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London counts cost as over 200 arrested in post-demonstration riots

A demonstration against government spending cuts turns violent, as anti-capitalist protesters clashed with riot police.

Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Updated, 12.04

BUSINESSES IN LONDON’S city centre are counting the costs of riots in the city centre last night, which saw over 200 anti-capitalist protesters arrested following sustained clashes with riot police.

The disturbances, centralised around Trafalgar Square, followed a largely peaceful march with over 250,000 people demonstrating against what they saw as an overtly aggressive plan of spending cuts from the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.

Battles on London’s busiest shopping street, Oxford Street, also saw coordinated attacks on shopfronts, with mobs attempting to storm into major retailers.

The Daily Telegraph reports how a massive bonfire was started in the centre of Jermyn Street, just off Piccadilly, while a ‘Trojan Horse’ was also set fire to on Oxford Street.

The Ritz Hotel, meanwhile, was attacked by protesters flinging dustbins through main windows. This morning hoteliers and retailers had begun to wash off anarchist symbols and anti-government slogans that had been sprayed onto their buildings.

The earlier demonstrations – described by the left-leaning Guardian as a ‘family day out’ – had been organised by the UK’s Trades Union Congress, culminating in a rally at Hyde Park where Labour leader Ed Miliband addressed a quarter of a million marchers.

The BBC said a total of 201 people had been arrested, and quoted the TUC’s general secretary Brendan Barber as insisting that the actions of a “few hundred people” should not detract from the symbol of so many people marching.

Sky News reported, however, that the numbers arrested had reached 214. 66 people were injured in the protests, including 31 police officers – 11 of whom were hospitalised.

Yesterday’s demonstration was the largest in London since the anti-war marches of 2003.

London counts cost as over 200 arrested in post-demonstration riots
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