Bristol student protests turn nasty with ten arrests

November 30, 2010 | by | 34 Comments

Ten people were arrested today as thousands of students protested on the streets of Bristol.

Bristol student protests turn nasty with ten arrests

Police were forced to close the M32 motorway as the mob – many of whom lit flares – marched into the city centre.

Most protested peacefully but some demonstrators covered their faces with scarves and masks as they jostled with police.

Ten demonstrators were arrested for minor public disorder offences.

Students from the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England attended the demonstration.

Bristol student protests turn nasty with ten arrests

They began their protest at College Green in the city at 11am and continued to protest into the early evening.

One protester carried a banner which read: ”Look what I did with my arts degree” while another said: ”I had a dream but they added fees”.

Chief Inspector Mark Jackson from Avon and Somerset police said: ”Police would like to thank members of the public for their continued cooperation after today’s demonstration in Bristol.

Bristol student protests turn nasty with ten arrests

”In particular our thanks go to the motorists who were disrupted for a short amount of time when the M32 was closed for safety reasons.

”Once again the majority of people taking part were well behaved but ten people were been arrested for minor public order offences.

”There is a small minority who are damaging the reputation of those genuinely trying to make their voices heard.”

Bristol student protests turn nasty with ten arrests

Bristol student protests turn nasty with ten arrests

Bristol student protests turn nasty with ten arrests

Tags: , , ,

Category: News

Comments (34)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Joe says:

    I was there for three hours and I didn’t see a single flare…

    • Owen says:

      I saw two, near the end though as another small group that I was in were kettled then some of the less peaceful (they were a minority) threw two flares toward the horses. This was a reaction to the police line splitting to let three police on horses charge into the crowd.

      • AliBristol says:

        I didn’t see any flares but the horses were a bit of an over reaction on the police’s part. The disruption by protestors was pretty minimal as far as I could see. Why we needed kettling with police vans and charging with horses escapes me..

  2. Fred says:

    Funny really – I can’t see any reporting of “peaceful” protests anywhere

  3. AliBristol says:

    I found it quite strange that we were initially dispersing to find another route when they cordoned us in. It only got heated then. I felt that the police’s response was somewhat over-proportionate to the events as they happened. Batons were drawn uneccesarily and a boy was pushed to the ground. When challenged about this, the police became aggressive and ordered everyone into a specific zone. The majority of the protesters appeared to be school/college students who were not aware of how things work and were visibly scared about what was occuring. Section 14 of the Public Order Act was invoked which I assume is the police’s right but the disruption would have been minimised if we had been simply allowed to go on our way….

    • lily says:

      I agree that your protests are for a worthy cause and I firmly believe that everyone has a right to protest. However, as a wife of a Police officer, who has been policing these protests I feel I have to say speak out. My husband has told me that he has been spat on, verbally and physically abused and had threats made to him about myself and my children. He has had to finish late each day unexpectedly, leaving 2 very upset children at home, who have barely seen their father the last week as a result. So please give the coppers a break, they are being paid to do a job, often agreeing with the cause of the protest they are policing. If everyone just stuck to the rules, everyone could all go home happy and unhurt!

  4. Upthefees says:

    I somehow found myself in the thick of the student protests today. I witnessed students riding on the back of royal mail vans and jumping on bonnets of stationary cars. I was particularly unimpressed with the array of phallus shaped hieroglyphics one student decided to decorate a nearby bus with. This is a prime example of kids trying to play a big-boys game. They have no idea how to carry out a peaceful protest.

  5. Aj1980 says:

    A big thank you to all the students who help up traffic and got in the way of ambulances/patients on route to the Children’s Hospital today.

    • A peaceful protester. says:

      The ambulance comment is totally unfounded, if you had been on the centre when an ambulance approached from behind you would have seen protesters part much like the red sea. Possibly offering faster passage than sarcastic people like yourself sat in cars grumbling about youth being energised and actually caring about current affairs…

    • Dan says:

      I was in the protest and ambulances were allowed through as everyone parted to let them. This comment is entirely unfounded.

  6. Free Spirit Free says:

    I was there for a couple of hours around 12 and it was very peaceful. i thought the police were doing a very good job at accomodationg the protest and tried to make it safe by stopping all of the traffic etc. but then it did start to get more aggressive and they started provocing the police for no reason. I think that those people are just stupid, violence isnt going to help anyone!

