Carnival turns into conflict as police arrest 90 demonstrators in Edinburgh

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The Independent Online

Anti-capitalist and anarchist demonstrators clashed with riot police in Edinburgh as tense stand-offs ahead of the G8 Summit boiled over into violence.

At 6pm yesterday, about 1,000 protesters confronted police in Rose Street, off the main shopping road, Princes Street. The crowd pelted mounted officers and riot police with bricks and bottles for half an hour. But, after the protesters pulled up paving stones and threw them at police, the officers charged and forced the crowd into Charlotte Square. Up to 90 demonstrators were arrested during the course of the evening and 20 people ­ including police ­ were injured.

Demonstrators tore at iron street railings to use as weapons and dismantled a brick wall to use as missiles.

Before the fighting broke out, passers-by had watched in amusement as 500 anarchists and members of the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army danced up to the cordons. But tension rose throughout the "Carnival For Full Enjoyment".

As demonstrators walked towards the head office of the life assurer Scottish Widows, mounted police and riot vans shut down the financial district.

Protesters claim police attacked them as they marched peacefully through the city.

Frances Curran, the Scottish Socialist MSP, said she was going to make an official complaint about the way the police had aggravated the violence.

Lothian and Borders Police said the marchers behaved in a "threatening and confrontational manner". Assistant Chief Constable Ian Dickinson said: "Peaceful protest ... was never on their agenda." He said several weapons were recovered.

Assistant Chief Constable Tom Halpin said more than 1,000 police officers were on duty and he defended their actions, saying they had behaved in a "measured and professional way despite extreme provocation and violence".