SCENES turned ugly in Bristol last night as mobs torched police vans and attacked officers during a riot.

 The protesters were rioting against the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

What is the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill?

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill would give forces in England and Wales more power to impose conditions on non- violent protests.

That includes those deemed too noisy or a nuisance, with fines or jail for those convicted.

Police chiefs will be able to impose conditions such as a start and finish time and noise limit on a static protest.

The police already have the power to out such conditions on marches.

A description on the Government website says: "This measure will broaden the range of circumstances in which the police can impose conditions on protests, including a single person protest, to include where noise causes a significant impact on those in the vicinity or serious disruption to the running of an organisation.

"This measure will close a loophole which some protesters exploit."

It will allow police to give hefty fines to offenders if the Bill becomes law.

Failure to comply with police directions on how the protest is conducted could land a fine of up to £2,500.

What are the 'Kill the Bill' protests?

"Kill the Bill" is in response to government plans to give police more power to impose restrictions on protests through the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

It was debated and voted on in Parliament last week and is at the committee stage at the House of Lords.

Last night, masked thugs smashed up a police station and attacked officers during a "disgusting" protest riot in Bristol.

A "mob of animals" left cops with broken arms and ribs, set fire to police vans and hurled fireworks during violent clashes.

The crowd shouted “Shame on you” as at least two police vehicles were set on fire, while others were smashed up, daubed with graffiti and had their tyres let down.

Yobs armed with baseball bats also smashed glass panels of Bristol’s Bridewell police station while officers in riot gear, others on horseback  and police dogs attempted to disperse the baying crowd.

Protesters  wore masks and carried placards that read: “Say no to UK police state”, “Freedom to protest is fundamental to democracy” and “Kill the Bill”.

Mass gatherings are currently banned because of the pandemic.

But thousands turned up last night despite officers strongly advising against doing so.

Home Secretary Priti Patel took to Twitter to slam the protest, saying: "Unacceptable scenes in Bristol.

"Thuggery and disorder by a minority will never be tolerated.

"Our police officers put themselves in harms way to protect us all.

"My thoughts this evening are with those police officers injured."

What is the 'Kill the Bill' petition?

A petition against the Bill has also been launched and will be sent to the National Police Chiefs Council.

Entitled "Protect Your Freedom To Protest", it has already been signed more than 206,000 times.

It reads: "The government is planning to make important changes to the law that will restrict the right to protest when lockdown restrictions ease.

"We oppose this new planned legislation and instead demand that the National Police Chiefs Council adopts a new, eleven-point Charter for Freedom of Assembly Rights – or explain why they refuse to do so."

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