Kill the Bill protests have been seen around the country including at Scotland Yard and the Metropolitan Police Headquarters, following the police handling of the vigil for Sarah Everard and against the new proposed bill.
The protesters were ostensibly venting their anger at the government's Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which is now going through parliament.
Adding: "Thuggery and disorder by a minority will never be tolerated".
At least 20 officers were injured as the "mob of animals" swarmed through the city.
The event was organised to protest against the government's Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that would increase police powers to deal with non-violent demonstrations.
The violence, which also saw several police vehicles damaged, was branded as "unacceptable" by Britain's interior minister, Priti Patel.
Many who attended the protest were wearing face masks and carried placards, stating: "Say no to United Kingdom police state" and "Freedom to protest is fundamental to democracy" and "Kill the Bill".
Mass gatherings are now banned under coronavirus legislation and anyone breaching regulations could be fined, though some MPs have said the law should change to allow protests.
Two of the police officers injured were treated in hospital after suffering broken ribs and an arm.
"Avon and Somerset Police Federation are attending stations to support officers. Our police officers put themselves in harm's way to protect us all", she said.
Protesters attempted to smash the windows of the glass-fronted police station and tried to set fire to one of the marked police vans parked outside, but the small flames were quickly extinguished by riot officers.
Mr Apter said: "During the early part of the protest, which obviously it is hard as it is an unlawful gathering, it seems to be peaceful".
One protester told David Dunning on YorkMix Radio: "We're defending our fundamental right to democracy".
A local MP from the opposition Labour Party, Darren Jones, described the scenes as "completely unacceptable".
Police vans that lined up to try and break up the demonstration were smashed up and had their tyres let down, as the crowd chanted "shame on you".
"All those involved in his criminal behaviour will be identified and brought to justice. There will be significant consequences for behaviour such as this", Avon and Somerset's chief superintendent, Will White, said in a statement.