Saturday, December 5, 2020

British police nab hundreds after anti-cuts demo


Latest Stories

Salceda to House: Adopt Senate’s CREATE bill

THE House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee Chairman and Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda recommended the...

House panel OKs ‘Media Workers Welfare’ bill

THE House of Representatives' panel on Labor and Employment approved on Friday a committee report on the proposed “Media...

BSP releases rules for digital banking

THE Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) released on Friday the guidelines for financial institutions that wish to apply for...

PH factory output continues slide in Oct

THE country’s manufacturing production continued to decline in October in terms of volume and value, according to the Philippine...

IATF requires private, public establishments to adopt ‘Safety Seal’

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has required all public and private establishments,...

LONDON: British police clashed with bottle-throwing protesters at a London tourist landmark on Sunday, overshadowing a peaceful march by more than 250,000 people against government spending cuts.
At least 214 people were arrested and 84 people were hurt when a small group of “criminal” demonstrators broke free from Saturday’s main rally, the biggest in the capital since protests against the Iraq war in 2003.
A group of several hundred masked rioters attacked the iconic Ritz Hotel, occupied a luxury food store, smashed up shops and banks and started a bonfire in historic Trafalgar Square before police finally contained them.
The original march called by unions on Saturday drew health workers, fire fighters, teachers and their families, including children, to oppose the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition’s austerity measures.
“I think it’s a game of two halves. 250,000 people came to central London and protested peacefully,” said Commander Bob Broadhurst of Scotland Yard, who led the police operation.
“But what we have unfortunately is a group of criminals—[who had] nothing to do with that march—[who had] decided to. . . attack buildings in central London and attack police officers,” he told Sky News.
Several hundred black-clad protesters covering their faces with scarves hurled fireworks, petrol bombs and paint at police, Agence France-Presse reporters saw.
Clothes store Topshop and banks HSBC [Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp.] and Lloyds had their windows smashed, while some protesters hurled missiles at the five-star Ritz Hotel.
A group of protesters occupied luxury food store Fortnum and Mason and sprayed graffiti on the building until police sealed off the premises and arrested those coming out.
Police said that officers came under “sustained attack” at Trafalgar Square, site of the famous Nelson’s Column and of four huge bronze lions. Rioters there were still throwing bottles at police into the early hours of Sunday.
31 police officers and 53 members of the public were injured in the violence, police said, while 16 members of the public and 11 policemen needed hospital treatment.
Arrests after unrest
The 214 arrests were for public order offenses, criminal damage, aggravated trespassing and violent disorder, said police.
About 4,500 police officers were deployed for the protest after several British student rallies descended into chaos last year, with one culminating in protesters damaging the car carrying Prince Charles and his wife Camilla.
The violent end to Saturday’s rally came after its organizers, the Trades Union Congress (TUC), said that between 250,000 and 300,000 people had protested peacefully earlier.
Public sector workers, students and pensioners waving signs which read “Don’t Break Britain” and “No to Cuts” thronged the streets of the capital.
Many families with children were among the protesters and the air was filled with the low-pitched bellow of vuvuzela trumpets.
TUC chief Brendan Barber said that he “bitterly regretted” the violence.
“I don’t think the activities of a few hundred people should take the focus away from the hundreds of thousands of people who have sent a powerful message to the government today,” he said.
The march started by the river Thames, passed the Houses of Parliament and Prime Minister David Cameron’s Downing Street residence before ending in a rally in Hyde Park addressed by opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband.
It was the largest protest in London since one million people marched against the Iraq war in February 2003.
After coming to power in May, the coalition announced cuts worth £81 billion ($131 billion, 92 billion euros) over five years to slash a record public deficit it blames on the previous Labour government.
The cuts involve most government departments, with the loss of 300,000 public service jobs and pay freezes for civil servants.



Today's Frontpage