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Eight police hurt during city riot

Eight police officers have been injured after a riot broke out in Bristol.

Around 160 officers in full riot gear swooped on a house in the Stokes Croft area of the city at around 9.15pm on Thursday to arrest four people they said were "a real threat to the local community".

But the operation sparked unrest in local streets, with eyewitnesses reporting police fighting running battles with hundreds of protesters, who dug up cobbles from the road surface to throw at them. A branch of Tesco Metro in Cheltenham Road was petrol bombed.

Assistant Chief Constable Rod Hansen, of Avon and Somerset Police, defended the operation on Friday, saying: "Residents have called us to several incidents in the property over the past few days. Yesterday there was a very real threat to the local community from the petrol bombs that were being made and we needed to take positive action.

"The safety of the public is paramount in any situation of this kind and we took the decision to carry out a swift arrest operation, following intelligence received about the criminal intentions of those who were occupying the building.

"The fact that we seized petrol bombs illustrates the seriousness of this situation and the reason why we took this positive action.

"When 300 people congregated and a small minority from that group started small fires and throwing bottles, stones and other items at officers, we used well-rehearsed plans, which involved the use of officers from neighbouring forces, to control what had become a volatile situation."

The riot was brought under control at around 4am on Friday. Three people were arrested on suspicion of public order offences and another person on suspicion of threats to cause criminal damage with intent to endanger life.

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