Rioters in Bristol have been condemned after scenes turned ugly at what was initially a peaceful protest.

Sue Mountstevens, police and crime commissioner for Avon and Somerset slammed the 'disgraceful behaviour of a minority group' following the violence and vandalism in Bristol last night.

Police closed the M32 in the early hours of Monday morning in a bid to get the riots under control after two officers were hospitalised, police vehicles were repeatedly caught on fire and the police station in Bridewell Street suffered significant criminal damage as rioters became violent.

Avon and Somerset police called in back up from neighbouring forces and fire services from across Bristol were deployed to the centre to tackle the situation.

The protests began earlier in the day, with a peaceful demonstration against The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that would give the police in England and Wales more power to impose conditions on non-violent protests, including those deemed too noisy or a nuisance.

Chief Superintendent Will White, of Avon and Somerset Police, said: “What started out as a peaceful protest has been turned by a small minority into a violent disorder.

“These scenes are absolutely disgraceful and they will be widely condemned by people across the city. There can never be any excuse for wanton disorder.

“Officers have been subjected to considerable levels of abuse and violence. One suffered a broken arm and another suffered broken ribs. Both have been taken to hospital.

“These are men and women out there with the intention of serving and protecting the public – they should never be subjected to assaults or abuse in this way.

“At least two police vehicles have been set on fire and damage has been caused to the outside of the station. Protesters are not inside the building. We have requested mutual aid from neighbouring forces to bring this incident to a safe conclusion.

“All those involved in this criminal behaviour will be identified and brought to justice. There will be significant consequences for behaviour such as this.”

Sue Mountstevens said the destruction was "both shameful and completely unacceptable."

“Officers have been assaulted and suffered terrible injuries and vehicles and buildings vandalised in an appalling level of destruction outside Bridewell police station. Attacking police officers, damaging buildings and wreaking havoc on your own city achieves nothing." She said.

“Every day officers put on their uniform and go out to keep their communities safe and they have policed many demonstrations in our area proportionately, with public safety as their number one priority. These people have shown reckless disregard of the lives and safety of our communities in central Bristol and our officers.

“Whether you agree or disagree with the Bill these men and women did not deserve to face the level of violence directed at them. Nothing can justify such actions.

“The chief constable and his officers have my full support and my thoughts are with those who have been injured tonight.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel tweeted: “Unacceptable scenes in Bristol tonight.

“Thuggery and disorder by a minority will never be tolerated. Our police officers put themselves in harms way to protect us all.

“My thoughts this evening are with those police officers injured.”