A riot began after a squat known as Telepathic Heights was raided by police responding to allegations that people inside were planning to firebomb a controversial new Tesco Store In Stokes Croft. .
I missed the start of the evenings events, being on a studio shoot at the time. There was a large crowd when we arrived, some time between 10.15 and 10.30. According to what I could understand from people in the area and friends who had witnessed the beginning, it was begun when police acted on a tip-off and raided Telepathic Heights, a well-known squat on Cheltenham Road. I heard that 20 armed police discovered people preparing to firebomb the new Tesco Metro store on the same street, which has been the subject of strong local opposition.
I managed to get some more shots of my model (Maria Stavrou of the Bass Honeys) posing in her bodypaint (by Keen Baker-Diaz of Cash Monet) with the police and general mayhem, as I don't often get a backdrop like that!
The crowd swiftly became rowdy, and we returned to the car as I had my studio lights in it. The police lines then moved past us down Picton Street, and we tried to move further away from the front line, but it seemed the entire area was cordoned off, with us inside. We stayed with the car and I shot from inside as the lines of police and protesters moved repeatedly backwards and forwards past us for the next hour or so. After a rock went through the back window of the car, we decided to try to leave the area, and once we were on the outside of the police cordon, we carefully moved away, getting down City Road just as a bonfire was being set in the street.
Overall, a bit more excitement than usual for a Thursday evening...