A demonstration against plans to give police more powers to deal with peaceful protests has spilled over into violence described as “disgusting scenes”.
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 to be too noisy or a nuisance.
Those convicted under the proposed legislation could face a fine or jail.
Hundreds of people gathered at College Green in Bristol before marching to a police station on nearby New Bridewell Street, where graffiti was sprayed on an Avon and Somerset Police vehicle and it was rocked side to side by protesters.
Demonstrators were seen smashing the police station’s windows in with skateboards while graffitied police vans were set on fire.
At least one police van was set on fire, with others smashed up and their tyres let down as the crowd chanted “shame on you”.
Police said perpetrators would be “identified and brought to justice”.
It is not clear if any arrests have been made and a spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police described it as a “rapidly-developing situation”.
Chair of Avon and Somerset Police Federation Andy Roebuck said: “This is the worst violence in Bristol for many, many years.
“It’s really unprecedented violence. Between four and six or possibly more officers are seriously injured and some have broken bones.
“No one had any indication it would erupt this way.”
A number of officers have been injured – some with suspected broken arms and ribs, according to the Avon and Somerset Police Federation.