Car transporting Prince Charles attacked

2010-12-09 23:47
London - Britain's Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, were caught up in the student protests in London late on Thursday when the car they were travelling in was attacked, but the couple was unharmed, a royal spokesperson said.

The couple were being driven to a theatre performance when their vehicle was struck by objects and daubed in paint. Demonstrators also tried to smash in car doors, reports said.

Masked rioters battled police outside parliament on Thursday evening as the coalition government survived its biggest test yet in a vote to hike university tuition fees.

The government's majority was cut by three-quarters as lawmakers voted by 323 to 302 to raise the cap on annual tuition fees at English universities from 2012.

The basic level of fees will now climb to £6 000 with an upper limit of £9 000. The current cap is £3 290.

Outside the Houses of Parliament hardcore activists rained missiles on police protecting the building and clashed with police at other points around Parliament Square, with several officers and demonstrators injured.

Extreme violence

Flares, sticks, metal fences, rocks, snooker balls and paint bombs were among the missiles hurled at police in a battle that lasted hours.

Hooded youths repeatedly attacked police lines, torched benches and a security guard box in the square, smashed the doors and windows of the Treasury, or finance ministry, and vandalised a statue of wartime prime minister Winston Churchill.

Superintendent Julia Pendry of London's Metropolitan Police said it was "absolutely obvious" that people had come to the capital "with the intention of committing violent disorder" rather than peaceful protest.

Another spokesperson said the police were being subjected to "extreme violence".

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