Dozens expected in court today


DOZENS OF protesters arrested after attacks on banks and shops in central London on Saturday, causing tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage, are expected to appear in court today, the Metropolitan Police said.

Up to 200 people were still in custody yesterday following the attacks, which marred a peaceful demonstration by more than 250,000 people in Hyde Park against the British government’s plans to cut public spending.

Condemning the violence, Trades Union Congress general secretary Brendan Barber said he regretted that a minority had commanded “a lot of the headlines at the expense of the positive message of our march”.

He said the voice of “Middle Britain” cannot be ignored by prime minister David Cameron. “I don’t expect the government to announce they’re going to make a U-turn because of an event like this, but they are going to have to start reflecting pretty seriously.”

Liberal Democrat business secretary Vince Cable said the government would not back away from its plan to eliminate the budget deficit, saying that difficult choices had to be faced.

“Of course there’s pressure on living standards, the reason for that is we are now a poorer country, the GDP fell by over 5 per cent in the financial crisis, now that was temporarily absorbed by government borrowing, that was not sustainable,” he said.

Up to 100 street-cleaners worked until dawn to clear rubbish and remove graffiti, while damaged shops, banks and hotels faced massive bills for the repair of windows and furniture.

The London 2012 Olympic clock in Trafalgar Square suffered superficial scratches after a few hundred protesters gathered there late on Saturday. Many of them were encircled by police and held for hours.