Wreckage scars London riot scene

2010-12-10 18:02

London - Wreckage, shattered glass and debris littered London's Parliament Square on Friday after student protests descended into a violent rampage.

Tourists coming to see the heart of Britain's democracy were instead taking pictures of the damage, and the statues of world leaders daubed with obscene graffiti following Thursday's demonstration over a hike in university tuition fees.

Workmen were busy cleaning up after the onslaught, measuring up the smashed windows, cleaning the iconic red telephone boxes and surveying the sculptures of statesmen like Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela and Abraham Lincoln.

The iconic statue of World War II British prime minister Churchill, daubed with offensive slogans by demonstrators, stood behind a pile of twisted metal fencing.

On the ground read the message scrawled in paint: "Churchill, common gangster, traitor, killer".

The square's newest statue, of former South African president Mandela, has graffiti on the plinth and a rag tied around the neck.

Homophobic slurs

Former US president Lincoln's statue has an anarchy symbol sprayed on it; that of 19th century prime minister Lord Henry Palmerston holds a placard and was daubed with "General Strike".

Homophobic slurs against British Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy PM Nick Clegg are also evident among the graffiti, as is "First Greece, then Paris, now London! Insurrection!"

At the historic Westminster Abbey, where monarchs have been crowned since 1066, and where Prince William will marry Kate Middleton in April, wrecked sections of metal fencing lie in the grounds.

Members of the far-right English Defence League (EDL) organisation had turned up to attempt to clean up the mess around the Churchill statue - at their own initiative.

One EDL activist, who did not give his name, was on his hands and knees with a brush and some turpentine scrubbing away at the graffiti.

"Churchill's a legend. It's disgusting," he said. "He is the best of Britain. This is an insult to our country.

"They (the protesters) are fools. If they're complaining about tuition fees, they should spend that money on getting some history lessons."

Desolate scenes

Elsewhere, the Supreme Court's front windows were smashed in, a tangle of twisted lead and shattered glass after a thug attacked them with a spade as the riots raged hours after lawmakers voted to approve the rise in fees.

On Friday, workers measured up the Treasury windows and began covering them with plywood boards.

Much of the graffiti had been hosed off the historic building, while the southern doors were still daubed with white paint, the wood chipped and scratched.

Below, the three red telephone boxes, familiar from countless tourist photographs with parliament's famous clock tower in the background, were a desolate scene, having had all their windows smashed.

At the foot of Mandela's statue, a group of fine art students from Kingston University in southwest London were preparing to stage an alternative cleaning-up performance to protest against the fees hike.

Armed with brooms, they said they planned to write messages in the debris.

Student Georgina Brinkman, aged 18, said: "We are the ones who are going to have to clean up this mess in the end."

  • Lydia - 2010-12-10 18:46

    A little bias in the news coverage: The people who did all this are "student protestors." But those trying to clean it up, are "far-right activists."

      Chaz1967 - 2010-12-10 20:29

      Lydia, I represent students, left wing social policy as a councilor and have friends from all religions. Suggest you debate the facts and dont assume EDL or any other group that want their own national Identity and Parliament, controlled migration based on population and land space available, destruction of their heritage and culture, and a single law that everyone has to abide by with the same punishment for all regardless of religion, race, genda etc.... Had those Students and trade unions that support the eradication of Isreal as a State via the UAF, MAC, MDL and other extemist groups then you may not have had the scenes that you had in London Yesterday and across other parts of the country as Extremists of certain religious faiths continue to persecute locals from all race and ethnic backgrounds...

      MaLemmer - 2010-12-11 08:59

      Heh,Heh,Heh. The winds of change.....sound familiar?

  • Robert - 2010-12-10 18:49

    Respect to the EDL lads

      Chris - 2010-12-10 20:37

      Total Respect!

  • Nic - 2010-12-10 18:53

    I would like to make it clear that the EDL (English Defence League), of which I am a member, is NOT a far-right group.

  • Jon - 2010-12-10 19:07

    lydia. you havent a clue young girl. you odviosly dont even know what an activist is. yesterdays events are more activistic than whatthe edl have done. i bet you was there. snotty nosed little cow. get a grip will ya.

