UK

Number of People Arrested at ‘Kill the Bill’ Protest in London on Sat Tops 100, Police Say – Video

LONDON (Sputnik) – A total of 107 people were arrested during the protest that took place in central London on Saturday against a bill that would give UK law enforcement agencies more powers to restrict peaceful demonstrations, the Metropolitan Police said on Sunday in an update of the policing operation.

The demonstration concluded in clashes between the police officers and a group of protesters who refused to disperse after the majority of the demonstrators had left the area of Parliament Square. According to Scotland Yard, arrests were made for a range of offences including violent disorder, breach of the peace, assault on police and breaches of COVID-19 restrictions, while one woman was arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon.

“While our advice to people remains not to attend large gatherings, the vast majority of people who attended central London yesterday, 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 for the protest, was quoted as saying.

The so-called Kill the Bill protests were staged on Saturday in London, Newcastle, Birmingham, Liverpool and Bristol, following the easing of the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions early this week, although demonstrators are urged to keep social distancing.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill envisions increasing police powers to crack down on protests, tackle unauthorised encampments such as the ones set up by climate activists in the past and prevent the release of sexual and violent criminals once they have served half of their sentences. It will also seek to modernise courts and tribunals by updating existing court processes to provide better services for all court users and underpin open justice.

​The first ‘Kill the Bill’ rally took place in Bristol on March 21 with some 3,000 demonstrators. The march turned into violent clashes, with protesters throwing bottles and rocks at officers. They also set police vehicles on fire and smashed windows of a police station. Twenty-one officers were injured during the riot, with two of them remaining in serious condition, and 25 people were arrested on suspicion of violent disorder.

The landmark legislation has already passed its first parliament hurdle and it is expected to become into law given the ruling Conservative Party majority in the House of Commons.

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