The Labour Leader, Sir Kier Starmer was in Bristol a couple of weeks ago. When asked about the demonstrations and riots of the past month, he said that he condemned violence, but people should speak up against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. In doing this, he was backing the protesters. He speaks of being cautious about relaxations in Covid restrictions, but it is now apparent that this should only apply to law-abiding citizens in his eyes. Those that break the law by holding illegal demonstrations that he supports are seemingly exempt. While the vast majority of people in Bristol had been stoically enduring a difficult period of lockdown, Labour backs the selfish protesters who travelled from across the country to engage in an orchestrated campaign of anti-democratic and violent protest. Most of them didn’t even know what they were protesting about!
After the first demonstration that descended into violence, Marvin Rees, the Labour candidate for Bristol Mayor only gave qualified support to the police following a terrible night of provocation and life-threatening rioting. Now, 16 Labour candidates for Council have demanded an investigation into ‘excessive force’ used by police officers, and appear to put most of the blame for the riots on to the Avon and Somerset Constabulary. This is appalling. The open letter signed by these Labour candidates has not been condemned by either the Rees or Starmer.
All Conservative candidates in the coming elections give full support to policing in Bristol. Our police officers have a very difficult job to do, maintaining law and order in our city regardless of which Government is in power. No one should be making political capital out of a mob of mindless thugs who were intent of violence. We live in a democracy where the right to demonstrate peacefully and safely must always be defended. However, there is never any justification for violence or provoking a reaction from those doing their best to keep people safe and uphold the law. Many of the protesters came prepared for a fight and knew what they were doing.
I am fully behind our Chief Constable and operational police officers. They behaved with remarkable restraint during the rioting and subsequent demonstrations. We must not allow our city to become a focal point for illegal and violent protests in the future. I support the efforts of Avon & Somerset Constabulary in bringing the perpetrators of acts of violence to justice, wherever in the country they may live.