So that’s what the fuckin Police helecopter was all about.
The wife and I had just settled in, in front of the big telly to watch Tremors, the comedy horror film, when the Avon & Somerset Police chopper turned up and hovered over our house. Not an unusual occurence. We live in the very pleasant district of St Andrews, on top of a hill with spectacular views over the centre of Bristol.
As I keep keep telling friends who have never visited here, Bristol is a very beautiful and incredibly compact City. I can walk to all the good bits, like Clifton Down, the Floating harbour and all the best shopping areas within 20 minutes from my house.
But just 5 minutes walk down the hill are our ethnic areas of the Hippie district of Montpelier and the multi culti St Pauls (More later) and that is what the Chopper was watching.
Well the bloody thing was up there overhead for 3 hours or more, making so much racket that we had to close the windows cos we couldn’t hear the movie. Obviously something bigger than the usual mugging, burglary or car chase was afoot.
I started looking on the laptop to see what the fuss might be but nothing seemed to be being reported.But when I went to bed about 3am the bloody thing was still up there.
The fuss, of course was this. A riot was going on in Stokes Croft. The usual suspects, crusty’s anarchists, squatters have been protesting against the opening of a Tesco’s down there for years now. Nasty capitalist Tesco is deemed to be a threat to local businesses you see.
Um, what local businesses? There isn’t a food store worthy of the name in the whole road! There’s a couple of Massage Parlours, some very dodgy pubs and three nightclubs, but a food shop where you can get a loaf of bread and a few cans of beans nairy a one.
Stokes Croft is an armpit you see. 30 years ago it was the habitat of Irish drunks and Wino’s and there have been many attempts to “Improve” the area since, but it stubbornly refuses to be improved. It is still the road of choice for the Special Brew and substance abuse crews.
Anyway the years of protest were to no avail and the store opened. Well just like the Bolsheviks in 1917, the anarchist crusty squatters were not taking no for an answer and were preparing to firebomb the place. The Police raided the squat and it all kicked off.
April is the month famous for showers, but not of bottles, cobbles and molotov cocktails, but it seems a tradition here in Bristol, because the original St Pauls riots kicked off in April in 1980 with the first warm weather of the year. Getting your coat off and getting your eye in seem to go together round here.
Anyway, Happy Easter to you all. I’m off to Cardiff for the weekend.
Here is some decent video footage .