  7. Aj1980 says:

    TO: “A peaceful protester”

    I was actually talking more about the ambulances/patients struggling to get through all of the traffic that was created along the M32 and in the centre when you lot decided to parade around town like a bunch of inconsiderate little brats. Which by the way, is doing more harm than good.

    • Mark says:

      I think the inconsideerate brats were in London finding ways of cutting hospitals and education

    • KW96336 says:

      I don’t think you’re reading what he’s saying.There was hardly any traffic due to the roads being closed. Also, what so protesting, which is a right, against fees that will put most university students in debt for 30 years is brattish. And you are stupid enough to generalise all students under a few (stated above by the police and government also) acts of violence that some students and some people that have nothing to do with these matters caused. Open your eyes to the world and see the full picture of what is going on before you open your mouth.

    • Quigley Conor says:

      10 people got arrested out of around 2,000 people, so please don’t ignorantly generalise an entire movement with some melodramatic, overstated and groundless remark. If ambulances were blocked I would have seen it (as I was there – being the inconsiderate little brat I am) and it would have been widely covered in the media. None of the above happened, you sound like an apathetic pessimist; who at the idea of activism or change turns their nose up as long as they get to go home in time to watch your sky TV. We were out today, fighting for what we believed in and fighting for the right of generations to come – what is so inconsiderate about that?

      • Saddened says:

        never bank on your assumption that drama=media coverage. corporate control of the media ensures that only events that further their agenda get any serious airtime.

    • saddened says:

      maybe the traffic jams you saw are more indicative of a wider traffic problem going on, as we collectively ignore the need to reduce our carbon emissions. Rather than an indication that people shouldn’t protest.

  8. Aj1980 says:

    p.s. I wasn’t sat in a car either. I work in the BRI and I was on lunch, on foot. I witnessed ambulances struggling to maneuver around the traffic first hand as well as acts of vandalism by your so called “peaceful protesters”

    • A peaceful protester. says:

      I am sorry you feel this way, granted those who protested on the M32 were not considering the effects upon emergency services. This being said it’s sad you let the acts of the few tarnish your view upon students in general, much like the media.

      • AliBristol says:

        First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out–
        because I was not a communist;
        Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out–
        because I was not a socialist;
        Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out–
        because I was not a trade unionist;
        Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
        because I was not a Jew;
        Then they came for me–
        and there was no one left to speak out for me.

        I’m not a student but I marched today. I think the situation at the moment is indicative of the state of the nation. Everything is at risk from education to the NHS (I work within this area so am fully aware of the implications of cuts or ‘service redesign’ on patient safety) and, ironically the police force. What I heard today, was conversation about political issues from young people who are seriously concerned about their futures. The kids who grew up during the 1990’s are becoming politically and socially aware. It’s early days and mistakes will be made but I would prefer that they were concerned with these issues rather than where their next I-Pod was coming from…..that would be brattish…..

        • Saddened says:

          iIm glad you reproduced that poem here. Its a shame that its not a part of the national curriculum, perhaps then we wouldn’t encounter attitudes like some of those expressed here. But then if that were the case maybe we’d have a politically engaged population? On second thoughts lets not rock the boat…lol

          • AliBristol says:

            Thank you! I hope others understand the message that I am attempting to promote. We are not and should not be at war with each other. We need to unite and challenge the system that dictates our futures. Anger against minority groups (of which the student population is one) is always dangerous but apathy is more so in my opinion.

            The self-identified anger that has been communicated on this page does nothing to resolve the situation. I wonder how this anger will express itself when the NHS cuts or ‘service redesigns’ are announced. Nurses are a vulnerable group in terms of employment prospects…job losses are a possibility but more importantly the impact that these changes are having on patient care and safety are already being felt withing many services.

            I could rant about this in my staff room and turn my anger on a group that I feel is less deserving than my patients and I, but I choose to reach out and support those who are passionate and help raise awareness of wider political issues.

