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Brothers cleared over riots protest

Two brothers accused of pulling a mounted policeman off his horse during student riots have been cleared of violent disorder.

Christopher Hilliard, 23, and his brother Andrew, 18, were charged after the protest on December 9 2010, which was held as Parliament voted to increase tuition fees.

An earlier trial at the Old Bailey heard how riders and horses were pelted with objects and had banners thrust in their faces during the disturbances in London's Parliament Square.

The Hilliards, of Cranford Road in Wilmslow, Cheshire, were retried after jurors in their first trial failed to reach verdicts.

But both were acquitted at Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court in Surrey, a court official said.

The Defend the Right to Protest Campaign welcomed the verdict, hailing it as "a victory for all those criminalised for protesting."

A spokesman said: "This highlights the reluctance of juries to find violence in the actions of student protesters on the demonstration, notably when the defence have contextualised the demonstration as one which was heavily policed and resulted in many more student protesters being injured than police."

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