      Ade - 2010-12-10 21:07

      Well Said !!

  • Wigone - 2010-12-10 19:07

    well if that's far right, I would sooner be on. Go EDL, well done lads. Pride of Britain.

  • trippygrape - 2010-12-10 19:29

    London burning. Burn London burn!!! :) hur hur hur!

      Ade - 2010-12-10 21:08

      Ugly Scumbag Scrounger !!

  • Mick - 2010-12-10 19:32

    we are not far right we of the edl are the good people of this country all colors and races united for this country respect to my fellow EDL family who took it upon therselfs to help out ns

  • Batonage1000 - 2010-12-10 19:39

    Britain turning into a thug state. Every year it gets worse.

  • Graham - 2010-12-10 19:41

    I resent the press calling the EDL far right, we embrace all races and peoples as long as they don't want to put their beliefs and ways of life on all of us. You could call us patriots or islamaphobes but far right nahh. E E EDL

  • Damien - 2010-12-10 19:52

    To the Hack who wrote this Biased piece of Crap.Don't you look silly now.A man on his hands an knees cleaning up Violent Homophobic Slogans is apparently Far Right.What a tit,you have just made yourself look very Silly and somebody who should not be trusted in anything you have to say or write.

  • Ade - 2010-12-10 21:06

    SCUM SCUM!!! Well done to the EDL members for cleaning up , true patriots .

  • ndm181059 - 2010-12-10 21:35

    I didn't suffer brain injury yesterday, Alfie. What were you doing there yesterday? the real truth if you look closely at the pictures is that you were hit by a concrete block rhrown by one of your so called friends on the march. So thy we are wasting more money on you in a taxpayer paid for hospital. Get well soon and stay away to keep safe

  • ndm181059 - 2010-12-10 21:38

    Bit of a headache, Alfie? What a shame. By the way middlesx "university" is looking at your why you were throwing concrete blocks and fencesat police for much of the day. Two sides to every story, eh, Alfie?

  • carlmason98 - 2010-12-10 22:15

    I think this is a very sad day for britain. It's extremely sickening to see our community terrorising the Winston Churchill statue etc... Everyone should look down in shame, the disrespect is unearthly. All respect to the EDL!

  • David - 2010-12-10 22:19

    Hi as a student I am disappointed with this ultra left anti Zionism anti everything trend that is polluting our colleges and universities. To often I see my fellow students getting involved in violent protests up and down the country and to often I see certain Individuals using our education system for a recruiting ground for violent activists who's pet hates are the government,Israel,right wing groups,soldiers and politics. Why should we tolerate groups like the SWP and UAF and Anti Israeli groups in our university's,they are a place for education and not revolution. I went to mill bank to protest against the cuts and I left as soon as the trouble started, I was shocked at the way certain people infiltrated the crowd moving up and down the line like generals on a battlefield, pushing the crowd forward and throwing missiles and it does not take many of them to start a riot. Look at our image now I feel ashamed to admit I'm at university now because I don't want people to think I smashed up a piece of English history or attacked the prince of wales. What have these people done,why did the unions let it happen, could they have marshaled the demo and I see the SWP have said it was a "blow to the government" "a wake up call" since when have the SWP been students. I shall finish now by saying as a student i am against violent protesters and I believe that any student getting involved in such a protest and causing disorder should be expelled from there university or college.

  • Matthew - 2010-12-11 00:26

    I stand against the radical islam and nazi ideology or anyone that want to inforce their hate and violence upon me, just like the EDL will stand against this extremisum. I listern to SKA and reggae have a shinhead and wear 14 hole Doc Marten's (aswell as clothes you could only dream of wearing)so lydia please explain to me how I am far right. That's right you can't only because you don't have the guts to stand up against extremists don't brand people that do FAR-RIGHT, the uaf is just as bad do you lot apose the EDL because you agree with sharia law and it's brutality or do you apose them because you are a hired hypocrite. To the lads of the EDL you have my respect for cleaning Sir Winston Churchill. NS

  • John - 2010-12-12 19:48

    I think the EDL should be changed to the BDL (British defence league)as we all need to stand together for our british rights.

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