Statement in support of Ryan Roberts

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On 25th October, Ryan Roberts is on trial in Bristol on charges of riot and arson relating to the Kill the Bill demo on 21st March 2021. Ryan has been held on remand since April and is the first defendant to face trial following the events of that night.

We stand in solidarity with Ryan and all KTB defendants. The police acted with impunity at the KTB demos. Protesters sitting in the road were violently attacked. People were pepper-sprayed, and hit with batons and shields. 62 people were injured in the KTB protests that took place in Bristol in March.

But they only call it violence when we fight back.

It is not a crime to fight back against police violence and state repression. We cannot stand to one side when people are beaten. And every one of us has a duty to stand in solidarity with those persecuted for fighting back.

This repression is set to get worse. The Police, Crime, Courts and Sentencing Bill, currently going through the House of Lords, will make it easier for the police to criminalise and imprison protesters. But the bill is not just about protest. We stand in solidarity with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities whose way of life is being outlawed by this bill. We stand in solidarity with Black people, already bearing the brunt of a racist police force, who will be disproportionately targeted by the stop and search powers in the bill. In Bristol, Black men are nearly ten times more likely to be stopped and searched than white men.

We stand in solidarity with the people who will be criminalised, and locked up in prison for even longer as a result of the Bill.

The trial judge has already stated in the cases where people have pleaded guilty that the actions that night “dehumanised the police”. But it is the police who dehumanise us on a daily basis. Every stop and search, every baton strike, every arrest is another act of dehumanisation. It is the police who are the problem. Not protesters.

Solidarity protests will be held outside the court at 8:30am on 25th October and at 5:30pm on 27th October.