Protesters smash police station windows and spray-paint cop vans during 'Kill the Bill' march in Bristol

PROTESTERS have smashed police station windows and spray-painted cop vans during a march in Bristol today.

Masked thugs clashed with officers over plans to give cops more powers to tackle non-violent marches.

The protest – named 'Kill the Bill' – is calling for politicians not to pass the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which was discussed in Parliament.

Hundreds of people gathered at College Green in Bristol before marching to a police station on nearby Bridewell Street.

Pictures showed graffiti being sprayed on an Avon and Somerset Police vehicle and it being rocked side to side by protesters.

Other pictures showed mounted officers intervening to disperse the large crowd that had gathered outside the New Bridewell police station.

"The protest is now focused on Bridewell Street so we'd advise motorists to avoid this area," a police spokesman said.

"We're aware of a small number of incidences of criminal damage during the afternoon, including graffiti, and these will be investigated."

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill would give the police in England and Wales more power to impose conditions on non-violent protests, including those deemed too noisy or a nuisance.

Those convicted under the proposed legislation could face a fine or jail.

Mass gatherings are currently banned under the coronavirus legislation and anyone breaching the regulations could be fined.

Many were wearing face masks and carried placards, saying: "Say no to UK police state" and "Freedom to protest is fundamental to democracy" and "Kill the Bill".

It comes as anger continues to grow over the Met Police's heavy-handed response to a vigil for Sarah Everard in Clapham, south London at the weekend.

Avon and Somerset Police had urged people not to attend the demonstration, warning that enforcement action could be taken.

"Officers are engaging with a number of people who've turned up at the protest," the spokeswoman added.

"Officers are continuing to engage with those attending.

"Enforcement action will be taken retrospectively when necessary and proportionate."

The bill was passed by MPs and will now give police and the home secretary greater powers to crack down on protests.

Under the bill, police forces will be able to impose a start and end time for demonstrations, set a noise limit and shut down protests that have a "relevant impact on persons in the vicinity".

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