Police sued over May Day protests

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The Independent Online

Two people who were held for up to seven hours during last year's May Day demonstrations in London are to mount a legal challenge to the Metropolitan Police's controversial crowd-control tactics.

Lawyers for the pair said they would lodge papers at the High Court in London today in an attempt to win damages for wrongful detention. Last year lines of riot police corralled a crowd of about 3,000 into a small section of Oxford Circus from 2pm to 9pm.

Today's cases involve Lois Austin, 32, who claims she was not allowed to pick up her son from a crèche, and Geoffrey Saxby, 44, who says police ignored him when he explained he was not involved in the protest.

It was the first time police had used the tactics on such a large number of demonstrators. It followed several years of violence and vandalism during the annual May Day anti-capitalist protests.

Ms Austin and Mr Saxby allege that the Metropolitan Police falsely imprisoned them and was in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. Sadiq Khan, a solicitor representing the pair, said: "The actions of the police were neither necessary nor proportionate."