Bristol riots: Protest cancelled while council ponders decision on Tesco

A planned protest against alleged police brutality during last week’s Stokes Croft Riots has been cancelled.

Organisers released a statement today explaining their concerns that the ‘Stokes Croft Party’ – originally scheduled for Thursday 28 April – would attract larger numberS than originally expected and potentially get out of hand.

Spokesperson Oli posted the following message on Bristol Indymedia:

“As organiser of the Stokes Croft protest I wanted to make a statement about what I saw last Thursday, and my reasons for now cancelling the action.

“I felt that the police brutality inflicted upon the people of the area was gross and unacceptable. The operation was, in my view, handled atrociously by a police force who provoked the riot. I had also wanted to associate the protest with Tesco because following the riot I had become even more aware of the negative impact the store would have on the local area.

“I wanted to organise a protest that would show the area for what it is – an artistic, vibrant and creative community. The most important emphasis was to be, in my view, the peaceful nature of the people. The amount of support for the protest was unbelievable – we hit over 650 confirmed attendees, and the number looked set to spiral.

“But with this great number I began to realise that the sheer scale of the protest could tip the protest from something peaceful into something unpredictable and potentially dangerous. Even though I believe that all those attending would strive to keep the peace at the protest, I believe that a strong police presence could again incite something undesirable.”

Meanwhile Bristol City Council yesterday met with Tesco representatives to discuss the future of the Cheltenham Road store, although no decision appears to have yet been made.

Chief Executive Jan Ormindroyd has called for dialogue between the community and authorities following last week’s violence, although the decision to hold the Tesco meeting in private has been criticised.

Protest organiser Oli urged locals to wait until the Council has come to a decision on the store’s fate before deciding what action to take next.

He explained: “There are some very progressive discussions taking place regarding Tesco that could see a victory for the people.

“I suggest that we wait until this decison has been made regarding Tesco before any action is taken – and if they do refuse to leave then we should certainly move towards further action.

“It is important to remember that this has shown the massive viral power social networks have in bringing people with a shared view together.”

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