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Ongoing nationwide protests over UK policing bill

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Saeed Pourreza
Press TV, London

Another weekend of protests in the UK. This was Saturday in the south-western city of Bristol, the frontline of the battle against the British government’s new policing bill that places new limits on protests: demonstrators like these, for instance, could face new fines of up to 10 years in prison for damaging a statue or memorial.

The peaceful demonstration descended into violence at some point. Police were pelted, protesters pepper sprayed and charged at with dogs…10 were arrested. 

A day later, more protests. Thousands took the streets across Britain. In Manchester, they blocked the tram lines. They were forcefully removed. 18 of them arrested. 

The UK police crackdown on protests since the murder of a young women allegedly at the hands of a police officer has been under scrutiny. Critics have accused them of using deliberate and orchestrated tactics against the protesters.

Last week police retracted their claims that some officers suffered serious injuries during attempts to disperse a similar protest last weekend.

But the government has remained uncompromising. Since the violent clashes in Bristol, it’s condemned the protesters.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called the clashes ‘’disgraceful’, and his home secretary Priti Patel described the protesters as thugs intent on causing trouble.

The controversial draft law is still being debated in the British parliament. Critics say it curtails freedoms and it does too little to protect women and girls. At the moment, the government which has a commanding majority in the legislature is showing no sign of changing course, and critics of the bill say, neither are they.

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