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Coronavirus (COVID-19): the policing response and what you need to know

Statement on potential protests in Bath and Bristol

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Chief Superintendent Claire Armes, head of operational support, said: “We’re aware that some people may be intending to protest in Bristol and Bath this weekend, 26 to 28 March.

“Once again, we remind everyone that we’re still in a pandemic which has cost many lives and remains a significant challenge for our colleagues in the NHS. We have all sacrificed so much to stop the spread of this terrible disease and we’re so close to a relaxation of the restrictions, when protest will again be possible.

“In Avon and Somerset we remain committed to facilitating peaceful protest when it’s safe and lawful to do so, however gatherings remain a breach of COVID restrictions and risk increasing the spread of coronavirus. We urge you not to come.

“We do understand the strength of opposition to the new legislation being debated in Parliament. Protest is a right which we’re asking people to be responsible about exercising right now.

“This is about public health and public safety at a time of pandemic. Please consider making your voice heard in different ways – such as contacting your MP or signing one of the petitions available online.

“Thirteen people were arrested after we asked people to disperse from Tuesday’s protest. Ten of them were aged between 19 and 25 – young people who clearly have a social conscience, but who may now face a criminal conviction which could impact on their whole futures and their chances of making a real difference in society.

“I want to make it clear. Peaceful protestors will be given the opportunity to disperse, but Bristol will not tolerate violent behaviour and we’re here to prevent it.”