UK riot police swoop on G8 protesters

2013-06-11 16:49
A demonstrator is detained by police during a protest in London. (Alastair Grant, AP)

A demonstrator is detained by police during a protest in London. (Alastair Grant, AP)

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London - Riot police on Tuesday forced their way into a building in central London occupied by anti-capitalists, and clashed with protesters demonstrating in the British capital ahead of next week's G8 summit in Northern Ireland.

Police said they had made six arrests, including one person accused of assaulting an officer and another for criminal damage.

More than 100 riot officers surrounded a former police station in the Soho district thought to be an anti-capitalist squat, and after a tense standoff pushed their way inside to escort several people from the building.

Aerial television footage showed a protester being pinned down by officers on the roof of the building, where several police abseiling teams had positioned themselves.

A banner reading "What if we smash the G8?" was hanging from a window.

London's metropolitan police said they had "a search warrant relating to intelligence that individuals at the address were in possession of weapons, and were intent on causing criminal damage and engaging in violent disorder".

Officers removed large pieces of wood and metal poles from the building.

The police operation came as around 150 protesters paraded through central London, banging drums in a "Carnival Against Capitalism" organised by the group Stop G8.

Scuffles with demonstrators

About 70 police in riot gear were deployed and there were several scuffles with demonstrators, an AFP photographer said.

One group of protesters, who had covered their faces with black scarves, marched with a sign saying: "No borders, no prisons, no capitalism".

A spokesperson for the Home Office, or interior ministry, said peaceful protest was "a vital part of a democratic society, providing it is conducted within the law".

But she added: "Rights to peaceful protest do not extend to violent or threatening behaviour and the police have powers to deal with any such acts."

Leaders of the world's richest economies including US and Russian presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin are due to meet at Lough Erne in Northern Ireland on 17 to 18 June.

A massive security operation has been launched in Northern Ireland ahead of the summit, with more than 3 500 officers drafted in from the British mainland.

No-fly zones will be imposed over parts of Northern Ireland during the summit and surveillance drones will be used to guard key sites.

Read more on:    barack obama  |  vladimir putin

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