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Protester's sadness over violence

One of the organisers of a fight against the opening of a Tesco supermarket in Bristol city centre has told of her sadness that a peaceful campaign had been hijacked by violence.

Claire Milne, from the No Tesco In Stokes Croft campaign, spoke out as three people appeared in court in Bristol charged with offences linked to Thursday's trouble.

"We are deeply saddened by what is happening in our community," she said.

"Over the last few years Stokes Croft has seen incredible home grown resurgence driven by local people. However since Tesco opened its doors two weeks ago Stokes Croft has become the focal point for protest and confrontation.

"For over a year the majority of the community have peacefully opposed the arrival of Tesco and painstakingly navigated the planning system without success. We are devastated by what's happened since Tesco arrived in our community and are working hard to find ways to ensure our community returns to its vibrant self."

Stephen Carroll, 32, from Bristol, faced Bristol Magistrates' Court charged with assaulting a police officer and criminal damage.

Two 17-year-old boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were charged with violent disorder and theft. All three are due to appear in court again on May 6.

Thursday's disturbance, which came six days after a previous riot, saw running skirmishes spill out from the Stokes Croft area towards the Cabot Circus shopping centre.

Police said around 400 people were involved and saw rioters breaking down walls and removing roof tiles to use as missiles. They also lit fires, set up barricades in the road and daubed graffiti throughout the area. Several police were injured.

Later, police said a 26-year-old woman and a 20-year-old man have been arrested in connection with the disturbances.

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