More than 200 people detained in London budget protest

More than 200 people were detained as clashes broke out in London on Saturday when thousands took to the streets to protest against the British government’s harsh austerity plan, a police representative said.

Four policemen have been injured when the rioters began throwing smoke bombs and paint cans at police officers, the policeman said, adding that one of the officers was admitted to hospital as a result. About 15 protesters have also been reported injured in clashes with police.

About 250,000 people took part in Saturday’s demonstration against budget cuts, the largest in 20 years, which was organized by Britain’s Trades Union Congress (TUC). The British government unveiled its plans to cut government spending by 19 percent over the next four years and raise the legal retirement age in the country in October, sparking large-scale protests across the country.

The austerity measures are intended to help Britain tackle its 155-billion pound ($243-billion) budget deficit.

Rioters were painting buildings in the city center with anti-government slogans on Saturday and were trying to damage the Trafalgar Square’s countdown Olympic Clock, the police representative said. Several dozen people were reported to have broken into the FortnumMason shopping mall on Piccadilly Street, causing damage to the building.

Some of those detained have already been formally charged with breaking public order and causing damage to state property, the police representative said.

LONDON, March 27 (RIA Novosti)

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