Of course folks in Bristol should not have rioted last night however odious the new Bill to make Britain even more of a Police state is. I hope that those who damaged property and attacked and injured the Fuzz are arrested and get stiff custodial sentences. I doubt they will. But, in some ways, the Avon & Somerset Police asked for it.
On 8 June last year, protesters tore down a statue, that of philanthropist and slave trader Edward Coulston, and threw it into the harbour. The cops in Bristol stood by and did nothing. They gave tacit support to a criminal act. That sent a message to a mob intent on damaging property that the Police may or may not intervene depending on which woke cause you espouse.
The law cannot be selective. Damaging property that is not your own is illegal. Those attempting it should be stopped and arrested in all circumstances. But the Bristol Police set a dangerous precedent that day, that you can get away with crime against property. Moreover, you and I think that the fate of a statue should be down to the wider population not just a mob. But again, Bristol Police showed in June 2020 that the mob can dictate policy.
The police lose more and more respect with every act of woke folly and every act of punitive and excessive authoritarianism against folks who are essentially law-abiding but are just having a coffee in their car or a snowball fight. What happened last night was shocking but the Police are largely the architects of those events by dint of their past actions and inactions.