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Now police crack down on Stokes Croft riot film night

Residents in St Werburgh’s left bemused after police shut down open-air screening of the first full film on the Stokes Croft riot last week.

St Werburghs

Police at the film night in St Werburgh's (Picture: www.stwerburghs.org)

Residents in the St Werburgh’s area of Bristol have been left bemused after police shut down an open-air screening of the first full film on the Stokes Croft riot last week.

Police turned up to the Occasional Cinema event in Mina Road Park at about 6.30pm yesterday, with six vans, dogs, a police helicopter hovering overhead and set up a roadblock to stop the event.

Guests at the event said officers explained they were shutting the event down because it had been classed as a rave, despite the fact that such events in the past have always taken place peacefully with the organisers clearing up after them.

The crowd of about 100 people then moved to a property known as ‘Banana Tom’s’ house in the Ashley Vale allotments with people continuing to arrive at dusk and the police helicopter circling overhead. Three individuals were seen to wheel a stacked sound system rig down the footpath from Ashley Hill with the music pumping out over the normally quiet allotments.

A source at the event said: “Eventually, after about half and hour or so of the police throughly annoying a whole new bunch of people they gave up and leave having achieved absolutely nothing except further alienation of the local community. Are the police on a mission to spark a second riot?”

Avon and Somerset police released a statement saying they had attended to close down an unlicensed event, and said their actions were supported by Bristol City Council.

They added that the group was dispersed under legislation available to the police to maintain public safety and reduce the risk of potential disorder.

Chief Inspector John Holt said: “This was not about censorship. We believed there was a very real risk to the local community if the screening were to go ahead in a public park.

“We would always encourage people wishing to organise outdoor events to engage with us so that they can go ahead safely, peacefully and without disruption to local residents.”

4 Responses to Now police crack down on Stokes Croft riot film night
  1. Ruth
    May 1, 2011 | 10:40 am

    Dear oh dear Dave, are you actually saying that because some people smashed up a shop owned by multi million pound monopolising company, they deserve to be harmed? By police, whose job it is to protect us? The police were there to antagonise the crowd, to stir up a riot. Why else would they have come there in such large numbers? At the riots on 28th a police officer shoved me out of the way and told me he thought Ian Tomlinson deserved to die because he was a Milwall fan. If that's not antagonisation (and SICK!), then I don't know what is.

  2. Non
    April 28, 2011 | 10:44 am

    I think 6 vans is a little exaggerated, and I saw no dogs. However, the presence of the Police on such a scale for the type of event it was, was absolutely ridiculous.

  3. harry
    April 28, 2011 | 10:09 am

    It seems clear that this is the Police Force's protest against the cuts.

    By provoking riots all over the city, they can show that they need more funding not less.

  4. Gunpowder Plot
    April 28, 2011 | 9:48 am

    Chief Inspector statements suck big time! Since when a film-screening is a cause for potential disorder? Who is behind you Sir, giving orders out of any democracy? This is becoming ridiculous

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