Police issues warning ahead of planned protests in Bath, Bristol and Taunton
Written by Bridgwater Mercury on April 15, 2021
POLICE have issued a warning about protests planned in parts of Somerset this weekend.
They have said protests can now take place under Government guidelines, providing organisers take the required precautions to limit the spread of the virus.
Demonstrations are expected to take place in Bristol, Bath and possibly in Taunton on Saturday (April 17).
Superintendent Mark Edgington, from Avon and Somerset Police, said it would be “desperately unfair” if any event caused newly-opened businesses any disruption.
“We’re committed to facilitating people’s democratic right to protest and we’re keen to do everything we can to make sure any event takes place safely,” he said.
“Under current coronavirus regulations, protest organisers are required to carry out a risk assessment and take all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of the virus.
“Unfortunately, we haven’t had any contact from anyone identifying themselves as being responsible for organising the events.
“I’d like to reassure those involved in the planning of the demonstrations we want to work with you to help ensure your event is safe and to limit the impact on members of the public not taking part.
“This weekend will be the first many businesses have been open for some time and it would be desperately unfair if any event caused them significant disruption.”
He added that the police force “fully recognise” the rights of protestors to express themselves and by working with organisers of the protests, the police can help to plan appropriate routes.
“We will have plans in place to monitor and manage the events regardless – these will include specialist police liaison officers who will look to speak directly with anyone who gathers,” he added.
“Restrictions may have eased but that doesn’t mean we can afford to let our guard down and so please, if you have been involved in organising any of the protests due to take place this weekend, get in touch via our non-emergency number 101.”
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