Extremists brought violent chaos to Central London yesterday after hijacking the much-heralded trade union protest against public spending cuts.
Trouble continued to flare late into the night as hundreds of people attempted to hijack yesterday’s massive anti government cuts demonstration.
Riot police fought activists in Trafalgar Square as violent protesters threatened to overshadow the TUC rally in Hyde Park which had earlier passed off peacefully.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said between 200 and 300 people had gathered at the landmark location late yesterday evening.
He said: ‘A large number from the crowd are throwing missiles and have attempted to damage the Olympic clock within the square.
‘Officers have come under sustained attack as they deal with the disorder and attempted criminal damage.’
Splinter groups broke off from the main body of more than 250,000 demonstrators marching from Victoria Embankment to Hyde Park to launch an assault on the -capital’s main shopping district.
Some were hellbent on storming – or destroying – any London landmarks synonymous with luxury or money. Others targeted companies associated with tax avoidance.
Hundreds laid siege to The Ritz hotel, attacking it with paint and smokebombs. A Porsche showroom was also smashed up and upmarket department store Fortnum & Mason was occupied by about 1,000 activists.
On the streets outside, anarchists battled police. Some officers in Oxford Street were attacked with lightbulbs filled with ammonia, a sinister new weapon that can be assembled by following simple instructions on the internet. Other officers were hit with paint and flying bottles.
By the end of the day 75 protesters had been arrested and 28 people injured. Five police officers were also hurt and one was one taken to hospital.
Scotland Yard commander Bob Broadhurst said of the rioters: ‘I wouldn’t call them protesters. They are engaging in criminal activities for their own ends. We’ll never have enough officers to protect every building in Central London.’
Several splinter groups brought chaos and violence to what was the largest ¬public protest since the 2003 anti-Iraq war rally.
In stark contrast, the daytime demonstration was hailed a ‘fantastic success’ by trade unions as people from across the UK marched through central London.
Organisers estimated between 400,000 and 500,000 teachers, nurses, firefighters, council and NHS workers, other public sector employees, students, pensioners and campaign groups converged on the capital. Read More
(alternet.org) Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan: “We are not in a position where we can be optimistic. We must treat every development with the utmost care.”
As we noted was likely to happen just after posting last night’s update on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the “calm” over the last day or two that we reported was somewhat broken shortly thereafter. Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan took to the air for a rare press conference to discuss the situation at the crippled nuclear plant, and to mark the two weeks which have passed since an unprecedented, three-prong earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster rocked the country.
Kan described the situation at Fukushima as “very grave and serious”, adding, ” He did not, however, offer much in the way of new information. In the meantime, other government officials have now recommended (but not ordered) that those living between 20 and 30 kilometers from the plant voluntarily leave the area. They stress that the new recommendations are due to the difficulty in supplying food and other resources to the area, not because of an increase in radiation levels.
Last week, those living within 20 kilometers of the plant were forced to evacuate from that “exclusion zone”, and those within 20 to 30km of the plant were instructed to stay indoors to avoid radioactive fallout. The U.S. government has recommended a larger exclusion zone of 80 kilometers (50 miles) around the plant, though Japan has not felt it necessary to widen their own mandatory exclusion zone.