**UPDATE: There have now been more than 60 arrestees from #KillTheBill protests in Bristol. Just before Christmas, Ryan Roberts was jailed for 14 years for his part in the demonstration. The state is coming down hard on everyone who took to the streets that night – and this January, Bristol Defendant Solidarity will be back in court to help people fight a fresh round of cases.
So far, 13 people have been sentenced to a total of over 49 years in prison. From the end of January to end of August 2022, we already have 26 riot trials set for Bristol Crown Court, with more to come. We urgently need your help to support them. We’ll be closing this crowdfunder on 4 February, and this is our last chance to find the money we need to support people as they face the legal system. If you can, please donate and share today to help us reach our stretch goal of £30,000 so we keep supporting people through the court process.**
People in Bristol standing up to unprecedented new police powers have faced immense police violence since Sunday March 21st. The last week has seen police charging crowds with horses, releasing attack dogs on protesters, pepper-spraying people indiscriminately and physically attacking journalists. Those arrested will face harsh charges as the state seeks to make an example of them.
We believe that no one taking part in protests for social justice should face the system alone. If you do too, please donate.
Defend resistance to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
The people arrested following recent demonstrations in Bristol against the much opposed Police Bill need our support.
We know the state will want to make examples of them.
As a grassroots voluntary group that has been supporting arrestees for over a decade, we have seen up close the damage a trial can do, regardless of the outcome. Particularly to people who have less privilege than those judging them.
Aspects of the protest on Sunday 21st March received immediate local, national, and international media coverage and political responses. The Mayor of Bristol has proclaimed everyone was “intent” on confrontation from the start. The police have branded demonstrators “a mob of animals”. Meanwhile some people have rushed to express “complete confidence in the approach taken by Avon & Somerset Police” – while the work of groups such as Bristol Copwatch shows that the approach taken by Avon & Somerset Police is racist and disproportionate year-round.
The heavy bias of reporting, depicting protesters as the initiators of violence, rather than the victims of violence, makes it unlikely that anyone accused of attending the protest on Sunday 21st March will get a fair trial. While even the most blatant sex-offenders are named “allegedly” until proven guilty, those arrested have had no such treatment. It is unrealistic to expect a jury will have missed these very public comments. It will influence the judgement in any trial.
History shows us that fundamental social change requires a diversity of tactics. We believe that no one taking part in moments of resistance should face the system alone. If you do too, please donate.
With cuts to legal aid, those in full time work will need support with lawyers’ fees. For those without that security, the trial risks limiting their capacity to find work.
We are aiming to raise £15,000 for people arrested following Bristol demonstrations against the government’s new legislation. Depending on need, and in this priority order, we will use this fund to support those arrested in connection with the Kill the Bill protests by:
Supplying money for legal fees not covered by legal aid. Paying any travel costs to court. Covering loss of earnings sustained as a result of attending court. Supporting legal cases made against the police. Helping pay rent to ensure defendants can return to their homes after any custodial sentences.