Protesters clash with police as Bush visits London

Monday, June 16, 2008

Protesters taking part in a demonstration in London's Parliament Square were caught in violent brawls with the Metropolitan Police as United States President George W. Bush was making his way to meet Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown at Downing Street on Sunday evening.

The protest, called for by the Stop the War Coalition, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the British Muslim Initiative, was attended by 2000 people according to Scotland Yard, and had previously been banned from marching past Downing Street. As they approached the barrier police had erected to block off access to Whitehall, police officers defended the blockade wielding batons and arresting 25 protesters.

While Deputy assistant commissioner to the Metropolitan Police Service, Chris Allison, criticized the protests as "deplorable" acts that could not "be described as lawful demonstration", a Stop the War Coalition member put the blame on the police, stating that there would have been no violence at all had the demonstration be allowed to pass by the Prime Minister's residence.

An earlier demonstration near Windsor Castle, where President Bush met with Queen Elizabeth for afternoon tea, stayed peaceful. On Monday, Bush will join Gordon Brown in talks with Peter Robinson, the first minister of Northern Ireland, in Belfast, where further protests are announced.