A new Tesco Express convenience store in Bristol has been attacked in an evening of violent riots in the city.
The store, in the Stokes Croft area, was the centre for the rampage, which began following a police raid on a squat occupied by protestors against the store’s opening.
Police said they carried out the raid because of reports the Tesco store would be attacked by petrol bombs. According to the force, petrol bombs had been recovered at the scene.
Nine people have been arrested and eight police officers were injured in the scuffles.
Tesco UK chief executive Richard Brasher said: “Like everyone, we were very saddened by Thursday’s events and in particular the injuries to police officers who were simply trying to protect the public and businesses like ours.
“There has been a vigorous local debate about the future of this vibrant but economically deprived community. Our contribution is to seek to provide good local jobs and much better access to fresh quality food. Many local people have welcomed this, while others have a different vision. But Thursday’s violence stemmed from the illegal actions of a few individuals, and we agree with those who say it plays no legitimate part in any debate.”
Tesco said the Stokes Croft Express will remain closed for the time being to assess the situation and to allow police to continue their investigation but its staff and customers have the right to work and shop in safety.
“Tesco is often the only business that is prepared to invest in more economically deprived areas of the country such as Stokes Croft, bringing jobs and access to a quality and range of food that local people would otherwise simply not have,” it said.