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson led the condemnation of the riot describing the scenes as “unacceptable”, 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 Bill, condemned the thuggery but said the disorder would be used to justify the legislation.
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill would give the police 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.