"Step-by-step our democracy is slipping away"- Graham Colley LibDem PCC candidate for Kent reacts to the disorder in Bristol
Graham Colley said "Priti Patel's proposals to outlaw aspects of peaceful demonstration that she and her government found inconvenient, embarrassing or unhelpful are authoritarian and antidemocratic. It was reasonable to organise a peaceful demonstration against them.
However, it seems there were those, whether of the extreme right or left who wanted to turn a peaceful demonstration violent in order to provoke a more extreme response from an authoritarian government.`Those extremists infiltrated the demonstration not just to seek confrontation with the police, but also to drown the protests of peaceful demonstrators.
Our police are not anti-riot force, but are "of the people". They should not be expected to protect a government against peaceful protest. However, those who use the cover of a peaceful demonstration to attack our police are not democrats, but wish to undermine our democratic system, as much as the Government wishes to curtail peaceful protest.
If we expect our police to be part of us we must stand by them. The violence against them on Saturday was abhorrent. An authoritarian government that creates a hostile environment begins a spiral that can be exploited by extremists. I fear that step by step our democracy is pulled apart by extremists in government and opposition.
As John Kennedy said on 13 March 1962, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable."