Anti-austerity protestors bailed, police say

Demonstrators pictured during the anti-austerity protest in central London. Picture: PA

Demonstrators pictured during the anti-austerity protest in central London. Picture: PA

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ALL BUT one of 15 people arrested during a spontaneous anti-austerity protest against the new Tory government have been bailed, police said today.

Four police officers and a member of police staff were injured as riot police clashed with frustrated crowds outside Downing Street just a day after David Cameron declared victory at the ballot boxes.

Police and demonstrators pictured during the anti-austerity protest in central London. Picture: PA

Police and demonstrators pictured during the anti-austerity protest in central London. Picture: PA

Police are investigating who sprayed graffiti on The Women of World War II monument on Whitehall.

The words “F*** Tory scum” were scrawled in red near the bottom of the large memorial and police have appealed for witnesses.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “Spraying graffiti on war memorials is a despicable display of disrespect for those who fought and died for their country, particularly at a time when the whole nation comes together to commemorate the 70th anniversary of VE Day.”

Hundreds of anti-Conservative protesters, some holding placards reading “I pledge to resist” and “Stop the cuts”, took part in the rally yesterday.

A demonstrator takes part in the anti-austerity protest outside Downing Street, in central London. Picture: PA

A demonstrator takes part in the anti-austerity protest outside Downing Street, in central London. Picture: PA

It is believed to have started outside Conservative headquarters, where Mr Cameron had given a rousing speech to party activists about their unexpected win.

Police were pictured holding batons as they confronted the crowds and controlled what they called an “unplanned” demonstration.

In Cardiff, singer Charlotte Church joined a similar rally at the Aneurin Bevan statue in Queen Street, where she was pictured carrying a placard which read: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more.”

A Scotland Yard statement said: “Four police officers and one member of police staff have been injured policing this protest. Two received hospital treatment.

“One officer was treated for a suspected dislocated shoulder and a member of police staff was treated for a cut lip after being struck by an object. Three other officers were assaulted and did not require hospital treatment.

“There are no reported injuries to any members of the public.”

Chief Superintendent Gerry Campbell added: “The vast majority of those protesting did so peacefully. However a small minority were intent on causing disorder and engaged in violence, injuring five officers and staff - two of which required hospital treatment. Our best wishes are with those officers and staff at this time.

“We have launched an investigation into criminal damage to the Women in World War II Memorial. This is particularly abhorrent considering we are celebrating the 70th anniversary of VE Day.

“I am appealing to anyone who witnessed the criminal damage taking place or may have information regarding those involved to contact Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Police today corrected the arrest figure to 15 from 17, apologising for the earlier error.

Scotland Yard said 12 people were held on suspicion of violent disorder and three for assault on police.

The youngest is a 16-year-old boy; 11 suspects are aged between 19 and 26; one is a 30-year-old man and the oldest is a 45-year-old man.

A spokesman said police awaited confirmation of the age of one suspect and whether any of those arrested were female.

Of the 15 held, 14 had been bailed to return to London police stations on dates in early July pending further enquiries including a full review of CCTV footage.

A 24-year-old man remained in custody having been arrested on suspicion of assault on police.

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