Thirty in court after clashes

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The Independent Online
THIRTY people are to appear in court after clashes between neo-Nazis and anti-fascist campaigners in central London.

Violence erupted on Saturday after right-wingers arrived at Waterloo Station to receive directions to an evening concert by the skinhead band Skrewdriver.

Demonstrators from the Anti-Fascist Action Group (AFA) were at the station to meet them and scuffles broke out as police separated the factions. Officers were pelted with missiles. The fracas spilled outside the station and police with riot gear were called to clear crowds from Waterloo Bridge and the South Bank area. Several people were slightly injured including a police officer hit in the face by glass. Both the Underground and BR main line stations at Waterloo were closed, and some British Rail services suspended.

Most arrests were for public order offences but other charges include one count of carrying an offensive weapon - a CS gas canister.

Seven people will appear in court today - four before Tower Bridge magistrates and three at Horseferry Road. The remainder will appear before 5 October. Police arrested 44 people in total, of whom two were given police bail, one was cautioned and 11 were released without charge.

Eammon Kent, an AFA spokesman, yesterday defended using force to try to halt the concert in what he termed 'the battle for Waterloo'. The concert did go ahead later at the Yorkshire Grey pub in Eltham, south-east London. Anne Savage, the licensee, said the event passed off without incident.

Chief Supt Sid MacKay, who oversaw the police operation, said yesterday: 'We didn't know what numbers of people to expect.

'Public safety was foremost in our minds. By separating the two factions we minimised the danger to people and property.'

(Photograph omitted)