RIOTERS at the 'Kill the Bill' protest in Bristol could face an attempted murder probe for trying to set a police van on fire while officers were inside.
Cops are hunting 500 “extremists” who “hijacked” the protest against the new policing bill on Sunday night, which saw over twenty police officers hurt in violent clashes with demonstrators.
Some 21 officers were injured as a “mob of animals” laid siege to the city's Bridewell police station, throwing bricks and fireworks and setting fire to police vans.
One officer suffer a punctured lung and broken ribs while another had a fractured arm, police confirmed yesterday.
Nine vehicles in a car park used by key workers from Bristol Royal Infirmary also had windscreens smashed during the protest.
So far, police have made eight arrests – six for violent disorder and two for possession of an offensive weapon.
Inspector Andy Roebuck, chair of the Avon and Somerset Police Federation, said: “They tried to set fire to a police van with officers inside.
“To my mind that is attempted murder. I spoke to two officers who said they genuinely feared they would be killed.
“We should not have to put up with this.”
Mr Roebuck claimed that the rioters had come armed with a substance that they sprayed on the face shields of riot police “so that they could not see properly and had to remove them”.
The rioters then “launched missiles at them and targeted isolated or vulnerable officers and then dragged them out”.
'NO STONE UNTURNED'
He added: “You had 10 people attacking them, jumping up and down on them.”
Avon and Somerset Police's Chief Constable Andy Marsh said a “hardcore” of between 400 and 500 “serious criminals” were responsible for the carnage.
He added: “This will undoubtedly lead to one of the biggest appeals for wanted suspects that we've ever done.
“There will be significant consequences for behaviour like this and we will leave no stone unturned.”
Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said it was “people living out revolutionary fantasies”.
He condemned the "selfish and pathetic" rioters – including hundreds of serial troublemakers who came from outside the city.
The demo was promoted by Bristol Anarchist Federation and Extinction Rebellion.
Some yobs defecated at the feet of officers and shocking pictures show one woman urinating in front of police.
Images that emerged yesterday showed the protester pulling down her underwear with her back to a line of riot cops – then walking away leaving a puddle of wee on an officer's boot.
And another video showed two bare-bottomed women crouching at officers' feet and appearing to defecate.
They posed for selfies while squatting inches from the police, cheered on by a baying mob of rioters.
Boris Johnson branded the riot “unacceptable” and Home Secretary Priti Patel said “thuggery and disorder” would never be tolerated.
Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer said it was “inexcusable”. But rank-and-file cops blasted top brass for failing to stand up to mob rule.
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill would give forces in England and Wales more power to impose conditions on non- violent protests, including those deemed too noisy or a nuisance, with fines or jail for those convicted.
Mass gatherings are currently banned because of the pandemic – but thousands turned up on Sunday night despite officers strongly advising against doing so.
Chief Constable Marsh said the numbers at the demonstration "very quickly" rose to as many as 3,000 people – while a group of 400 or 500 "were intent on violence, damage and criminality".
He told Sky News a number of the rioters "came for a fight with the police", adding: "It wasn't people frustrated with the lack of ability to protest.
"This was people intent on causing serious disorder, violence and damage, people with a grudge against the police."
Mr Marsh said there was no "prior intelligence" that any disorder was planned "on this scale".
But he pledged to launch a "huge police investigation" in which the Force would be "gathering evidence from CCTV, body-worn video, social media content and images or video sent in by the public".
Following the scenes in Bristol, riot officers in London’s Park Lane fled when hundreds of thugs charged.
Ken Marsh, of the Met’s Police Federation, said: “The Government and senior police management have got to get a grip. If we do not act, the mob will believe they are beyond the law.”
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