LBW

Thursday, 5 November 2015

PICTURES: POLICE CAR SET ON FIRE IN LONDON PROTEST

Police clashed violently with Anonymous protesters in central London tonight as an anti-capitalism rally turned nasty, with three police officers hospitalised and one person arrested for assaulting police.

At 10.50pm, Scotland Yard said 28 arrests had been made for public order offences ‘so far’. Three men were arrested in the afternoon before the protest began, on suspicion of possession of offensive weapons.





The march started at 6pm in Trafalgar Square and should have ended at 9pm according to police restrictions, which have been put in place after last year’s protest continued well into the night.

The Met had already anticipated trouble and sent out a heavy police presence in Westminster.

Anonymous is a worldwide collection of informally organised activists. The lack of leadership means that there is no exact march route, but the protest weaved its way from Trafalgar Square to Parliament Square, before splintering into several groups. Some went to Pall Mall whilst others ended up on Piccadilly Circus.

A unattended police car was smashed up and set on fire near Queen Anne’s Gate around 7.50pm. No-one was injured. Scotland Yard said: “This was an isolated incident with a small number of people involved, away from the main protests.”

Protesters surrounded an Aston Martin on Lower Grovesnor Place - which then hit a photographer.

Several demonstrators broke into the grounds of St James’s Palace, and riot police were deployed. Protesters tried to approach the Conservative Party headquarters on Great George Street, but police formed a line to stop them going past. Some demonstrators threw glass bottles at officers.

Terry Small, 20, from Plymouth, was in the crowd at Great George Street and emerged with blood pouring from his head. He alleged he had been hit a number of times by an officer with a baton.

“I was at the front, I was chatting with the officers asking them what their agenda was and why they were trying to stop us walking down the street when it’s supposed to be public land,” he said.

“I got pushed in the back by people trying to move forward. I get pushed in the back and put my arm up because I know the baton is coming.

“I couldn’t move - it took all my force to shoulder-barge my way out of there.”

Around 500 people reconvened in Trafalgar Square just before 9pm, when the march was supposed to end, putting remaining protesters in breach of the public order act.

Earlier in the day, three men were arrested in Trafalgar Square after officers observed them acting suspiciously. They searched them and found knives, smoke and gas grenades, lock picks and gas cannisters. The trio were arrested on suspicion of possessing offensive weapons and remain in custody at a central London police station.

The Met had warned that violence was likely, and said that in 2014, November 5 was “marked by significant levels of anti-social behaviour, criminal damage to monuments and buildings, attempts to take over buildings, harassment of motorists and attacks on police officers.”

It seemed the activists themselves were keen to avoid a repeat of last year’s scenes. Although Anonymous doesn’t have a leader, the Facebook account that set up the event page posted this message yesterday:

“It’s important to remember that the Million Mask March is a peaceful protest. We need to keep obstruction to commuters and tourists to a minimum. No climbing on vehicles/buses and show respect to other people including police officers.

“Wear warm clothing and comfy shoes. Do not talk to the press and distance yourselves from trouble makers as these could be agent provocateurs. See you tomorrow!”@London24

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