By Sam Rkaina, Local Government Reporter
CALLS have been made for an investigation into the police tactics used during both Cheltenham Road riots.
More than 100 residents attended, along with local police, councillors and council officers.
It was organised by local people to discuss the issues surrounding the two riots and to look at ways to move forward without repeating the violence seen last month.
Some blamed Tesco “for coming into an area where they are not wanted”, while others blamed the council for giving approval to the shop in the first place.
Deputy district commander of Bristol Police Jon Stratford fielded a number of questions from residents who alleged some of the hundreds of officers involved in the operations struck innocent passers-by.
Simon Lewis, who runs a building firm in Montpelier, claimed he was injured in Picton Street during an attack by officers, horses and dogs.
He said: “I’m an upstanding member of the community. I was attacked by thugs from out of town wearing army gear.
“I had to go to the BRI to get general anaesthetic to put my arm back on.”
Mr Stratford was asked by a number of speakers if there would be an investigation into the police behaviour on the two nights, which also saw police injured.
He said: “The Chief Constable said the day after the first incident that if they think they have been treated poorly by police they should come forward, make a complaint and it will be investigated.”
Tesco was criticised by the majority of speakers, who claimed the company had “conned” its way into the area.
Jo Benefield, a local resident for 35 years, said: “We don’t want Tesco here, and we don’t want the police protecting Tesco and then blaming residents for their provocative behaviour.”
Chairwoman Maryanne Kempf said if residents did not want Tesco they could vote with their feet and not shop there.
Margaret Edwards, who has lived in the area for 25 years, felt the protesters should accept the decision, even if they disagreed with it.
She said: “I’m not enthusiastic about Tesco but I don’t mind them being here.
“I want to thank the police and say carry on protecting those of us who want to live in peace.”
Tesco spokesman Michael Kissman said: “What I am hearing is that there is still a lot of anger in the community.
“We want to play our part in the community if that’s what the community wants us to do. Whether it’s through training, employment schemes or charity, these are the things we want to do here.
“I’ve heard people say ‘we want to buy our way into the community’ – that is not what we want.”
But newly elected Green ward councillor Gus Hoyt said it was time for Tesco to “bow out”.