Hundreds of Bristolians marched on 21 March to mark the two-year anniversary of Bristol’s 2021 anti-police uprising outside Bridewell Police Station.
Over 30 people have been sentenced to more than 100 years in prison since 21 March 2021. Many of them were found guilty of rioting. However, supporters say that they were defending themselves against police violence.
The uprising began when police attacked a crowd of people who were demonstrating against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (now an Act).
Many of us from the Canary were on the scene two years ago. Sophia Purdy-Moore wrote at the time:
I saw police in riot gear hitting protesters round the head with batons. I did also see people at the front throwing bottles at police, but the response seemed disproportionate. The power imbalance felt completely off. At one point it looked as though their horses were going to charge into the crowd of peaceful protesters. The atmosphere was horrendous. There was a real sense of unpredictability and danger in the air
People are sick and tired of the police acting with impunity. This is what happens when the state refuses to listen to our demands for justice.
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Our resistance continues to grow
Bristol Anti Repression Campaign (BARC) issued a statement explaining why they wanted to commemorate the Bridewell uprising. They said:
We marched to show that despite the brutal police violence of that night, despite the continued persecution of demonstrators through the courts, despite the demonisation in the media – our resistance continues to grow. We dropped huge banners next to the police station, occupied the streets and set off smoke grenades.
Jasmine York has already served a prison sentence for her role in the 2021 demonstration. She said:
Us protesters aren’t a threat to society, we are a threat to the state
During the demonstration, Jasmine was hit repeatedly by officers. She said in court that she had acted to protect other protesters from the violence of the police.
I believe, perhaps for my own sanity, that my incarceration symbolises how powerful we are as a unit and why it’s imperative we continue to be proactive in the face of state oppression.
A message was also read out from Ryan Roberts. Ryan received the longest sentence of all after the uprising – a brutal 14 years in prison.
Ryan sent a message to those assembled. He said:
To everyone out there still fighting on the streets or in court don’t give in…we are up against a powerful and corrupt force so we got to stay strong and stay together.”
BARC’s statement concluded with a call to keep on organising against state repression:
we are not just taking to the streets. We are building the power needed in our communities to confront repression directly. We are organising solidarity and care, growing deeper roots so they cannot stamp us out, and building towards an end to policing and prisons in their entirety.
This is the slow, angry, patient work of building resistance. It was happening long before March 21st, 2021, and it will continue.
Featured image via Bristol Anti Repression Campaign (with permission)Support us and go ad-free
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