Nine people are now in police custody after being arrested in Bristol, London escorts have reported. Eight police officers were hurt following violent clashes in the Stoke Croft area of Bristol.
Scrimmages broke out whilst police forced their way into a property being used by squatters, eyewitnesses reported seeing the police fighting running battles with hundreds of protesters, who uprooted cobbles from the road to use as weapons and throw at police.
Bristol Constabulary with the help of various local forces carried out the raid because they feared a nearby Tesco store was targeted to be attacked with petrol bombs. However, the raid on the squat led to unrest in the nearby streets with rubbish bins and skips being set alight in reprisal to the raid.
The Bristol Assistant Chief Constable is quoted as reporting: "This was not an eviction but positive action to protect the store from the identified threat".
Tension mounted as predicted when some 300 people assembled, a small minority from the group started small fires and began throwing bottles, stones and other objects at the officers. The Bristol police used well rehearsed strategies, which involved using the resource of officers from neighbouring forces to control what had become a volatile state.
In excess of 160 officers were engaged in the operation including 66 from neighbouring forces. The nearby Tesco Express store in Cheltenham Road, which had been the subject of protests before its opening, was petrol bombed.