LONDON — Fourteen protesters have been arrested in Bristol, in southwestern England, at a rally to denounce a policing bill that would enact restrictions on peaceful demonstrations. The rally, part of a wider movement against the proposed legislation, came after clashes in the city on Sunday that left officers wounded and drew condemnation from officials.
About 200 people attended the protest on Tuesday night, far fewer than the thousands who took part in the demonstrations in Bristol on Sunday, but the gathering was broken up by the authorities, citing coronavirus restrictions.
The police said in a statement that reinforcements had been drafted in after “efforts to encourage people to leave were unsuccessful.”
The police cited breaches of coronavirus rules and the obstruction of a highway as the cause of arrest for the 14 people detained. One of the people arrested on Tuesday had also been held in connection with the violence on Sunday.
Claire Armes, chief superintendent of the Avon and Somerset police force, which covers Bristol, said, “After the scenes of violence witnessed in the city at the weekend, it was necessary to bring in additional resources from our neighboring forces to ensure the protest was safely brought to a swift conclusion.” Officers had asked protesters to move on, she said in a statement, but “there came a time when enforcement was necessary as gatherings are still not permitted.”
The latest demonstrations come as tensions rise in Britain over the bill, which would give the police sweeping powers to handle nonviolent demonstrations in England and Wales, among other measures.
Demonstrations have been held across the country to protest the bill after it was thrust into the spotlight in the wake of the killing of Sarah Everard. Anger at the tactics used by the police to break up a vigil for Ms. Everard, 33, have fanned calls for the proposed legislation to be scrapped.