March 29, 2021
From Alternative Bristol (UK)

Fundraiser to support the work of Bristol Defendant Solidarity (BDS) on the streets of Bristol – please donate, support, share info, or whatever else you think you can do. During the current protests against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill currently making its way through Parliament, BDS have been providing unconditional legal & arrestee support for all those who require it, on a voluntary basis. This Fundraiser is purely to raise funds to support those arrested, charged, in court, injured, suing the police etc – details below. Here’s the Fundraiser page to donate, and here’s the text:

#KillTheBill: Bristol legal support in the streets and in the courts

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 protestors, 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.
Hidden behind the police statements branding demonstrators “a mob of animals” and the later-retracted claims of officers facing broken bones and punctured lungs, is the hard work of activists pushing for police accountability. Bristol Defendant Solidarity (BDS) have been working for over a decade to support people facing police and state violence as a consequence for their activism. Now, we need your help.

We are aiming to raise an initial £15,000 with a stretch target of £30,000 to support people following Bristol’s #KillTheBill protests.
Avon & Somerset Police already have a long history of committing violence in our communities. The proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill currently making its way through Parliament would give police sweeping new powers  to criminalise protests, intensify the attack on Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities way of life, and increase the harsh effects of the criminal justice system with longer sentencing. And while people take to the streets to oppose it, the police have cracked down hard on the demonstrations.

Depending on need, and in this priority order, we will use this fund to support those targeted by police 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 they can return to their homes after any custodial sentences.

In the unlikely event of there being any money left over from this, it will be held by BDS to support people in a similar way in the future. Solidarity is our best defence. Please Donate Here.
In solidarity, Bristol Defendant Solidarity  (BDS)
Follow us on Twitter @BristolDefenda1 for updates

So What have BDS been doing? We asked a kindly BDS volunteer to give us a brief snapshot, before the next riot cop charge. Here’s what they said:
– provided a team of Legal Observers at every protest (3 so far) until the early hours, printed & distributed 1000’s of bustcards/other info
– run a back office to log arrests/details & injuries; and to co-oridnate support
– ensured police station support & pick up of people when released ie upto midnight on several days
– worked with 2 legal firms to represent arrestees
– engaged new volunteers/supporters to assist with the above incl working with some national legal support groups – Black Protest Legal Support (BPLS) and GBC
– helped the setting up of a team of street medics; assisting in the creation of an emotional support/trauma team
– the BDS phone has been trolled by the far-right at times, and by some journalists (as have the solicitors); it’s twitter account was suspended for 3 days. Amazingly none of the Bristol Legal Observers (incl from BPLS) has been assaulted yet, although one street medic was badly truncheoned on Friday night.

Donate to the Fundraiser here.
Cheers xxx