            I am nearly 30, I am not a student as such but I care about our futures and can see the ‘bigger picture’ unfolding before me. If I don’t support others, how can I expect them to show compassion and support towards my cause when things become intolerable, which I am sure they will……

    • PeacefulProtester says:

      That’s a load of rubbish to be honest. I was there today protesting, and whilst I admit that there were plenty of times that we stood in the way of a police car or riot van coming through, we didn’t at any point stop an ambulance on its route. We may be young, but we do have some considerate bones in our bodies. Hence, why we were happy to stop and give way to women with children and elders. We were there to make a point about educational financial cuts, not to terrorise or scare innocent members of the public. So please stop trying to generalise all peaceful protesters just because it slightly disrupted your day.

  9. ertyuiop says:

    I think its funny how you all think that protesting is actually going to make a difference. Instead your just making my bus late.

  10. Aj1980 says:

    I witnessed ambulances struggling to meander through the tailback of traffic you caused on two seperate occassions in my 30 minute walk from the BRI to the city centre. This does not include all of those travelling to the hospital by car, some of which I can confirm through working at the hospital were stuck on the M32 for over an hour.

    I am no way backing the Government’s decision, but don’t fool yourself into thinking this is how you’re going to provoke change. All your protests have done so far is disrupt other people’s lives.

    In this day and age you should be looking at other ways of doing things. Strikes and protests are the adult world equivelant of stomping your feet and waving your arms crying “WE WANT THINGS OUR WAY!!!” it’s very selfish and due to many people who seem to have only joined your campain for a laugh it has become destructve.

    If you really want things to change, you need to be looking at alternative and less disruptive methods. Get the general public on your side instead of being a nuisance. Prevent the few who choose to riot and vandalize from doing so. Do your research and come up with a new proposal. If all you do is push. They push back. So you push harder. Even if you win this war they will look to screw the next chance they get.

    Personally I stopped feeling sorry for your all the moment these protests started disrupting people’s lives and I am definately not the only one to feel this way. Without middle class working folk like us on your side, your protests will be in vein.

    • AliBristol says:

      I completely accept your point but interestingly the Liberal Democrats appear to be rethinking their decision at the moment. Change needs to be provoked on a number of levels. The Unions are currently in consultation with Trusts on numerous issues and yes, we must wait and see how things pan out.

      On the issue of middle class working folk…I believe that I am one of those. I have a university education and a job that allows me to live a frankly privaliged existance. Instead of alienating certain groups with our comments, is it not time that we became politically involved with each other so that we can support each other in challenging a system that is going to put each and every one of us at a serious social disadvantage.

      In politics, as in life, foot stamping usually occurs when people feel that they are not being listened too. The government up until this point has shown no interest in meeting us half way…even though we elected them into power.

      My concerns, as I have mentioned before lie not specifically with student fees but with social policy in general. Because of my job, I have the privalige of working with the most marginalised and stigmatised section of society. People who were born with nothing, treated appalling throughout their child hoods and left by many to fend for themselves on the streets of Bristol in disgusting conditions.

      If we can get the momentum going with the uni fees demos and encourage people to look at society as a whole when the cuts in benefits for the truly under-privaliged come into force, maybe the country as a whole will come together and concentrate on the social plight of everyone instead of the financial goals of a few.

      At least this situation is giving people the chance to look at their political views and challenge them if they see fit….

  11. Mrae says:

    I wanted to add a point, that the M32 has a hard shoulder, which the purpose of the hard shoulder is for the emergency services to drive down? was this blocked with traffic? were the students on the hard shoulder?
    I witnessed the beginning of the march in the city center, and thought the police were riling the crowds and screaming and shouting and panicing everyone by rushing the crowd with horses, I believe the police provoke the violence and then blame the students. I saw one young lad thrown to the floor for which I could see no reason. If the police had not been hostile themselves and let the march just continue, then I doubt there would have been any violence. I agree with the students. And I agree with the protests. This is the same tactics the suffragettes used to get the vote back in the early 1900’s, smashing of windows and street protests. The government won’t listen, unless made to listen. And it is only by the “inconvenience” to business, that the government will take notice.

    • AliBristol says:

      I completely agree! As a woman I have a lot to be thankful for the suffragettes! I would not have even have been able to think about university if it wasn’t for their passion and conviction in the face of injustice.

