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Protests 'to continue' over cuts

Union leaders have vowed to continue campaigning against the Government's spending cuts amid mounting anger at the trouble makers who clashed with police and damaged stores and other buildings during a huge TUC demonstration.

A leading Labour politician described those involved in clashes in the West End as a "tiny minority of violent, parasitic unrepresentative hooligans", while London's Deputy Mayor said they were "fascist agitators".

Unofficial estimates put the numbers taking part in the protest at nearly half a million, with tens of thousands of people still joining a march through central London as a rally in Hyde Park was under way.

A group of youths, wearing scarves to hide their faces, started attacking shops and banks well away from the march, causing tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage and clashing with some of the 4,500 police on duty.

The Metropolitan police said 201 arrests were made, with suspects being held in 21 police stations across London. The force is now reviewing evidence collected from CCTV cameras and police officers.

Although much of the debris left by Saturday's carnage had been removed by 9am on Sunday, Trafalgar Square was still showing signs of what had gone on.

The words "fightback" and "Tory scum" were scrawled on one of the four bronze lions, while red paint remained on part of the 2012 Olympics countdown clock.

A placard demanding "hands off Libya" was placed high on the statue of King Charles I.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said that the so-called March for the Alternative exceeded expectations, with nurses, teachers, council staff, NHS workers, other public sector employees, pensioners, students and other campaign groups taking part in the biggest union-organised protest for a generation.

"It now looks like close to half a million people came to London to express their peaceful but powerful opposition to the Government's deep, rapid and unfair spending cuts," he said.


From Belfast Telegraph