Seven arrests have been made after 20 officers from Avon and Somerset Police were injured in riots last night in the city. Protests against the Police and Crime Bill descended into ugly clashes, reports Bristol Live.
Two officers were taken to hospital with serious injuries, and one of whom has suffered a collapsed lung, it has emerged.
Gloucestershire Police Federation tweeted the officer had been stamped on in the fracas.
“20 officers injured. One with a collapsed lung after being stamped on,” the tweet read this morning.
Avon and Somerset Police has said it will now be carrying out a ‘significant investigation to identify all those responsible’.
John Apter, the national chair of the Police Federation, told Good Morning Britain that the peaceful protest in Bristol was hijacked by a hardcore element.
Mr Apter said: “During the early part of the protest, which obviously it is difficult as it is an unlawful gathering, it seems to be peaceful.
“But as time moved on, and this is typical of what my colleagues encounter, there is a hardcore element.
“And it is not about protest for them, it is about violence, it is about damaging property, it is about anarchy – that is what we saw on the streets last night.
“It wasn’t about the protest, the peaceful protesters at large had gone home so it definitely had been hijacked.
“I saw some images last night where there were individuals trying to set fire to a police van with police officers in it.”
Twelve police vehicles were damaged last night, it is reported.
Around 5,000 people gathered in the city centre at 2pm, but by 6pm several thousand gathered outside a police station nearby was under siege for hours, with at least one police van burnt out and others scrawled with graffiti.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary called in extra support from neighbouring forces and deployed more officers in riot gear.
Pepper spray and police dogs were used as ugly scenes continued late into the night, with police blocking the M32 to stop people entering the city centre.