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UK: 149 Charged over Anti-Cuts Protests

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TEHRAN, March 29 (ICANA) – London Metropolitan Police have charged 149 people over their involvement in the anti-cuts protests which have led to sporadic violence between police officers and demonstrators.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011 11:17:24 AM
UK: 149 Charged over Anti-Cuts Protests

Police arrested more than 200 protestors on Saturday and are to review video evidence of the hundreds-of-thousands-strong rally to catch more 'offenders.'

The Met said they have arrested 145 people in connection with the forced entry of a number of protestors into a Fortnum & Mason store in the West End.

According to the force, out of the 145 people arrested, 138 have been charged with aggravated trespass and freed on bail before their trial at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court on May 9.

The case of the seven others is being further examined while a few others face charges of possession of an offensive weapon, violent disorder, assault on a police officer and criminal damage.

Metropolitan Police Commander Bob Broadhurst who was in charge of the Saturday operation said the groups resorting to violence during the rallies were “markedly different” from those taking part in anti-cuts protests, which were "overwhelmingly peaceful and good humored".

"Their intent appeared to be causing havoc, with no concern at all for those people in central London they were putting in danger. Officers came under attack, fires were set and shops attacked," he claimed.

His remarks come as the campaign group South London Solidarity Federation earlier lashed out at the police for their violence “without any sense of proportion” in dealing with demonstrations.

"We have witnessed police brutally launch into demonstrators without any restraint. This is not an aberration but a continuation of their behaviour on other recent demonstrations," the group's spokesman John Green said.

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