      I was thinking today about the Poll Tax during Thatcher’s era…..the nation took to the streets and protested in may ways and, if my memory serves me correctly it was abolished….I’m sure someone will tell me that other forces were at work but it takes a united front to challenge the establishment and challenge them we can if given the time and opportunity.

  12. Ispywithmylittlefoot says:

    I was there yesterday. Every ambulance that came along was made way for immediately. I hope to see all of the people commenting about the so called obstruction of ambulances out to protest when the NHS cuts are on the table…it seems like the students in Bristol are the only people who aren’t apathetic about everything – as the majority of Bristolians seem to be..when was the last time the everyday people of Bristol gathered together en-mass to protest? As long as we can talk about stadiums, watch rubbish football teams, visit Ikea and ‘go up the Mall” we’re all happy. Aren’t we?

  13. Mattdownes70 says:

    The cops are far too soft.If this was italy or spain they would get a damn good kicking.

  14. Aj1980 says:

    I am simply stating what I saw whilst out walking during my lunch break, forget about passing the march itself; what I witnessed was two ambulances having to drive around cars which would not have usually been there at that time of day. This also does not account for all of those attending the hospital via car.

    I don’t reckon a lot of you who were participating in the march got to see the carnage on the james barton roundabout and the M32, as by this point you were heading towards the centre. I witnessed this first hand.

    I will my hold my hands up and be the first to admit that I am probably quite bias in that I work in the BRI/Children’s Hospital. But even if a matter of minutes were added to those travelling to the hospital it could mean the difference between life or death – thankfully I didn’t hear of any such thing happening this time.

    Please note, that I very much doubt I would have even bothered look for a place to outlet my feelings on yesterday’s events if it hadn’t been for the few who I witnessed vandalising and drawing crude things on windows. It made it seem as if you were all very immature, even though i’m sure that’s not the case and made it equally difficult to take your protest seriously. These people will lose you your sympathy vote, as afterwards all I could feel was anger towards some of the havok the protest created.

    • saddened says:

      I’m sorry but i have to say that i’m really not sure where you’re coming from!

      As serious and dramatic as life and death situations are, they are part of the human condition and an unavoidable part of the fabric and mundanity of everyday life. Although you admitted you have some bias because you work there, I still don’t see how you can assess people being politically engaged and standing up for what they believe in, facing up to challenges we face as a society, as somehow an indication that they’re insensitive and somehow directly responsible for life and death taking place within the walls of the hospital where you work.

      As I type this I just had the news last night that a close family member has died in hosiptal, so I understand bereavement. Unless you can prove that somebody has died or been disadvantaged as a result if the protest you shouldn’t say things like that. And even if they had, that still wouldn’t give you the right to speak on their behalf. If you don’t think people should exercise their legal right and civic duty to protest then just say so.

      If people stopped to think about the impact onf all of the people that they are inconveniencing any time they took any political action, the whole world would be even more paralysed than it is already.

      I feel that the police tactics are unsurprising and are clear evidence that the police are feeling ever more powerful as dissent is increasingly supressed. Each time they push the envelope in terms of their behaviour, and each time they get away with it. The laws that are there, are only invoked to protect the interests of the state and their agenda when it comes to the state vs the will of the people. However I dont feel surprised at this, as all of the hasty legislation that has been done under the guise of national security over the last few years has created this situation as it was predicted then that it would. Power corrupts.

      I find it saddening that people are blind to the corporate media agenda for supressing dissent through manipulation of public opinion, and that they’re doing such a good job. I feel sad that everyone is so self interested that they have no empathy for fellow human beings. What did one guy on here say? you made my bus late? I mean really?!?!?

      Yes, this is far more sinister to me than the fact that we’re living in a police state – we’ve given that to them on a plate, freely giving over our civil liberties in return for the illusion of freedom. Freedom to do what? freedom to be ignorant and uncaring about our fellow humans no matter what their plight, free to be a NIMBY wanting all of the gains of a society without ever taking a share in paying the price for it. Free to be so insular and self-absorbed that when an issue as big as the future education or lack of it for thousands upon thousands of our youth, the future of our society, is on the line that all we care about is our own small worlds.

      How very sad.

Add your comment

Libellous and abusive comments are not allowed. Please read our House Rules

For information about privacy and cookies please read our Privacy Policy