Tensions have been flaring up in the United Kingdom with protestors and police officers clashing in the streets of Bristol. Protestors chanting ‘Kill the Bill’
came out in force last week to stand against the ‘Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Court Bill’ that would give the British police broader powers and autonomy in determining whether demonstrations pose any danger.
A video from one of the protests has been lauded by some Twitter users after it showed a police officer assaulting a press photographer and then getting bitten by a service dog, seemingly, because of their actions. Note that other police dogs have been said to have allegedly attacked protestors.
Whichever side you support—the protestors or the police—you can’t deny that the situation is extremely complex. First of all, protestors and police officers alike were injured during the protests; it’s a fact that doesn’t excuse either side for using violence. Secondly, while the proposed bill would give police greater powers in handling protests, we’re also living in the midst of a global pandemic where controlling the spread of Covid-19 is of the utmost importance. Finally, the reasons why the dog bit the officer are open to interpretation; the real reason is unclear.
Bored Panda has reached out to the Bristol City Council for further comment on the protests.
Social media users have been sharing a video of how a police dog bit an officer assaulting a protestor in Bristol
Police dog sees cop acting aggressively, bites the cop and frees the protester. pic.twitter.com/mC6bj93m7k
— Chad Loder (@chadloder) March 27, 2021
There were at least two separate protests last week, happening on March 21 and March 23. It appears that during the former, the protestors resorted to violence while allegedly refraining from it during the latter. A new demonstration has also taken place just last night. It seems like the journalist was assaulted by the police officers during the March 21 demonstration.
Police violence is a very sensitive subject. However, life isn’t black and white; it’s always nuanced and complex, no matter how much we might want to brand one side the nefarious villains and the other side the stalwart heroes. And during difficult times like these, we have to ask ourselves some difficult and uncomfortable questions, like whether good causes are a good enough excuse for public gatherings during a global pandemic and whether violence should be met with further violence.
The Bristol Post shared that 21 police officers were injured in the March 21 riot, 2 of them seriously, as protestors threw objects at them and set vehicles on fire.
While some Twitter users were busy praising the dog for biting the police officer who was using excessive force on March 23, the police expressed support for the admirable way that service dogs helped maintain order during the protests on March 21.
The New York Times explains that the 300-page ‘Police, Crime, Sentencing, and Court Bill’ would give police officers the ability to use their own discretion whether or not a protest is potentially criminal, could result in serious public disorder, property damage, or serious disruption to the life of the community. Some Brits believe that this gives officers too much power and gives them the freedom to shut down any protests for whatever reason they give. What’s more, protestors who don’t follow restrictions that they should know about could be prosecuted.
“In recent years, we have seen a significant change of protest tactics, with protesters exploiting gaps in the law which have led to disproportionate amounts of disruption,” the British Home Secretary, Priti Patel, argued why the bill is necessary in Parliament. Meanwhile, the opposition believes that this would give the police far too much authority. What’s your take on everything, dear Readers? Which side do you find yourself supporting? Are you still on the fence like I am? Share your thoughts below.
Here is how some Twitter users have reacted to the shocking footage from the demonstrations
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