Ugly clashes as hunt protesters burst into Commons

Click to follow
Indy Politics

Protesters opposed to Government plans to ban hunting clashed with police today as thousands of hunt supporters converged on the House of Commons.

Protesters opposed to Government plans to ban hunting clashed with police today as thousands of hunt supporters converged on the House of Commons.

Inside, the MPs' debate on the plans was suspended when five protesters burst into the Chamber, pursued by tail-coated officials. One observer said the protesters must have passed the Prime Minister's chamber on the way. It was also reported that five other people had been halted on the way in.

Today's incident in the Commons came minutes before Fathers 4 Justice campaigner Ron Davis was convicted of disorderly behaviour at Bow Street Magistrates Court after the House of Commons flour attack on Prime Minister Tony Blair in May. That incident sparked a "major security review" for the Commons.

Outside, police drew batons and exchanged blows with a section of the crowd outside Parliament as tempers flared.

Some of the protesters claimed the police attacked them for no reason and some suffered head injuries in the clashes. Soon afterwards police changed into riot gear.

Scuffles broke out on the south west corner of Parliament Square at 3.30pm as protesters set off fireworks and lobbed plastic bottles and placards at lines of uniformed police officers, knocking their hats off their heads.

The demonstration compere pleaded for calm saying: "You are doing our cause harm. We have no problem with the police."

But his pleas went unheard beneath the loud whistles and cheers of the crowd.

Simon Kenney, a professional huntsman from Durham, was bleeding from the head.

He said: "I was up at the front trying to make my point to a policeman, then he just hit me with his baton.

"The police did not give any warning. I was pushed from behind into them and the next thing I knew, I was bleeding.

"I just want to tell Tony Blair that there will be much more trouble like this if they ban hunting."

Caroline Graham, from Newbury, Berkshire, was at the front when the violent incident started. She said: "The police just keep hitting people - they don't care whether they are men or women.

Comments